The Barrel Jump-a Bruno Story


Mickey jumping the infamous barrel jump. Set here at 3’6″.

We got these metal jump cups that attach to the side of barrels. A lot of our friends, actually a lot of my friends all my life have been barrel racers. I have owned and run a top barrel horse in my youth. My arena will always have some barrels in it. When I found these jump cups that make my barrels into jump standards, I had to have them.

A barrel is about three foot high. With the jump set on the top cup, with a regular pole, it is a solid 3’6″. With Mickey, we made it an oxer as well. Mickey was sailing over the jump, but he was an experienced jumper. Feather has not jumped the barrel jump before last night and not on the top setting.

We took Bruno out to work and I was armed with my camera not wanting to miss a shot of Bruno finally jumping a fence. We started the barrel jump as an X. It was about two and half feet tall. Honestly, he could walk over it. I saw him trot towards it, move into a canter, easily jump and come back to Lauren (as opposed to running off strong). For OTTB Bruno, with his racer’s soul, it was something good to learn. That he has stayed sound as our work-outs have increased in intensity and now over the jumps is great as well.

Lauren has never jumped Bruno over anything other than an X. I wanted to take the jump up to a vertical, which is really a horizontal pole across the width of the jump (don’t know why it is called a vertical but it is). Lauren said no. I set it up anyway. I will be first to admit his jump is not perfect, no nice even knees, he will hopefully continue to learn. The main point of the picture below and while I squealed with glee when I first saw it, is how Bruno makes this jump look like a toy. Ask any barrel racer, they will tell you they don’t mind racing around a barrel, but they sure would never consider jumping over one.


While this jump is not the full height or width of one Mickey is jumping above, it still was the first balloon we have floated out there to see if Bruno might have the makings of a jumper. Lauren has never competed in a division with fences over 3’6″. In this picture, Bruno’ s giant OTTB body, absolutely dwarfs the barrels. His back feet are still on the ground. His upper body is easily a foot over the top of the barrels. It was quite an ‘ah hah!’ moment for us. I quickly texted one of my friends to tell her the news. She told me she was excited to see where this Bruno story was going.

Each of these small steps, takes closer and closer to having a show horse. We are going to take it slow but it is sure a lot more fun watching him jump than watching him stand in his stall!

Pixie had a good solid ride. She seems to be maturing before our eyes. We got finished up with those two and Lauren saddled up Feather for workout. We don’t jump Feather much at home, preferring to save her legs for lessons and shows. But the barrel jump was calling to her. Again, not set up as high as Mickey jumped, Feather was her usual over-achiever self.


Feather did a pretty good job of making those barrels look small as well. Maybe, we got a couple of sterling youngsters (three if you count Pixie) gaining ground and showing promise at our farm today.

Thanks for riding along!