A Classic Event in Ponoka

by Michelle on May 22, 2012

The Classic Futurity and Derby was the first event of the season on Canadian Barrel Futurity and Derby Tour.  The event was held May 18-20 at the Ag Events Center in Ponoka, AB.  A standard sized pattern was set and barrel racers put down some fast times in the Futurity, Derby and Open events.  The event took the top 12 fast times from the first and second go’s to the short go (top 12 results below).

In the futurity, Saskatchewan horse trainer Ronda Sayers came out as the event Champion.  Ronda took time out to answer some of our questions about her horse and the big win.

Click to enlarge the pedigree

What is the name of the horse you ran?
Breezin Thru Paradise. I call him Breeze because everything comes easily to him.

How old is he?
5yrs old.

How long have you been running barrels on him?
He had 5 competition runs in AZ this winter and 3 indoor competition runs prior to The Classic.

What is the training background on this horse?
My husband starts and trains horses for clients. He has a great touch for 2yr olds and rope horses. He put the first month on him for me. (Ronda and Chris operate SF Performance Horses from their homes in Delmas, SK and Maricopa, AZ)

As a 3yr old, he had probably 3 months riding (one month with my brother, Shayne Smith, while I was out of the country). We walked and trotted the pattern a little. Things came easily for him so I just left it at that.

He came with us to AZ and as a 4yr old I started roping off him a little. He needed to learn how to use his feet and handle himself efficiently.

He also came with me to AZ this winter. I took a couple clinics and spent most of the winter mastering what I learned.

What is your training and riding style with your horse?
I follow Dena Kirkpatrick’s training style.

What is it you like best about him?
We raised Breeze from a cow-bred mare that’s agile footed, a big stopper, very ‘gritty’ and can handle pressure. These are attributes I look for in a prospect.

Also, things comes easy to him (a Docs Paradise trait, from what I understand).

It’s hard not to love that combo.

You won the second round and the short go, but did they feel like “winning runs”?
No. People continue to tell me how slow my horse looks, or how slow I start to my first barrel. I never have a clue whether we’re close to clocking or not. 

On my 2nd run he didn’t finish his 1st or 2nd as clean as normal, so I thought we’d be well out of the top 5.

For my 3rd run I saw Ronnie Swales make a great run (she did an awesome job, btw), and I was simply hoping for a smooth clean run for a cheque in the top 5.

How do you prepare for your runs (warm up etc.)?
I use my time onlies to trot-stop the pattern to encourage him to be patient in his turns and use any remaining time to chill out walking around the arena.

But other than that I make sure he’s warm enough before his run. And I like to sit and wait for our run. Either think about other things, visit (if I happen to know somebody), or enjoy the barrel racing. 

What kind of saddle do you use?
I currently use a Lazy L by Coats.

What kind of pad do you use?
Anything in the tack room not already being used. A show pad with fleece, a 1″ Won Pad, an Air Ride, etc.

What kind of bit do you use?
Breeze gets anything for the ranch jobs – big port to a snaffle. I like to run him in a short shank Sherry Cervi twisted-wire dogbone, with the curb strap on the longest hole so it doesn’t come into play during a run.

Are there any specific goals you have set for yourself and your horse this season?
Nothing specific…. My goal is to train a horse that is competitive at the futurities and for him to enjoy his job.

What lead you to be a barrel racer?
It’s a great sport and I really enjoy the training aspect.

If you were to share a training/rodeo tip what would it be?
“Smooth is fast.”

Here is a link to a video on facebook, you have to be logged in to view it.

Check out Ronda’s 2nd go run:

The futurity short go qualifiers and average winners were as follows:

The derby short go qualifiers and average winners were as follows:

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