12 Different Types of Barrel Racing Horse Breeds

11 Different Types of Barrel Racing Horse Breeds
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You may know that the sport of barrel racing dates back to the 1800s when cowboys would race each other on horseback along an actual corral fence or barrel.

You may not know, though, that there are three official barrel racing horse breeds agreed in barrel racing competitions today.

These have all been bred specifically to excel at this particular equestrian sport.

1. Quarter Horse

A Quarter Horse is the most common type of barrel racing horse breed. These barrel racing horse breeds are versatile horses, meaning they can do anything from a ride in an English saddle for dressage, jog and jump over cross-country fences, or compete in a rodeo.

The Quarter Horse is also one of the best horses for children to learn because they are so gentle and easygoing. 

These barrel racing horse breeds come in many colors, the most common being bay, black and brown, but they have been seen in other colors like red and blue.

Other names for this type of horse are Quarter Running Horse and Quarter Pony. If you’re looking for a horse that can easily carry heavier weights, you should consider the American Quarter Horse.

2. Appaloosa

Appaloosas are an iconic barrel-racing horse breed. These barrel racing horse breeds were originally bred in the United States and Canada, but today they are spread worldwide.

Appaloosas have three different types- spotted, leopard, and blanket- each with unique features that make them perfect for a particular barrel racing event. 

The spotted variety has spots all over its coat, while leopards have scars on their coat. Blanket appaloosas are completely white from head to toe, with no spots or scars.

This is not only one of the most popular breeds for barrel racing events, but it’s also one of the fastest! Another great thing about this breed is that they come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s always a perfect match for any rider out there.

3. Thoroughbred

Thoroughbreds are an excellent choice for barrel racing. These barrel racing horse breeds have a high top speed, which is great for long distances.

In addition, Thoroughbreds have a lot of endurance and can run long distances without tiring out quickly. 

This type of horse has been used in many events, including barrel racing, flat racing, and steeplechase. Thoroughbreds are known for their fast, smooth stride, even at full gallop. 

One downside to this type of horse is that it does not always like the agility required for barrel racing,g such as weaving through barrels on a course with low rails or jumping over obstacles on the track.

Therefore, if you are beginning your career in barrel racing, you might want to consider another breed of horse because these horses might not be suited for it.

4. Arabian

Arabians are an ancient breed first mentioned in texts from the 7th century. These barrel racing horse breeds are known for their intelligence, endurance, and beauty.

In addition, Arabians are seen as one of the most versatile breeds because they can be used for both English and Western riding. 

Their temperament is usually gentle, and they tend to get along with other horses easily. One thing you may notice about Arabians is that they have high-set necks, which gives them a proud look. 

Arabian horses also have long manes and tails, though these features may not always be found in all Arabian horses.

In addition, the breed’s head shape varies; some Arabians have a straight profile, while others might have more of a Roman nose or dished face.

5. Mustang

Mustang entries are some of the fastest horses you can find, which is why they are often used in competitive racing.

These barrel racing horse breeds were once wild, but today they are bred and raised by people. Mustang entrants have a reputation for being spirited, energetic, and strong. 

These barrel racing horse breeds usually stand around 15 hands high at the shoulders and weigh between 850-1,000 pounds. The average price for one of these horses is about $2,500.

This breed comes in many colors: black, brown, bay, and chestnut. Mustang entrants tend to be known for their endurance abilities as well as their strength.

6. Australian Stock Horse

Australian Stock Horses are known for their speed, endurance, and agility. These barrel racing horse breeds are also known for their intelligence and sensitivity.

The Australian Stock Horse is a versatile breed used in various disciplines such as barrel racing, roping, cattle herding, and more. 

Australian Stock Horses come in a variety of colors and patterns. Colors include bay, brown, chestnut, black, or grey with white markings on the head or legs.

Patterns include tobiano (white horse with black mane), overo (white body with colored splashes), or leopard (spots all over).

One unique trait of the Australian Stock Horse is its versatility- these barrel racing horse breeds can be used in many disciplines such as barrel racing, roping, cattle herding, etcetera.

7. Paint Horse

Paint horses are known for their size and strength. These barrel racing horse breeds originated in the American southwest, where they were bred and used by Native Americans.

The name paint horse is derived from the colorful patterns they often have on their coats, resulting from inbreeding. 

Some other names for these horse breeds include Indian pony and American quarter horse. Regarding barrel racing, paint horses are generally considered faster than thoroughbreds but not as agile as Quarter Horses.

While they can be stubborn, paint horses usually respond well to human contact. 

8. Thoroughbred

If you’re looking for a horse with speed and agility, you should consider the Thoroughbred. These beautiful barrel racing horse breeds originated from England and were imported into America through trade routes with Spanish explorers in the 1600s.

Secretariat was one of the most famous thoroughbreds, an undefeated racehorse that won 16 races in 1973.

9. Pony Of The Americas

Pony of the Americas is a breed that originated in North America. These barrel racing horse breeds were bred for their athleticism, speed, and agility. The Ponies are typically 15-17 hands tall and have excellent endurance. 

They are best known for their ability in barrel racing competitions. However, they generally do not make good riding or carriage-driving horses because they are too short.

These barrel racing horse breeds also do not make good workhorses because they cannot carry much weight on their backs. 

However, this does not mean you can’t train them as such; it just means it’s more difficult. With all that said, these horses need to be trained at an early age if you want them to be successful at barrel racing. There are two main types: the American Quarter Horse and the Thoroughbred.

10. Grade Horses

Grade Horses are horses that often compete in barrel racing competitions. These barrel racing horse breeds are often lighter and faster than other types, which gives them an advantage on the track. That said, they can sometimes be difficult for novice riders to control. 

There are two main types of Grade Horses: Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. Both breeds share certain traits that make them great for barrel racing, but there are also some key differences between the two breeds.

For example, Quarter Horses tend to be more agile than Thoroughbreds and have a lower center of gravity which is advantageous for barrel racing. 

However, because Quarter Horses are typically smaller horses, it’s harder for heavier people to ride one without getting tired or sore.

Conversely, Thoroughbreds may not be as agile as Quarter Horses but have a higher center of gravity, making them better suited for taller riders.

In addition, because Thoroughbreds are larger horses with longer legs, they typically run faster than Quarter Horses when going around barrels on the track.

11. Friesian

Friesians are one of the most popular horse breeds in the world and are often used for dressage. This is because Friesians have a naturally smooth gait that is perfect for dressage competitions.

These barrel racing horse breeds also have large, round hooves, making them great at traveling over different terrain. 

Friesians usually stand between 16-18 hands high and weigh around 1,200 pounds. The average life span for a Friesian horse is about 25 years, but it varies depending on how it’s cared for and what types of activities it participates in. Some Friesians live as long as 35 years if given plenty of love and attention. 

Friesian horses come in many colors, including bay, chestnut, black, gray, or white; however, some people like to paint their horses other colors, such as pinto or Appaloosa.

These barrel racing horse breeds were originally bred from Arabian horses and heavy draft horses from Holland; this may be why some say that Friesians act more like Arabians than heavy draft horses.

12. Clydesdale

Clydesdale horses are one of the heaviest breeds in the world, but this does not mean that they are slow. Clydesdale horses can race at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. However, these barrel racing horse breeds are known for their calm nature and gentleness. 

Clydesdale horses have a deep gait, which is perfect for barrel racing because it gives them great speed without risking injury or tiring the horse too quickly. However, Clydesdale horses need to be handled with care because they are very sensitive animals. 

This horse breed also requires a lot of grooming because their coat has two layers; an outer layer consisting of thick hair and an inner layer consisting of thin hair.

In addition, due to their large size, Clydesdale horses should only be ridden by someone weighing at least 200 pounds and around 5 feet 11 inches tall or taller.


Several different barrel racing horse breeds are used in barrel racing. The most common are Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Arabians, and Morgans.

These four horse breeds have been specifically bred for speed and agility, making them perfect for this sport. 

Many people in this sport will breed their horses or purchase one from an established breeder to get the perfect mix of power and speed.

However, suppose you’re looking into getting your quarter horse, thoroughbred, or any other type of racehorse.

In that case, there are plenty of places you can go online to find a reputable breeder that breeds high-quality horses.

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