Hello and welcome back to Rafter 3 Horse Development. This is Jamie with

you today and we are going to be discussing the wonderful topic of axis point

in barrel racing.

Axis points are helpful tools to help us prepare and enter/ turn our barrels.

There are generally 5 points around the barrel that are used to determine how your horse is turning around the barrel and

give you an idea of how to go about fixing these issues and bettering your runs.

What are axis points in barrel racing?

Axis points, simply put, are the 5 points in which help guide you around the barrel and can also play a role in helping you decide where your rate point should be.

Here is an example of the axis points around the barrel:

Rate and axis points in barrel racing
Diagram showing the rate and axis points in your barrel racing pattern. Designed by Jamie Ridge and Makala Nerio


Axis points have been used by many riders and trainers to ensure success around the barrel and powerful, straight exits.

When you are practicing your axis points, the best way to start is by actually walking through the turn on the ground without your horse.

This gives you a great idea of how to plan your turn and visualize the turn as you practice on the ground.

The next thing you want to do is then practice your axis points from a walk, then a trot, then a canter or lope and add more speed as you become familiar with how axis points work and how they will help your turns.


How are axis points in barrel racing helpful? 

In order to run ANY pattern correctly, you need to break it down and practice it piece by piece and work out any kinks or issues.

The other thing you need to do when approaching your pattern is to address the pattern in a strategic and almost mathematical manner.

My husband likes to say that everything can be looked at in a mathematical equation, and I believe he is correct… even in regard to horse training. Actually, especially in regard to horse training.

Everything needs to be approached with technicality and that is exactly what axis points in barrel racing help you do in your barrel pattern.

Using your axis points in barrel racing, you are going to benefit in more ways than one.

In fact, if you work with a horse trainer or happen to be a barrel trainer yourself, it is going to optimize your lessons and training sessions because you are going to have reference points to address what is happening in your horses body and you are now able to address these problems in a technical way that will allow you to test changes in portions of your turn or run which will in turn help with your diagnostics process with your horse, clients, or training horses.

As a competitor and rider, axis points will help you in the same way it would a trainer, but will give you the ability to start learning how to diagnose problems in your run by yourself and prepare and prevent issues from occurring.


“I think the main thing to always work on, and something that always paid off for me over the years I spent riding a lot of different horses, is helping my horse’s body stay round through the turns. That was always something—whether it was with Scamper, Magic, Cruiser, or any of the other horses I’ve ridden during my career—that if I focused on making that perfect circle, things worked out for the best. The best way I’ve found to impart this formula for perfect circles is to teach people to ride their horses over each axis point around each of the three barrels.

Remember, the horse is long-bodied. You can compare the way the horse has to make a turn with its long body to you pulling your horse trailer. You can’t turn your horse trailer all at once; you have to give it some room to make the corner. It’s the same with a horse; you have to be conscious of the horse’s inside hind leg and where it’s hitting around the barrels. That’s where the axis points become very helpful.” Charmayne James for Barrelhorsenews.com on one of their Training articles on Axis points in barrel racing.


Do rate and axis points in barrel racing go hand in hand?

Yes, rate and axis points go hand in hand because both are going to play a critical role in preparing for and getting around your barrel properly.

Every horse is going to need a slightly different rate point, and even your arena, the footing, or other factors can play a role on that point and even exactly how far away or close your axis points are on your barrel.

Determining your rate and exact axis point depth for your horse will take a little trial and error, but once you establish that point you are going to be opening up doors in your training program you didn’t have before and start obtaining “training buttons” on your horse (as I like to call them) that you did not previously have.

Rate and Axis Points in barrel racing
Rate and Axis Points in barrel racing

Practicing your axis points

When you get to the point where you can run your barrels and try out the axis points then you can begin to challenge yourself on each run.

Some trainers even place cones in the spots of the axis points to train with.

Using axis points is going to help you figure out where your horse needs to run. Most people will generally run in-between 3-5 feet off the barrel, but every horse is different and you need to take that into account.

Practicing your axis points is also extra helpful around the second barrel where you will need to figure out the ideal point to turn your horse to provide the hip clearance needed to power off, straightly, to the next barrel.

Final thoughts on axis points in barrel racing

Using axis points can be one of the greatest training tools available in barrel racing today.

They have the ability to help you create strategic runs and pre-map out what you are going to do, how and when you are going to do it, and even give you the ability to plan counter maneuvers if you feel differentiations within your horse’s body that you are not expecting such as the horse ducking in or falling out of their turn and blowing out the back of it.

I hope that this article has been helpful and please let us know your thoughts and experience with practicing your axis points in barrel racing in the comments below! Looking forward to next Tuesday, until then take care and have a wonderful day.


Bible Verse Of The Day:

Today I chose to put the entire first chapter of the book of Revelation as my chosen bible verse of the day.

I think that this first chapter and the prologue give such an amazing testament to our wonderful Savior’s power and might, along with his love. Jesus is coming soon, today is the day of salvation.

Look around the world in which you live, look at your bible, and you will notice that the Bible is true, Jesus is true and alive, and he is coming back one day very, very soon. We don’t know the day or the hour, but we do know the season.


1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His servants 1 the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the Word Of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
Greeting to the Seven Churches
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from Him Who Is and Who Was and Who Is To Come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn Of The Dead, and the Ruler Of Kings On Earth.
To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood  and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen.
8  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “Who Is and Who Was and Who Is To Come, the Almighty.”
Vision of the Son of Man
9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the Word Of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a Son Of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around His chest. 14 The hairs of His head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, from His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and His face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the First and The Last, 18 and the Living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.