Shamrock Performance Horses

Tyler, Helen, Jaden and Rowdey Nowosad of Dewberry, AB.

BY GUEST AUTHOR, JESSI SELTE

Shamrock Performance horses owned and operated by Tyler and Helen Nowosad of Dewberry, Alberta, not only showed this years ABRA 1D champion horse, they also trained the DR Nick Bar Granddaughter, Raise The Gold Bar aka “Alley,” at the 2017 Canadian Barrel Horse Incentive Super Stakes held this past weekend in Ponoka, AB.

 

The dynamic duo of Alley and Helen made lasting impressions right from their first competition together in 2015, bringing home the Bohnet’s Barrel Barn Futurity Buckle. With a very successful 2015 season behind them, Alley needed a break as she suffered a wire cut that took her out of the 2016 racing season. Fully healed and well conditioned the team set their sights high for 2017. Long miles on the road did not deter, placing them at the top all spring and summer. August found them at the Alberta Barrel Racing Association Finals in Ponoka, Alberta. After multiple days and consistent runs they secured the 1D champion spot, and the championship saddle.

 

One of many buckles earned by Helen and Raise The Gold Bar.

Every success has a back-story and Helen and Tyler’s is one of hard work and determined nature. The quiet humble couple, live with their two children Jaden (11) and Rowdey (7), three dogs and numerous other barnyard animals just south of the Chuckwagon Capital of Canada in Dewberry, AB. They bought the ranch in November of 2007 and have since upgraded the property to be safe and functional for their broodmares and young stock.

One of the foals produced by the Nowosad family.

With mutual interest and involvement in College Rodeo and roping, Tyler and Helen found each other. Shortly after College Tyler, a welder by trade, focused his energy on taking care of his young family. Competition wouldn’t stay away long though. The young couple persevered through pedigree to find top performances horses. The first being, a DR Nick Bar mare, the horse that Helen developed her outstanding ability as a barrel racer. After much success with the DR Nick Bar line, and collecting four own daughters by the legendary stallion, this would be the start of their elite bred broodmare band. This includes Alley’s sensational Dam “Sweet Fleet Bar.” The DR Nick Bar horses have proven their athletic ability and superior mindsets time and time again.

The couple knew right from the start how important a solid proven foundation would be. Not only did the mares have to prove themselves, but the foals had to perform as well. That thought process led to the Nowosad’s obtaining their double-bred Peppy San badger stallion BSF Northern Boon, aka “Vegas” (Peptos Quick Pick x El Northern Dance).

This next key purchase, Vegas, started as a smooth moving yearling, who caught Tyler’s eye at an auction sale. Tyler had planned to sit on his hands that day, but couldn’t resist a bid. In 2014 the Nowosad’s started crossing Vegas with their DR Nick Bar daughters, and in no time fell in love with the cross. Vegas now is the primary stallion used at Shamrock Performance Horses.

The young stallion and Tyler shared their own success story this spring, when SR Vegas Got Lucky aka “Marley,” was sold to 2016 World Champion Header Levi Simpson. Marley, the first son of Vegas’, found his niche in team roping instead of barrel racing. This allowed Tyler to campaign his skills as a roper and trainer.

Versatility in the performance world can be a hard to achieve. Combining dominant race blood with outcross working cow horse lines, generates an opportunity for the Nowosad’s to utilize all of their abilities. This is very evident in the horses that they are now performing on. This foundation of strong genetics in pedigree will remain stable for years to come.

Jaden and Rowdey are also an integral part of the system. They expose, and challenge the young horses to adhere to the “younger generations” tasks. Further demonstrating the quality of mind produced through the outcross genetics.

With winter fast approaching the Nowosad’s are gearing up for 2018. Fully dedicated, each and every one of them contributes their time, effort and dollars to insuring the success of the program. Helen is currently taking the steps necessary to get Alley on the track to RFD TV’s American Rodeo Richest One Day Rodeo in the World, hosted in Texas February 2018.

The Canadian Barrel Horse Incentive Breeders Sale October 7, 2017 in Ponoka, Alberta, was a strong start to the new season. Where they had a yearling filly “Sweet Northern Nick” entered with her Super Stakes Certificate and selling as the reserve highest bid. This filly is eligible for the added incentive money if run at the CHBI Thanksgiving race in the future. This was the first available yearling horse to be sold out of the program.

However, that was not the end of the Nowosad’s success at the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend. “Alley” held up her end of the bargain as well. With the fastest times on day 1&2 of the CBHI Derby, Helen and Alley had the long wait of being the last run in the Short Go. Excitement coursed through the arena as the dynamic duo “peeled paint” on three exceptional barrels, not only to win, but also to set an arena record at Calnash Center, with a 16.824 sec run. Hard work pays off but does not start nor end in the arena.

The Nowosad family will be busy introducing their exciting young prospects to the training program. Their training program involves many aspects including gentle starts; to develop balance and minds, extensive exposure to kids, dogs and other animals; with consistent training by all four members. One training tip they take very seriously is giving their horses praise. By developing a strong horse/rider bond through praise, the Nowosad’s are able to establish a willing confident partner.

Helen credits mentor NFR qualifier Lee Ann Rust for elevating her confidence and refining the mechanics of the training program. Rust’s insightful instruction has greatly influenced Helen’s guidance of her daughter Jaden.

Tyler and Helen are very excited for the future of their program. As well as watching Jaden and Rowdey make an impression on the rodeo world. The Shamrock may be a symbol of luck, but it’s the dedication of this exceptional family that brings success to Shamrock Performance Horses.

Show Me the Money

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

Canada Night doesn’t happen until Thursday at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. But apparently the Canadian contingent of WNFR qualifiers either didn’t get the memo or they just plain couldn’t wait.

The first all Canadian team roping team hasn’t just showed up at this Finals, they have been a factor in every round, including a win in round one. Tonight the Alberta twosome, Ponoka’s Levi Simpson and Arrowwood heeler, Jeremy Buhler, had their fastest run to date, a 4.0 to split the round with Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, each of the four men pocketing $23,480. Simpson and Buhler remain in 2nd place in the average and have moved to 7th and 6th respectively in the world standings.

“We just missed the WNFR field last year,” Simpson commented. “This year, we worked harder at it, put in more practice time and prepared mentally for every situation in the arena.”

That preparation served the Alberta duo well in Round 5. “Like Levi, I don’t get caught up in the show,” Buhler, the man sporting the most famous beard at this NFR added. “I don’t hear the music, I just keep it simple and watch the feet.”

It took Jake Vold 14 WNFR rounds to win his first go round buckle. It took him one to win his second. Twenty four hours after winning round four with a sensational 89.5, the Airdrie (via Ponoka) three time Canadian champion came back with a spectacular 89 score on Hi Lo Pro Rodeo’s Wilson Sanchez. The back to back wins have propelled Vold to 4th place in the average and fifth in the world.

Before the twenty-nine year-old talent nodded his head tonight, there were already three scores of 86 points or higher on the board. No problem for Jake Vold.

“I want someone to jump out there with a 90 so I can go get them,” he confided. “Seeing big rides before me fuels my fire.”

The Calgary Stampede bucking sensation Xplosive Skies lived up to his name as he pitched Manitoba bareback rider Orin Larsen to the Thomas and Mack turf before the eight second klaxon en route to winning the Rank Horse of the Night Award.

And not to be outdone, the three Canadian bronc riders brought their A (Eh!) game with Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott grabbing a 3/4 split – courtesy of his 86.5 ride on Bar T Rodeo’s Son of Sadie. And right behind his countryman was the Hudson Hope, British Columbia man, Jake Watson who took home a 6th place cheque with his 85 score on Stace Smith Rodeo’s Resistol’s Top Hat. Watson has quietly fashioned a solid Finals to date after qualifying in fifteenth spot. He is now five for five and has climbed to third in the average.

The third Canadian bronc rider, recent bridegroom Zeke Thurston was 81 points on the appropriately named Maple Leaf of Frontier Rodeo. The Big Valley cowboy was just out of the money in Round 5. Reigning World Champion, Jacobs Crawley, from Boerne, Texas, bounced back from a Round 4 buck-off to mark a spectacular 89 on Frontier Rodeo’s four time world champion, Medicine Woman. The Monday night go-round also marked the end of 18 year old Ryder Wright’s record-tying run. After four consecutive go-round wins, the Milford, Utah cowboy bucked off Flying 5 Rodeo’s Spring Planting.

Minnesota bull dogger JD Struxness continued his hot streak with a 3.5 second run. Over the last three days, Struxness has two go-round wins and a 1-2 split. In the barrel racing, go-round winner was Keizer, Oregon cowgirl Amberleigh Moore with a 13.62 second run. And in the bull riding, Scottie Knapp of Albuquerque, New Mexico made his first ride of the 2016 WNFR a profitable one. His 87 on Rafter H Rodeo Livestock’s Breaking Bad was good for the go round win.

About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alberta is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. Join us for our premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) – in early November each year in Edmonton, Alberta at Northlands Coliseum. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @prorodeocanada, like Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook, or online at RodeoCanada.com.

The Gain, The Pain and $17.04

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of Canadian Professional Rodeo Association.

 

Probably no two contestants better personify the drama of the Cinch Pro Series Canada Series Final than Alberta team ropers Steele DePaoli and Kasper Roy.

DePaoli and Roy entered the weekend event as distinct longshots. Both were sitting 18th in the Canadian standings, $2,500 back of the 12th and final CFR qualifying berth with six teams between them and every contestant’s dream—Edmonton in November.

But the duo overcame a sluggish September to come up big when it mattered most. A 5.4 second run won the opening round on Friday night. Then the Mossleigh, AB, heeler, Roy, and Longview, AB’s DePaoli managed a 4/4 split in Saturday night’s second round with a 5.6. The two runs meant a second place finish in the average and a total payoff of $3281.25 per man. The payday vaulted six time CFR qualifier DePaoli all the way to 8th in the final standings with two time CFR contestant, Roy, climbing to 10th spot on the heeling side.

“We definitely had a game plan,” DePaoli admitted. “Kasper and I talked about it and we both thought we should just try to win the average and if we happened to do really good in the rounds, that was just an added bonus. Then when we won that first round, we knew we had a chance to be up there in the average. We figured if we caught our steer on Saturday we’d be going to Edmonton. I stayed off the barrier and took an extra swing in that last round just to be sure. And Kasper took an extra swing too. The runs we made there were pretty well exactly like the runs we’d been making in practice the last few weeks.”

And being a couple of veteran guys helped too. “Yeah, this was probably as relaxed as we’ve been all season,” DePaoli added. “One thing I’ve learned over the years is how not to panic. I guess I never thought I wasn’t going to be at the CFR but there comes a time when you have to do something about it. And it was cool that this was our time.”

DePaoli had high praise for the Pro Series Final. “It’s a great concept for competitors and it’s awesome for the crowd too.”

The Cinch Pro Series Final’s success was part of a special month for the second generation roper. Three weeks earlier, he and Becky Treich became engaged. For now DePaoli plans a little R and R with a sheep hunt in the offing before the serious practicing for the CFR gets started.

“If the weather  stays decent, I’d like to do quite a bit right here at home,” he noted. “And I’ll have to talk to Kasper about our game plan for Edmonton but I think if we made our goal to win the average up there as well, things should turn out okay.”

But the team roping drama didn’t end with the big move from Roy and DePaoli. Defending Canadian Champion (header) Roland McFadden hung on for 11th spot in the final standings and a chance to defend his title. And with families, fans and contestants working calculators and texting furiously back and forth, the battle for the final spot was the most dramatic of all. Clint Buhler who didn’t qualify for the Calgary event, had to watch helplessly as Riley Warren (and others) charged up the standings. In the end it was Warren who (roping with Buhler’s brother Jeremy at the Series Finals) came closest… his quest for 12th place coming up just $17.04 short. Cue the sigh of relief from Clint Buhler.

The nail-biting didn’t end there, however. On the heeling side, Merritt, BC cowboy, Spencer Rutherford, roping with Strathmore, AB, header Denver Johnson, was 13th heading into the weekend. The duo caught last hole (4th) in the average for $625, enough to sneak Rutherford into the top twelve. He finished up 10th on the season. And the moves into the standings by Roy and Rutherford meant that Chase Simpson of Claresholm hung on to the final CFR berth while Saskatchewan roper, Brady Chappel, and McFadden’s heeling partner, Tyrel Flewelling, were bumped from the top twelve. Flewelling, the three time and defending champion heeler from Lacombe, AB, finished just $24.19 back of Simpson. Rutherford too will have to find another partner for Edmonton as Johnson, with fewer rodeos through the season, fell short in his CFR chase.

The Cinch Pro Rodeo Canada Series Final Team Roping Champions were Klay Whyte and Brett Buss with earnings of $4,218 each.

The team roping was not the only high-stakes action taking place at the Agrium Western Event Centre. In the bull riding, 2006 Canadian champion, Tanner Girletz, was another guy with a large mountain to climb heading into the weekend. The third generation talent rolled into Calgary with a broken arm (his free hand) and a $1,200 deficit to make up if he wanted to extend his season. Girletz bucked off Friday night, leaving himself one final chance to add an eighth CFR qualification to his resume. But the 32-year-old was ready. A spectacular 86-point ride on Saturday night on Outlaw Buckers’ Tennessee Whisky was enough to win the round and guarantee Girletz third in the average. The $2,500 haul was more than sufficient to jump the popular Carstairs, AB, cowboy into the top 12 and relegate Meeting Creek’s Garrett Green to spectator status.

In tie down roping, it was the veteran Rimbey hand, Dean Edge, making the decisive move. Edge was his consistent self, placing in both go-rounds and the average to earn just over $2,000, enough to move him into the top 12 and slide Virgil Poffenroth to the sidelines.  Riley Warren, who narrowly missed the cut in the team roping, nevertheless had a profitable weekend. The timed event specialist earned  $4,687 overall and will be heading to Edmonton in the tie-down roping.

The overall Cinch Final Tie-Down Roping Champion was Alwin Bouchard with a total of $3,906.

For the second year in a row, Taber, AB’s Nancy Csabay enjoyed a stellar couple of days in Calgary. A year ago, she and her talented mare, Wicked, used a big Cinch Pro Series Final to capture season leader honours. This time around the stakes were a little higher as the reigning Canadian Champion was sitting in 13th spot and needing a little more magic if she wanted to get back to Edmonton to defend her title. The twosome responded to the challenge by finishing third in both rounds and winning the average to carry Csabay ($3,750) to the Calgary victory and punch her ticket to the CFR.

Csabay’s effort left rookie Colby Gilbert in 12th place and heading to her first CFR. Kerilee Noval, who had been sitting precariously in that 12th spot entering weekend action, had not qualified for Calgary and ended up on the outside looking in.

The remaining events were no less exciting but didn’t see the dramatic position changes noted above. In the bareback riding, late season surges by a youthful trio meant that all three would make their first appearances at the CFR. Eastend, Saskatchewan’s Dantan Bertsch, Sherwood Park, AB, cowboy, Kody Lamb and Okotoks, AB hand, Pascal Isabelle, finished up 10th, 11th and 12th respectively. Michael Solberg earned the Championship with $4,843 won.

Josh Harden, the defending All-Around champion, and the 12th man in the saddle bronc riding standings prior to the Calgary production, protected his CFR berth with a solid showing. But the story in the bronc riding was Sylvan Lake, AB’s Lane Cust. The two-time novice champion won both go-rounds and the average to ride out of Calgary with a cool $5,000 in his Cinch jeans and a Resistol Rookie of the Year title as well. Cust’s performance carried him past first year steer wrestler, Brendan Laye, to capture the top rookie honours.

No significant changes were recorded in the steer wrestling as a couple of central Alberta doggers, Rowdy Hays in 11th place and Brock Butterfield in 12th, neither of whom were in the Calgary Series Finals, were able to weather the storm. The 2012 All-Around Champion, Travis Reay of Mayerthorpe, AB, came up just short in his effort to catch one or both and qualify for a fifth consecutive CFR berth. The 2016 Cinch Pro Final Steer Wrestling Champion was Straws Milan ($4,687.)

For complete unofficial Cinch Pro Rodeo Canada Series Finals results, go to rodeocanada.com

Freeze Frame – Barrel Racing

There’s no denying it, Sherry Cervi is on fire. The defending world champion barrel racer and her legendary mount, Stingray, light up the dirt in any arena that they run in. So what equipment do they use to set them apart from all of the other girls who are hot on their heels?

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1) BIT. I ride Stingray in a two piece snaffle from the Carolina Bit Company.

2) HAT, SHIRT, JEANS. In this photo, I am wearing a Resistol straw hat, a Resistol shirt from my own collection and Cowgirl Tuff jeans.

3) HORSE BOOTS. I use Legacy splint boots on the front and back legs, made by Classic Equine.

4) PAD. Also by Classic Equine, I use a plain felt pad for under-the-saddle support.

5) SADDLE. I ride a Crown C saddle, made by Martin Saddlery.

South Country Barrel Racing Futurity & Derby

Contestants from across Western Canada and five northwestern states competed in the largest futurity and derby in Canada May 16-18th. Held in the Cardston Agridome the South Country Barrel Futurity and Derby saw 63 horses ran in the futurity, 57 horses competed in the derby, as well as over 380 entries in the open 4D barrel race. This year’s event had over $16,000 added money plus prizes.

One of the event organizers Monica Wilson said that it was the best weekends for good weather they have seen in awhile, adding there was no snow!

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Rayel Little and Dreamy Little Nick took home the futurity average saddle and over $2,800.

In the Futurity the top 15 average times after two runs came back for the short round. With a time of 14.290 in the short go, Rayel Little on Dreamy Little Nick took home over $2,800 for winning the short go and the average as well as a trophy saddle.

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Derby Champions Elaina Black and Possible Rockstar took home a trophy saddle and over $2,500.

The top 12 average times on two runs in the Derby came back for the short go. In the end it was Elaina Black on Possible Rockstar who ended up on top turning in a 14.290 in the short round and to go on to win the average. Black left Cardston with a trophy saddle and over $2,500 richer.

In the open 4D it was Sonda Marks on Time To Raise The Bar who won the average buckle in the 1D. Kari Bloor on Drum took home the 2D buckle, Barbra Kennedy on Allie won the 3D buckle and Randa Nugent won the average in the 4D on Howes Pitch Black.

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All short go qualifiers went home with winter blankets and prize money

A Family Built on Champions

When it comes to pursuing their passions, the Whiteside Family runs nothing short of hard work, motivation and determination.

It’s all in the family for Travis and Dusti Whiteside. They are champions – making champions. Travis, a 12-time Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier, Canadian Champion, season leader and multiple-time Calgary Stampede qualifier in the bareback riding, and his wife Dusti, who qualified for Nationals every year during high school, competing in cutting, breakaway roping, barrel racing, goat tying and pole bending, also receiving a scholarship from her successes, are now passing on knowledge to their own children – as well as many other children.

Whiteside Family

The Whiteside Family

Travis and Dusti have two daughters, Kylie 13, and Bradi 11. Though these girls are still young, Kylie just coming into her teen years, and Bradi being four foot nothing – don’t think for a second that these two won’t out rope, or even out ride you. They were both pretty well riding before they could walk, and had a pretty good taste of rodeo early on in life.

Where it all started!

Where it all started!

Their mother, Dusti, is the founder of Small Spurs Rodeo. It is an organization specially for children 14 and under, started in 2007. When talking with Dusti about Small Spurs, she had started the program realizing that, there really was nothing for kids to get started in rodeo. As it has been one of her passions for several years, she also stated that it is important for kids to have something to do, where they can set a goal, achieve that goal, get to a rodeo, and stay out of trouble. With her prizes ranging from buckles to saddles, everyone gets a prize. Dusti is very grateful to all the sponsors that donate, allowing her to continue to run Small Spurs Rodeo, and make it a great, positive atmosphere for children, and everybody. Dusti even admits that running Small Spurs Rodeo has changed her as a person, and she is happy for that.

Both Kylie and Bradi got their start in Small Spurs Rodeo. Since starting rodeo, Kylie has had many accomplishments. Her bigger accomplishments include qualifying for Nationals in Gallup, New Mexico, Canadians, and even winning her first saddle in the all-around at 9-years-old.

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Kylie making another great run!

Gallup, NM

Gallup, NM

Bradi, recently won the all-around title at the Canadian Girls Rodeo Association Finals, was the season leader in the pole bending, and was the youngest competitor qualifying in all of her events. She was also the Rookie of the Year in Junior High School Rodeo, and qualified for Nationals in Gallup, New Mexico, where she set the fast time in the pole bending, with a time of 20.1 to win first, as well as a 19.9 with a knocked pole, and still winning second. 

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Bradi getting one roped… quick!

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Bradi and her winnings.

For as young as these girls are, and the accomplishments they have to date, people may ask, “What makes them so good?”

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Kylie and Bradi spending some quality time with their horses in Gallup, New Mexico

Well, they all eat, sleep and breathe what they love. Recently, the girls have been getting home schooled.  At first, Travis and Dusti were non-believers in the whole home schooling idea, but eventually they thought they would give it a try, and said so far, it has been great. Other than Travis said, “Kylie and Bradi are always hiding on me, and then I look out the window and see them riding bareback across the field on the young horses.”

The girls couldn’t be happier. They love that they have way more time to work with their horses, and pursue their passions. Ultimately, these two want to be great champions.

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The Whiteside girls compete together in the Team Roping as well!

I have watched Kylie and Bradi grow, and ride over the years, and always could see how “handy” these two were going to be. My eyes were opened even more when Dusti started showing me videos. Things like, Kylie teaching her horse to rear up, then another video of her going around the barrels bareback and bridleless, and then both Kylie and Bradi had taught their horses to lie down within a day. It just goes to show how important “quality time” is.

Aside from being a rodeo family, I admire the personal values they share with their children, as well as with the children from Small Spurs:

  • It is important to win.
  • It is important to lose.
  • You can never be a winner, until you have learned how to lose.
  • Always congratulate people.
  • Smile – even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Be a humble winner, and a graceful loser.
  • Don’t ever beat your horse up.

“If you don’t dream, it doesn’t happen. Everybody has to have dreams to be successful.” ~ Dusti Whiteside

One Day at a Time

Meet Brooke. The past few years have been an incredible journey, not knowing what life had in store for her. So she took it one day at a time.

As a young, vibrant barrel racer, Brooke was on top of the world. She was young, had many accomplishments under her belt already, such as multiple qualifications for Canadian Girls Rodeo Association (CGRA) and Alberta Barrel Racing Association (ABRA) Barrel Racing Finals. as well as being a tough competitor in the High School Rodeo Association in Barrel Racing, Pole Bending and Goat Tying. She was ready to take on the world, and had her whole life waiting for her.

Brooke making yet another great run.

Brooke making yet another great run.

When Brooke was at the age of 19, it was January 16, 2012. Brooke had received every high school graduating student’s long awaited college acceptance letter. Later that day, she also received some devastating news. She had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), not exactly how she pictured that day would go.

When I asked Brooke how she felt about it right after she was diagnosed, she said, “For a young 19-year-old girl, who was not even a year out of graduating high school, being diagnosed with cancer was certainly not how I pictured that day to go. Something no one could ever imagine happening, a true nightmare. At first I was really scared, and scared many times throughout my journey.”

Immediately after being diagnosed, the doctors proceeded with a bone marrow extraction, and from that test they can determine all the details of the leukaemia and how they were going to treat Brooke. From there, they started by testing siblings, and there is only a 30% chance they could be a potential match. Unfortunately, Brooke’s brother was not a match. After finding out that her brother was not a match, the doctors went to a worldwide stem cell and bone marrow bank, called OneMatch. This process was started at the end of January to beginning of February. They went through all the possible donors until at least two 100% matches were found. One, who will be the donor, and the other, a person for backup.

Brooke learned of her transplant date in mid-May, and received her transplant on June 22, 2012.

“Not being able to contact or know any information about my donor, a year later, when it was possible, I put in for a request for contacting each other. Receiving further information about my donor, I then proceeded to contact her. I am happy to say we are friends and keep in contact on a regular basis.”

In the beginning of Brooke being diagnosed, she was very focused on telling her friends, family and loved ones that it was going to be okay. I asked Brooke what mindset she had throughout her healing, “I centered so much on positives. I truly believe in the power of positive thinking, and I surrounded myself with positive things. There are some things in life you just cannot control, you just have to know that someone has a greater plan for you, and never lose faith. At times, keeping totally positive, and not losing my head was hard. During those times, I was so lucky to be surrounded by people who loved me; they would tell me a funny story or give me encouraging things to read, always letting me know that there was light at the end of the tunnel. I really had to put everything on hold, my friends, barrel racing, even being outside. At first it was really hard; I just wanted to be like everyone else again. I focused all that time on myself, I needed to focus on myself to get better, put everything on hold at that time, so that I can do what I love for the rest of my life.”

Staying Positive!

Staying Positive!

Throughout Brooke’s healing and time in the hospital, she received many beautiful messages, sayings, and thoughts from so many people. The words that stuck with her the most, and were the most inspirational were from her doctor. It was almost as if these words were etched into her soul for as long as she needed them. “You must just take it “One Day at a Time.” So, she did. At that point in her life, she couldn’t think about the past or even the future. Brooke focused on those inspiring words every moment throughout her journey.

On September 27, 2012, Brooke was told she was cancer free.

Brooke is now back in the saddle, but it has not been overnight to get back to her lifelong passion. “This past year has really been a struggle for me, as I wanted to be doing what I love before I was even ready to. I never really realized how much of what I had been through really affected my body, till that fall when I started riding again. It was a horrible feeling when I went to get on my horse and I did not even have the strength to pull myself up onto the saddle. I took most of the winter off, as I do not have an immune system yet, and decided those indoor arenas may not be the best thing for me. This spring and summer I have been riding lots going to a few jackpots and rodeos here and there.

Brooke is back out at the jackpots, and has been going to some Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeos (CIRA); and, because we compete together at the jackpots, may I mention, she is starting to kick ass again!

This past August, Brooke was blessed with a horse named Dumpling. “When I first got him, I was so nervous; the first couple runs together were not so picture perfect. I had almost forgotten how to ride. I had lost all my strength, and my confidence as a rider. So, a lot of the first couple months I spent just riding him, mostly out in the open stubble field and walking the barrel pattern. I would go out in the pasture and just lie in the grass and watch him. Always greeting me for a cookie, I would just stand there and brush him. I was doing lots so we could get to know each other. If we were going to connect barrel racing, first we needed to connect as friends.”

Brooke with Dumpling.

Brooke with Dumpling.

“For the first while, he was just taking care of me; I remember one jackpot he left the third barrel so hard he almost lost me, then shortly remembered I wasn’t ready to go that fast. The more we barrel raced, the more I gained confidence in myself and the more we gained in each other. These past couple months, I have been going to some college rodeos and barrel races. It’s been going really well, making some points and some money here and there. For each run, we keep getting better and better, I am really excited to see what the future brings for the two of us. It has not been till the start of this winter that I am finally starting to find that I am riding like my old self.”

Life is precious.

“There are so many moments in life people take for granted. Spending a lot of time in the hospital, I really got a great understanding of this. Being out of the hospital, I certainly wake up each morning with a smile on my face. Receiving my life-saving gift, I feel as if I have gotten a second chance at life and I do not want to waste it. Embracing life, I cherish all the milestones I once did not know if I would be able to. I take every opportunity presented to me, because, from experience, I truly know that life can change forever in the blink of an eye. You can’t take for granted what you have today; you don’t know what will come tomorrow or even if there will be a tomorrow.” — Brooke Patton

To contribute to success stories like Brooke, you can visit www.onematch.com and give someone a second chance at life.

Birth of a Champion

Harley. Photo by Lee Ann Rust.

Contestants are gearing up and counting down to the 40th annual Canadian Finals Rodeo, while one in particular has an interesting task on hand while she is there.

Lee Ann Rust, a CFR barrel racing competetior will be there to barrel race, but also to sign a brand new children’s book that she has written. Rust has written a book about her great barrel horse. Harley, and has shared the story of the trials and sucess along the way.

Lee Ann Rust’s new book about her champion barrel racing horse, Harley.

I remember Lee Ann when she first came up to Canada to rodeo, and she was a very unique individual. Her whole life, and spare time seemed to revolve around Harley, and his well being. She spent hours working on him through stimulating acupressure points, and having a natural approach with his health.  Then she would go and run – and win! I am lucky enough that I have been able to get to know Lee Ann over the past few years, and I must say she is a true inspiration. She is always there to cheer you on, and help you if needed, and always has a great story to tell. I have to laugh when I watch some of my barrel racing runs – because all you hear is Lee Ann in the background, “sit, sit, sit, sit, sit!” and as I round the barrel a really loud, “YEAH! Go on now!”

I love hearing how she wants the best for everybody.

Lee Ann is donating an autographed book to each child at the Canadian Finals Rodeo who is involved with the Rodeo Magic, and she will be autographing a limited number of copies at the Rodeo.

Her book is also available (for U.S. orders only) at www.harleythehorse.com, for $11.95 plus tax, plus shipping and handling, and can be found on Amazon.

Just knowing Lee Ann personally – I can assure you this will be a great book to read.

Starting the Barrel Horse

So you have a horse that you think can be a barrel horse, or you want to be a barrel horse. How do you know when or if they are ready to get started? I am going to write from my personal experiences, and share with you.

We all get in the mode of: Lets do this, and then we head straight to the pattern. Whether it be right or wrong, who am I to say, but first off let us review a few things. Any horses that I have had in for outside training or riding, or even with giving lessons, yes, they seem to know the pattern, but there are some real important elements of foundation missing. Not with all of them, but generally most of them. Without a foundation, when your horse blows up, which they eventually will, you have nothing to fall back on, or to go back to, to reinforce the basics.

First of all, can your horse stop? And I don’t mean lean into the bit and trickle down, pushing on you the whole way with their back end trailing behind and bouncing on their front end. Can they stop, use themselves, be smooth, have timing, and respond to your body cues?

Kendra Edey preparing to achieve a balanced stop. Photo by Joel Edey

Secondly, can they cross over with their front end, not swinging their hind out, and do a proper roll back by pivoting on their hind foot?

Kendra Edey having her horse cross over with his front end. Photo by Joel Edey

Shoulder control – does your horse respond to when you pick them up with the bit, or is it a power struggle?

Can you lope a smaller circle, or any sized circle for that matter, and have their hip engage underneath itself?

Kendra Edey teaching her young horse how to engage his hip underneath himself. Photo by Joel Edey

Also, are they soft in the face? When you put pressure on their mouth, do they give? Are you in charge of the throttle?

At any time, whether it be on the ground or on their back, you can reinforce all of the above. Manners are what it comes down to. I am not condoning being cruel; but have a respectful boundary, especially for safety.

Personally, if your horse cannot do some of these, or any of these, I would advise working on it and staying away from the pattern until it know these things. A horse does not have to be wound up and crazy to be able to run barrels and compete. They need to be broke, and be able to be efficient where those hundredths of a second counts. Without these basics, a horse cannot work to their full potential and will either end up hurting themselves, scaring themselves, or not lasting very long as a barrel horse. I work on these things daily, for me and for the horses I ride. Whether you are going for a joy ride, or practice, always ride and practice with a purpose. Bring out the champion in both you and your horse. Everybody has different opinions on what it takes to make a barrel horse, but this is what has worked for me.

Take what you like from it and best of luck.