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Speed Events

Learn more about the following speed events, especially barrel racing; how to train for them and improve your skills; and read news and stories from competitors who compete in speed events with Horse Illustrated.

  • Barrel racing involves a horse speeding around barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. The fastest competitor who leaves all the barrels up is the winner.
  • Gymkhanas feature events with pattern races and timed games and is often featured at Pony Club events or through 4-H. It is sometimes called an O-Mok-See. In addition to racing barrels, events can include pole bending, keyhole race, keg race, ride and run, egg stomp, $1 bill race (aka, ride a buck), and sack race are often scheduled.
  • Pole bending involves a rider weaving in and out of poles set in a straight line.
  • Flag racing involves running a pattern created by markers placed in specific locations.

The Need for Speed: Improving Your Barrel Racing Runs

You’ve been running barrels for a while now: You know the pattern. Your turns are solid. Your seat is stable.…

4 months ago

Amberley Snyder: Walk, Ride, and Rodeo Star

Growing up, Amberley Snyder, star of a rodeo movie on Netflix, competed in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and…

5 months ago

Brandon Cullins and Edwin Cameron Take Top Titles at the 2019 NBHA World Championships

Barrel racers from around the world gathered on October 26–November 2 for the 2019 NBHA Open and Senior World Championships…

1 year ago

Cowboy Swagger Named 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion With Fallon Taylor

Champion barrel racer Fallon Taylor takes on a new challenge every year: in 2018, she took up show jumping. This…

1 year ago

Two Barrel Racing Exercises

If you have a finished horse that doesn’t need a lot of work on the barrel pattern, the last thing…

2 years ago

Meet Barrel Racing Champ Amberley Snyder

Sometimes all it takes is a moment—a glance down at a map, a slight miscalculation—to profoundly change your life forever.…

2 years ago

Western Lesson: Slow Your Horse Down

Is your horse a whiz at speed events, but tough to slow down when you want a calmer ride in…

2 years ago