Working the Angles

Working the Angles





noun: angle; plural noun: angles

  1. 1. the space (usually measured in degrees) between two intersecting lines or surfaces at or close to the point where they meet.
  2. 2. a particular way of approaching or considering an issue or problem.


I love both definitions, as they are both so relevant to the barrel pattern in different ways.  If you are a barrel racer, you need to educate yourself with both definitions and use them to your advantage.

What to consider or approach differently when the Angles change:

What?  What angle changes?  When does an angle change in barrel racing?  There are 2 major angle variances in barrel racing and they are often overlooked, unplanned or “unconsidered” if you will, when choosing your pattern path in barrel racing.

The Angle to the first barrel and the angle from 2nd to 3rd can change drastically from pattern to pattern.  How does this change you ask?  Well, if it isn’t a standard pattern, odds are, you are working with different angles.

Producers often try to optimize arena space when choosing their pattern.  They try to keep standard measurements off the wall or fence, but don’t often consider how they are changing the angles of the pattern.  If you aren’t aware and proactive on the angle change, this could certainly cost you a tipped barrel.

Here are the angles on a standard pattern.  105’ between 2nd & 3rd, and 90’ between 1st & 2nd.  You can see the angle inside the triangle at 2nd barrel is 64.62 degrees.  What happens when we modify these numbers and change the pattern?



This is an example of a small indoor pattern.  These patterns are often seen in the northern states and Canada, as we often run in building with arenas that are 85’ x 200’.

We now have a much steeper angle to get up to the 3rd barrel.  Our angle has changed to 71.12 degrees.

The shortest distance between 2 points is certainly a straight line or path, so how and where must we adjust our path to accommodate these changes in angles?

Stay tuned for our upcoming articles as we explore the angles of the pattern and teach you how to master the differences and choose the fastest path.  I will also be introducing a very special project that is 3 years in the making and being launched in spring 2017!