Barrel Racing Drills and Exercises

Do You Struggle With: Slow Times, Wide Turns, Shouldering, Tipped Barrels, Lack of Rate, or other Barrel Horse Training Problems?

Are you looking to give your young barrel horse the best start possible?

Its ALL Covered in The Special Website You’re About To Gain Access To Below

From the desk of “The Drill Queen” Michelle Davey

Dear Barrel Racer,

Are you pulling your hair out because your barrel horse isn’t fast enough or is making mistakes that cost you money?

Are you sick and tired of going to a barrel race only to be just out of the money or to have tipped a barrel to win?

My name is Michelle Davey, better known as The Drill Queen by those that have been to my barrel racing clinics or have come to my home for barrel racing lessons.

Like many aspiring barrel racers I have struggled looking for that “magic bullet” that would help me improve my times and have wicked fast barrel racing runs. I have made the mistakes, and wished I could have that horse back. I have been to the clinics, had private lessons with NFR qualifiers working towards finding that magic clue.

I’ve found training stategies along the way and I look forward to sharing them with you.

This is a great resource for every barrel racer at any level. Michelle has done her research and has found an endless amount of info. I really like how it is a “recipe book” to find what you are needing at that time. It is very well laid out and very user friendly. I have suggested to many people to use this site for reference to problems they are having. I coach a girls college rodeo team and have encouraged all the girls to use this site.

Melissa Thiessen
Professional Barrel Racer/Horse Trainer
Olds College Rodeo Coach

The barrel racing drills on this site are a compilation of years and years of riding and studying barrel racing horses. I started a binder when I was just 14 to remember the drills we did in the clinics I went to. I’ve been adding to it year after year.

Regardless of whether a particular drill applied to the horse I was riding at the time, I would write down these drills to help me remember them for a future horse.

One of my friends saw my “raw goods” binder full of drills and immediately wanted a copy. I felt a little possessive

Michelle & Jet making a winning run.

over my little black binder of solutions. I mean really…..maybe this was the ticket to my next big win! Should I be sharing it!?

Years later, while preparing for my first barrel racing clinic that I instructed, I put together a booklet of some of my favorite drills. They were the ones we’d cover in the clinic and a few bonuses. The feed back was fantastic so it spurred me to get going and put together a collection of drills for an ebook. I had something that could really help others.

I had the ebook done and was working on how to present it to other barrel racers. It came to me that I should have it searchable by problem so that if you are having a problem you can just click on it and it will bring up all the drills that will help the user fix the problem.

The site is very user friendly. Very easy to make your way around the site. I like how there are pictures as well as an explanation. That helps to make things more understandable.
Danielle Lindland
Great Falls, Montana

So if you horse is “shouldering” or you have “no rate” you can click the appropriate section and it will take you right to those problems. I’ve been there, I’ve had the problems and I think this will be an invaluable “problem solving” type of resource for you. You won’t just solve the problems, but learn drills to avoid them too.

I’m so excited to share these drills with you. I use them a lot when I’m working on a problem horse or training a new one. The basic foundation drills right up to the more complex and drills you’d do at quicker speeds, they are all just so useful.

While putting this “web book” together I’d find myself heading out to ride and use some of the drills I had tucked away for “safe keeping”. It’s now even a great resource and reminder for me and I put it all together! Sometimes we just need a little reminder too!

I think this site is a great idea and I am planning on using quite a few of the drills and techniques to hopefully help me and my daughter improve our barrels :)
Jennifer Halpaus
Buffalo, Minnesota

My horses stay happy and interested and I find they are more broke and waiting to do whatever I ask because of these drills that I use….and the pros use them too!

I’ve put together over 80 drills and exercises you can use to help train and correct problems with your barrel horse. You will also receive access to a diagram for each drill to help you succeed.

When you are ready to take your barrel racing to the next level, you will have access to tools the pros use:

  • Conquer that horse that shoulders by working on drills that implement counter arcing and stopping
  • Put rate in the horse that’s missing the barrels by improving your riding language
  • Soften a stiff bodied horse through bending and circling drills
  • Cure a barrel horse that drifts off the barrels by reverse arcing and doubling drills
  • Mellow your off the wall barrel horse through one rein stops and 360 degree turns
  • Get control of the runaway by working 360 drills and speed control exercises
  • Determine where you are loosing time by finding your strengths and weaknesses on the drills
  • Make up that 2 tenths you need to be in the money by practicing efficient turns
  • Get your horse to run inside and rate outside by working drills that target rate and run
  • Maintain your horses forward motion by implementing sprinting and fencing into your program
  • Keep your horses hind end engaged through our circle and roll back drills
  • Work on your horses mindset by using this drill and exercise program to stay off the barrel pattern.
  • Build Softness laterally and vertically by working serpentine, side passing and half pass drills.
  • Work on your speed between the barrels with our four corner drills
  • School your gate sour horse with the never ending barrel pattern
  • Improve your horses collection with the impulsion and transition exercises
  • Straighten your over bendy horse with our straight lines and perfect circle drill
  • Correct the horse that Runs past first with our Smart Steps and Speed control drill
  • Keep your leads with our keep that lead drill
  • Change leads with our figure 8 at first drill

…..and so much more…..

This site is chalked full of all the drills and exercises you need to improve your barrel racing times. Some riders starting out have shaved SECONDS off their times just from working these drills. TENTHS might be what you are looking for, but my students and I have shaved SECONDS by tackling some big problems. Target your horse’s weak points with the drills specific to your concerns and see the difference.

Barrel Racing Drills is the most comprehensive website as far as training/drills I’ve ever experienced. Michelle Is able to target and fix specific problems through specific drills that keep your horse honest and working correctly. I would recommend this site to anyone looking to improve their barrel racing.

Macy Ferrari
Montague, California

You will receive instant access to all the drills. Your username and password will be all you need to access this information 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week for 365 days! This is a one time fee for continuous access to the drills for a full year. Start training and perfecting your barrel racing skills instantly! You can even print the drills and bring them with you to the arena – make your own binder if you’d like.

And its not just access to these 80+ drills you’ll get either. You will also receive 2 bonus items valued at over $80!

Bonus #1
(a $35 value – yours FREE)

10 Essential Barrel Racing Maneuvers

A free report worth $35 or more. It contains the 10 essential maneuvers every barrel horse (or barrel horse prospect) should be able to do before heading to the barrel pattern. Save yourself time and money by making sure your horse has these moves down first. So many head to the pattern and miss these essential steps. Put them in your program now and get ahead!

Bonus #2
(a $45 value – yours FREE)

Guide to Marking a Barrel Pattern

If you’ve ever had to mark a pattern and were totally lost, this guide is really priceless! Anyone in their right mind would pay $45 for it. Big patterns, small patterns, angled patterns; this guide will walk you through it all. A handy reference that comes with a scoreline cheat sheet too.

I am really enjoying your site, I have gone to a few clinics and learned certain drills, but it is nice to find everything in one place.

Kristin York
Alberta, Canada

Our “Love it or send it back” Guarantee


If you are not completely satisfied that our barrel racing drills offer you sound solutions to your barrel racing problems, simply contact us for a full refund at any time during the first 30 days. We are proud to offer you a no-hassle guarantee.

And if you DO decide to turn in your full access pass — for any reason whatsoever — we want you to keep both of the special bonuses (worth $80+) as our way of saying “Thanks for trying it out!”

Remember, I’m so confident that you will find these drills to improve your times, smooth out your runs and improve your horsemanship, I’ve staked my reputation on it. I absolutely insist that you send your pass back to me for a full refund if you don’t think these drills and exercises are right for you and your horse!

I surpassed my sales goals quicker than I anticipated and it honestly caught me off guard. I am offering another 50 19 passes at this price while I make the finishing touches on the next phase. After that I will be opening up our fund raising program to barrel racing associations across the United States and Canada Around the World (we’ve had great response from Australia and New Zealand too!) Our prices will go up in order to help support these groups. Act now to get your copy at the low introductory price.

Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still get the value later (our most common feedback is that people would pay much more for this once they see what it is!). Why not save some cash while you can though?

If you’ve decided now is the time to look forward to better runs and faster times, I’m excited to help you with that journey. For only $37 CDN you can be on your way. Plus, you’ll be headed there with your 2 free bonuses worth over $80!

Click here now to pay with your credit card for immediate access (you do not have to have a Paypal account) and receive your 2 free bonuses worth over $80

Click Here if you would like to access a printable form you can fax or mail to us for payment and access.

Should you have any further questions please call me at 1.888.788.9945 or email

Remember, if you aren’t thrilled with what the access pass presents, you have 30 days to ask for a full, no questions asked money back refund. And you get to keep the $80 in bonus materials!

I’m looking forward to hearing of your success – let’s stay in touch.


Michelle Davey
“The Drill Queen”

PS. Barrel Racing is a competitive event, and I assure you these drills will give you a competitive advantage. Can you afford to go to barrel races where your competitors are doing these exercises and you aren’t? Don’t waste another run without having a zero risk look at these solutions to many common barrel horse problems.

I can’t promise you that you will be the greatest barrel racer known to man. I don’t know how much time you are willing to commit. What I can promise you is that by doing these drills and exercises you and your horse will be more competitive. You and your horse will both be happier and you will improve your barrel racing times!

Seriously – for less than it will cost you to get to the next barrel race you will receive hundreds of hours of my work and riding at your fingertips. Plus the free bonuses! I’ve gone to great lengths to help you become a better barrel racer, the rest is up to you…..



Kristy Bridgeman September 9, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Love the site. Excellent idea.

tipster March 16, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Hi Laurie,
I posted this to help everyone out and to help promote Dena’s channel on Youtube (I’m not Dena :o )) You’ll want to contact her through her website if you have questions. I can tell you though if you go to her website, then media (or youtube link) there is a video there on the first barrel so you are in luck!

paige hafer June 29, 2010 at 10:27 am

hello im just getting into barrels and i have a quasten what are some things you need for barrel racing ?

tipster August 27, 2010 at 10:52 am

This answer could be as simple or really complicated. What I would suggest though is that you find someone in your area that is a respected barrel racer and have him or her get you set up with the tack you need and the basics your horse needs to know.

kayla July 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

i love the tips they were very helpful. i started to do barrlel last year and your tips helped alot. i won a lot of prizes it was great.i get a lot of money. thanks you soooooooo much. the website was soooooooooo hellpful.

tipster August 27, 2010 at 10:50 am

That’s great to hear! Congratulations on your success. Its nice to know our barrel racing tips were able to help you out!

alyssa July 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Hi i barrel rac ein NBHA and i am starting to whant to pick my 4 year old hancock filly up on barrels.I could use some tips on anything and evrything

tipster August 27, 2010 at 10:49 am

Keep checking back on this site. There are lots of tips provided and new ones coming.

Candas hicks October 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I’m a beginner barrel racer and just got my first barrel horse! I was trying to learn and train a horse last season and to no avail! I just gpot a new patterned horse and he’s awesome, is there any tips ya can give me so that me and my new horse can advance in the barrel world?

Amanda February 5, 2011 at 12:32 am

Hi there, what kind of supplements/grain (ie… complete, oats or sweet feed and or vitamens etc…) have people found worked the best to help condition their horses and having them season ready!!!

tipster February 13, 2011 at 8:40 am

This would be a great question to post in the forum area or on the facebook barrel racing tips page

Courtney February 13, 2011 at 7:38 am

Your tips were a great help! I have a barrel mare that I just got last year. I started doing barrels and iim training her to know the pattern at heart because her speed is unbelievable! Thanks sosososososososososososososososo much for the tips and I would love to be stocked up on al the tips I can get!.

Jodi June 15, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Hi im just starting out on Barrels and when i go to the first barrel he dont want to go at all.Do you have any tips for me??

tipster August 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I would highly encourage you to find someone in your area that can give you barrel racing lessons. You will never regret getting help from the start.

Kelley McNece July 24, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Hi, I jus started barrel racin, I got a 5 yr old QH that Im tryin to train. He will run to the barrels but wen he goes around the 2nd and 3rd he slows down, how can i make him no he has to keep runnin around the full barrel. And will he get faster over time? He had his first horseshow last saturday, and he got 22 on barrels.

tipster August 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Take your time, he is still young and figuring things out. Keep him happy and enjoying in. You could practice doing the same direction barrel drill where you turn a bunch of barrels in a row the same direction to emphasize you point.

Sandi August 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I have a 4 year old mare that is picking up the barrels quickly. I have one problem. When she is leaving the barrel she has a tendency to stop and push off to go to the next barrel. I do perfect circles on her and this has not helped in a run. Is there any other exercise I can do to keep her forward motion.

tipster August 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm

You could put 4 barrels in a square and turn the same direction around each. Do it from the inside of the square and the outside of the square.

tipster August 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Put barrels up in a circle or a square or a row and do one barrel after an other and find that magic spot she needs to be to be efficient.

Courtney August 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Hi, I have a problem I really need help with.. My horse Just started bucking when Im galloping the barrel pattern and she has these bucking dilemas every year. But the last time she bucked on me we were running and i flew on her neck and I have a competition coming up and Im worried shes gonna buck what should I do? She is a mare so she might be in heat, or on her period but I really need help.
Thanks Courtney

tipster August 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I would take her to a vet. There are things they can do to help her with her girl problems (seriously).

tipster August 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I would go to the vet and get her girl parts checked out. There is a fair bit they can do to help.

Abby November 22, 2011 at 6:33 am

hi i have a quesation my barrel racing horse every time i walk himm up to the barn he runs backwards and when my little sister gets on him he trys to run backwards with her the only way i can saddle him is in a round pin what should i do i just dont want anyone to get hurt.

Jesika November 30, 2011 at 11:25 am

I’m am working with my 8 year old horse on barrels but before I start on barrels I want to earn his trust so I work with him every evening brushing him leading him around and giving him some feed. When we ride he will only get into a fast lope but never a Gallop. What can I do about that? and he has a problem accepting the bit on the bridle.

tipster December 2, 2011 at 9:04 am

I would work on getting him to work on accepting the bit on the bridle before you worry about going any faster. I like to work my horses in a round pen gently bitted back to get them used to moving forward with contact on the bit.

carmelita allen December 5, 2011 at 11:56 am

i use my girlfriends horse calle lena,the problem i have with her is that when i run to the first barrel with her i make wide turns..but on my second and third barrels i do fine..what am i doing wrong with will b useing her for this up comeing new year since i dont have my own horse…

tipster December 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Its really hard to say without seeing you run. Is is wide on the way in or on the way out? All I can suggest is look at your positioning 3 strides back and see where your positioning is. If its bad there too, go back another 3 strides and find out where things start to go wrong. Start addressing things there.

Tyranee Balentine December 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Hi, I have a question.How do you get your horse not to turn so wide?Because every time we barrel race, she turns wide on the second and last barrel.I’ve tried using my feet, but I cant get my feet up to where I need them quick enough.Do you have any suggestions?She’s a four year old blue-eyed paint, and she’s a fast learner, but she can’t seem to get this down.She’s SUPER fast, but she just can’t seem to stop turning wide.She can turn a barrel on a dime, but i don’t know what to do. I got her at the end of July and ever since we’ve been running. I’ve been barrel racing since I was 6 and I konw everything else.I’m 14 right now.

tipster December 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Slow down. Horses that blow off the barrels generally are thinking about running more than finishing the turn. I have also seen riders who are aggressive in the turn, ask their horses to run off the barrels too soon. I have also seen horses that are sore in their hocks blow off the turns. Having an approach that is too wide (going into the barrels) will also cause a horse to blow off the barrels. I would go to the vet, slow down and stay quiet in the turns to try and fix this.

Emily December 9, 2011 at 10:33 am

I have a horse that has difficulty rating coming into the 1st barrel. He does well on the second and third but usually turn wide at first. What can I do to begin to help him wrap the first barrel? I’ve been doing slow work turning the first barrel 3 or 4 times correctly at a walk or trot before moving on to the other barrels and I don’t do practice more than maybe once every week to two weeks sometimes longer between practices because I don’t want to burn him out on the pattern either. Thanks for the help.

tipster December 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

You could practice stopping him a few times on the way to first. I would practice it more than you are, but I would only practice first barrel. Set three barrels up in a row and approach and turn each one as a first barrel. Rateing and turning perfect at slower speeds.

Kayla December 12, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Hi, I have a 16 year old mostly Arabian gelding (mixed with QH) and he is kinda lazy but he likes to run… but only on the way home from the 3rd barrel. He turns pretty good, but we only trot threw the 1st 2 barrels beacause if i canter him at the house he would be cantering torward the gate on the way to the 1st barrel and then he doesn’t want to turn so i have to pull hard on his mouth witch makes him mad and if he decides i’m kicking to much or pulling to hard then he bucks on the way home. I cant hit or spur him cuz he was abused. I cant kick around the last barrel but i dont need to becuase he will go alot faster with just clucking. If i kick around the last barrel on a good day he bucks and i stay on, on a bad day i fly off, if he wants to run and i hold him back he bucks to make me give him his head. -_- Lately he has been in a really bad mood and he just doesnt feel right, he bucks when i ask him to canter and he arces his back and throws is head down when i ask him to trot. He fell about 2 weeks ago but only to his knees and he got right back up and tryed to canter away. He got a new cribing coller so i guess he could just be mad but i dont know. He isnt acting like anything hurts tho he still picks his head up and does lil hops when i havent told him if he can go or not around the last barrel and happly goes if i lean and give him his head. Any tips on how to improve his barrels and movement? (PS he was a jumper so he doesnt bend or neck rein at all and he is far from what u’d think of when u think of barrel horse. He doesnt do the canter in a circle or even trot in a circle but with all that he’s great at poles, for an english horse, and he’s almost ready to canter when he weaves.)

tipster December 27, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I would take this horse to the vet, he’s trying to tell you something. I think he is hurting or he really does not like what he’s doing. Sometimes they can start to dislike what they are doing because they are hurting.

Haley McCord January 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Hey I am Haley I am new at barrel racing and pole bending and I don’t know much about anything… I have had no training other than what I have seen in the rodeos… I am 15 and I live in New Albany MS. I was getting pretty good with my first barrel horse but a accident happened on a trail ride and my horse had to be put down. I have two new horses now and have plenty of time to practice if anyone would be interested.

Dave Harper January 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I love all your barrel racing tips, your expertise is truly amazing, keep up the excellent educational teachings, one small thing makes a big difference when barrel racing.

Bailey February 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm

My mare and i are going along graet but after 3rd sometimes I have my hand in the position to turn and don’t have the time to grab in the right spot becuase she comes out with so much power and then she’ll have her head turned for like half the way home and it slows us down, what can I do?

tipster February 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Hi Bailey, I’m not completely sure what you mean. What I understand is that your horse leaves third so quick you don’t have time to release the rein pressure? What if you try pushing your hand forward as he finishes that last turn? As you get up and ahead in your saddle for the run home you will eventually be able to move your hand but in the meantime try pushing your hand forward.

Kylee February 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I lost my barrel horse last April to skin cancer I raised her and trained her since she was born when I was 5 now that I am finally getting back into barrels all I have at the time is her very athletic half Arab brother who was bred and train for English and jumping, how do I get him to stop bending his neck and dropping his head? Everything else is perfect besides this, and idk what to do?

tipster March 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I’m not sure I understand what is going on here. What I would suggest is that you go to a trainer in your area for lessons to help you work through this problem in person. Sounds like he is getting a message he doesn’t understand or is reacting to the message incorrectly.

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