Tell us about the horses you’ll be riding at the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo?
Hell on the Red is a six year old sorrel mare by JL Dash ta Heaven and out of Designer Ruby x Designer Red. “Reddy” is four wheel drive as far as turning style. She stays pretty level throughout her turns. She isn’t a pet, nor does she like to be loved on. She’s tough. Period. In all she does, she’s tough. “It’s not always perfect, but she tries perfectly.”
Namgis D 15 is a nine year old sorrel gelding by Bucks Hancock Dude out of Central Station x First Down Dash. “Wolfie” is a Mack truck. He can power through anything. He’s who I call my Ol’ Faithful. He uses his rear end a little more than Reddy, but he is honest and efficient. He is a kind soul. My two year old little boy rides him with me. He is big teddy bear and loves attention.
Do you think the Thomas & Mack environment will complement their running & turning style?
I believe the Thomas and Mack will compliment both horses, but for different reasons. Reddy is what people would call a “building horse.” She prefers the buildings and traps where her free-run style helps shut the clock off.
Wolfie will love the atmosphere. He loves the lights, music, and fans. He’s a big horse and it’s probably not my pick of an ideal situation for him, but whatever setup I put him in, he is honest and will give me 100 percent.
Do you have any specific goals or intentions for this year’s National Finals Rodeo?
My goals for the NFR this year, is basically to see how much money I can come out of there with. It’s my first NFR and the toughest group of 15 horses and girls I have ever seen. So to be a part of that 15, is an accomplishment in itself.
Do you have a preferred bloodline, running style, body type, or personality you prefer and look for in your barrel horses?
I don’t. I train futurity colts. So I don’t get to be picky. If they try for me and give an honest effort, that’s my type. I seem to get along with the On The Money Red breeding. They are tough, but once they make, you know you’ve got a good one. And I’m accustomed to the Bucks Hancock Dudes. They are very willing individuals.
What has been your biggest challenge or learning opportunity during the 2018 rodeo season?
My biggest challenge was being away from home and my obligations there. I’m a homebody, and like being with my family every chance I get.
What motivates & inspires you to keep going and stay positive through all the ups and downs of rodeo life?
My family. That simple. This year was a bit unexpected. But once we (my family) saw the goal in sight, we all did what we needed to do to make it happen. My husband has been so supportive, and so positive that it was easy to stay positive and keep going. Besides that, when Marcus, my little boy, is around, you can’t really get down.
What products and therapies do you depend on most to keep your horses healthy, happy, sound and competitive?
My PHT products, Oxy-gen supplements, and essential oils are my must haves.
What piece of tack or equipment is one you can’t live without?
A good pair of split reins, my Schneider Performance Pads, and my ported Petska.
From a training perspective, what aspect of a horse’s development do you think is most critical to their success as a pro-level athlete?
As a trainer, I think you have to be responsive and respectful to each individual horse’s mental capacity. You have to be aware of how much pressure they can handle. If they can handle it all, I think success is in your favor at the pro level.
What do you think is the key to making the transition from a part-time amateur barrel racer to a full-time professional?
Putting your head down and just doing it. You have to be committed.
If you could give one tip to a barrel racer with a goal to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo, what would it be?
Surround yourself with positive people.
Can you share one of the most memorable and/or funny moments from rodeoing this year?
My mom, Renee, little boy Marcus, and I broke down in Las Vegas, Nevada this year. We stayed in a nice man’s back yard who happened to have been Chuck Norris’s stunt double.
If there was one theme, or one message that your barrel racing journey stands for or represents that is a positive message to others, what would it be?
Remember the journey, and Give God the glory.
If you could change anything about professional rodeo, that you feel would help ensure it can grow and be enjoyed for years to come, what would it be?
My grandmother Florence Youree, my Aunt, Sherry Johnson, my Mom, Renee Ward, my sister, Janae Ward Massey have all made the NFR. It is my understanding that from early years there has been tremendous progress with equal money and ground conditions that we are able to run at now. I think most important is to remember how we got to this place and how we can progress and continue to move forward.
What individuals or aspects of your support team have been absolutely crucial to your success?
My family – from my grandparents who trusted me with their horse, my mom and dad who taught me what a good work ethic was, my husband for being so supportive and seeing the big picture, and my sisters who stepped it up and filled in for me at home, to my Vet., Robbin Johnson who would meet me in Colorado if I needed her, and my sponsors who believed in me from the start. It takes an army. My army and Faith in God is what got me here.
Are there any sponsors or special people you’d like to give recognition to?
Youree-Ward Barrel Horses
Tres Rios Silver
Schneider Performance Pads
Namgis Quarter Horses
M Sport 6 – The Air Conditioned Shirt
EAC, Inc. – Dr. Robbin Johnson, DVM
Farrier Ty Kester
Deanna Harrison’s Essential Oils
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