Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Barrel Racer's Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

This year, I've been very, very good. I have taken my horses to the vet when I thought they were the very least bit sore, and I've rested them when they've needed it. I have cleaned my stalls each and every day, and I've always picked my horses' feet before and after riding. I make sure there are enough shavings in the back of my trailer, and I keep my truck clean and above a quarter tank.

I have paid my fees through money I made working pleasure horses and have paid my fuel bills by pumping plasma out of my arms twice each week. I have spent hours sitting through mundane meetings for work and have written hundreds of stories for the newspaper, all to pay for my habit - barrel racing.

I've run in the rain and the mud and in the hot summer heat, and I've sat through the cold at barrel races. I have exhibitioned my young horse and not hurried her, and I've retired my old horse when it was her time.

So, Santa, if you think I've been good, too, then here's a list of some horsey things I'd like to find under my tree on Christmas morning:

1. A year's supply of Lubrisyn

Santa, Lubrisyn will help me take care of both my young and old horses, and it will keep me from making as many trips to the vet's. My vet even thinks I should have it, knowing it will keep me from driving him nuts with sore horses! It will help keep my horse' joints moving smoothly, even though sometimes I run on some tough ground that hurts them. If you get this for me this year, I'd really like another year's supply next year, too!

2. Ed Hardy Tack from Bar~N LLC

Not just for me, but for my diva mares, too! Santa, this will go perfectly with my new Lagrange Boots, Rock N' Roll Cowgirl and Cowboy Militia  duds. Santa, I haven't bought new tack since I got my custom made 5J set  over four years ago. I'm really due for a good new set! On my old black mare, this stuff would really pop. Santa, like I said before, I've been very, very good.

3. An Ed Hardy Halter by BillieAnn Sexton

It's only fair that I match my new headstall and breastcollar with this halter! Santa, I've had the same rope halter on my old mare for 10 years, and she's definitely due for something flashy on her little head! Plus, with the attitude both my my mares have, Ed Hardy's "Love Kills Slowly" line would fit them perfectly! Santa, you'd also be helping out BillieAnn Sexton by buying me one - she's not a big company, just a great young cowgirl putting out a great product!

4. Western Glamour's "Cowgirl is the New Black" Shirt

This shirt says it all. A life many of us have been living for years is really catching on, as styles are swapping back and forth between western and mainstream. Its the perfect treat for me because I've been a good cowgirl all year long.

5. The New Horse

The mystery horse. Santa, please. I know every little girl asks for a pony every year, but this is serious. I've paid my dues with my young horse, and she's doing great...BUT, I'm really ready for a finished aged mare. I've never had a ready-made horse before, but as I get ready to head out on the career search, finish my thesis for graduation and start a life, it would be great not to have to tune on a colt. The freedom of just being able to go on the weekends and not worry about checking, helping or even just exhibitioning would be amazing! I'd love to not have to get to a barrel race at 7:30 a.m. to exhibition, and heaven forbid, just get there a class before the 4D. Santa, if you need help looking for this horse, I have one in mind - we should talk!

So, Santa -

This is part one of this list. As the holiday season moves forward, I'm sure I'll think of more! Am I being greedy? Probably! But even cowgirls can dream, right?

Thanks, Santa.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Poll! What's your favorite PA/OH winter series?

With many of us struggling through the snow and the wind in Pennsylvania and Ohio throughout the winter, it's great to have an indoor arena to escape to regularly. While many local arenas offer shows of some sort during the colder months, few actually have true winter series with year-end awards. In western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, Buckhorn Arena (West Sunbury, Penn.) hosts Fast Times events that combine steer wrestling and barrel racing, giving out great year-end awards. This year, Blue Lakes Arena (Newbury, Ohio) will be giving out a series saddle at its winter series contest shows. Dave Martin always hosts the Sundance Arena (Fredonia, Penn.) winter rodeo series, that gives out a year-end buckle. 

So, at the right hand side of this page you'll see the poll - which series do you prefer? The poll closes on December 7th!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Despite Knock, Poppino's Team wins WPRA Finals Team Tournament

This year, the Women's Professional Rodeo Association tried out a new team event at the organization's World Finals, and The Barrel Racing Blog 's good friend Tana Poppino 's team took home the team title. Despite her knock aboard Goose , the rest of the team dominated and brought home the title.

To read Tana's full blog on the event on her website, click here . 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Giveaway at On The Rodeo Road!

My good friends at On The Rodeo Road are giving away another bag of Daily Edge from Total Health Enhancement! All you have to do is write a comment on their blog about what your goals are for 2010, and they'll pick a new winner sometime soon! So click here to go straight to their site and get to typing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

When Navicular is the Best News I've Heard All Day...

Normally, I save this blog as an outlet for journalistic expression. I usually write articles about top barrel racers, arena conditions and new products. But, today, I'm reflecting. I'm thinking about where barrel racing fits into the grand scheme of life, and I wanted to share a story with you all.

While I was at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress a few weeks ago, I received a phone call from my mother, letting me know that my aunt had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. I come from a very close family - 'very close' doesn't even begin to touch upon how much love my family has for one another. When I heard about my aunt, I was standing in the middle of Lagrange, looking at gator boots. I stopped, cried and hugged my dearest friends. It was a gut-wrenching moment for me.

Over the last few weeks, we've heard nothing but good news from the doctors. They removed part of her stomach, and the surgery went great. She was told she'd have to be in the hospital for 10 days, since the surgery we got great report after great report. She began eating again, first soup then Jello. And then, just yesterday morning, the bomb went off. My uncle sent me a text message - my aunt's biopsies came back, and the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.

I got this text message just as I was throwing on my boots to head to the vet's with my 16-year-old barrel horse. I had been worried about her all week - worried that she had something seriously wrong with her that would make it impossible for her to ever ride again.

Instantly, though, this message changed my outlook on things. Any news I received about my horse that meant I could keep her happy and healthy for years to come would be good news.

My amazing best friend picked my horse and I up to go to the vets with two of her own horses. She and I agreed that drinks just might be necessary after taking three horses to the vet, and we both expected the worst.

After lots of examining, nerve blocks and x-rays, the doctor had a diagnosis. I discovered she has the very early stages of navicular syndrome, and all she'll need to be sound is proper shoeing to be able to be ridden and loved for years to come. She won't run again - she's earned her retirement 10 times over. My friends horses will be OK in the long-run, too. So, we breathed a sigh of relief.

So, yes, navicular was the best thing I'd heard all day. Sometimes, every once and awhile, something happens that puts the rest of life into perspective. This week was one of those weeks, where all I can do is throw my hands up and go along for the ride. If praying is something you do, I'd appreciate a few prayers for my family. If it's not, please keep my family in mind as we go through this difficult time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bit of the Week - Lance Graves Rope Nose Sidepull

We haven't had a chance to throw together our "Bit-of-the-Week " section lately, but this one is definitely worth a mention.

This Lance Graves' sidepull  is way more than just a hackamore. It's shanks rotate outwards, giving you the feel and connectivity of a snaffle bit while maintaining the pull of the hackamore.

Right now, I'm using it on my six-year old that needs a little bit of a check before a barrel but still needs the lift and guide around a barrel like a snaffle would provide. I can lift her shoulder with this bit and still reach down and pull her around with it if she needs more help. My team roping, horse-stealing boyfriend also heels off of the same horse using this, and it gives him enough pull to slide to a stop on the heeling side.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Update on the 2010 PRCA Season with Tana Poppino

After a rough 2009 season plagued by injuries, The Barrel Racing Blog's friend Tana Poppino is back on the rodeo road with two healthy horses . She's making a run for her third NFR qualification, and so far, she's starting out hot.

As she and her husband drove to a college rodeo to watch her son compete this weekend, Poppino told The Barrel Racing Blog that she won the Billings, Mont., PRCA NILE Rodeo aboard her bay, Amigo.
"Amigo is getting back go his pre-injury runs," Poppino said of the bay that took her to two NFRs.
She also hit the Prairie Circuit Finals , where she won round 1, was third in round two but knocked in round three to put her out of the average.

With Amigo, Poppino's knocked her second barrel twice this year, something that she said is very out of the ordinary.

"I'm going to have to learn from my mistakes," Poppino said. "I'm hitting my second going into it. When I'm sitting really good (to win an average) is when I seem to hit the second."

She's also been running Goose, her grey gelding, at jackpots to keep him sharp. He has to run at the WPRA World Finals in Tulsa, Okla., this weekend while Amigo takes a break before hitting the road hard in January.
"This is really about the only time of the year you can give them a good rest," Poppino said. "Hopefully they're going to be used a lot this coming year."
Keeping her horses healthy is key for Poppino. She regularly uses products from Total Health Enhancement, one of her sponsors. And by the way - our friends at On The Rodeo Road are giving away a FREE bag of the Daily Edge to one of their readers -  just comment on their blog with why you love your horse, and later this week they'll pick a winner!

Stick with The Barrel Racing Blog all year as we follow Tana Poppino throughout her run for the NFR this year!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Giveaway at On The Rodeo Road!

My good friends at On The Rodeo Road are really hooking their readers up with a great product! Total Health Enhancement's  Daily Edge - used by The Barrel Racing Blog 's good friend, NFR-qualifier Tana Poppino - helps maintain horses at top levels of performance.

Just visit On The Rodeo Road and leave a comment telling them why you love your horse so much. Then on November 12, the girls at On The Rodeo Road will select one lucky reader to get a free five-pound bag of the supplement! It's that easy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interview by On The Rodeo Road!

Earlier this week, my friends at On The Rodeo Road interviewed me about The Barrel Racing Blog and my background as a barrel racer. It's humbling to have such a great site interested in what I'm doing here with The Barrel Racing Blog. One of The Barrel Racing Blog's very first posts was a review of On The Rodeo Road!

Please check out everything else the girls at On The Rodeo Road are doing. They're following some top rodeo competitors like Ohio-native Amber Mostoller, and they provide videos and in-depth interviews with competitors. Plus, they've really become one of the best aggregates for rodeo news across the country! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This Week's Barrel Racing Report - NBHA Worlds Results!

This week's Barrel Racing Report  has lots of results from the NBHA World Show, where Ohio's own Brad Shirey took home the 5th place check in the 1D Finals aboard Perky! Pennsylvania cowgirl Kayla Nace took home 12th place in the 2D on top of What's Up Hobby Doc, and Pennsylvania's Vickie Siesky, Shannan Eckenrode and Terry Grow placed in the 3D Finals. 
Special congrats to Terry Grow, who WON the 2nd Go of the Seniors and consistently placed throughout the World Show!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ed Hardy Halters by BillieAnn Sexton

If you did not get to make it to the Congress to shop or if you did not find what you were looking for there, it's time to check out BillieAnn Sexton's hot line of halters made from Ed Hardy belts. Her custom halters add a rocker edge to the western world, with studs and conchos not used by other halter makers. She makes them in her free time on the way to rodeos, so she knows what barrel racers are looking for. Below, Sexton answers questions about her line and how to get a hold of one of these hot halters!

What tack do you offer? Just halters, or more?

When I find the time for fun I make halters and headstalls.

Where did you get the ideas for your halters?

I love the in-style, Ed Hardy line and the belts are really cool so I make the halters and headstalls from Ed Hardy belts.

When did you start making them?

June of 2009.

Where do your materials come from?

Ed Hardy Belts or Kippy Belts, a nylon halter, and "cool" conchos.

Where do you get your ideas?

Imagination, thinking out of the box.

Where do you sell your products?

I put pictures of the halters I made onto my FaceBook and many horse owners take a look.

Who buys this kind of stuff?

Any horse owner, not just rodeo people. 

Why are your halters different from other things on the market now?

They are not just crystals and conchos they have unique style from the Ed Hardy line.

How can an interested party get a hold of one of your products?

Add me on facebook or myspace, Billie Ann Sexton, or e-mail me,