The barrel racing season in Canada, goes by fast. This year the Western Horse Review has followed Raylee Edwards of Walter Quarter Horses on our Futurity Road article series. Throughout the past several months, each one of the farm’s youngsters has shown they have the ability to mature into a high calibre barrel horse. For Raylee, there have been many highs and lows at each race. Every run on a young horse is an opportunity to discover what the athlete may be truly capable of and what needs to be improved. Here is an update on these four futurity horses, as the season turns towards the final showdown at the Canadian Barrel Horse Incentive Futurity and Derby in Ponoka, AB, Oct. 4-7th.
“It is an example of the ups and downs of their futurity year. Right now, it is her time,” says Raylee.
In Cardston, she was the only horse out of the bunch to make the finals. Super Sue finished 12th at that futurity and at this point, Raylee couldn’t be happier with how this mare has sprung forward out of the pack.
“I have been working her a lot at home. I will ride her outside and then do lots of circles. Then I’ll go back inside to work her on the barrels. I want her so that when she sees a barrel she is magnetized to it.”
So far Super Sue is running in the top of the 1D at the southern Alberta jackpots. This proves this little mare may eventually take Raylee into the top of the standings.
Following this Sept 16th run at Brooks, AB, (clocking a 14.9) Raylee mentions, “She ran better Saturday 14.6 which was I think 22nd out of 300 plus barrel racers.”
At this point in the season, Fast Eddie is running some fast times, but the challenge is keeping it fun for him. Towards the beginning, Fast Eddie was standing out of the pack. During July, Raylee felt that he needed a bit of a break.
Fast Eddie’s current exercise routine involves a lot of casual outside riding. This may involve moving horses or trotting up and down coulee banks. While putting a solid pattern on a horse is important, Raylee says once they have it figured out, there is no sense drilling it into them.
His runs at the South Country Futurity in Cardston, AB, were not what Raylee was hoping for. While he is making progress in getting over a few green horse jitters, keeping Eddie ahead in the game may be a matter of taking it easy.
Floozy is running top times but still testing her rider at every turn. She is scooting down the arena hard, but makes sure Raylee rides her hard all the way through the pattern.
“I have to be a thought-step in front of her.” Floozy is a very zippy mare and after knocking a couple barrels at Cardston, Raylee says, “She isn’t going through any bad spells, I just have to keep up with her thinking.”
Somedays coming to an important race, a rider can try to over think the game. Raylee says when this happens, it is tough to keep herself from riding too tight.
“I am tight at the big futurities and it causes her to be tight. She can go so fast so quick and then shut down to nothing so quick. You have to be just right. The less I do with her the more. She does not need the drilling.”
Unfortunately McCabe has been put on the back burner over the summer. After being pulled out of Ponoka, he has not been running since. He is now starting making a comeback, as Raylee is now putting him back into shape.
After showing great potential earlier in the year, Raylee is hoping he will once again begin to put himself into the top of the pack. Currently, this young horse is running in the top of the 2D and is quickly catching up with the gang.