It Paid To Be Fittandfiren In Ponoka

by Michelle on October 19, 2015

Dawn Vandersteen made the trip from Manitoba to Ponoka, Alberta Thanksgiving weekend and made the drive worthwhile.  Riding the 6 year old Palomino gelding Fittandfiren, the duo clocked the quickest time of the Super Stakes eligible derby horses. The annual Canadian Barrel Horse Incentive event paid $5850 for her 17.646 second run.  Renee Leclercq and Howes Jesse were on on their heels with a 17.647.   Jacqueline Rookes, who owns the Manitoba stallion Mr Red Rock Leo Bar, the sire of Fittandfiren won $1950 for her part in the making of this horse.

Thank you Dawn for taking the time to answer these questions from us inquiring minds.

What is your horse’s registered and barn name?

Registered name is Fittandfiren   Barn name is Firedawnnfire

– When did you start him on barrels
I taught him the pattern as a three year old, continued his training as a 4 year old but just light barrel training until his 5 year old year.  Then I started asking for more and more speed.  

-What is the training background on this horse?  
I started him as a 2 year old, he was easy to start, but took a while to grow into his body and become comfortable and adept at running and turning.  So I spent lots of time just riding in the pasture, allowing him to grow up.

– How would you describe this horse’s running style? 
Fire is like a machine.  He gives you the same thing every time.  Just run and turn.  

-What is it you like best about him?
I love his quiet demeanor, and his kind nature. 

– What do you think made your winning run so fast?
Fire has a huge stride, and strong push off from the barrel, I think that’s why he clocks so well.  He’s also very ratey.  So, lots of go and whoa.

2015 Superstakes Derby Champion: Fittandfiren and Dawn Vandersteen Wahoo!!!

Posted by Justine Cornelsen on Sunday, October 11, 2015


-How do you prepare for your runs with this horse (warm up etc.)?
Lots of trotting and leg yielding.  I really want him sensitive to my leg.  I kind of rev him up, rather than keep him calm, because he’s really quite laid back.

-What are your plans for next year with this horse?  
If the right buyer comes along I will sell him and if not, I will have an awesome rodeo horse next year.
-What kind of saddle do you use?
I ride in a Charmayne James Scamper.  It’s really small and light –  like a jockey saddle.

-What kind of pad do you use?
5 star-What kind of bit do you use?
I ran him there  in a bit of both that had a little shank, but he will run in a snaffle too, but I like a bit of shank for shoulder control.  He’s very light on the mouth, doesn’t really need much.

– What kind of products, therapies and/or supplements do you use to maintain your horse throughout the year?
I feed flax with my oats, and every now and then a probiotic….but generally just good hay and grass and oats. 

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

-What was your goal and focus heading into this event?
I wanted to ride Fire to his fullest potential, and not hold him back.  I wanted to win. 

-If you were to share a barrel racing tip what would it be?
Have fun – make barrel racing fun for your horse, and keep the fun in it for yourself.  Something I have to continually remind myself, because I do take it very seriously.  But I like nothing better than to see a horse run and turn barrels because he wants to, not because he’s forced to.

-What do you do when your aren’t barrel racing?
Riding and training for 8 months out of 12.  In the winter we travel a bit and snowmobile. 

Shout out to CBHI!
I think the people who organize the CBHI events should be commended.  The Super Stakes program is a wonderful way to showcase the great stallions we have available.  The talented horses running at Ponoka was outstanding. 

To learn more about the Canadian Barrel Horse Incentive and Super Stakes Program visit

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