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The Best Way to Begin Barrel Racing

The National Barrel Horse Association and Barrel Horse News presents a basic resource guide to help you dive into the sport of barrel racing.

The thrill of barrel racing draws the interest of many new riders each year. Compared to other equestrian sports, the overall cost to compete and train is relatively low, and the wide variety of shows available for all levels of riders make it an appealing venture for those new to horses. However, getting the correct start when you begin barrel racing is paramount to having a good experience and enjoying the sport for years to come. Here’s a basic list of resources to help you get involved.

Finding an Instructor

The first step to getting into barrel racing is finding a knowledgeable person to teach you. It’s crucial to learn how to ride and develop horsemanship first before you learn to barrel race—your initial instructor doesn’t always have to be a barrel racing trainer.

Breed associations offer lists of approved trainers in good standing with the association. These websites are a good place to start:

When you have your list of potential trainers, do plenty of research on each person to be sure they are legitimate and maintain a good reputation. Ask members of your local horse community for opinions, look for reviews online and do a search on Facebook or Google. Make sure to find out if you need your own horse to begin lessons or if the person has school horses for you to ride. If you don’t have your own horse, a reputable trainer can be a great resource to help you purchase one down the road.

Barrel Racing Clinics

Once you are confident riding and have your own horse, clinics are an excellent way to improve your barrel racing skills one-on-one with a skilled professional. Though this list is far from all-inclusive, this sampling of trainers teach clinics throughout the year and travel to various locations around the country, providing a wealth of opportunities to help you advance as a barrel racer and horseman. Many of the following clinicians offer private lessons too, so be sure to check their websites. You can also access a library of videos from professional barrel racers at trainingbarrelhorses.com to help you improve on your own at home.

Clinicians