When it comes to barrel racing the majority of the successful horses are Quarter Horses. That doesn't mean they are the only successful horses. Other breeds can, and have, done very well in the sport.
As good barrel horses have become fairly pricey animals one option is to buy a young horse and train it your way. I think I had already mentioned that KB (our clinician from last weekend) is very much in favour of this. As she points out most of us are on a budget, for some this is the only way to end up with a horse that is worth tens of thousands of dollars (or more). Not only does this save money but also sometimes it saves frustration. She pointed out that not one person rides exactly the same as another. And in barrel racing those 100ths of a second make a huge difference. For some highly skilled and competitive horses those small changes are enough to take it from being #1 to being just out of the money.
Another thing she advocates is looking for a good deal. A lot of the horses she buys are grade. Horses that others may have looked past (or not even looked at) because they don't have fancy papers. Basically what it comes down to is that, as long as you're not racing in a breed association, what you need is a horse built to do the job with the heart and mind to do the job.
One other little thing that happened at the clinic... I had a serious offer on Applejack. Money was never discussed because each time the subject of selling him was brought up I just said "No. He's not for sale."
Someone wanting your horse is almost always a compliment. This was especially so because the woman wanting to buy him is an Equine Canada certified Level 3 Western Coach. She said she really liked him, liked his personality, liked his try and thought she could have a lot of fun with him and could use him in her lesson program.
I just said that he is actually my husband's horse and that Pie is the kind of guy to give him a forever home. She just kept saying, "Well when you decide to sell him give me first crack."
I guess being told "no" 4 or 5 times just doesn't get through to some people. Besides which there are already people 'in line' ahead of her for 'first crack'.
Speaking of which... Mr Tim (who we bought Applejack from) was in the restaurant the other day. I told him that I'm looking for a horse in the spring, told him what I want and he said he'd keep an eye out! I've known Mr Tim for quite a few years now and I barrel race with his wife. I'm very comfortable with him looking for a horse (it is his business as well).