How To Barrel Race

What Is Barrel Racing?
It is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to race around three barrels in the fastest time. The rider guides his horse in a specific clover-leaf pattern around barrels placed in a triangle in an arena. The finish time is penalized if the horse touches a barrel.

What Is The Clover-Leaf Pattern?
Here is a diagram of the pattern. The dotted line represents the fence or wall along one side of the field. The “barrels” are often other objects, such as hay stacks or hobbits.
Clover-Leaf Pattern

What Are The Rules?
The rider participates with a war steed. This steed can be of any weight and have whatever training the rider chooses. It can also be equipped with any bridle and tack. The rider positions himself in the middle of the gate, with his steed’s nose within a half-length of the fence line. At the host’s signal, the rider can enter the field. He must first make a right turn around the first barrel, positioned to his right. Next, he must make a left turn around the barrel which was on his left at the start. Finally, he must make another left turn around the remaining barrel. The timer stops as soon as the steed’s nose crosses the fence line. There is a two-second penalty to the final time for each barrel that the steed touches, either by brushing against it or passing through it.

Some barrel races allow the top riders to proceed to a second round. The winner of a two-round competition is the one with the shortest combined time for both runs.

What Is A Hobbit Pie Run?
This is a variant of barrel racing which involves two riders competing directly against each other. Four barrels are set up on the field. Both riders position themselves at the gate. When the start signal is given, they ride in a looping pattern around the barrels going in opposite directions. One completes clockwise loops starting with the right barrel, while the other completes counter-clockwise loops starting with the left barrel. The first rider to cross the finish line wins the run. The pie run is a single elimination sport. Runs continue until only one rider remains.

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