People ask me all the time why I want to barrel race. After all, it is one of the most dangerous and risk-taking sports in the world, it costs a lot of money, and is ultimately a gamble in which you could lose hundreds of dollars in a weekend. But what these people don’t see is the reason I do it. They can’t feel your horse’s heart beat when they get into starting position. They can’t see the crowd, who’s so excitedly waiting for you to run out into the arena. They can’t understand the rush of taking off on the wings of faith, leaving everything behind in reckless abandon. And most of all, they can’t comprehend the trust between horse and rider, truly a team. When you win, you celebrate together. When you lose, you grieve together. You and that horse trust that you will not lead each other into danger, and will keep each other safe. It seems like a pretty intense bond for a human and animal, but that undying commitment and trust in each other is what keeps us going, win after win, lose after lose, fall after fall: and the feeling is addicting.
That’s what drives our dreams, that addiction: The dream to run at the National Finals Rodeo, with the most exciting crowd of any barrel race in the country, the dream to be seen as a serious competitor and winner, and to be victorious at the highest level possible, and the dream to have an unbreakable bond with an amazing, powerful animal. I’ve qualified for the National Barrel Horse Association World Championships four times in a row, and have run my horses to district, state, and national titles, but when it’s all over, it comes back to you and your horse, simple as that. Because as wonderful and exhilarating as the win is, it couldn’t be done without a team with a strong foundation, a good heart, and an honest faith that they can take on anything with a little hard work.