It's no secret—this summer has not been what I thought it would be in the horse department. I left home with three solid horses, one of them I consider truly great in T-Boy, and come mid-August, I am flat afoot.
T-Boy is out, Sailor isn't 100% and Kevin is hurt. Those were my big three going into the summer run, and last week, Charly had to drive from Stephenville, Texas, to Billings, Montana, to bring me a colt on which I have to try to out-duel the best breakaway ropers in the world. That's the reality of horses and rodeo.
I’ve seen this ball coming for a while, right? Six or seven years ago, I looked up and all of a sudden I had all head horse prospects. I knew breakaway was getting better and better, but I was focusing on half-run and half-cow, and all I had to breakaway on was T-Boy. I knew I had to make adjustments right then and there if I was going to be more serious about the breakaway, and I'm so fortunate that I realized that then.
Now, I can really see the value in making sure I have enough horses coming along, and I hope the rest of the breakaway ropers who are trying to rodeo (and even those in the junior rodeos and high school ranks) understand this too. You just cannot afford to get complacent in your horses. Right now, you need to have a horse lineup that's three deep if this is what you’re going to do.
Girls are really going to start having to put some time in when they’re home, whether it's tuning a back-up horse or building a young horse. If you can, bring a young one with you on the road. I know you have to have your big guns out everywhere you go, but if you can financially do it, it’s a great idea to have a young one out here. If you’ve got a seasoned back up horse, have it in the rig. We have people everywhere—if you can make friends, and try to find a place to leave the horse somewhere, you can at least have it in the right vicinity.
I thought I was so prepared this summer with three horses ready to go, but I learned that now is the time that you've got to be building your herd if you want to make it out here. BRJ