Kim Gerwatoski and her horse Solanos Millionaire aka Hazard just won the 2011 Year End High Point Canadian Barrel Futurity Futurity Horse. Kim and Hazard placed very well all year at the Futurities. At the South Country Futurity they placed 10th overall, at the Silver Sage Futurity they placed 2nd overall, at the Northern Lights Futurity they placed 6th overall. At the Melville Futurity they placed 3rd overall, and at the Heartland Futurity they placed 4th overall (the CBHI Futurity results are yet to be posted). For a better look at the results from all of the futurities this year you can go to the Canadian Barrel Futurity website by clicking here. We recently had the chance to interview Kim, here is what she had to say:
-What is the name of your horse?
Solanos Millionaire. I call him ”Hazard”
-How old is your horse?
He is 5 years old.
-How long have you been running barrels on him?
I started barrel work with him in the summer of his 3 year old year.
-What is the training background on Hazard?
Hazard is the first horse I raised and I have done all his training myself from the beginning.
-What is your training and riding style with him?
I like my horses to be really supple in the first rib yet follow their nose with their shoulders when asked and keep driving up underneath themselves every step in their turns. I do a lot of driving this particular colt into the bridle and making sure he stays supple in the ribs and back because he is exceptionally laid back and will get flat/lazy if you let him. I like them really broke in the poll and neck and to round their back out – no stiffness anywhere.
-What is it you like best about Hazard?
This colt can handle a lot of pressure, you can’t blow him up.
-How did you feel your runs were this past weekend?
In the first go round he worked great. In the second I was unaware that they had moved the pattern closer to the out gate making the first barrel a bit more blind. My colt didn’t see it at all and was still a bit lost even over to second. In the short go he worked really well however I cued him a step too early on third and it cost us having a good turn.
-How do you prepare for your runs (warm up etc)?
I make sure that there is no stiffness, that he is listening and super responsive, and all his muscles are warm and ready to go. I like him to see the alley as much as I can because the working pedigree comes out in him and he sees EVERYTHING!
-What kind of saddle do you use?
I have a few but generally use my Circle Y Marlene Eddleman or older drop down riggin Martin for my important runs right now.
-What kind of pad do you use?
Cactus Relentless 3/4″
-What kind of bit do you use?
On this colt I use the medium shank twisted wire with dog bone Ed Wright with a leather chin strap. He loves that mouthpiece.
-How do you keep your horses in shape?
I find my young horses run better if they spend a lot of time in the arena perfecting “my style”. I have a variety of drills I like them to be capable of performing. If I think they need a break or are super perfect on those drills, I will long trot in the field and up hills.
-Are there any specific goals you have set for yourself and your horse this season?
Hazard surpassed the goals I had initially set. I had wanted to do well at the futurities consistently no matter what the set up, I just didn’t know he would do that well with his timid attitude.
-What lead you to be a barrel racer?
I grew up in a rodeo family. I was more known for being an all around cowgirl in my younger days. As you get older those events aren’t as available so I stuck with barrel racing. I found it challenging to bring a horse “from the ground up” and have really worked on improving “my style”.
-If you were to share a training/rodeo tip what would it be?
Buy the best horse you can absolutely afford, keep them super supple, and learn from those who win consistently on different horses in all types of arenas.
An interesting tidbit to add from Kim is that she runs Hazard and all her other horses barefoot and trim them herself. She loves it – they are sounder and happier then ever.
Check out these videos of Kim and Hazard: