Barrel racing is one of the most exciting events in rodeo sports. Competitors ride around barrels set up in a cloverleaf pattern, while competing for the fastest time. It’s an event full of quick turns and twists, so naturally it requires both a skilled rider and a talented horse. But it requires a few other things too.
If you’re new to barrel racing or thinking about getting into the sport, you may need some special equipment to get started. Not sure where to begin? You’ve landed at the right place. We’re sharing our barrel racing equipment list, which features some of the most important things you’ll need to participate in the sport. So keep reading to learn more and get ready to begin your barrel racing journey!
Start With a Saddle
A saddle is a fundamental piece of equipment for most sports that take place on horseback. Barrel racing is no exception. So, the first item on your barrel racing equipment list should likely be a saddle.
Barrel racing involves taking quick, tight turns as you ride, so it’s vital to choose a saddle designed for the activity. You’ll need a saddle that allows you to be comfortably positioned as you go around the bends. A barrel racing saddle should also feature a saddle horn. This gives you something to grasp onto and secure yourself as your horse curves around the barrels.
You’ll also want to ensure that your saddle is fitted to your horse and that it’s secure without restricting their movement.
Buy the Best Bit
A bit is another essential for equestrian activities and will help you direct a mount’s head. The bit will rest in your horse’s mouth and connect to the reins by the bridle.
They do make specific barrel racing bits but you should still be selective when making a purchase. The right one for you will depend on your specific steed more than the sport you’re participating in. Some horses respond more to certain bits than others. So finding the perfect bit can involve some trial and error.
This means that you may have to try many different bits before you land on one that works for both you and your horse. You also may find that you have the most success when using a series of bits. Many riders have a few that each correspond to an activity, such as training, competing, etc.
Also, competitions may have specific requirements for bits so you should always review any relevant rules before choosing your equipment.
Browse for Boots
Barrel racing can be tough on your horse. After all, they’ll be running hard and turning on a dime. As with any athlete, it’s important to make sure that your animal is properly equipped. This will help maximize support and minimize strain and injury.
That’s why boots should definitely be on your barrel racing equipment list. If you choose carefully, good boots will help keep your horse’s legs strong and healthy. For instance, when making quick turns, many horses’ back hooves will knock into their forelegs. Front boots can help protect these legs from being scraped or cut. Rear boots, on the other hand, will help to protect the horse’s fetlocks, which are joints similar to our ankles.
Boots can also have other benefits, depending on the kind that you select. Split boots can help prevent blunt trauma. Sports medicine boots offer similar protection but they’ll also brace and further support the horse’s legs. Bell boots can often be a good idea as they specifically cover the top of the hooves and the pastern so they’re not nicked or damaged.
When choosing boots, you’ll need to understand what your steed’s specific needs are. You should also ensure that you take detailed measurements so the boots are perfectly sized for your horse. If the boots don’t fit, they can end up doing more harm than good.
Rein in Your Barrel Racing Equipment List
The final thing any barrel racer needs when they’re tacking up is some reins. These are essential to guiding your horse.
There are many different types of reins, but for barrel racing you’ll want ones that are short and round. Knotted reins are the most popular because they’re easiest to grab ahold of. Some riders use leather reins instead, but these can be slick and harder to grip. Split reins are considered to be a hazard in this event, so you should definitely avoid them.
Hit Your Stride With X Factor
Your barrel racing equipment list might be complete with saddles, reins, boots, and bits. But if you really want to set yourself up for success, some professional guidance is paramount.
Fortunately, X Factor has a ton of information available online to help you reach your goals. We have countless barrel racing lessons, tutorials, interviews, and are always sharing helpful tips and tricks. Plus, our online coaching program can connect you with champion barrel racers who can help you progress even further. Start your free trial today!