Two 45-gallon oil drums and a flag…
A Flag Race has two 45-gallon drums 40 yards apart. The open ended first drum has a flag on a pole in it. The rider takes the flag, gallops round the far drum with it and puts the flag back in the drum. A good horse will do that in about 10 seconds. What could be simpler?
Well, firstly, that flag can be a worrisome prospect for your horse if he hasn’t come across it before. I can’t begin to count the number of flag races George and I did but, playful chap that he was, he made a different game of it now and again. Then, he pretended the flag was something new to him and jink to one side just as I was leaning out to grab it as we galloped past. And nipping briskly along with a flag fluttering about in the wind behind him always made him anxious if he hadn’t recently had a quiet re-introduction.
So it’s not something to try for the first time in the show ring.
The Flag Race course
It takes two 45-gallon drums, one with an open end. The flag-pole should be approximately 5 ft long. The flag is a pennant or four sided flag that’s a minimum of 12 inches long.
The class starts with the flag placed in the open ended barrel. The competitor must cross the start line, pass the first barrel and pick up the flag in the process. Then, ride around the second barrel back to the first barrel to place the flag back in that barrel before crossing the finishing line.
The competitors can run to either the left or right of the barrel. Before the run, place the flaf to lean left or right to suit the competitor. For a valid run, the flag must stay back in the barrel and no barrel knocked over.