Eastham finds passion in barrel racing


Submitted Lexi Eastham

Junior Lexi Eastham stands beside her horse, Teak, in a meadow.

Aaliyah Yan, Staff Writer

As soon as the time starts, junior Lexi Eastham, riding her horse, dashes out of the gates towards a set of barrels, looping around them in a type of horseback riding called barrel racing.

While many people know types of horseback riding, such as dressage and show jumping, many have never heard of barrel racing. Barrel racing involves riding a horse around a specific pattern of barrels in a set amount of time, and Eastham has been doing it since she was nine.

“I’ve always loved horses, and [barrel racing] has been my main passion over the years,” Eastham said. “It has also definitely given me more confidence. Most people don’t do horseback riding and when I tell them I do they think it’s pretty cool.”

But barrel racing is not all fun and games; it also requires a lot of courage.

“One time I got bucked [thrown] off my horse which caused this scar,” Eastham said, pointing to a jagged scar on her arm. “Sometimes when I’m not doing well that day, I’m scared I’ll fall, but once I get on the horse I’m fine.”

Since that incident, Eastham has moved on to ride a different horse whom she can trust more: Teak.

The key to success in barrel racing is the bond between both the rider and the horse.

“[The bond] is definitely unique,” Eastham said. “Whenever I’m having a bad day, Teak can tell. In horseback riding if you are scared, [the horses] get scared. If you’re happy, then they are happy.”

The bond between humans and animals is the reason Eastham barrel races and wants to continue working with animals in the future.

“I know I want to do something related to horses like a vet,” Eastham said. “That way I can save up to buy my own horse and ride professionally.”

Her mom, Barb Eastham, also hopes Eastham continues with barrel racing in the future.

“I like how it gives Lexi confidence,” Barb Eastham said. “It’s something that she is passionate about and makes her happy.”