Fun times, a great set up with a fantastic crew of people was the feedback from the Olds Barrel Bash and Poker Roping held April 27-29 in Olds Alberta. With over 200 entries (in the Barrel Bash), the daily payouts were over $900 on both days, for each of the division winners in the barrel race. The average on 2 winners took home championship saddles.
Becky Paradis was the 1D Average Champion and we were able to catch up with Becky after the event to answer some questions for us.
What is the name of the horse you ran?
Nu Little Smokum aka Chili Dog
How old is he?
He is 11 this year
How long have you been running barrels on him/her?
Not quite 2 yrs
What is the training background on this horse?
He was a reject cutter that was used mostly as a team roping horse. Kelsey, (the girl I bought him from) used him at ranch rodeos and also did some working cowhorse stuff with him. She had patterned him on barrels a bit before I got him but he had only been to a couple jackpots. He is kind of a jack of all trades when it comes to his background.
What is your training and riding style with your horse?
He really runs barrels more like a “broke horse” then a barrel horse so he pretty much does exactly what I tell him to. He really gets on his hind end to turn, so indoors I focus on not asking for too much rate so that he doesn’t loose his forward momentum. Outdoors he gets running really hard so I have to make sure my timing is correct when I ask him to turn because he rates exactly when I ask and so if I’m too late we go for an arena tour As for training I just work on keeping him really soft and listening to me and I don’t really do a lot of pattern work with him just because if we make mistakes is pretty much always rider error.
What is it you like best about him?
He is a real character, he is super grouchy about anything new that he doesn’t like and will let me know when he is mad at me, but he loves to work and has so much heart and always tries his best. I’m pretty sure he would do anything I asked him too.
You won the weekend, but did your runs feel like winning runs?
He felt really great, it was just one of those nice smooth runs and I felt like I jockeyed better the second run then the first one. I can never tell how fast we are going to be because he never feels really fast and I’m just very grateful that he puts up with me most days.
How do you prepare for your runs (warm up etc.)?
I actually get on him pretty early most of the time and just spend most of our warm up walking then I will long trot a bit just to get him loosened up and lope a few circles to make sure his lead departures are on par. Then I will ask for a few turn arounds or roll backs just to get his shoulders moving and make sure he is listening to me just before I run. He walks up to the arena pretty calm but knows when I pick up two hands and smooch to him that its time to go.
What kind of saddle do you use?
Mostly I’ve been using a Martin Crown C on him but I’ve also rode him in the Raylee Racer that I won at ABRA finals last year a couple times.
What kind of pad do you use?
Classic equine biofit pad
What kind of bit do you use?
Mostly a Carol Goosetree long shank double gag but sometimes I have to put him in a Hackamore indoors just so that I can stay out of the way a bit more.
Are there any specific goals you have set for yourself and your horse this season?
I pulled my permit this year so I’m going to try a few pro rodeos and see how that goes. Ultimately it would be so cool to make the CFR but barrel racing is so tough and you just never know what is going to happen. I will also enter a few LRA and WRA rodeos until I can get my full card.
What lead you to be a barrel racer?
I was lucky enough to grow up around rodeo, my dad is a calf roper and so I started going to rodeos with him when I was young. I actually quit riding while I got my Engineering degree and only got back to rodeo the last couple years. I just love riding and being with the horses, I barrel race because I enjoy it but its actually more of a hobby for me right now because I also work full time.
If you were to share a training/rodeo tip what would it be?
There are so many people out there that have a lot of knowledge, and there is so much to learn so always try to keep an open mind but don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. I think the advice that helped me the most I actually got from Trevor Brazile a couple years ago. He told me to really get to know your horse and what works for you and him and stick to that program if its working. Trust your gut, always work hard and work smart (keep it simple). It will pay off in the end no matter what level you compete at.
Check out this awesome video of Becky and Chili Dog at the ABRA Finals in 2011