Barrel Racing: Why Do We Do This?

No matter how you look at it or try to justify it, we do this because we love it. We barrel race on passion alone.

When you think about, we have to be crazy passionate about this sport. There are so many other sports and hobbies that are so much less time consuming, more financially favorable and less physically demanding. We could go hiking on predetermined trails, go boating, go fishing or relax on a lake or go shopping at the mall on weekends. I mean really! We climb on a 1,000 pound animal with a mind of its own and go blasting 40 mph into an arena and try not to shatter our shins on three 50 gallon drums while running faster than everyone else to win some money to pay for your expensive addiction.

Courtney Duncan, international barrel racer

“The real reason why I do this is my love of horses. I love getting inside a horse’s head and really feeling what they are thinking and sensing. In barrel racing more than other equine sports, you have to be so in tune with your partner in order to win. This connection with horses is what drives me to continue chasing cans.”

Heath Boucher, competitor, breeder and owner

“I do this because I love the sport and have a passion for horses. As a little boy my grandfather bought me a pony which sparked my lifelong horse addiction. And, of course, because I still get goose bumps every time one of my horses runs down the alley!”

Bo Hill, barrel horse trainer, breeder and stallion owner

“All I’ve really wanted to do all my life is to ride a better horse than the one I was currently riding … that is truly why I keep training horses.”

Bendi Dunn, competitor, breeder and owner

“Because we are crazy to the core! Seriously, who pays a huge embryo fee, pays a huge stud fee, stresses out for a year for it to be born, takes care of it for four years and prays to God it runs fast? We do! Life would be boring and without risk if not for horses. It’s just money and you can’t take it with you!”

Lyndee Stairs, barrel horse trainer, breeder and stallion owner

“I have a degree in business from Fresno State. I tried working in an office and it felt like going to jail! I love to help people with their horses. I love it when they get back to me and tell me that I made it simpler for them. I love the ‘ah ha’ moments you see in a young horse. When they start to get it and make THAT move leaving a barrel. When the barely 2-year-olds come in from the pasture for training, it’s like Christmas.”

Marcheta Garrett, barrel horse trainer, breeder and stallion owner

“I’m an adrenalin freak. I like the thrill and excitement. I like raising horses. I like when they’re born and cute, but I hate to wait until they’re old enough to ride. It’s so discouraging to wait so long. I’m impatient that way. I like what I raise because I know the quality, but usually end up selling most of them and buying something old enough to ride and train. I like the progression of colts. I like making horses because it’s something that a lot of people can’t do.”

Pete Oen, barrel horse trainer

“I do this because horses are much easier to deal with than other humans! LOL! I do this because I love horses and animals in general. I enjoy trying to teach each one the same thing … to be a champion!”

Jordon Briggs, barrel horse trainer, stallion owner

“It’s the only thing I know, and I’ve never worked a day in my life because I love what I do! If I could anything in the world, I would be doing this! … And I also like animals a lot more than people!” –

Suzanne Moseley, barrel horse owner

“I think anyone in the horse industry—whether they’re in barrel horses, race horses or Tennessee Walking Horses—is in it because they love it. I just do it because I love it, and I love barrel racing over other events like cutting, because the best horse wins. I’ll get worn out and back off for a while, and the next thing I know I’m looking at colts! I don’t have to do it for a living. I do it for fun; it’s not like I have to make money at it. I do sell them and make money, but I can pick their home. I can be choosey that way. I like to place my horses so I can watch them go on and do great things.”

Molli Montgomery, barrel horse trainer

 “I love it, and there aren’t many occupations that you can make $100,000 in 15 seconds!”

Love of the sport isn’t limited to those inside the arena. It takes a special kind of person (i.e. “crazy”) to spend hours making things happen outside the arena. They too have a passion for the sport and its participants.

Melanie Cloward, Videographer, 3-2-1 Action Video

“We do it in hopes of helping barrel racers better themselves and their horses. We started this for our daughters that barrel race. I did it because I was tired of hearing them say, ‘I do have my heels down’ or ‘I am lifting their shoulders.’ Videos never lie. Every barrel racer is trying to get the upper edge on the next horse, so if watching themselves helps them do that then we’ve done our job.”

Bonnie Wheatley, Barrel Horse News editor, futurity competitor

“I just think it’s really fun. Sounds silly, but it’s true. I love athletic horses. I love horsemanship, where you work to learn more and try to go after a goal in the performance arena. It’s a rush and that first great horse ruins you for life! I work as editor of Barrel Horse News because I really enjoy the industry. I think it’s an unpresumptuous group of people for the most part. I think most barrel racers genuinely love their horses, and I really like that aspect of many of the stories I hear. For the most part people are happy, not so much about the money they’re winning, but the bond they have with their horse, and that’s pretty cool. I like that it’s a young and growing sport and my goal is always to try through my work to bring more horsemanship knowledge to it and I feel like that’s really happening.”

Josh Welch, former lawyer, professional photographer

“The most fascinating part of photographing barrel races is not the actual race(s), but the stories of the people that love horses and the sacrifices they make in order to do what they love.  It’s apparent no one is going to get rich barrel racing, but in some ways it’s the same with photography, you do it because that’s where your heart is, and you are lucky enough to get to do what you love and there is no price tag you can put on that.”

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K9s4COPs and K9s4kids.

K9s4COPs is a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to build a safer
future by placing K9 officers in communities and schools.