Finding Your Barrel Racing Partner: Choosing the Right Horse

Hello and good morning everyone! Welcome back to Rafter 3 Horse Development. I am excited to share an article conceived of by our head trainer here at Rafter 3, Makala Nerio.

We are going to be talking all about Finding Your Barrel Racing Partner: Choosing the right horse. The right horse makes a difference… But, without further ado, let’s get started learning about choosing the right horse for barrel racing!


I fully understand the importance of finding your barrel racing partner and choosing the right horse. A horse that can perform at the highest level and make you feel confident in the arena is essential for becoming competitive in barrel racing, and it goes so much farther than that! The right horse and rider combination can accomplish the un-accomplishable.

Choosing the right horse for barrel racing is like finding your soulmate, it’s not just about finding a horse that can run fast, but also one that complements your riding style and has the right temperament.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the top horse breeds for barrel racing and how to select the perfect horse for you. So buckle up and let’s get started!


Finding your barrel racing partner: Choosing the right horse. It really will make all the difference to have the right horse. While you can train any horse to perform in barrel racing, choosing a horse with natural ability, talent, and high-octane explosiveness is going to pay off. This does not mean you have to have the nicest, fanciest, or most expensive horse, but choosing a great prospect with lots of potential is going to only benefit your barrel racing training program and competitiveness while performing your pattern. A quick tip from trainer Jamie “While I did not perform barrels with this mare, I once purchased a mare with very poor conformation. This led to her being unable, physically, to do her job well or comfortably. It caused a lot of grief and heartache for myself, my family, and my trainer at the time. Make sure you pick a horse that is well suited towards your goals!”

Choosing The Right Horse: The Best Horse Breeds for Barrel Racing

As a seasoned barrel racer, I’ve had the pleasure of riding a variety of horse breeds in the arena. But let me tell ya, not all horses are created equal when it comes to this fast-paced rodeo event. So, if you’re on the hunt for a new four-legged partner, here are some of my top picks for the best breeds for barrel racing:

American Quarter Horse: These horses are like the MVPs of the barrel racing world. They’ve got speed, quick acceleration, and a physique that just screams “I was made for this!”

Paint Horse: Paints are the jack-of-all-trades of the horse world. They’re fast, smart, and have a personality that just shines in the arena.

Appaloosa: Appaloosas may look funky with their spots, but they’re all business when it comes to barrel racing. They’re quick on their feet and can maneuver like no other.

Thoroughbred: Thoroughbreds are the Usain Bolts of the horse world. They’re built for speed and have a natural ability to run fast, making them a great choice for barrel racing.

In short, if you’re looking for a horse to take you to the top of the leaderboard, one of these breeds might just be the perfect fit!

Choosing The Right Horse For Barrel Racing

I can tell you firsthand that finding the perfect four-legged partner is a huge decision. You want to make sure you choose a horse that’s the right fit for you, so here are some tips for making the best choice:

Riding Style Matters: When choosing a horse for barrel racing, think about your own riding style. If you’re a go-getter and love an aggressive ride, look for a horse that matches that energy. But, if you’re more relaxed in the saddle, then go for a calmer horse that won’t drive you wild.

Disposition is Key: Your horse’s personality plays a big role in their success in the arena. Choose a horse that’s confident, relaxed, and easy to handle both in and out of the arena. A good disposition is a must-have for any barrel racing horse.

Check Their Conformation: A horse with good conformation is important for barrel racing. Look for a horse with a strong back, well-developed hindquarters, and a balanced body. This will give them the ability to perform at their best.

Check out: Buying Your First Horse 

Watch ‘Em in Action: Finally, it’s essential to watch the horse perform in the arena. This will give you an idea of their speed, agility, and quickness, which are all crucial for barrel racing.

Horse sales tip from Jamie: “It is extremely important to make sure you have everything written down, access to the horse’s registration papers, records, etc. Also, make sure that all of your legalities are taken care of and both the seller and buyer have clear expectations set and understand each other. There has been a rise in the amount of scam artist activity within the equine industry, so, make sure to protect yourself and your investment. If you are buying a horse sight-unseen, take extra precautions. I always advise that someone is able to take a look at the horse, in person, to ensure that the horse is what the seller states and that there is no foul play at hand. Be aware, while we are not trying to scare anyone, there have been real instances of people purchasing a horse, shipping it, only to realize there WAS NO horse to begin with. Stay safe and best of luck in your search for the right horse for barrel racing!

Questions To Ask The Seller When Choosing The Right Horse For Barrel Racing

Okay cowboys and cowgirls, you’re looking for a barrel racing partner, and you want to make sure you’re getting a good ‘ol trusty steed. To avoid getting taken for a ride (literally), you need to ask the seller the right questions to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. So, grab your trusty notebook and let’s get down to business.

  1. Ask about their background: “Where ya from, horse?” Knowing their background can give you a better understanding of their training, experience, and any potential health issues they may have.
  2. Barrel racing experience: “You ever competed in a rodeo before, partner?” Find out if they’ve ever hit the barrel racing arena before and how they performed.
  3. Training history: “Who taught ya the ropes?” Understanding their training history can give you an idea of their discipline and work ethic.
  4. Competition record: “What’s your rodeo resume look like?” Knowing if they’ve competed in barrel racing events before and how they performed can give you an idea of their abilities and potential.
  5. Temperament: “What’s your personality like?” You want a horse that’s easy to handle, confident, and calm. Finding out their temperament can give you an idea if they’re a good fit for your riding style.

So there you have it, folks. By asking these questions, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of the horse and make an informed decision. Now go out there and find yourself a barrel racing champion!


FAQ: Common Questions about Choosing the Right Horse for Barrel Racing

I know firsthand that choosing the right horse for barrel racing is a big deal!

And trust me, I’ve heard it all – from “What’s the best breed for barrel racing?” to “Can a beginner participate with any type of horse?”

So, I’ve gathered all the frequently asked questions about barrel racing horses and added my own bit of sass and humor to make it more relatable. Here we go!

Question 1: What are the BEST breeds for barrel racing?

A: Well, American Quarter Horses, Paints, and Appaloosas are some of the most common breeds for barrel racing. But, let’s not forget the golden rule – it’s not just about the breed, it’s about the horse’s individual attributes. Speed, agility, and athleticism are key.

Question 2: What traits should I look for in a barrel racing horse?

A: You want a horse with some serious athleticism and speed, but also one with a calm and confident personality. A good work ethic and a willingness to please are important too. Trust me, you don’t want a horse who’s more interested in eating the arena dirt than running the pattern.

Question 3: Can a beginner participate in barrel racing with any type of horse?

A: Of course, beginners can participate with any type of horse, but starting with a seasoned and well-trained horse can increase your chances of success and build confidence. Think of it as starting with a horse who’s already got some rodeo miles under their belt.

Question 4: How can I find the right horse for barrel racing?

A: You can start by checking out local stables, attending horse shows and clinics, and networking with other barrel racers. You can also seek advice from a trainer or experienced barrel racer to help find the perfect horse for you. It’s like a matchmaking service, but with horses.

Question 5: Is it possible to train a horse for barrel racing?

A: Absolutely, but it takes time, patience, and expertise. It is important to keep in mind that not every horse has the potential to excel in barrel racing. But, the reward of training a horse for the sport is worth it – it’s like building a trusty rodeo partner from the ground up. You will learn so much along with way and so will your horse.

At Rafter 3 Horse Development, we are dedicated to helping you create your dreamhorse… From the ground up! We have a great resource for barrel racing horse training, check out our book on Amazon!

Question 6: How much does it cost to own a barrel racing horse?

A: The cost can vary widely, but on average it can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. It depends on factors like the horse’s breed, training, and experience. But, trust me, a good barrel racing horse is worth every penny.

Question 7: What should I know before purchasing a barrel racing horse?

A: Before you make that big purchase, consider the horse’s experience, training, and physical condition. Make sure to consider their age, breed, and temperament, as well as your own skill level and goals. And, don’t forget to have a pre-purchase exam done by a vet to ensure the horse is in tip-top shape.

Question 8: Is it important to have a good relationship with my barrel racing horse?

A: Absolutely! In barrel racing, having a strong bond between horse and rider is crucial. Improved communication, trust, and teamwork lead to better runs in the arena. And, let’s be real, building a relationship with your barrel racing horse makes the sport way more enjoyable and rewarding.


Final thoughts on choosing the right horse for barrel racing

Well this has been a fun discussion and we hope that this insider information on finding your barrel racing partner: choosing the right horse for barrel racing has been helpful in your search for finding the ultimate barrel racing horse!

If you are interested in more information, check out our Articles and Blog posts page for more articles all about barrel racing, and make sure you subscribe to never miss an update!

Have a great day and God bless,

Jamie and Makala


Bible Verse Of The Day

Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.

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One response to “Finding Your Barrel Racing Partner: Choosing the Right Horse”

  1. […] If you plan to run barrels with you horse we have a super informative article to help you find the Perfect Barrel Racing Prospect […]

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