First, for those who aren't familiar with the sport of Barrel Racing it's done on horseback over a course that looks like this: With a good, experienced horse and rider it looks like this: However, this story isn't about experienced riders. It all happens at a 4H rodeo in Maybank, Texas in the early '80's. It's a lovely Saturday afternoon, a little gusty breeze is blowing and out comes a 7 year old boy on an older pony that has obviously been the first mount for many an aspiring barrel racer. What the child lacks in experience the horse makes up for. What the pony lacks in enthusiasm the rider makes up for. The 8 year old is spurring for all he's worth (He's not wearing spurs, but it's still called spurring.) and slapping the pony on the butt. Unaffected by the child's urgings the pony slowly trots out to the first barrel, stops, looks over his left shoulder to make sure his rider is well seated, carefully walks around the barrel and trots off for the next barrel. Repeat performance by the horse; stop, look, walk, trot. The third barrel is a duplicate of the first two, and all the way the kid is putting his heart, heels, and hand into the ride. After the last barrel the pony is going in a straight line heading for the finish line so he picks up the pace just a little. He's still trotting, just a little faster. About the time they get to the middle of the arena a gust of wind blows the hat off the boy's head. He takes this as a sign that he is really moving, and a big grin splits his face as his exhortations increase in strength and speed. A cute story to be sure, but it doesn't end here. The next rider out is a young man in his mid-teens on a good mount. He has a great run going, the crowd is excited and cheering and than horse and rider start for the finish line. The horse is flat out when it sees the hat from the previous rider laying in the middle of the arena right in line with his charge. Unbelievably, he treats the hat as a barrel and snaps around it. Not funny to the rider, I'm sure, but it was fun to watch.