The Barrel Racing Saddle

By: Janine Carter

Beginning a career in barrel racing is a great challenge for young as well as older horse riders.  Getting the right saddle and tack is just the first step.  As with all saddles, finding a good balance between quality, price and style requires research. Here we will look at the requirments that a barrel racer and his horse must have in order to compete with the professionals of today's rodeo.
 
A barrell racing saddle is distinguished for the most part by it's size and weight.  It is built for speed, so being smaller and lighter than any other western saddle is a must to this end.  The outer skirts are minimized in size and the tree is small and light-weight on a barrell saddle.  Often these saddles result in an under 30 pound rig, making the horse work less and move faster. The rider must be balanced out with his or her saddle. Hanging on in tight turns around the barrels.

The racing saddle seat is constructed with a relatively flat seat, which provides the rider ease of movement to balance the horse in tight turns around the barrel.  The cantle however and the pommel are high so as to give the rider a more secure ride as the higher cantle gives support to the riders back, keeping him deeper in the seat.  The barrel saddle horn is made tall and narrow so the racer can grab on to it for lightening speed sprints to the gate at the end of the race.  It is easier to keep a boot in a stirrup that is narrow, thus the barrel saddle has a more narrow tread to keep booted feet tight in.  Also, because of possible brushing against or hitting barrels in tight turns, the stirrups are often covered with rawhide, which is more resistant to scrapes than softer leather.  To produce the most balance for the rider, the fenders on this rig are free-swinging for ease of movement so the rider can keep his or hers legs directly under their bodies at all times.

The summary of the barrel saddle is simple.  It is a saddle that is built tough to be able to withstand the rigors of speed, tight turns and possible scraping against obstacles while being as light as possible.  This saddle also must keep the rider feeling well balanced, safe and secure so as to maximize confidence in the fact that he or she won't fall off their horse around a turn. Each rider is timed by a clock to determine the winner and every one-hundreth of a second counts.

If you have any questions on Horse supplies or J9 Farm Supplies, please call 979-221-7251. Our home office is located in Waller, Texas, with warehouses located throughout the United States such as Dallas TX, Houston TX, New York NY, Denver CO, Chicago ILL, Seattle WA, Kansas City MO, Miami FL, Raleigh-Durham NC, Washington DC, San Diego CA, Little Rock  AR, Philadelphia PA, Phoenix Arizona, Dallas TX Texas. 

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