Some people just don’t get it. They think spending money to run around three metal barrels is pointless. Before you jump to a conclusion about why we spend so much time playing in the dirt and wasting money on these “hay burners”, let me attempt to explain why us crazy horse people love what we do.
Horses teach us to conquer our fears. I can promise you, that almost every barrel racer has fallen off at least once in their career (and most likely it was when everyone was watching). It’s almost inevitable when your goal is to make three 360 degree turns while running a horse full speed, in less than fifteen seconds. But when the awful time comes and we make an unplanned dismount, we climb back on and show the world what we were meant to do.
Each and every horse has something new to teach us (hence the reason we can’t have just one). They all have different running styles, quirks, fears, thought processes, and personalities. I’ve grown up around pigs, goats, and cattle my entire life, but I’ve learned horses are by far the most sensitive. They bring out the best in us because they require the utmost respect to get the results we want. They can sense our every emotion, so we learn to control them carefully.
We put forth 100% effort into every moment because every second (& 1/100 of a second) counts. Every moment we spend improving movement, body control, conditioning, etc., affects the final result. We spend hours, months, and years working towards fifteen seconds of fame.
When we run through that arena gate, the whole world just disappears. It’s you. Your horse. Three barrels. There’s no time to think about anything else and no choice but to give it all you’ve got.
Our competitors are our family. We cheer each other on, look out for each other, and lend a hand wherever help is needed. We compliment each other, critique each other, and always ensure that we take enough videos/pictures of every run to make an entire documentary if we wanted to. But most importantly, we’re a family who has each other’s backs through the hardest of falls and the highest of achievements.
You can call us crazy, but we love everything about what we do. We give up our money, unscarred legs, and heart for the sport of barrel racing. In the end, every sacrifice is worth it because our horses become partners that we couldn’t live without.
I am thankful for the sport of barrel racing.