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Barrel Racing



By Neco

Barrel Racing is one of the most popular equestrian sports in the Western discipline and probably the most well known - and by far the most exciting. A horse sprints from the chute in an indoor ring to gallop a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels in the fastest time possible and without knocking over any of the barrels. It's a test of speed, agility and rider skill and a sport that is a staple in every Western show.


A barrel racing entry should consist of three poses - a right-facing gallop (gallop in), a barrel turn, and a left-facing gallop (gallop out).

You MUST use a gallop - no canters or trots, your horse must have speed to spare. You can use any gallop that has one leg on the ground, all four off the ground spread out, or all four legs tucked under the belly off the ground. (Pretty much anything that looks fast!)

You must have one gallop facing right as the horse enters the arena and one facing left as the horse leaves - NO FLIPPING POSES. It's incredibly easy to tell a flipped pose, due to the horse's mane and leg placement, so please don't try to cheat the system.


The horse should look calm or excited - wide open eyes ARE ALLOWED. Sad or angry eyes ARE NOT ALLOWED. The ears should be closely aligned, but again not perfectly because it's HARD in gallops, and the body should be somewhat straight. A straight gallop with bright eyes and aligned ears is the pinnacle of what you want.

The Barrel Turn

The barrel turn is fairly easy to get! Find a toy your horse reallyyyy wants - but don't throw it! Hold onto it and your horse will drop into a play bow, and occasionally feint to the right in its excitement. THIS is the photo you want - this closely resembles a horse sprinting tightly around a barrel and it looks pretty neat too. The horse can either be looking at the toy or off to the side - as long as the horse is happy, it's fine!

A barrel turn should have the horse looking excited or calm (angry and sad are again DQ'd) and the horse should LOOK like it's turning - the body should be tucked close at the inside shoulder with one foreleg up or extended. The back should be set as the pivots.

Dice Rolls

There will be dice rolls for both the time and each barrel. One six sided die will be thrown for each barrel (3 barrels) - a 1, 2 or 3 indicates the barrel stays up, while a 4, 5 or 6 indicates the barrel is knocked over. The goal is to complete your run with zero barrels knocked down.

You also must be fast fast FAST! Three six sided dice will be rolled for the time and added up - whoever has the highest score was the fastest horse!


To learn more about getting a gallop pose, visit the Gait Pose Guide, How-To, & Tips.