Tonight will seal the deal on who makes it back to The American Rodeo at Cowboy’s Stadium in Arlington on March 1, 2015, making these contestants one step closer to a chance at winning a Million dollars. So far, out of 115 contestants that competed in the original slack go of The American Semi-Finals, there are only 10 left to run out of the top 30. The top ten out of the Shootout round will then advance to The American and compete against the top 10 from the NFR.
This format is the most exciting out there today. It gives barrel racers a chance at big time money who may not have an opportunity to run in the WPRA/PRCA. This format also allows kids and men to compete opening up the opportunity to even more contestants. The best part of this rodeo, along with the large sum of money up for grabs is that we are basically betting the favorites (NFR crowd) that they can’t beat the underdogs (Qualifiers)… and who doesn’t love a long shot?
But it’s not that simple and don’t think for a second that these Qualifiers aren’t having to go through the ringer for the opportunity at running at this money. Also, I’m pretty hard pressed to say that the qualifiers are long shots. The qualifier pool is made up of some of the best barrel racers and barrel horses in the world, World Champions, Futurity Champions, Youth Champions and in some of their cases… a lot….a lot of money.
The qualifier’s journey started by paying a $500 entry fee at one of the (11) qualifier races that were held across the country. At that race they had to end up in the top ten to qualify for the semi-finals. The semifinals which are happening now in Ft. Worth, Texas started with a slack round of all of the qualifiers from across the country. Each person gets one run and to advance to the next round (shootout) they had to end up in the top 30 of the 115. The top 30 were then split up into 3 performances of 10 each. After that run (the last performance this evening Sunday 2/22), the top 10 advance to The American Rodeo in Dallas. Once at The American they will run against the top 10 from the NFR. Everyone will get one run and the top four then make it to the Final Round to run for a clean slate. There are also two exemptions that will be allowed to run.
So now that I have you thoroughly confused you, it breaks down to this: The top 10 NFR girls are going to show up and compete against the Top 10 Qualifiers who have made 3 runs of their life (assuming that they only went to one qualifier which is not the case for most of these contestants, a good size group went to at least two). The champion will win $100,000 and the reserve champion will win $25,000. In the case that the champion came from the Qualifiers, they will place themselves in a pot for the chance to win $1,000,000.
Right now the Semi-Finals is being led by 9 year old Chayni Chamberlain on a grey gelding with a time of 13.907. Dat Flowin Bunny is a consistent horse that has been ridden by 3 generations of ladies, Chayni, Chayni’s Mother and Grandmother. Chayni has a direct advantage with her size and also her innocence. You can tell by the young girls glow and spirit that she is out to have fun and soak “it” all in, the Million Dollars is an after thought. The fact that she weighs 50-100 lbs lighter than an average adult barrel racer is helping her. On the flip side, she doesn’t have the experience that these other contestants have, but her consistent horse with a million dollar heart may not even make that a contributing factor.
The following contestants are headed into tonight’s round: Steffani Mather, Megan Swint, Tana Poppino, Kathy Grimes, LaTricia Duke, Taylor Jacob, Kelsie Miller, Jacie Etbauer, Sharin Hall, and Joy Wargo
The top 10 after two performances are:
Chayni Chamberlain 13.907, Carmel Wright 14.005, Lindsey McCloud 14.040, Jane Melby 14.066, Callahan Crossley 14.090, Jackie Jatzlau 14.104, Destri Davenport 14.134, Shelly Anzick 14.153, Adeline Nevala 14.242, Sabre O’Quinn 14.271
RFDTV Sunday, January 22nd 1:00 pm EST | The American Semi-Finals Round Two
RFDTV Sunday, January 22nd 3:00 pm EST | The American Semi-Finals Round Three
After years of food allergies, being uncomfortable, sluggish and rundown… drowsy in the middle of the day, hard to wake up in the morning and pretty much not being able to eat anything that wasn’t cooked in a home kitchen because it would make me sick, I have finally come to the conclusion that I can’t eat ANYTHING!
This is a tragedy to me. I love to eat. I love food in general.
I think that the best conversations happen at the table, whether it be a bunch of “good ol’ boys” sitting around having coffee, or tossing bread across the table with a dozen of your cousins, the thought that I couldn’t eat what everyone else was eating was heartbreaking to me.
The food problems started about 13 years ago, when my body decided that I couldn’t have eggs anymore, a while after that, milk also was added to the list. Then after that, basically a long list of things that made me uncomfortable but not sick. It’s something that I have talked with allergists and general practitioners about many times over the years. The allergists told me to stay away from allergens that showed positive on my allergy test, which of course included horses, dogs, cats, and pretty much anything outside, along with a long list of foods. We all know that wasn’t going to happen. They also suggested allergy shots, which were expensive and not 100% effective. My general practitioner wouldn’t talk with me much about it, just racked it up to allergies. When I talked with her about my midsection “pooch” (that’s what I call it, it’s like a small muffin top, but only in the front), she wouldn’t really consider anything that could help. At 5’1 and 113 lbs, I’m a very healthy weight and my body fat percentage is on the lower half of healthy, so she basically just told me it was the way my body was built and to accept it. What bothered me was that it didn’t get much better despite exercising multiple times a week, eating pretty healthy and even training for a half marathon.
Then I ran into a holistic doctor at a barrel race in North Texas and talked with him about it. He said it was all inflammation in my midsection and it was more than likely caused from the food allergies. He suggested an alkaline diet to basically detox my system. He said NO Sugar, NO Gluten, and NO Dairy. All I was thinking was, “What is there to eat, then?” The thought of giving up bread (wheat) was heartbreaking. The sugar wasn’t going to be as bad as I had already started cutting back on that. Dairy didn’t bother me much, because I wasn’t able to have much of that anyways. But I was still not convinced nor committed to the cause. Weeks went by and I ran into another holistic doctor and discussed the food issues. He confirmed what the first holistic doctor had said, but he threw in a few more things like, NO Genetically Modified, No Added Sugar, No Processed Food, and Organic Heavy. He also suggested a broad based probiotic supplement and an Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement.
Now hearing it for the second time and being sick and tired, of being sick and tired, I knew I needed to at least try it. I don’t like to waste food, so let’s just say I went about this at about a 50% effort and I wasn’t going to throw away food I already had in the house. The process was hard! Finding food that was organic and not a million dollars was one challenge, the other was making sure that I was actually buying what I thought I was buying. Buyer Beware!! Just because something is in the “organic section” doesn’t mean it’s organic. You have to look at the label. Also, you need to look at the prices. My favorite green vegetable is zucchini and unfortunately it’s a veggie you need to watch because apparently it is one of the most genetically modified veggies out there. So when I went to grab the organic “zuke” my jaw hit the floor when I saw they were $3 a piece. Yes $3 Dollars EACH. I’m sorry but that is out of control. When you can buy a bag of regular zukes for 88 cents a pound.
Please don’t think that I’m some sort of snobby person who is eating organic food for the sake of being able to brag about organic food. A matter of fact I went home with a giant bag of regular genetically modified pesticide sprayed zucchini that day and after rinsing it and frying it up with garlic and butter, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve done a lot of research and I could go on for days about what could possibly be bad about GMOs and pesticides. At this point I’m eating organic not just because the doctors suggested it, but to stay away from the pesticides that they spray on the GMO pesticide resistant crops. I could also go on for days about how it’s important that we make sure our farmers have a healthy profit margin. I’m pro-farmer all the way!
The proof is in the pudding!
In just 5 days of taking this more holistic clean eating “half-hearted” approach, the following occurred:
1. I didn’t get sick once
2. I lost 4 lbs
3. My stomach was flatter
4. I had energy all day and was able to fall asleep at night
5. I wasn’t hungry
6. My sugar cravings went down
7. Organic Fruit was sweeter and stayed fresh longer
8. Figured out Gluten Free bread isn’t that bad if you toast it
What scares me is that it made so much of a difference. The thought that maybe the food industry is selling us food, just to make a profit rather than feed us, scares me. Even when I go to the “health food” stores I run into the same thing. If you look closely there are products even in those stores that are not the best for you and are meant to sell you a “product” rather than something that is really in line with healthy clean eating.
If you get a chance, there is a movie called “Fed Up” and it gives the history of the food industry and explains why the food you see at the market is actually at the market. It is very enlightening and will help uncover why sugar is an ingredient now in almost anything processed. It also shows what is wrong with “low fat” and “low calorie” processed foods.
Confession: I had a doughnut for breakfast this weekend and a Hot Dog and a small Dr. Pepper at the Barrel Race. No one is perfect, but there is no doubt that eating cleaner will make you feel better and healthier.
So you think Steve Coburn is a sore loser?
If he is anything like the man that I think he is, then he doesn’t really care what you think.
What he cares about is his family, his horse, and the people who helped his horse achieve greatness.
He also probably cares about racing fans as a whole, but I don’t think he cares whether you put a label on him or not.
I have to commend Steve for speaking his mind (even though I don’t think they should change the Triple Crown format). In this scoreless soccer world that we live in, what would have been the benefit of him just saying what everyone wanted to hear and then walking away? Yes, they would have said, he handled it with “class.” But really, I don’t think he cares if you think he is “classy” either.
This is a man that got one chance to make history. He probably won’t be in any position to make that statement again for the rest of his life and in that moment he decided that is what he wanted to say, so he said it. He may regret it now because of the backlash that it caused and the big grey cloud that it put over his horse and his supporters, but I have to give it to him, at least he said what was on his mind.
My feelings are that people like Steve don’t really care if you think they are “Sore Losers,” just like they don’t care if you think they are “classy.” They are all just labels. The same type of labels that were put on him for investing in a losing mare and then investing in breeding that losing mare to a lack-luster stallion and then believing that he could have a Triple Crown contender as a result of that.
So why would he start caring about your labels now? His apologetic interview this morning on Good Morning America is just another example of exactly what he cares about and his opinion of how the Triple Crown is achieved is only second to those things that matter to him…. his wife, his horse, his partners, his friends, and racing fans as a whole.
I’m going to tell you why California Chrome’s loss is the perfect ending to a Working Man’s Anthem…
Mainly because he lost….
It amazes me that people are surprised. It doesn’t amaze me that people are disappointed.
That’s because I along with the majority of my friends, deal with this type of disappointment on a weekly basis. You are probably thinking, “Really? How in the world can you compare losing the Triple Crown to not winning or placing at a barrel race or rodeo?” The fact is that it doesn’t matter what the competition is. If you entered you were more than likely (and I say that lightly) wanting to win and when you don’t, it’s heartbreaking.
The fact is that this horse, California Chrome, is an amazing athlete. In a write up, it was said that he could win no matter what position you put him in. Wow… now that’s a standard to put a living being up to. When reading this along with the hundreds of Facebook posts of people saying he was going to win, I couldn’t help but cringe. Call me superstitious, but I think saying a horse is going to win is a death wish. Too many things can go wrong that are 100% out of our control. Just one for example, Chrome getting stepped on out of the gate. That one wrong step, the post position, the way he broke, the fact that he was boxed in late in the race…. It all matters… and the fact is that he was running against other amazing athletes.
I’m not entirely sure that there will ever be another Triple Crown winner. I’ve never seen one. The last one that ever completed the feat was three years before I was born. I don’t say this lightly, I just don’t believe that Super Horses like Secretariat, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, or Scamper will ever exist again. The technology that we have today is too good. We can make good horses, great horses, and we can make great horses, phenomenal horses and with that being said, that means that the playing field is more even than it has ever been.
But let’s get back to the loss. This horse came from humble beginnings, note I said humble, and not some other type of adjective. People keep saying that California Chrome’s life is a great story because it shows that money isn’t everything. I don’t think this statement could be any further from the truth. Fact is that although millions may not have been spent on Chrome, a good fat chunk of change was in fact spent on him. Anyone believing differently is a fool and may want to look into the cost of training and maintaining a race horse. Yesterday I watched a video that showed where Chrome was bred and raised and I would have to say that it looked like a palace compared to the paneled stalls, some with no shelters, that most people in California have their horses in. Steve Coburn in telling his story said that he had spent his savings and his retirement on this horse and they were about to have to “start making some decisions” when Chrome started to win. The fact is that Coburn and his partner took a chance, a huge fat chance to follow their dream of what this life should include, and apparently a winning horse was part of that dream.
If everything would have worked out the way that everyone wanted, Chrome would have won the Belmont Stakes and would have sealed the deal for the Triple Crown. It would have been a Fairy Tale Ending to a Working Man’s Anthem. But Fairy Tales are not real, unlike a Working Man’s Anthem. This is why the two don’t go together. I may sound cynical but this is the reality of it. I’m not saying the rich people always get the Fairy Tale Ending, what I’m saying is that Fairy Tale Endings do not exist. Chrome is an amazing horse, still to this day, Triple Crown or not, Belmont Stakes or not, he still is a horse that will go down in the books as a major threat to this almost unattainable thing called the Triple Crown. So just like a working man, he will probably have some time off and then he will go back to work and in that, I think he is more of an inspiration to me than any Triple Crown winner any day!
It was on this day, that Karen Wyatt headed down the alley on her black gelding Dashton aka Ash, like she had done many times before. He headed into the Glen Rose Expo Arena with his ears perked and at full attention. Getting a stride away from the first barrel, he rated beautifully with his nose tipped to the inside, positioned perfectly to make what could have been a perfect turn. Instead, the crowd heard a pop that sounded almost like an overreach, but was as loud as a rifle. He took several more strides, trying to complete the turn and the job he was sent into the arena to do. The crowd gasped and yelled, as Karen tried frantically to pull him up and get off of him. While he hobbled on three legs, she hung half way off of him with her foot stuck in the stirrup. Someone from the crowd, yelled for a barrel setter in the arena to help her. Several people came to her aid. The music was turned off, all talking in the arena turned to a whisper. The loudest thing heard were the hundreds of hearts breaking all at once.
I can’t imagine what she is going through. I don’t know if I would ever be able to bounce back from something this tragic. I love this sport and we all know that accidents happen, but I just can’t even imagine. So many awful things happen in this lifetime and we don’t know why they happen to us or for that matter why they even happen at all. There was no bad step that I could see, the ground was safe, he was in the right position. Of all of the conditions that “could have been” I wouldn’t have thought that this could have ever happened to anyone at this race.
We take chances, every time we get in our car, get on our horse, or make a decision on any given day. We try to prevent everything we can from going wrong and yet still we have no power when it comes to these types of outcomes. Life is precious. I think that is why it is so important that we do what we love and love what we do. Because in an instant, it could be over. I have yet to run into a stronger group of people than barrel racers, they are hard working people with kind hearts. They always seem to bounce back and they are a true reflection of a true America. Stories of their perserverance are around every corner. I’ve had to tell myself in the past that barrel racing is not what defines me, which I believe is still very true. However, I can not deny that most barrel racers can be defined in a certain way. They are strong, dedicated, compassionate, loving and hard working. It is with this in mind that I can’t imagine ever NOT bouncing back from a tragedy like this.
15 year old Dashton (Ash) stood there patiently in the arena as they took his saddle off and splinted his leg up. He was under the immediate care of two vets within minutes of the accident happening. A large stock trailer was pulled into the arena and he was loaded up. The x-rays showed that his hock was shattered. Karen made one of the hardest decisions there is to make in life and put him down. She hauled him home and buried him this morning.
I hope she finds comfort in knowing there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are shedding tears and thinking about her today. I hope she finds comfort in knowing that.
Karen and Ash ran in the Texas Senior Pro Rodeo Association this last summer and fall, finishing Reserve Champion for the year end. Friends say that they have never seen Karen happier on a horse. The Jurassic Classic producers gave Karen the Julie Swanson memorial buckle that was going to be given to the fastest time for the weekend. Wow, I can’t wait to get to heaven. We’re going to have one heck of a barrel race someday!
“….I risk my life every time I climb on a horse. I’m not afraid. Neither are they. I want to win, just like they do. It’s true. The last horse I rode ran so hard his heart burst. But it’s who they are. And it’s who I am.” –(movie) Ronnie Turcotte, Secretariat
Horse Traders don’t have a heart because every time they sell a horse that has positively influenced their life, they sell a piece of their heart with the horse. The fact is if you sell too many horses you may not have anything left at the end of this lifetime.
I know that is an exaggeration, but this is how I feel. For damage control I have tried to emotionally invest the least amount that I can into any horse that I know is going to be sold. Well, everything is for sale in the barn, eventually. I also believe you can’t make a great horse unless you are willing to train with passion and heart. If you don’t invest emotionally into the horse, I don’t think that you get the same amount of try that you will out of one that you put your heart and soul into. They can tell when you care about them and I think they try harder.
Most of us are all looking for that horse that is going to change our life. The “Horse of a Lifetime.” The one that allows you to quit your day job and go down the road pursuing your dream. Since I started counting. I personally have had 3 “Horses of a Lifetime,” at least I thought at the time. Two of them I had to sell (neither of which I owned) and one went lame (I only owned half of him). I have two horses now that may be “Horses of a Lifetime,” but I’m finding that my standards are a little bit higher now and I realize that even if the horse has the talent, there are so many things that have to line-up, so you can take advantage of the opportunity.
In addition to the “Horse of a Lifetime” there is also a thing I call a “Life Horse.” The Life Horse is the horse that changes your life the most and directly influences your ability to take advantage of the “Horse of a Lifetime” once it comes along. I have only had one “Life Horse” so far. This particular horse came into my life just weeks after I found out that my marriage was falling apart. After several consecutive weeks of crying, a friend called and said that he had a 3-year-old Miss N Cash mare that he wanted to sell. I told him I would come down and look at her and see what I thought. He had run her through the sale barn a week earlier and bought her back because she didn’t bring enough money. She was skinny and wild. I saddled her up, not expecting much and after 5 minutes of riding her decided that she needed a home with me. There wasn’t anything that particularly made her special although she was quick and catty and she didn’t buck me off. I made him an offer and did what every heartbroken horse woman does to try and fix her marriage, I bought a horse I couldn’t afford. I made $250 payments every pay period until she was paid off. Note: she was not very expensive and she was paid off quick, but it was still a stretch for me at the time. This horse gave me something to focus on while my marriage crippled along. She needed me and I needed her. For her 5-year-old futurity year I won money on her and was able to travel around the western United States. When I was at a futurity with her, I didn’t have any marriage problems. She gave me something to focus on during my saddest days. I won money that helped me decorate my home, she gave me a sense of freedom and ability to travel. Because this is a business for me too, at the end of her 5-year-old year I decided to put her up for sale. My marriage was over. I then sold her and was able to pay off all of my credit cards and my horse trailer. This worked out well, considering just 3 months later I was divorced and moving 1,000 miles away and buying a new house. Her blessings didn’t stop there, even after this mare was sold to another family she kept on giving to me. She went on to a family that had two girls who ran her and won on her. After two years of her then affecting their lives the parents decided to sell her so they could buy a car for their teenage daughters who were riding less. I took her back in as a commission sale and ran her over the next several months, winning jackpots and money and giving me the confidence that I needed to ride my futurity horses. So in addition to the blessings she has given me, she is now helping two teenage girls get what they have always wanted. A Car!
Just last saturday I met a hauler in Oklahoma City to haul this horse to her new home in Ohio. She is now owned by an 11-year-old girl who is a clone of me at that age. She is 4’6 and 55 lbs and the perfect match for this 14.3 hand mare. This little girl can ride the hair off of anything. I can’t wait in about 10 years I’m sure I’ll be saying, “I knew her back in the day.” Here is a video of the girl running the mare for the 2nd time. She was 22nd out 256, some of Texas and Oklahomas finest horses. That’s me in the background screaming like a proud mom.
The money that I made off of the commission is going to pay for my eye surgery that I had last year. Did you hear that people? This horse has given me the gift of sight! No more eye infections, blurry vision, and stress headaches from squinting. Granted I had the surgery last year, but this horse is the one that paid for it!
I didn’t spend a long time saying goodbye to her last Saturday. I just patted her on the butt because I know that since she is only 8 years old she has a lot of life to share with her humans and I’m sure that the effect she had on my life will be exponentially consistent with every person who comes in contact with her. This mare is truly an angel. She never won a World Championships, She never won hundreds of thousands of dollars, but what she did give me is something you just can’t buy. She gave me what I needed, when I needed it. She is a Blessing to anyone who comes into contact with her. I have never had a horse in my life that made such a quantifiable difference. The fact is when I sell horses, I sell my blessings to the highest bidder. It never gets easier, but I guess that’s just life.
If you have a “Life Horse” that you would like to tell me about, please share your story. I know there are more out there!
“What’s so important about going around 3 barrels anyways? Who cares who does it the fastest!”
If you haven’t heard this conversation in your head, or you have never talked a friend out of quitting (even if you really knew they never intended to quit anyways. This is usual the case with me.) then you just haven’t been around the sport long enough.
As you may already know, I’m a competitive person. I make everything in life a challenge. I’m the person at the wedding showers that shouts at the top of her lungs when she wins the stupid prize from the dollar store. Tastefully of course, in a more dorky, than obnoxious way. All of this amounts to the fact that I take myself a little too seriously!
The challenges I face in life have a reoccurring theme of extremely high expectations, followed by hours of preparation, and then acceptance of the outcome. I have done this for years, over and over and over again. It is a great path and it has gotten me to a place in life where I feel extremely blessed. But let me tell you folks, it is exhausting. Sometimes I think, “Did I really sign myself up for this?” Of course the answer is always, “Yes.” Followed by, “But would you have it any other way?” Followed by, “No” Then it happens, that little voice in my head says, “Well then stop feeling sorry for yourself and get the job done.”
While on the way home the other day from a race, I was telling a friend that mediocrity may be the way to go. To heck with all these high expectations. I ran through the options. If I didn’t have all these dreams, I could travel, lay out on a beach on a tropical island, or I could own a boat. I was thinking average wasn’t too bad. Really if you wanted the majority opinion, then the average person is going to think you’re doing pretty good. While talking to her about my dreams, she said to me, “You can’t give up. While you’re giving up, there’s someone else out there trying to figure out how to win.” It was just enough to spark my interest. She knew exactly the perfect thing to say. All I needed was to think that there was someone out there who was currently conspiring to beat me. It was like a breath of fresh air, the wind under my wings. This friend is often a voice of reason in my temporary bought of self-pity and insanity. The reality is that sometimes, you’re not a Quitter and sometimes you’re not a winner, sometimes you’re just stuck in the middle. My goal is to get out of the middle and never Quit.
I think the secret is figuring yourself out and then going with it. Find something inspiring and think about it every time you start to lose strength. I recently witnessed a music video the other day that brought some true clarity. I saw it circulate on Facebook for about two days before I actually took a look. I wish I would have seen it sooner. It has everything in it that summarizes what makes me tick. Love. Horses. Determination. Grit. Innocence. Try.
P.S. If you know anything about the kids in this video, please comment. They are wonderful in this video. I heard they are from the North Texas area.
A good hauling partner knows exactly when it’s ok to start talking to you after a bad run and about what mile marker to call you out in the truck and say, “Ok I’ve had enough of your pouting, get over it, move on and make it happen next time.”
It’s takes a while to figure this out and if you do it too soon or at the wrong time, it very well may be the last time that both of you are ever in the same truck again.
If you’ve never experienced this either because you don’t rodeo or you just don’t ever haul with someone. Lets just say that not doing well (no matter what you consider well) at a rodeo or barrel race is like breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. It hurts every time. I don’t know if it’s the money that we put into this sport or it’s just the type of people we are, but I have yet to run into one person who plays our game that doesn’t want to just have a fit, throw their sucker down and then roll around on the ground for a little bit, after their run doesn’t go their way. The only reason why you don’t see this happening and you don’t see a huge sea of contestants rolling around on the ground is because of this bullcrap called “good sportsmanship” that is put in our heads when we are children. Really I don’t know any really “good sports” they all just keep it inside. I’m not saying that we don’t find joy in our friends winning, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t trying to figure out how we didn’t win in the back of our heads.
I am a Self-Proclaimed, Immaculately Contained Sore Loser!
I do a wonderful job of making everyone think I’m a good sport…. hopefully!
But every once in a while someone lets the cat out of the bag and lets their true colors shine! Sometimes they even take it to an extreme, make accusations, and post their opinion on this little social network everyone calls FACEBOOK. Things are said, things are not said and usually within at least an hour, things start getting deleted. It’s like a huge flood of emotion and then when the remorse occurs the delete button is hit and the waters recede. Unfortunately, just like verbal words, most written words can never be taken back again.
Most of time there are regrets, sometimes there aren’t. But in all reality. I think the first thing we need to realize is that the difference between having a good day and a bad day… Is usually about 4 tenths of a second. Anything larger of a margin than that and you are probably having a really, really, really bad day. That’s not a lot of time. In the past, to make myself feel better I have actually sat and watched 4 tenths of a second go by on a stop watch. It really puts things into perspective.
I like to remind myself that chances are no matter what division you run in, if you entered the race, you imagined winning it! With that being said, and if all of this is even remotely true that means of that if 356 people entered, then 355 are going home disappointed to some extent. The picture above is of my horse falling at a futurity that I really thought we had a chance at doing really well at. The day after this run, when I got home, I laid in bed for almost an entire day pouting about my mishap. Until now, only my closest friends knew this. You know… Friends? The ones who know everything about you and still like you.
So Remember, go easy on yourself! You only get one life….and whereever you are in that life, Be There!
It’s not very often that I write of great horses that have passed on, but Nate Shilabar (aka Hotshot) is a horse that undeniably can not be ignored. The fact is that all of us have had horses that have touched our lives, some of them won a lot, some won a little, and some of them didn’t win at all. It is the special place in our heart that makes them special. I don’t think that one person’s loss is any greater than another’s, just because one horse has won hundreds of thousands of dollars while another just took his owner on a trail ride once a week. It is with this in mind, that my expressed feelings are generally kept at bay and aren’t voiced any greater than, “My thoughts and prayers are with you.”
But… Hotshot is different.
In my lifetime, I have yet to see a horse that was run by so many people and consistently a threat to every great barrel horse in this country. In the years that he was running at the NFR, it was great to hear the stories of the short statured renegade gelding. With over $1 million dollars in earnings, he was a force to be reckoned with and he continually acted as a threat for years after his 1997 debut with Peyton Raney. In that year, they won the WPRA Rookie of the year. In 2001, Janet Stover won the WPRA World Championship after winning more than $126,000 in earnings at NFR. That same year the Steinhoff’s bought him for their daughter, Tanya as a Christmas present. She won $180,000 the next year. Hot Shot went on to be a “kids horse” for their family, winning multiple world championships and enough money to pay off what the equivalent of EVERYTHING I have possession of, year after year after year. What has your kid done to make a couple hundred thousand dollars lately?
Many great barrel horses have died this year and we all suffer our feelings of loss. It’s amazing to me because I know that there are so many people who this horse influenced in his lifetime, that will never be mentioned in any of the articles that speak of his death. I loved the 90’s and early 2000’s because I really feel that the “little” horses prevailed in that time. It was just a coincidence that the dominating horses of this time were mostly under 15 hands. It was great to see Sherry Cervi’s Hawk, Kelly Yates’ Fiesta and Hot Shot barreling down the alley with sheer determination of a win that was just beyond the horizon. I too rode a small horse, that many knew as not of a threat, but as the “consistent” horse. It was Hawk, Fiesta, and Hot Shot that gave me hope and made me push my horse to be the greatest he could be. I know there are other girls out there doing the same to this day, going over the memories of those times. One year at the Salinas PRCA rodeo in California I rode my small horse up next to Sherry Cervi to see if Hawk was shorter or taller than my horse. Hawk was actually smaller which I would have never guessed in a million years. It was a great feeling and still to this day gives me a sense of joy when I head out to run my barrel horses. In the past few years, I have realized that I should be as kind and accepting of myself as much as I am the horses. I may be small, but my heart does not acknowledge the limitations that are unjustifiably set in my head.
They said it best in Seabiscuit, “It’s not in his feet, it’s in his heart.”
The Steinhoffs say they found Hot Shot, 24, in his stall today (12/28/11) in the place where he always laid down to sleep. It appears that he passed away in the night. There were no signs of struggle.
Believe it or not! One of the hardest conversations I have ever had included telling an ex-boyfriend that I didn’t like the way he wrapped his horse’s polo wraps. I know you are probably thinking, “This girl is crazy! Obviously, she hasn’t experienced enough in life.” Unfortunately, that is not true…. Life has taught me many things and has taught me tough lessons on how to handle conflict, tragedy, death, hunger, addiction…. you name it. But for some odd reason, approaching a person about how they wrap a polo is like talking to someone about Cancer. It’s this huge elephant that sits in the room and no one wants to talk about it.
I remember the first time that someone sat down and had “The Talk” with me. I was roughly about 12 years old and started using polo wraps because they so conveniently matched every color of my high wasted 00 slim Wranglers and Rockies (Rocky Mountains at the time). Red, Maroon, Yellow, Green, Purple, Black, White, Grey, you name it, I had them and it was all about color coordination…. Thank you Marleen Eddleman. This was back in the day when performance leg boots were new to the market, only the “rich” people were able to afford the new sports technology that surfaced from Professional Choice Sports Medicine Boots. You also had your choice of regular splint boots or Bar-F.
Anyways, back to the topic at hand. I was about 3 tries into my newly purchased polo wraps and participating in a gymkhana where you were lucky to even see a horse with protective leg gear on, when I was approached by a beautiful tall blond-haired gal that ran a big, big, (did I say big) sorrel horse. Everyone talked about her horse because he was “off the track.” At the time I kind of knew what that meant, but didn’t understand the challenges that she faced. As a child I remembered seeing that he liked to run…. but turning… hmmm… not so much! She walked up to me as I was in mid sentence with a friend, interrupted me and said, “Hun? Can I take a few minutes to show you how to wrap those polo wraps correctly?” As a child, I was craving for information. I wanted to be a world champion and sitting in the dusty parking lot in the middle of a California desert, with 6 more events to go. I knew I was a long way away and “this, this could be my ticket.” Intently, I listened as she sat there and unwrapped my patient dehydrated burned out barrel horse. She explained where I needed to start the wrap and that the seam shouldn’t be exposed to any of tendons, wrap the tendons inward, pull the wrap tight across the cannon bone not the tendons, that they should be evenly spaced and start about mid-way up the cannon bone, then go down, then back up again making sure they are evenly pressured. I appreciated her helping me and to this day I still will re-wrap a leg (sometimes more than once) if I looked at it and it didn’t seem right.
Having said that I will still remember the day that I was going to “tell” him. It was after a horse’s lack luster performance that I realized that the wraps were not tight and had slipped down during the run. The bottom half looked the way that an old women’s panty hose stretches out and stacks at the ankle like the skin on an elephant. The horse had not wanted to get “in the ground” as much as we would have liked to see and he jumped out of his turns early. There were several theories thrown around. More chiropractic work, tuning, and vet work were all of some of the solutions. But the polo wrap thing, just seemed to obvious and as a friend I thought the largest disservice that I could commit to my friend, let alone my boyfriend, was the obvious epic polo wrap FAIL. I tried to find the time to say something, but no time seemed like a good time. I ultimately got in the truck and headed home in my own rig. Hands gripping the stirring wheel tightly, sweating (ok it was 103 outside) I contemplated my attempt to have the talk. I called a dear friend that said, “Don’t worry, just bring it up, either he will listen or he won’t. Who knows he might not even care.” But still I fealt like I was giving a professional trainer, the most obvious advice known to man. The type of advice that makes people’s skin cringe and their head drop as if to say… that’s not it. So FINALLY, I got up the courage. The phone rang, rang, rang (oh awesome maybe it will go to voicemail and then I can leave some generic message and hang up like I didn’t have a plan to give the most stupid advice known to man). “Hey what’s up?”, (crap he answered). “Hey, I was just thinking about the run and I don’t know if you noticed, but the polos slipped down and that might be why he wouldn’t get in the ground,” I cringed waiting for his response. “Oh I didn’t notice that, you may be right, who knows,” he said rather unclimactically.
So there it is, I worried for nothing. I don’t know if it was the problem or even a solution, but the point is… why doesn’t anyone talk about polos? I love them. I’ve used them nearly my entire life. I find wrapping polo wraps after they have been washed therapeutic. FYI… you have to wrap the female side of the velcro back into the male side or they won’t unwrap properly. I see dozens of polo wrap epic fails every weekend and have always thought someone should document these fails to spread awareness. Kind of like “what not to wear” meets “the people of wal-mart” but for polo wraps. So now I’m challenging you! If you have a documented Epic Polo Wrap Fail, please take a picture and email the picture to EpicPoloFail@gmail.com I will upload the pictures to the blog and maybe one of these days be able to award people with their contributions.
I was going to include a link to a video of how to wrap a polo correctly, but I was disappointed to find there was not one video that I completely agreed with. Just do a search on your own or have someone you know that is accomplished show you how to do it.
There are many ways that you can do it correctly and there are many ways that you can do it wrong! The supreme court once ruled on a very controversial topic that basically although something can not be clearly defined, you know what it is when you see it. This is very much the case with POLO WRAPS.
UPDATE … I was finally able to find a video that was a good demonstration. The only bad part about this is that the camera angle is from the front which is not how you look at your horses leg when you put them on. Hopefully is will help anyone who wants to watch.
I know a lot of you gals are dreaming of Texas. I know I used to, but I don’t have to anymore because I moved here 5 years ago. It was the best decision I ever made other than going to college and falling in love with barrel racing. I’ve also lived in Colorado and New Mexico and I can say there really is nothing like this state.
If you ever move here, I want to help you with your transition so I’ve provided you this list in an effort to help you not stick out when you finally make the big move.
#1 Don’t say “y’all”! It never comes out natural and you will never sound like a Texan when you say it. I’m not saying that you should go around screaming that you are an outsider, just know that “y’all” doesn’t flow well with “like” and “you guys.” You can add a drawl to your “bye” and “oil” and no one will know the difference.
#2 Gravy in Texas is like Guacamole is in California. You don’t need an excuse to put it on anything and if you can make it from scratch and make it taste delicious, then you will be an instant celebrity.
#3 No one here knows what a thigh gap is….. This is a perfect and wonderful thing.
#4 They are called exhibitions not time-onlies and if you want one you better start standing in line at the entry office at least two hours before it opens.
#5 Hay is called Hay and Grain is called Feed. Everyone “Feeds” twice a day and that includes grain.
#6 Hay is mostly two stranded and you will curse a three strand bale after you realize how much easier it is to move a smaller bale.
#7 Hot is considered anything over 95. Cold is considered anything under 60. Get used to it.
#8 Ice is worse than snow.
#9 You will need approximately 3 head of horses if you want to go to every barrel race within a 50 miles radius.
#10 Summer is tire blowing season. Get your tires checked in the spring and learn how to change your own tires.