Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How Long Do They Last?

The other day my BO and I were talking horse and the subject rolled around to Moon and running barrels. When I told the BO Moon was a 12y/o this year, he looked a bit surprised and asked me how long I was planning on running him.

(I think he thought that was kind of old;-)

Luckily, I have been keeping up with some of the WPRA news and could proudly tell him that Moon will keep running as long as he is sound and winning. Cause, there is irrefutable proof that age is relative these days...June Holeman and her gallent little horse Sparky, back in action after nearly a year off due to injury, are back in the money...
June and Sparky placed at the Denver Stock Show and Rodeo and I believe that they won third in the average there. They turned right around and placed 5th and 2nd at the Rapid City Stock Show and Rodeo, winning second in the average there.

Not to shabby considering both of them are of 'retirement' age. June is 67 and Sparky is 21.

Given that, Moon and I are still youngsters. He's 12 and I'm 40.

I got to meet June Holeman once at a rodeo. My mom used to run barrels with June, so we all sat and visited while she waited until it was time to get ready for the barrels. That is one cool old cowgirl, let me tell you. There is no BS or airs about her. This is a woman who has worked...and worked hard her entire life. She was well known for taking on rank horses and turning them into fine barrel horses. No hugging and kissing on those buggers either. She would saddle them up and hit the sandhills of Nebraska at a long trot. When those horses learned how to work and got broke, she went back to the arena and usually won on them or her husband used them for rope horses and won on them. Those two were a formidable and talented duo back in the day. Long before the luxuries of air conditioned pickups and living quarter horse trailers, they beat it up and down the road, rodeoing year after year.

If ever my mom was going to beat some of her rodeo philosophies into my head, all she had to do was point at how June does things and they became very clear. When June got to the rodeo, she may saddle her horse up and walk around a bit to get a feel for things. Then she goes back to the trailer, unsaddles her horse, waters, feeds and leaves them alone. She doesn't resaddle until just before the barrel race and then all she does for a warm up is get on and walk and trot around for 10-15 minutes. Just enough to get her horse's muscles loosened up. She makes her run, goes back to the trailer, unsaddles, grooms them, waters and then usually loads up and heads to the next rodeo. No wasted effort on her part or the horses.

Now that's the difference between top rodeo barrel racers and those that aren't. Those girls don't ride their barrel horses into the dirt before competition like you see a lot of girls doing at the lower levels. The top girls get there, take care of business, do their job and head out...usually collecting a check along the way. Pretty much everything they do, they do to make their horses more comfortable and relaxed.

Watching how spastic some of the younger girls' horses were at the gate while watching the NFR last year, I wonder how they prep for their runs? A person could concede that they must be doing something right, because they are at the NFR? Only time will tell if they last or their horses will last.

Still, I like watching the girls that have been there year after year on the same horse or been there several times and all of their horses act the same. Mary Burger on Rare Fred. Lindsey Sears(not one of my favorites) on Martha(Who is one of my all-time favorite barrel horses), Sheri Cervi, who has had several horses, but they are all consistently the same. Look at what Charmayne accomplished on one horse, then went back on a couple of different horses. Kristie Peterson on Bozo several years in a row.

Those girls have been supremely successful because of what they do(or don't do) outside of the arena. Thanks mom for drilling that into my head year after year!

If you happen to follow the WPRA standings at all, keep your eyes out for a local Loma, Colorado girl named Sammie Bessert. She is placing at the big shows. I met her at a barrel racing in Moab, UT and she is super nice. Gave me her number and told me to call if I ever wanted to ride together. She's in pretty tight with another older gal, who has been barrel racing for decades. Interestingly enough, my mom also used to barrel race with this lady in SD and told me that when this gal moved to Colorado, she came out here to ride dressage horses. When she went back to SD to rodeo, people snarked about that. I undertand they quit snarking about her "English" riding skills when she whooped 'em at the barrel racings. LOL-I love it!

Yea, I'm jazzed about this year. It's a make it or break it time in my life I guess. Not that if I don't 'make it', I would ever give up the horses. R U Kidding? LOL...That will never happen. It just feels like opportunity is knocking at my door and if I ever thought I wanted to accomplish something, now I can.


Mrs Mom said...

Git busy livin' or git busy dyin' ;)

(And it ain't the DYIN' I'm talking 'bout--- it's the LIVIN'!)

Kick ass out there this year Girl- Kick. Ass!

Vaquerogirl said...

Sounds like you are stoked up! I'm so glad!
I don't follow the Rodeo circuit any more, but sounds like you are going to be right up there.
Go Get 'EM!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Yea-A little stoked. Didn't start this post as 'about me', but it kinda ended up that way huh? Oops!

My water is giving me fits at the new place. I think I finally have the everything contained and now I can't get the main turned back on. Grrhhh.

Then the wind came up. Rare in this area, but it happens-40-50 mile an hour gusts. The afternoon is shot.

Sydney said...

Age is a number not a guideline.

Cool old lady!

Stephanie said...

Wahoo! I am excited for you too!! Hope you have a rockin good year!

Laura said...

Woohoo! I'm excited for you too - sounds like you have a great year ahead of you... You'd better keep us up-to-date so we can live vicariously through you! lol

There aren't really any real rodeos anywhere near here, so I don't really know much about that sort of stuff. Great to hear that there are some people that have been around for a while and take good care of their horses.

Also neat that your Mom used to rodeo and was able to give you some guidance...

Fantastyk Voyager said...

It sounds like you have a promising future ahead of you (both)!

fernvalley01 said...

SOunds like you have a great year ahead ! The ladies you mentioned and their great horses are a terrific standard. I love that they are winning on horse that are not just run 'em and flip 'em. A 21 yr old barrel horse still in the money is a testimny to good breeding , good handling and great care ! Can't wait to read about all your winning runs!

Mikey said...

I love that! 67 and 21. Age is just a number. Love that they still get out there and win money.
Can't wait for some video of you :) You go get em!!!

Danielle Michelle said...

Well I'm jealous. I put my old barrel mare down 2 years ago now - and just have a 3 year old I'm going to get started. NOTHING in between! My Charlie horse doesn't have it going, and my Mustang just isn't built for the turns (though she has the speed). Oh yeah - and I can't afford another horse - maybe in a year or two you'll see me out there with my colt!
I've never actually competed out here - only IPRA back east. Never had anything worth it while living in CO.
GOod luck this season -

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

DM-Feels like I spent the last 10-15 years in the same position as you-LOL.

The last horse I had that was a sho-nuf barrel horse was a little midget of a QH. He would have been a great indoor horse.

Darn real life kicked in and I sold him to put the down payment on a house for me and the kiddo. Se' la vi!

LOL-I'll probably end up going out there and looking like a gunsel. Oh well. ;)

Dena said...

What is a gunsel? The git busy living or git busy dyin was the gauntlet thrown by a friend this last week.
Talk about a wake up a call!
So, I worked the yellow horse today, and remembered why we sacrifice as we do, to do this crazy thing we do.

Merri said...

as long as your horse (and you!) are sound and happy competing, there is no reason they can't. there are plenty of endurance horses competing (though not racing) in their 20's. there are plenty of riders in their 80's still competing!
you go girl
- The Equestrian Vagabond

Rising Rainbow said...

It's nice to know you can admit you learned something useful from your mom. Lots never admit that's the case so good for you.

Can't wait to see your dream get up and runnin'. It's going to be a fun ride!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Dena, Why yes, yes I threw that gauntlet, but it wasn't exactly thrown down... I was aiming for someone. Not you, someone in a closer proximity and within range. But yes, I challenge you to get your horse going, get out there and mostly to get back to having fun doing something you love.

For anyone else wishing to climb on board, throw in their entry and post about how they are coming along, I give you this- Bitchin' Barn Babes! as a place to do so. We can laugh together, cry together, help each other out and cheer each other on.

Here's to seeing everyone in the winners circle of their choosing!

Anonymous said...

How funny, I first came across your blog from Mikey's, and came across it AGAIN from city girl turned country girl's blog. I always put off rodeoing cuz my horses are all 18 but I'm thinking hmmmmm maybe that's no excuse!! Although I have my eye on this adorable little heelin horse my granddad's got, he's 11 I think. But those puppies cost moooolah!! :)