When we bought my horse Trooper as an 11-month-old colt, all we could really do with him was teach him to lead, brush him and just spend quality time with him. When he turned 1, we worked with putting a saddle on him and getting him comfortable under it, and then loading him in the horse trailer. He is almost 3 now, and we have started riding him.

Training your own barrel horse takes a lot of patience. When I took the time to train my horse to run barrels, I knew everything about him because I was with him every step of the way. I knew when he was going to make a good or bad run before we ever turned the first barrel. I knew when he wasn’t giving me 110 percent, and I even knew when he wasn’t feeling up to his regular standards.

After working with my own horse, I begged Daddy to buy me a horse that was already trained to barrel race, so I didn’t have to spend my time training all over again.

When we found my horse Double-T, I had to get used to his habits before I could become comfortable with him. Rather than just getting on him and knowing exactly what he was going to do. It took quite a bit longer to form a bond with him than it did with Trooper, but after we got to know each other we are like best friends.

In conclusion, if you have the opportunity, I believe you’re better off raising and training a horse to barrel race. It’s wonderful to be able to bond with an animal before you make it to a competitive setting.

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