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Amara Finnerty is a professional barrel racer who competes at the highest level in Canada with her horse Dragon.

Barrel Racing at the Highest-Level with Amara Finnerty

Blog Article

Barrel Racing at the Highest-Level with Amara Finnerty

Barrel Racing at the Highest-Level with Amara Finnerty

Amara Finnerty is a professional barrel racer who competes at the highest level in Canada with her stunning horse Dragon.

Amara and Dragon both wear StreamZ technology and StreamZ are immensely proud to sponsor such a wonderful team. “Since the first time we used the EQU StreamZ bands on Dragon the consistency in her performances and her ability to recover quickly has been amazing. I highly recommended StreamZ bands to support your horses both pre and post exercise!”

Amara Finnerty Barrel racing Professional Endorses EQU StreamZ Horse Bands

Being a top-level barrel racer, a coach, a mom, a wife and a business owner (all at the same time!) is a challenge! We managed to grab a few minutes of Amara’s time and asked her some questions on how she managed to reach the level she has.

If you have a dream to reach CFR (Canadian Finals Rodeo) or barrel race at any level;  understanding the mindset of these top-level riders and how they prepare can be a valuable insight.

Let’s get into it….

When did you first start riding horses and what was the horses name?

“I first started riding when I was 6 years old and the horses name was Nipper. My first very own was when I was 11 years old and his name was Dakota.”

Of all the equine disciplines, what made you settle with Barrel-Racing?

“I didn’t really get into barrel racing until I was an adult. I roped through High school and showed Reiners in my early adult years. It wasn’t until my good reining horse came up sore that I went barrel racing with my mom. It was something we then got into together.”

Can you tell us about your first barrel racing competition?

“My first barrel race was so much fun! My good reining horse had come up lame so I got to take my mom’s good horse for the summer as she needed to focus on deciding between which of her other two horses he was going to keep. His name is River (he is still with us at 29 years old!) and he was fast. We ended up winning the jackpot and I was hooked on the fast-paced nature of the sport!”

Amara Finnerty Barrel racer on Dragon the Horse

Who would you say has had the a biggest influence in your barrel racing career?

“God gave me this dream and the horse I ride but he also gave me the biggest influence in these three women. My mom for getting me hooked, believing in me and walking me up every alley I needed to go down. Jerry Duce, that person you want to grow up to become who happens to become a dear friend, travel partner and huge support. And Marci Laye, when coaches become friends and then family and is the first person to pull you off the ‘failure ledge’ and show you the steps forward when all you see are leaps backwards.”

What qualities do you think are most important in a successful barrel racing horse?

“Heart. It’s a very demanding discipline which is tough for the horse to master - we ask a lot of them. Horses who are naturally good at barrel racing have the ability to keep going and visibly love their job, but on top of that they have a lot of heart which allows them to keep going through everything and push on.”

What does a typical training day look like for you and your horse?

“We don’t do lots of drills or pattern work so our rides are mostly exercise and fitness. Maintaining muscle strength, lung strength and the horses fitness levels. I have a distance that we need to travel for how long we ride. Depending on the amount of lope/trot we do.” 

Can you share any specific training exercises or drills that you find particularly effective for improving your own performance?

“I have found lately I have been working more on my own seat and my ability to just stay with my horse through all the movements and ride as quiet as possible. Getting back into barrel shape for me after having a baby has been an uphill battle for sure. My Phyiso has been amazing!"

How do you mentally prepare for a big competition?

“I have a way I get ready and a time frame in which I do things, for sure. My horse doesn’t need very much warm up on race days. She knows her job and when we are at a rodeo. One thing I always do when I’m bridling is pray.”

Can you share a piece of advice you received when you were starting out which you continue to tell yourself (and others) today?

“Smooth is fast. I say it to my students daily. Everyone is in a rush to go fast, but fast comes on its own when you and your horse are ready if you let the foundation be build correctly.”

What challenges have you faced in your journey to becoming a professional barrel racer, and how did you overcome them?

“My mental game has been my biggest hurdle. I am so blessed God has given me an amazing support system, family, friends, coaches behind me helping me with it every day.”

Amara Finnerty Professional Barrel Racer in Canada

Can you share a memorable moment or highlight from your barrel racing career?

“Winning is always a highlight for everyone but being able to travel down the road with my husband and my daughter and enjoy rodeos together as a family has been the biggest highlight, so far!”

How do you handle setbacks or disappointments in your career?

“I handle them the same way i would any other part of my life. Pray about it, allow grace to mistakes made, grow from things, start over where you need to but never quit.”

What are your future goals and aspirations in your barrel racing career?

“To be able to keep passing on all of the knowledge I have and have been taught but other amazing people to my students growing in the sport. For myself this year I would like to fill my permit and enjoy running my horse every chance I get while travelling with my family.”

Please give a shout-out to your team, without whom you simply couldn’t do what you do.

“God has always been the head of my team, he gave me Dragon, my business and all the opportunities we have had and I am so incredibly blessed. My husband Danny Finnerty for being my everything. My family for supporting through everything. Dragons team we would be so loved without my amazing vets Chrystal Christmas, Chad Hewlett, Connie Fancy, Osteopath Jessica Van Buskirk, Chiro Blaine Bugg, massage Julianna Doering, ferrier Chad Demott.”

Thank you for your time Amara; we hope the year ahead brings safety, happiness, fun and success. We’ll be with you, every step of the way.

Amara Finnerty is a professional barrel racer who competes at the highest level in Canada with her horse Dragon.

Why take up Barrel Racing?

If you are contemplating Barrel racing as a potential discipline for you and your horse, it can tick many boxes. 

Barrel racing demands a combination of speed, agility, and precision from both horse and rider. For youngsters, barrel racing fosters a strong bond between rider and horse, teaching young participants about responsibility, empathy, and trust. Managing a horse requires daily care, understanding, and patience, valuable life skills that extend beyond the barrel racing arena.

The sport requires an understanding of how to manage the horses health both from a reactive and preventative perspective. Sports horses require a carefully managed fitness regime and balanced diet. Many sports horses are provided ongoing treatments to help prevent injuries such as alternative therapies such as equine massage, kinesiology, and physiotherapy. Barrel racing horse owners should be well aware of certain injuries commonly picked up by sports horses such as hoof problems, navicular, tendon and ligament issues, muscle problems and much more.  

Barrel racing enhances physical fitness and coordination, for both horse and the rider. The sport involves intense bursts of speed and high-paced sharp turns, which develop a horse and rider’s balance, strength, and reflexes. These physical demands help improve overall athleticism and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle. A healthy horse is a happy horse.

Barrel racing also cultivates mental toughness and resilience. The competitive nature of the sport teaches young riders how to handle pressure, set goals, and persevere through challenges. Each run offers an opportunity to learn and improve, fostering a growth mindset.

Additionally, the barrel racing community provides a supportive environment where youngsters can build friendships and learn from experienced riders. This camaraderie and mentorship can be incredibly beneficial, offering encouragement and a sense of belonging. In summary, barrel racing is a dynamic and rewarding discipline that promotes personal growth, physical fitness, and community engagement for young equestrians.

One thing is for sure; if you like speed and decide to give barrel range a go - hold on tight!

Article Author

Matt Campbell

Matt is a leading expert in the magnetic therapy industry and writes articles for StreamZ Global and various other publications.