Rodeo Barrel Racing Tips : How to Pad & Saddle a Rodeo Horse

Rodeo Barrel Racing Tips : How to Pad & Saddle a Rodeo Horse


Hi, I’m Holly Heidemann and today on behalf
of Expert Village we’re going to talk about the equipment involved with barrel racing.
We’re going to start out with the pad. The pad that I happen to use is a Saddle Right
pad, but there are many good pads on the market. The thing I like to look for is a pad that
has a lot of wool content. This does have an internal portion that’s not wool, but what
wool does is it wicks moisture and allows it to evaporate. So you want a horse that
has a dry, comfortable back. Horses sweat when they work, especially if they work as
hard as a barrel race horse does to be conditioned and then to, to run properly. So you want
to keep them as dry as possible. So this pad has a wool outer shell. Inside, the material
inside is a shock absorbing material that allows no portion of their back to have more
pressure than another – really helps to distribute the pressure evenly. So look for a pad that
has that advantage. Solid wool pads work really well as long as they’re really condensed,
tight wool fiber. This just happens to be one that I prefer. I like to look for a pad
that’s either cut back at the withers, or at least has some kind of contour to it where
it lifts at the withers. The reason for that is the withers are a very sensitive portion
on a horse and we want to create space there so that as they run they don’t feel that tightening
over the top of their withers. The other thing I like to look for is I like to make sure
the pad is the correct length for the horse. When you get a pad that’s too long you’ll
notice your horse being uncomfortable because it will infringe on them being able to their
hip properly. So that’s the pad I prefer. And we’ll move over here to the saddle. The
saddle that I ride in is a Marlene Mcrae special effect saddle and there are lots of different
saddles on the market. Again I’ve tried many of them this just happens to be my favorite.
And the reason I like it is because it does not have a rigid kind of a tree. The tree
has a very nice twist of the bars. The underneath part of a saddle which you can’t see, the
bars have a twist to them. Which means that’s actually the, the structure that sits on a
horse’s back. And so this particular saddle has a very special tree where it follows the
contours of the horse’s back really well. A lot of trees just have two bars that are
kind of like two by fours and they end up digging into the horse here at the below the
wither and then also back where you know around where their kidneys and things are at the
back portion of their, their saddle. And so I want something that’s going to lay very
evenly on both sides of their spine so again, just like the pad, I can distribute that pressure
the very best way that I can. The other thing this saddle has in the tree is that there
are flexible panels. So I ride a lot of different horses; some of them are wide, some of them
are narrow, and so I need a saddle that can kind of conform, which this one does, to a
lot of different horses. Beyond the tree, the tree’s the first thing that I look for
in a quality saddle. Beyond that, I like to have stirrups that hang underneath my hips
so that I make sure my feet are in the proper position. I don’t want a saddle that has stirrups
that are hung too far back or too far forward because then you don’t have the balance that
you need in a run. Breast collars are very important for saddles. This is a breast collar
that goes across the front of the horse, you’ll see that in a moment when we’re riding. That
just helps the saddle not to twist and turn from side to side if you have a little bit
of a, a loose fitting saddle and then also, it has a strap where you can put your tie
down or your running Martingale or your turning Martingale; anything that’s going to have
to go through a strap on your breast collar you have room for that. Then, I like to have
a saddle to have a back cinch. Back cinches are really important, they need to be secured
snuggly, not, not so tight like a team roper would use it, but it needs to be snug enough
that the saddle’s not going to be flopping around on their back as you go to make your
run. That’s a really important piece of equipment. Don’t let this just sag and droop. Lots of
times that’s a safety feature. I’ve seen horses reach up with a hind foot when they’re shaking
or, or kicking at a fly and they’ll catch their foot in there. So be careful to make
sure that this back cinch is very snug.

8 thoughts on “Rodeo Barrel Racing Tips : How to Pad & Saddle a Rodeo Horse

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