Barrel racing is a fast paced event at Heavenly Acres in Screven Georgia. Both boys and girls can compete, but at the professional level only women compete. Timing is everything in barrel racing. The fastest time wins, but don’t get a penalty.
Barrel racing requires the rider and the horse to work closely together. The event shows how well the horse can maneuver and how well the rider can guide their horse. Timing starts when the horse and rider cross the start line and ends when they have fully completed the cloverleaf pattern and cross the finish line. The outcome depends on how well the two work together and the experience and effort they have put into their training.
Barrel racing may look easy, but success depends on lots of training and practice between horse and rider. Speed is gained by disciplined practices between horse and rider using good technique and progressively getting faster and faster.
The physical condition of horse and rider will ultimately determine how fast the run can get. Being able to turn and go the opposite direction takes skill and experience. The last straight line to the finish completes the run and their time is recorded.
The National Barrel Horse Association was organized in 1992 and is the largest barrel racing organization in the world. The association has over 23,000 members from the United States and five other countries including Brazil, Canada, France, Italy and Panama.
The event of barrel racing features the swiftness and dexterity of the Western stock horse. In the barrel race, horse and rider must sprint against the clock while completing a cloverleaf pattern of snug turns around three 55-gallon barrels. If the horse turns too close, he risks tilting a barrel and suffering a costly time penalty. If he turns too wide, the turn costs needed seconds. To train a mount to find that exact “rate point” to make the best time, without risking a turned barrel, takes fortitude, preparation and a few basic rules.