Ciscos French Mojo, owned by Jordan Minor, is just like any other great breakaway horse—she scores great, tracks calves and stops well—but there’s just one thing missing.
Look closely at the win pictures, and you’ll notice that Mojo’s left eye is completely removed.
Minor raised Mojo, and she had high hopes that the 2009 red dun mare would someday be her first-string. All signs showed that Mojo would exceed Minor’s expectations throughout her training process. Once old enough, she took easily to the rodeo road, and in 2016, Minor won the Columbia River Circuit and captured the first female all-around title for the circuit aboard her. The momentum contineud, and the duo took command of the rodeo world, pausing whenever Minor became a mother to Monroe (5) and McCoy (2).
In 2018, they added a Pendleton Round-Up win to their trophy case and continued to dominate near Minor’s home in Hermiston, Oregon. But their fairytale career came to a screeching standstill around the same time the entire world also halted.
“COVID was so hard on everybody, you know,” Minor said. “2020 was a rough year. That’s the year Mojo lost her eye.”
“It was just a dumb accident,” Minor explained. “We didn’t see it happen, but she was in one of our pipe runs and she would usually play with the broodmares and colts over the fence, so we could only assume that they were playing and she pulled her head through and hit the pipe overhang. There was really no mark. Nothing gruesome, nothing bad. We just took her fly mask off and her eye was blue.”
At first, Jordan and her husband, NFR qualifying header Riley Minor, thought it was just a small setback.
“We spent months doctoring it, thinking we could save it, and in the end, the vet explained it like the eye is similar to a camera lens that opens and closes in the eyeball,” Jordan said. “She basically broke the shutter, so it wouldn’t open and wasn’t going to be saved. They said if we left it in there it would be like constant headaches, and she would be shy and spooky. We just turned her out for a year. I thought ‘There went that. My horse that was going to make it big, now I can’t use her anywhere.'”
But that wasn’t the end of Mojo’s story.
Minor decided after a year to give it a shot, and 2022 was the mare’s first full year back to work. Mojo proved that she was eager to get back to rodeo and didn’t miss a beat. All though Mojo can’t fully see the chute, or the calf taking its first steps out of the box, they still make it work to be fast.
“I think I’m really lucky that I haven’t had to drastically change anything with her,” Minor said. “She really has remembered and picked up kind of where we left off. I think more than anything, it was trusting that she is going to do her job. She really breaks to the pin. I used to really point my horses that way. Now I don’t make anything, any major adjustments, but it does cross my mind. I point her a little straighter, so I don’t just make her run into the chute. But—knock on wood—we haven’t yet.”
In September of 2022, Minor backed in the box at Pendleton—the same rodeo that she won in 2018, but had sent her husband to the hospital in 2021—with an understandable amount of anxiety.
“You’re already nervous at Pendleton, but I had a lot of extra thoughts running through my head, that’s for sure.”
Mojo cracked out and split the first round win with a smoking 2.3-run, worth $3,780—enough to secure her qualification to the Columbia River Circuit Finals. After fighting it out until the bitter end in Redmond, Oregon, Minor ended the year with $12,736.57.
Minor wasn’t the only one with family members competing in the Columbia River Circuit in 2022—Mojo had two siblings, as well.
“My aunt and uncle, Butch—you know, the NFR commentator— and Mary Knowles, own Mojo’s sire, Frenchmans Falcon,” Minor humbly explained. “They helped us get more added money for the breakaway on behalf of Frenchmans Falcon at the circuit finals. My cousin, Blake Knowles, was riding one of his babies in the bulldogging and my barrel horse is also by him. It’s cool—she’s a red dun, my barrel horse is a sorrel and Blake’s is a buckskin.”
Minor is now looking ahead to the NFR Open in 2023. She tends to leave full-time rodeo traveling up to her husband, but has a solid support system that helps her balance rodeo and motherhood, including her sister, Callahan, who is married to NFR header Brady Tryan.
“I have my parents, sister and my friends,” Minor said. “We load the truck down with car seats and go, but I don’t ever schedule far in advance or plan on going hard for a summer.”
Learn more about Minor’s family ties here.