There’s a wild horse or burro for you.
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Image by Rhonda Hole
Aug. 30-Sept. 13
Sept. 5 Trained Yearlings
Canon City, CO
Sept. 10 Trained/Untrained Animals
Sept. 14 Trained Yearlings
Salt Lake City, UT
Oct. 15 Trained Animals
Carson City, NV
Laymon focuses on training young
/ Tips From the Pro /
barrel prospects for the Barrel Futurities
of America (BFA) competitions. “I think
the horse show background has really
come in handy in training horses for
barrels and poles because it all starts with
your foundation,” she says. “Knowing
how to break them at the poll and move
all their body parts, it spreads over to
She enjoys seeing the horses progress, and
she does it all on a budget. “I want to show
people you can do it—you can do it at the
highest level,” Laymon says. “You have to
really develop a good eye for a horse and
bloodlines that will work together. You have
to train smarter and harder and learn from
as many people as you can.”
Some of her barrel racing career
highlights include making the BFA World
Championship finals twice, making the
Fort Smith Old Fort Futurity finals, and
winning the Cornhusker Futurity.
Laymon doesn’t hire help around the barn. Doing all the work helps keep her in shape,
though she says she’s seeing a need for more formal workouts as she gets older. She
encourages those interested in barrel racing to never stop learning.
“You have to be open to learning and studying,” Laymon says. “I study on the internet
every day. I read articles. I try to take notes about things that work and don’t work. It’s like
constantly being in school.”
And while she believes you’re never too old to learn barrel racing, as long as you have
good horse skills, you do need a love for speed. “That’s the thing you have to get used to.
If you start older, it’s probably a little scarier to figure out that you have to trust the horse
“If you’re just starting out, and you’re older, you don’t have to worry about being top
and the speed. I know people personally who started riding at 45 to 50, and they’ve done
well and stayed with it.”
Exhibitions and the NBHA’s divisions make it easy for beginners to experience
competition at their own level.
dog. You can start out in 5D and work your way up,” says Laymon.
Both riders agree you’re bound to find a supportive community. “The one thing about
barrel racing that is so awesome is that there are so many wonderful people,” says Laymon.
“I’ve made so many friends all over the country. Everyone’s supportive. People are helpful;
you just have to ask.”
MICAELA MYERS is the author of The Horse Illustrated Guide to Trail Riding (Lumina Press) and
KNACK Leg and Hoof Care for Horses.