The temperatures have started warming up and the snow is officially gone, so it can only mean one thing: barrel racing season is upon us. Most of us are just starting to find our horses under all the mud and hair and have begun taking to the backroads or hills to get workouts in. Although, there are a few of the lucky ones who have hauled all winter and kept their horses slick and shiny and I applaude them. Every winter I have big plans to haul to the arena 45 minutes away, but after going once and realizing that it turns into a 4 hour endeavour, I lost the energy to commit. Gone are the days of hauling after school and staying until midnight — adulting has once again taken it’s toll! But, nontheless, I went to my first jackpot of the season on Sunday with my furry and fat mare and had a great time getting back into the swing of things. I was fortunate enough to head out on my own and enjoy a free day (something I am always grateful for) but pulling up on my own without my trusty sidekick of a mom really got me thinking. I am so used to having her in the passenger seat that it felt a bit foreign to be driving to a jackpot without her (my secret is out) and even though it does happen on occasion where we both can’t go, it’s still a weird feeling.
Just the princess and I
The barrel racing world can come across as overwhelming to some people, and it typically isn’t too far off from the general first impression it leaves. I mean, you throw a bunch of high strung horses and women together and hope for the best, but once you get past the surface, its pretty easy to see that it’s a total family event. On Sunday the arena was packed, and it was great to see all the familiar faces once again. It’s almost as if it’s a whole other world once the season starts because you basically see the same group of women every weekend from now until September. What gets me the most is seeing so many of the youth competitors from the season before and how much they have grown up or changed and it’s always neat to see them step up onto faster horses (most of which were handed down from their mom) and watch them get more competetive as the years go by. Obviously becoming a mom has made me more sensitive to this, but come on, it’s a cool sight to see.
I cannot say enough about the barrel racing mommas that we come across though. These women are the most selfless, hard working people that you will ever meet. A lot of times, and it was evident on Sunday, they will forgo bringing their own horses and focus solely on coaching and helping their kids. These women are badass. They are the ones who help lead the hot horses from one end of the arena to the other, they are the ones who yell from the sidelines and they are the ones who go through every detail of their child’s run to find where time was lost and how to get it back (plus they always find the best angle to video from). These women wear invisible capes whenever they are at a rodeo or jackpot and do it all with a smile. Plus, I’m not only talking about the ones with young kids. I’m talking about all the moms that hop in with their daughter and are there every step of the way. Some of them run their own horses as well, and some are there for the moral support and the pure enjoyment they get out of watching their child ride, whether they are an adult or not. Its pretty awesome when you think about it. That kind of support can be hard to find, and to have it in your own mom is beyond great.
It doesn’t matter what level you are at, whether it’s a local jackpot, amateur rodeo or even professional rodeo, you will always find a barrel racer with her mom or dad near by. Family support is key in this sport and I know I honestly couldn’t do it without mine. Even Fallon Taylor has her mom and dad on the road with her to help with the horses and making sure every rhinestone is in place, and to me that’s pretty heartwarming. It’s definitely what I love about this sport and how any given weekend you can meet up with other families and have a good time competing and visiting. It makes me even more excited to have Casey grow up in that atmosphere as well because all the kids you find at barrel races generally know what hard work and dedication is, and that’s something you hope sticks with them. Plus, there’s never a shortage of help at jackpots, so you know your kid is in good hands even when you’re riding and warming up (bonus!) I guess these youngsters come by it honestly though because they constantly see their moms working non-stop to make sure things are looked after and taken care of. It’s no easy feat loading up the trailer full of kids and horses and heading out for the weekend, so they definitely deserve a pat on the back (or a bottle of wine). Not many people will haul a trailer for hours on end, unpack, pay entry fees, run their own horse and video their daughters run, plus make sure everyone is fed and happy. Rodeo moms are a real hidden gem and if you have one you should be proud!
Needless to say, I am very excited for the season to get underway and definitely need to get these ponies in shape. But, I think what I’m most excited about is having my mom and my little guy there with me for it all. Hopefully one day Casey will say the same thing about me, but for now he can provide us with entertainment and a workout as we chase him all over the place. I’m predicting this year of jackpotting to be quite different than the last, but I’m up for the challenge. Thankfully the kid loves the outdoors and horses so I’m sure it’ll be a blast for us all. Or maybe complete chaos, you never actually know with kids, that’s what makes this parenting gig so much fun *Wink, wink*