While it may come as a surprise to some folks, the competitive event most of us call "barrel racing" is actually fully known as "cloverleaf barrel racing." For more information please move down the page beneath the horses for sale.

Barrel Horses / Cloverleaf barrel racing vs straight barrels for horses

All States: Barrel Racing Horses For Sale


Cloverleaf Barrel Racing vs. Straight Barrels

Like we mentioned above, the event best known as "barrel racing" is actually "cloverleaf barrel racing." That's because there is also an event called "straight barrels" (more names for this event are below).

  • Cloverleaf barrel racing (aka simply "barrel racing") has a barrel pattern of three barrels set in a cloverleaf (triangular) pattern.
  • Straight barrels (aka "straight away barrels" or "speed barrels"), on the other hand, has a barrel pattern of three (or six) barrels set in a straight line.

Of the two events cloverleaf barrel racing is the better known, so it is often simply referred to as just "barrel racing."

Below: A cloverleaf barrel racing pattern. This image shows a right-handed pattern. The horse and rider may also ride a left-handed pattern (turn the left barrel first).

The cloverleaf barrel pattern

About Barrel Horses

Most barrel racing horses are Quarter Horses (aka horses registered with the American Quarter Horse Association, or AQHA). Quarter Horses are known for their exceptional bursts of speed and powerful hindquarters. This makes them excellent candidates to sprint to each barrel, dig in for a fast, powerful turn, then sprint to the next barrel.