September 2, 2020 – Ask Monty Newsletter

Question: Is there a good way to compete in barrel racing?

Is there a good way to train/compete in barrel racing? I would love to try it but really dislike the use of whips/spurs. Is there a good way to do this for the horse?

Bianca Lobsinger

Monty’s Answer:

Dear Bianca,

Thank you for asking this question because I have for decades felt that there was too much use of spurs and whips in barrel racing. As these two items are used, I feel it is highly likely that they create a slower time than they do a faster time.

Spurs in particular tend to harden the muscles and tense the body which actually tends to slow it down. If one uses the whip only from the third barrel to the ‘out gate’ I suppose there is a possibility some horses would tend to speed up. It is my opinion that a properly trained horse wants to run the barrels as fast as they can and needs no whips or spurs.

The judicious rider will have someone timing the segments of the barrel race and then will repeat those actions which causes the fastest time. It is not rocket science, nor should it be a forceful effort. Test it, and let us know what you find.


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