Barrel Racing Club

We are thinking of creating a discussion forum for barrel racers called The Tack room.

It’s actually a whole lot more than a chat room, it’s a full blown social networking site where you can have your own Barrel Racing Blog, upload videos, music, pictures, and connect with friends and barrel racers all over the world!

What do you think?

Would you like to connect with other barrel racers and chat?

Dusti Barnes

Hey guys,

I just wanted to let you know I am now a member on

add me!

Here is my profile!:


Barrel Racing Granny Helen Foulke Rides On at 72

Helen Foulke is a 72-year-old, barrel-racing cowgirl. She’s also a grandmother.

At an age when most of her peers are easing into slower pursuits and worrying about brittle bones, Foulke is barrel racing on a fast, bucking paint horse named Sassy who scares the you-know-what out of her. She’s Calamity Jane with a dash of John Wayne, and she won’t get out of the saddle without a fight.

“I just like doing it,” she said, trying to shrug off any talk about herself. “I’m just going to keep doing it until I can’t.”

While barrel racing is considered a lifetime rodeo sport like golf and it can be done by older athletes, Foulke is definitely at the outer edge of the age spectrum. In the Palm Beach County Mounted Posse, the amateur riding club that meets at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, she is the oldest competitor. The National Barrel Horse Association, the sport’s governing body, said it doesn’t see many riders over age 70.

But Foulke regularly races against people half her age. The Super Seniors division is open to age 35 and older.

She sticks with the sport even when it gets tough, like it did on a recent Saturday night. Foulke blasted into the racing ring, auburn hair flying, legs flapping, lips laying out a stream of words into Sassy’s ear.

It didn’t go well. The brown and white horse was supposed to round each of the three plastic barrels in a clover-shaped pattern, dashing out of the ring at the finish. But after rounding the first two barrels so fast and tight that her body was almost parallel to the ground, Sassy balked at the last one. Then, when Foulke was charging her out of the ring, Sassy reared up on her hind legs, bucking like a horse from an old western movie.

Foulke got a 19.59-second time, about four seconds too long to place. Foulke let loose a torrent of words.

“She’s crazy. And I’m crazy for riding her. She takes you and throws you. She doesn’t do that at home. My back can’t take that. I won’t be able to walk tomorrow.”

Foulke might grumble but she won’t give up.

“She’ll come to me and say, ‘That’s the last time I’m doing it,’” said Peggy Kovacs, a past Posse president who’s known Foulke for 23 years. “But daggone it if she isn’t doing it again.”

Barrel racing, which got started as a pastime for wives and girlfriends at the rodeo, is still largely considered a sport for cowgirls and broken-down cowboys. But there’s nothing easy or dainty about it. Riders bolt into the dirt ring from a holding pen, looping around one of five different configurations of barrels or poles, spraying dirt and vying for the fastest time.

Rick Hardy, from the National Barrel Horse Association, said while deaths are rare, a couple of people get injured or tumble off a horse during most competitions.

Foulke’s had her share of bruises. “Nothing real bad. Just slammed on your back. Ran over,” she said. “It’s like fast cars. It comes with the territory.”

She didn’t start barrel racing until she was in her 30s, when she and her husband moved to Loxahatchee Groves from New Brunswick, Canada. Until then Foulke had only done sedate pleasure riding. But when she saw people speeding around the barrels at Posse competitions, going so fast their legs flew out like wings, she knew what she wanted to do.

After a year of teaching herself, she entered her first competition. She’s been hooked ever since. She also taught all six of her kids and two of her granddaughters how to race barrels, putting them back in the saddle every time their horses threw them.

Her granddaughter Kassie, 15, who lives with Foulke, remembers her grandmother putting her back in the saddle again and again. “She’s very inspiring because she just goes and goes and doesn’t stop,” she said.

Tags: barrel racing, helen foulke, grandmother, grandma, rodeo, rodeo event

Barrel Racing Secrets Revealed gets a face lift!

I’ve had Barrel Racing Secrets Revealed for a little over a year or so.

In that time, I have become a much better designer, and I thought
it was about time I spend some time on my own stuff! So here is the
history behind the cover.

I have lots of barrel racing pictures of myself competing, and I thought
what better way to show my expertise than to show a picture of
myself competing? The photo was taken at the Martha Josey camp
in Texarkana, Tx. This was the last race of the week I spent there.
The horse I am riding,"Rusty" was a real tough horse to ride. He was 3 years
old in the picture, and it was the first race that we had won together.
What a race to win! Martha Josey was my idol, and I couldn’t have been happier winning her race.

Winning that race was not the easiest thing in the world.
During the time I spent there my horse was stung by a bee
on his face, and bolted and ran away into the woods. It
took every person there to get him back because he was so scared!
Ever since then he was spooky around the face, which made it real hard to even
put his bridle on.

After it was all said and done it was one of the happiest moments of my life,
and I thought it would be a perfect time to share it with you.

Barrel Racing Alley Fights

This is probably the most common complaint I hear – “my horse won’t go into the arena when I ask him to – we always have a big, fat fight.”

The problem here generally is that your horse is arena-sour – you’ve practiced so much he hates going into the arena. In other words, you’ve over-practiced him, and he can’t stand barrel racing anymore.

See, you knew I was going to say it was your fault, didn’t you?

Before we start troubleshooting this particular problem, I need to remind you that the day of a show is not the time to be schooling your barrel racer. If you’re not ready to compete when you get up the day of the show – stay home.

Do some more instruction, training, whatever you need to do – but do it at home – don’t drag your barrel racer to the show and decide that’s a good place to hold a training and discipline session. It’s one thing to make some minor corrections as needed during the course of the show, and quite another to expect everyone to come to a screeching halt while you embark on a 90-minute training session.

Now, about alleyway fights. If the problem is that your horse is arena sour, and just doesn’t want to get in that arena one more time, you can address it by laying off the practice sessions.

Once your horse is trained on barrels, you shouldn’t practice more than once a week or so to keep him tuned up. Instead, take him on trail rides, or switch to pole bending or something else that doesn’t represent stress and work to him.

There are also a couple of other reasons this could be happening – your horse could be getting over-excited and adrenaline-pumped at the anticipation of competing.

My suggestion here would be to spend a lengthy amount of time warming your horse up outside the arena before it’s time for your event – walking, trotting, loping, and responding to leg cues – to refocus him.

If possible, have another rider accompany you to the gate, if you can do so without endangering them – perhaps even leading you to the alleyway. If that doesn’t work, go home and work with him on the proper way to enter and exit the arena.

A third reason for alleyway fights is that you’ve been using a crop or whip much too much in your training sessions. If you’ve read Barrel Racing Secrets, you know why I don’t believe in this type of discipline – and in this case it’s called negative reinforcement.

If you’ve been pounding on his butt to force more speed out of him during every training session, in his mind, every time you enter the arena he’s going to get whacked.

Let me ask you a question – if someone whacked you every time you went into an arena, would you want to go into the arena without a fight? That might give you an idea of why your horse fights you every time you start up the alleyway.

Chapter 7 of Barrel Racing Secrets explains in greater detail what negative reinforcement is all about, and how you can make corrections to avoid this problem in the future.

Tags: barrel racing, alley fights, horse fights, horse training, barrel racing training, barrel racing tips

Barrel Racing Blog Gets a Fresh Horse

Most barrel racing websites are kinda boring. is going to be way different.

If you are a can chaser, and love to barrel race – you’ll love this website.

We are bringing you lots of great barrel racing pictures, great tips on how to win at barrel racing, care for your awesome horse, and connect with other barrel racers all over the United States and Canada.

Get your little britches over here and check back soon for more good barrel news in the "Tack Room."

See ya soon,

Barrel Racing Editor

2 Basic Parts of a Barrel Racing Run

Barrel Racing.jpgThere are three essential components of a barrel race – the approach, the rate and the turn. It’s a classic “cloverleaf” pattern – how tough can it be to remember? You might be surprised.

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