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.