As you watch him blaze across the arena and lock eyes on the first barrel, you could easily get the wrong impression about Walter. But pro barrel racer Megan White insists that “fire-breathing dragon mentality” is just part of a day’s work for the six-year-old quarter horse, bred by Walz Performance Horses in Nebraska.
“A common misconception is that barrel horses are crazy. They’re not crazy. They’re high powered, fueled up race cars, bred to run and turn. When you suggest they go fast, they go fast, no questions asked. But my horses also love to trail ride, work cattle, stand around and get a bath, get pet by my little nieces,” says White. “Some horses are naturally more laid back than others and do this better, like Walter. He’s very relaxed about everything.”
Though he’s been competing for less than two years, White has high hopes for Walter (show name “Rare Firefighter”). At home at Big Sky Farms in Starksborough, Vermont, Walter’s day-to-day program has transitioned from training to fitness maintenance. “He’s at a point where he doesn’t need to be drilled or make a lot of practice runs.”
You can catch Megan and Walter in action here:
About the Author
Nina grew up riding hunters and young horses in Upstate New York and dreamed of a career in the horse industry. The day she graduated college, she hopped a horse van and ran away to groom in Spruce Meadows. Now she’s happy to have the best of both worlds: a place to ride and show her jumper, Dagano, and when she’s not riding, a place to write about horses every day. Don’t let the dirty muck boots fool you. Nina holds a master’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of journalism at Syracuse University. Previously she worked for Travel + Leisure magazine and has written for Smithsonian, This Old House and more. Nina currently lives in Indianapolis with her husband. This is one of Nina’s favorite stories. And, be sure to Read Carley’s Nina story.