Moving Forward with the 2013 TOP 15 NFR Barrel Racers

Moving Forward with the 2013 TOP 15 NFR Barrel Racers

When asking the top 15 NFR barrel racers what it takes to keep their equine athletes going strong, you’d expect 15 different answers. However, if there’s one thing nearly all of rodeo’s leading ladies would agree on – it’s that the secret is not necessarily an expensive gadget, a supplement, or a certain type of body therapy – it’s in simply KNOWING your horse.

While physically supporting our horses IS often done through a combination of the means mentioned above, nothing can compete with a high level of awareness on our part. Paying attention to the tiniest details and changes in our horse’s attitude, behavior, movement and performance can help us detect small problems before they become much larger, and sometimes even irreversible.

On the other hand, while we don’t want to become hypochondriacs, or worry incessantly, when we educate ourselves on what to look for, and understand which problems are worthy of concern, AND know our horse’s like the back of our hand, not only do we set ourselves up to save time and expense (as well as our horse’s discomfort), but we also set ourselves up to potentially prevent physical problems from sidetracking us completely.

In today’s post, the top 15 not only share their advice for keeping an equine champion healthy on the road, but also tips for developing one to begin with – valuable information we can ALL take with us, as we step forward into a new year and use their shining example as fuel for our own barrel racing fire!

SHERRY CERVI

Sherry Cervi
Sherry Cervi

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
Do whatever it takes for your horse and whatever he requires for staying healthy and rested on the road. I think every horse is different, but know your horse and know what he needs to make him work the best!

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
Consistency

MARY WALKER

Mary Walker
Mary Walker

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
Good vet

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
Break them

MICHELE MCLEOD

Michele McLeod
Michele McLeod

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
I would try to find places to stay where I could let the horses be turned out. Hauling a stud is a little difficult because I couldn’t always put him in stalls provided. I also feel nutrition is a big part in keeping the horses healthy and sound. My joint supplements of Oxygen and Cetyl M have helped keep the horses and myself feeling great. Also the horses and myself use the Back On Track products. I also have the horses lasered and chiropractored! I use the salt water spa when available and ice after my runs!

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
The horses need to be very physically fit! This allows them to stay healthier and also helps them stay more mentally focused. I also feel these horses need to be able to “live” in the trailer, I start my young horses hauling to multiple places and learning to eat and drink while in the trailer. Rodeo horses need to be able to warm up anywhere because a lot of times you don’t have a good warm up area.

CHRISTY LOFLIN

Christy Loflin
Christy Loflin

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
Know your horse inside and out! Make sure you have a team of farriers and vets that you have confidence in.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
A solid foundation is key when you start your barrel horses. If something breaks you always have that to go back and build on.

FALLON TAYLOR

Fallon Taylor
Fallon Taylor

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
I use the Equi-Body Flo and Tech Mix equine to ensure my horses stay healthy.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
Exhibition less

SABRINA KETCHEM

Sabrina Ketchem
Sabrina Ketchem

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
Know your horse – what he likes and dislikes. He’s the one who is winning for you, so if that means sacrifices on your part then that’s what you do. I held the bucket for Swivel all last winter because that’s the only time he would eat, so that’s how we did it. I also take conditioning very seriously, a fit horse has the opportunity to stay sound.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
Positioning is very important in my training program. If my approach is right my turn will fall into place. As with any discipline a foundation is vital they will always fall back on that if it’s not there, there is no place to fall to.

BRITTANY POZZI

Brittany Pozzi
Brittany Pozzi

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
Keeping things as much as the same as possible. Like staying on the same feed and hay and using your regular shoer and vet. I as much as possible to not change anything unless I have a problem.

KALEY BASS

Kaley Bass
Kaley Bass

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
Always make sure you have your horse on a good feeding program and make sure they are sound throughout all the hauling; also make sure your horse is well wrapped when you load them in the trailer. Just keep them feeling their best for the long haul down the road.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
Make sure that he is not feeling sore. Keep them in great shape and make sure that they are using the right muscles, they use different muscles when you exercise them a certain way. Make sure they are ready for a run, lots of long trotting.

TAYLOR JACOB

Taylor Jacob
Taylor Jacob

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
I think you have to spend time with your horses and kind of know what your horses needs are. I think if you are around your horses and you know how they are, then you are able to notice if something is a little different. I think if you notice the little things then hopefully you can catch them before they turn into big things.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
I think you have to have a horse that is gritty and honestly I don’t know if that is something you can train into them but a tough, gritty horse is something that you have to start with at your base and then from there you have to have a horse that is real fast, it’s good to have a horse that turns pretty but unless they are fast you are going to get beat.

LISA LOCKHART

Lisa Lockhart
Lisa Lockhart

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
More than anything knowing your horse, knowing what makes them happy. That’s such an individual thing, we can justify what we do in our daily routine, but I think more than anything, know your horse and try and keep them happy and make it about them just not about yourself. Sometimes things feel inconvenient for what I have to do for my horses, but I can’t do it without them.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
You could ask 50 or 100 different people and you will get 50 or 100 different answers, I don’t think there is any answer to this question really. We all have our own styles; we are all our own unique individuals as are our horses. I just think that there are certain things that different trainers attribute to. I love my horses to have tons of rate and to have correct turns, does that make me or break me? No, it’s just something that I do and it’s a pattern that I follow that works for me. There are a hundred different trainers that make it work for them, and they are champions and world champions and so we’re not cookie cutters. I think you need to train your horse according to what is going to work for your horse, they are all so different.

JANE MELBY

Jane Melby
Jane Melby

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
Feed your horse top quality hay and grain, I water my horses every time I stop. Try to make your horse trailer as much like home as possible. I always have lots of shaving with to make them comfortable. If I stop for a night I make sure to give them shavings in there pen for a nice place to sleep.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
Rate and turn – if they don’t rate they won’t turn and if they don’t turn you can’t win.

JEAN WINTERS

Jean Winters
Jean Winters

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
That is a million dollar question. I try to get my horses out of the trailer every 4-6 hours when I’m hauling, unless I’m headed home. I’ll haul hard to get home and turn him out in his pasture. I water Zan often in the trailer. I like to give him time to be a horse and stand on solid ground for a little while before I run. He’s pretty resilient and has totally spoiled me because he picks up the slack and adapts to me and the situation no matter what that might be.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
I think one of the most neglected things in training is learning to handle ground. I make my horses work on slick, nasty ground. They all stand up. Taking care of cattle you can’t say the ground’s not good enough and not work. You have to gut up and go. I think too many times we overanalyze and cost ourselves by not trying because someone else didn’t like the ground. Often times that other person’s horse runs nothing like yours, or maybe had a bad day and was all strung out. If your horse has been made to learn where his feet are when he’s making a living more often than not he’ll learn to stand up. It may not be a pretty run, but he’ll stand up.

SHADA BRAZILE

Shada Brazile
Shada Brazile

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
Try to keep them on a good schedule. Keep their feeding time the same they need some stability. Make sure they drink a lot of water, making sure their water buckets never go dry.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
Until they have hit 11 or 12, they are still learning. Always keep your horses working and bringing them back down to the basics, do a lot of slow work. Pop up barrels are a great thing.

SYDNI BLANCHARD

Sydni Blanchard
Sydni Blanchard

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
I would say just spending time with them, you have to take care of your horses, they are the whole reason you are there. The more time you spend with your horse the easier it is to notice when they aren’t feeling the best or even becoming a little sore which allows you to know when to give them time off.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
From a training perspective I would say just having a broke horse, whether you are leading them on the ground, trailering them, riding them, letting them know when to stand up on bad ground, they have to be broke enough to understand your ques.

TRULA CHURCHILL

Trula Churchill
Trula Churchill

What is your best advice for keeping your horses healthy, happy and sound on the road?
I keep something to eat in front of mine almost all the time, exercise them as often as I can, and do something other than run barrels on them when I get the chance. I’m a big believer in using lots of shavings to keep his stall or pen soft including using stall mats if the ground is hard or the stalls are on cement.

From a training perspective, what should barrel racers instill or develop in their horses to support their success as a pro-level equine athlete?
They have to want to do their job, but how do you teach that? Rodeo horses need to be able to handle lots of different situations (side gates, center alleys, run in/out, closed out gates, etc.), environments (big arenas, small arenas, inside/outside, limited warm-up area, clown acts, carnival rides, etc.), and ground conditions.

If you enjoyed this installment of “in their own words” with the top 15, please let us know in the comments below!

Also, feel free to add what YOU do to keep your barrel horses healthy, happy and sound on the road.

7 replies
  1. sandra
    sandra says:

    You’re right they all said pretty much the same thing! Know your horse, if you don’t know your horse you’ll always be guessing. This means taking the time to get to know your horse and spending lots of time together which is easier said then done!

    Reply
  2. Nancy Schuma
    Nancy Schuma says:

    Good and informative article…. consistent message…know your horse…just like with people you spend a lot of time with ..co workers, family members…you get to know that person so well that sometimes all you need to see is a certain look and you know something’s not right…the eyes are the window to the soul. So it is with our horses…

    Reply
  3. Emily
    Emily says:

    Hi Heather, Me and Miss Peppy have this very special relationship like no other when I go to a barrel race and when we go in to the gate to run she gives me all of her heart to win but it is not all about the wining it is about the bond between the horse and rider that is what make’s it special, And when I am at home we go out for a long relaxing trail ride by doing this we have a very close bond We are a team! I am so very blessed to have her in my life and Thank you God for bring Miss Peppy into my life, And thank you Heather for this awesome article I really enjoyed reading all about the other barrel racer’s and their bond with there horse’s.

    Reply
      • Emily
        Emily says:

        Your very welcome Heather, I love sharing about Miss Peppy all the time she is one very special horse that loves chasing can’s that is for sure! But every time when we go into any arena to run I pray to have a safe and clean run and ask God to protect us. Me and Miss Peppy have a very strong bond like no other and that what make’s it so very special for us as a team!

        Reply

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