Aqualuma Grand Pavilion
Friday 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Barrel Racing Championships
Barrel Racing is the fastest and most glamorous of the western events. It is a timed event that has no judges and therefore no subjective points of view.
Barrel Racing is graceful and simplistic – a rider, a horse, three barrels and the stopwatch. The horse is ridden as quickly as possible around a cloverleaf course of three barrels. Ride quickly and win. Hesitate and lose. Competitors have the option to either make one right and two left hand turns or one left and two right hand turns. Barrel Racing is timed to the hundredth of a second and competition is so fast that an electronic timer is used to time the event. The competitor’s time starts when they break the electronic beam and finishes when they return through the beam. If the horse or rider knocks over a barrel, they incur an infraction that adds five penalty seconds to the time, ending any chance of victory.
The top horses ridden in Barrel Racing are highly trained and extremely athletic. They must be able to run extremely fast over a short distance and then collect themselves to make fast, neat and tight turns. Barrel Racing within the ABHA is open to both men and women of any age, so it is an event that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Many of the competitions held are “divisional barrel races” where competitors’ times are split into divisions, giving everyone the chance to share in the prize money. Aged competitions are also held for young horses, and these are a highlight for all competitors.