Rant: Ground

“Barrel racing shouldn’t be a game of whose horse can last and stand up on the worst ground, every weekend. It should be a game of who has the fastest baddest mofo, and how fast they can be on ideal ground, so that the best in the country are made and look that much better.”

How does the ground look there? I hope they rip it more. I hope they water it some. I hope they don’t run the chucks on it. I hope they rake on 5. It’s too deep, it’s not deep enough, are we running on a beach, do they want our horses to break their legs, did you see so and so’s horse fall down, that ground is slicker than polar bear snot (Thanks Corbin)

As barrel racers, we all get hounded on for our never-ending comments and concerns with the ground whether it be at a jackpot or a rodeo. That’s because, IT MATTERS FOLKS!!!

This year we heard a bigger rumble in the rodeo world with concerns of bad ground, that had not only the barrel racers at risk, but other events as well. And this was going on at Canada’s biggest rodeos! Even last year during the prestigious National Finals we witnessed close calls due to scary ground! WHY!?

I understand that rodeos are under a lot of pressure with having chuckwagons running with rodeos, and the animal activists are right on their backs. Having harder ground is supposed to be better for the chuckwagon horses, but where is the middle ground. Can both parties (Rodeo & Chucks) be happy?

I do NOT understand how ground is still a reoccurring issue! How do we have rodeo ground causing not one, but several horses falling, year after year. How are we supposed to show animal welfare groups that we care about animal welfare and then have girls running on cement? (Please note-Not literally cement)

Is it because the “Good Ol’ Boys Club” says we have had the ground like that for years there is no need to change? I have often heard ” That’s rodeo, your horse has to be able to run on anything.” Sure, but to the point of crippling horses? No, it’s just not worth it.  Yes, we all have the option of turning out, but why should that even have to happen? Is it because committees just don’t care? When will we lose that attitude and realize its 2015 and good ground shouldn’t be a question? Why can’t we all work together and make rodeo safe for all competitors so it’s a horse race, not a matter of who drew the good ground over the weekend?

NOT ALL RODEOS HAVE BAD GROUND. Thank goodness! And the committees who take extra care of the ground are commended and applauded for having great safe ground for girls to run on.

Heres to hoping that sometime soon, everyone will come to their senses, and good safe ground will be the norm, and scary trashy rodeo ground will be a thing of the past..

Rant Over.


  • Reply
    Bobbie Joe
    September 2, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Honestly, safe ground is always a concern, but I don’t believe it’s just because people don’t care. I think different horses run better in different settings. Also, there are so many different opinions on what makes safe ground versus what doesn’t. I know a lady who had two geldings that could run consistently in all settings. I admired her for that. I think most of it comes down to the rider/owner. If you know it’s slick or know the ground isn’t great, why in the heck are you going all out? I’ve competed and won by having a strong foundation on my horse and being able to adjust my speed based on the conditions. It was slick so I took it easy, stayed upright when others were spinning out, slipping, falling….guess what, I won going slower, No, ground is ground. Yes there are better ways of working ground than most know about, but I ultimately think it’s up to the rider to keep their team working safely by being careful and not greedy.

  • Reply
    Ashley Thiel
    April 20, 2016 at 10:14 am

    So what then would happen if you were the first girl out and didn’t have the luxury of watching your running mates slip and fall before you so you knew to take it easy? You would slip out the first turn you made and your horse potentially hurts itself, all so the people behind you in the draw can see, “oh its slick out there, I better take it easy”

    I think that was the whole point of the blog, is that we are supposed to be all going full out, not gambling if its safe or not.

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