Barrel Racing
by: Katie Grymala

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a Barrel Racing Saddle
a Barrel Racing Saddle

‚ÄčWhy is turning a barrel in barrel racing hard?

Before you turn the barrel you must accelerate by slowing your speed down so that you can make a tight turn which you can't do when your horse is going at full speed. When you turn you are constantly changing your velocity and accelertion because you are changing the direction you are going which is hard for the horse to do unless their body is shaped like a 'C.' When you finish your turn on your barrel your horse must accelerate, they have to change speed and straighten out their bodies.

There's a lot of friction between the horses hooves and the ground. Friction helps the horses to run and turn, it makes it so there is less chance that the horses don't slip and fall. There's also friction between you and the seat of the saddle. The rider has to lock herself into the saddle and sit deep so you can increase friction so you don't fly out of the saddle and it helps the horse to turn because the rider is not bouncing around as much. A barrel racing saddle increases the friction between you and the horse with the higher back and front which makes it easier to 'lock yourself' into the saddle. The higher the back and front on the barrel saddle increases the amount of friction there is between you and the horse and keeps you from moving around more.
The friction between the horse and the ground can also be a bad thing. It keeps the horse from going as fast and makes it harder for the horses to run.

Momentum is another key part of turning a barrel. If your horse drops his shoulder he will hit the barrel and transfer his momentum to the barrel and knock it over.There's also momentum being transferred between the horse and you. If you don't sit deep enough when you come around the barrel the momentum of the horse transfers to you and throws you out of the saddle.
Momentum is also transfered when the horse runs. If the horse has a rough gait the momentum of the horse running is transferred to the rider and they are thrown up.

Newton's Third Law of Motion"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" happens a lot when turning barrels. If you hit the barrel texternal image GochaMBRA250.jpghe reaction is that the barrel gets knocked over. Also when the horses' hooves hit the ground the dirt sprays up which is the reaction. When a rider doesn't sit deep in the saddle when they turn their barrels the horse will bounce the rider up. If the rider shifts her weight forward in the saddle, she also shifts the horse's weight forward and throw him/her off balance during the turn making it slower.

Inertia makes it hard for horses to turn and accelerate, and deaccelerate so quickly since inertia resists changes in direction and speed. Inertia makes horses work harder as they turn and change speeds. Inertia also has an impact on the rider. When riders turn the barrel they should grab the saddle horn so that way when the horse turns they don't keep going straight and fall off. If you don't you can also throw your horse off balance and the turn will be slow. Also when the horse finishes the turn and and starts going faster inertia tries to keep the rider going the same direction they were before.

This video shows the barrel turning in action.

Video: barrel racing video
Picture 1: barrel racing saddle
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Picture 2: barrel racing picture