Barrel racing is a timed event so the contestants are racing to see who can complete the course the fastest.
The course consists of three barrels placed in a triangle at the center of an arena. The rider enters the arena with the horse at full gallop and the clock starts when they cross the start line.
From there, the horse and rider complete a clover leaf pattern and race back to the original line. If a barrel is tipped at any point during the run, it is a five-second penalty.
A great relationship between the horse and the rider is needed to be successful in barrel racing. The contestant’s horsemanship and the horse’s athleticism are tested throughout the run.