In one month my mare will reach her 20th birthday. It’s hard for me to believe that she’s that old. She was 6 when I bought her on April Fool’s day in 1998 while I was going to school at Hutchinson Community College. The purchase may have never happened if it wasn’t for my mom and sister.
My mare, Sweet Heart Slew
I had the cash left over from a sale of another horse and it was burning a hole in my pocket. My sister and I heard of the consignment sale at the sale barn in South Hutchinson, organized by a local rodeo company. The sale was about over when the “granddaughter of Seattle Slew” came through the ring. We looked at each other and said, lets go for it. She did the bidding and we ended up with the brown mare, however I had to borrow $250 more than I had from my sister and my mother. My mom still claims she owns the tail..
The first week I worked with my new mare was eye opening. After one afternoon ride, she had made me so mad that when I got back to the barn with her I handed my sister the reins and said, “here, take her. I don’t want her. She’s nuts!” However, through a little more digging we found she was passed through several sales after running on the track and was just not broke. But I didn’t give up.
We won our first award in 1999 in the Southwest Barrel Racing Association. I believe it was in the rookie class or another class since they weren’t 4D races yet. We later went to win our first jackpot, another SBRA race in Holly, Colo., that next year. That was a great feeling, one I will never forget. Then came college rodeos, and although we never made a short go at one, I believe she became the horse she is because of some of the experiences we had at those college rodeos. More jackpots, and bigger 4D barrel races and eventually Kansas Professional Rodeo Association rodeos. We made the KPRA Finals in 2004 and 2005. She had colic surgery in 2006 and was out for 8 months. We qualified (by default) for the 2008 KPRA finals and ended up 3rd in the average.
Through the years the brown mare and I have traveled to many barrel races and rodeos and accomplished numerous goals. There’s been times when she was hurt and it felt like the end of the world when I had to sit at home, but I still had her. She’s got a lot of heart and is one heck of a mare. I keep saying one more year and I will retire her.
Well, I believe that this year, 2012, should be her year to retire. After having my son in May 2011 I worked at getting her back into shape, and me back to where I wouldn’t disgrace her by flopping all over her back. My goal for 2011 was to get her qualified for the BBR World Finals in Oklahoma City. That we did. I got my last race to qualify at the Christmas Cash race in Amarillo, Texas during early December. Heck, I even crawled on my sisters gray horse Okie to make sure I had another race I needed the Wednesday before we went to Amarillo. Hopefully we get to go to Oklahoma City in April.
BBR World Finals 2009. Made the short go this year.
Running at the Syracuse, Kan., KPRA rodeo in 2009.
Running at the 2010 Sunflower open race at Scott City, Kan.
Running at the 2009 Peg Birney and Jennifer McDonald Memorial Race, Meade, Kan.