It Runs In The Family

by Michelle on July 31, 2012

NHSRA Barrel Racing Champs - Vanessa and Ice

2012 has been a banner year for 17 year old Vanessa Leggett of Kamloops, BC. Vanessa was the British Columbia High School Rodeo Association Barrel Racing Champion before heading down to Wyoming for the National Finals. With her usual mount Smartie being out of commission, Vanessa jumped on her Mom’s horse Ice for the BC and National Finals. It proved to be a great match as Vanessa came out on top as the National High School Finals Barrel Racing Champion after 3 rounds of barrel racing. Vanessa also qualified and ran Ice in the poles, but had a tipped pole that kept her from making the short go in that event as well. A championship saddle and buckle plus 3 go round buckles were the main prizes she received for this big win.

Last year we interviewed Julie, Vanessa’s mom after her big win at the Dawson Creek pro rodeo so we got to know a little about Ice then, as

Burnit Brownie, Vanessa Legget and FDI Cash To Burn. Photo by with permission

well. It’s not just a family affair between Julie and Vanessa though. Ice has some family history too. Registered as FDI Cash To Burn, the 10 year old gelding is out of Burnit Brownie who, at 30 years old, still lives with the Leggett’s. She has been with Julie for over 28 years. When Vanessa was young, she rode this solid old mare too and she was a big part of her start in barrel racing. Talking with Vanessa you can tell family is very important to her and she is very thankful for the support she gets from her Mom, Dad, Brother and Grandpa. She says “My family is really special to me, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them”. Vanessa is a 6th generation cowgirl and I think her “pedigree” says champion just like Ice’s pedigree!

Check out Ice’s Pedigree:

FDI Cash to Burn Judge Cash Dash for Cash Rocket Wrangler Rocket Bar (TB)
Go Galla Go
Find a Buyer (TB) To Market (TB)
Hide and Seek (TB)
Mary Mito Mito Paint (TB) Mito (TB)
Herb\’s Miss (TB)
Shelly Leo Bar Sundown Pow Wow
Waja Leo
Burnit Brownie Volunteer (TB) Nashville (TB) Nasrullah (TB)
Bonnie Beryl (TB)
Burnt Dumpling (TB) Bernborough (TB)
Dumpling (TB)
Sue Clegg Bar Red King Leo Bar King Leo Bar
Queen Blue Bell
Sue Jet Billy Clegg
Brown Sue

Here is what Vanessa had to say:

What is your riding style on Ice?

Vanessa and her championship saddle. Photo by Bernie Hudyma

I am a really quiet, calm rider and that seems to work with him. He’s a bit hot (which he gets from his dam). I don’t ride him with a lot of pressure, I help him a bit on the backside. He doesn’t like spurs or whips so I just get up and ride him.

What do you like most about Ice?
He is really nice moving and smooth to ride. He is flexible and always tries his best. He is really consistent. Some people say he’s a “business man” out there (in the arena). He is the top dog with our other horses and he is really confident.

How did you prepare for your runs?
It was a lot higher elevation there so it didn’t take long for him to breathing hard and warm. We just did a bit of trotting, some roll backs and kept him walking. I tried to keep him cool. It was hot.

What kind of saddle do you use on Ice?
We use a Marlene Eddleman Special Effx on him

What kind of saddle pad?
It’s a Best Ever Pad

What kind of bit do you use?
A Junior Working Cowhorse Bit

Are there any specific goals you have set out for yourself this season?
I hope to fill my CPRA permit this year.

What are your plans for the fall?
I am going into grade 12 so I’ll be back in high school rodeo. I hope to secure a college rodeo scholarship for somewhere like Arizona or California.

What is your favorite part of High School Rodeo?
When I first started going to HS rodeos I was really shy and I didn’t have much confidence. Going to High School Rodeos has given me more confidence and I have met some really amazing people. Some of my best friends are from High School Rodeo.


Vanessa Leggett and Tuf Cooper 🙂

What was your favorite part of the National Finals (other than winning the barrels!)?
We had some really fun water fights, had fun cruising around on the golf carts (since the facility is so big). I met Tuf Cooper…. that was great! The dances were fun too.

How does it feel to be a National Barrel Racing Champion?
It is really surreal, kind of like a dream. Right after it happened it felt like it sunk in but now its still hard to believe. Ice knows hes a champ and he gets treated extra special and he knows “he’s the man”.

Can you offer any tips to contestants headed to the next National Finals?
Don’t let the pressure get to you and stay relaxed. I think that was a huge advantage for me (that I stayed relaxed while others maybe didn’t). Be mentally prepared and physically fit. Both you and your horse need to be fit. When we travel, we stop a lot and make sure they get lots of water. After I run the horses get hosed down, we use magnetic blankets and take real good care of them. I walked the horses a lot so they didn’t get stalked up from standing in a stall and we feed on the ground just like we would at home.  Look after your horses the best you can.

Vanessa would like to send out a special thank you to her family, friends and sponsors for the support and making it all happen.

Thank you Vanessa for taking the time to visit! I know you will do great at anything you set your mind too.  Vanessa has a great competitive attitude and a responsible attitude towards her horses and their care.  Watch for this cowgirl in the standings at the highest level of competition in the future.

~ Michelle

Thank you to Bernie Hudyma for the great pictures.  See more beautiful pictures of Vanessa, her horses, prizes and more at Captured Memories

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