I’ve been barrel racing for multiple years now. I started when I was a kid and haven’t stopped since. You could say I grew up around barrel racing and rodeos. Being raised around these events I have a fairly good idea about the etiquette that is needed. I’ve seen it all- from fights breaking out to horrific accidents that could have been avoided. I love seeing new people get in to the sport of barrel racing but with that being said they don’t always know the etiquette that goes along with it, so this is for all our newcomers and for our older more experienced barrel racers that need to be reminded. I present to you Barrel Racing Etiquette: 9 Rules to Keep in Mind at a Barrel Racing.
1. The warm up pen is for warming up. Some of my biggest pet peeves at a barrel race come straight out of the warm up pen. It’s hard enough to get every barrel racer and their hot-headed barrel horse to warm up simultaneously. Now let’s throw in a group of girls on horses just casually walking around, or even better just standing in the middle of the warm up pen, or even small children that are playing and don’t realize that they’re causing a problem and it’s a recipe for disaster. Just keep out of the warm up pen unless you are in fact warming up.
2. Be Courteous. No matter how much we try to avoid them, accidents are going to happen. When they do, let’s remember some of the basic manners we learned back as toddlers, like “I’m sorry” and “Excuse me”. You would think at this point in our lives those would be a habit, but apparently not.
3. Be Aware of your surroundings on and off horses. Barrel Horses are known for being a bit on the wild side. So why when we are at an event where there are barrel horses all over would we not watch where we are going? Give your fellow barrel racers plenty of room and be aware of your surroundings. Let’s remember horses do have a mind of their own.
4. Keep Negative Comments to your self. Yet again let’s go back to what we were taught when we were toddlers and remember the phrase “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” We all started somewhere, we were all taught different, we’ve all had bad days and we are all here to have fun, so lets do just that and keep our negativity at home.
5. When parking be thoughtful of others. I don’t care if you are pulling a 6-horse slant with full living quarters or a Honda because you’re meeting your horse there, park with other people in mind. We all want room for our horses to stand at the trailer. We all want to make sure we are not blocked in. We all want to be as close to the arena as we can. No matter what the intent of our parking is, it doesn’t mean we have to be obnoxious and park right smack dab in the middle of a busy area. If you’re that worried about, parking arrive earlier.
6. Be Kind to the help. It’s not the gate person’s fault that they put 5 runs in between your first horse and your second horse. It’s also not the tractor drivers fault that your horse spooked coming around the third. The ladies up in the office are doing their best to keep things running smoothly, so please give the help a break.
7. Don’t tie ornery horses to the fence. That’s just an accident waiting to happen. It’s like throwing a grenade and expecting it not to go off. Save us all the worry and leave them tied at the trailer.
8. Keep an eye on your kids and dogs. I love kids and I love dogs and I would never want to see one get hurt. With that being said a barrel race is not a day care. Leave your dogs contained at the trailer, ask someone to watch your child for a bit, and if your child is on a horse make sure they’re not getting in the way of the other riders. This is a safety precaution more than anything.
9. Have Fun. The number one rule I have at a barrel racing is have fun! Why spend your money on something to have a bad time? Yes, there are going to be bad days, but remember there’s always something to be learned so pick yourself up dust off the dirt and have a good time.
Colby ‘Jane Hall
June 26, 2017