Well I guess to begin with, I was born in 1986, and I split my time between two training facilities. The first one being in Congress, AZ, and the second being located in Twin Falls, ID. I am a young futurity colt jockey who is passionate about the sport of barrel racing.
I got my start on horseback from my father, who happens to be an avid team roper. But we'll come back to him in a bit. I started in junior rodeo working all five events: barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, break away roping, and team roping (as a header). Later I went on the join the NHSRA and qualified for their finals in Gillette, WY. Throughout high school, I worked for the cutting horse trainer, Shane Prescott, of Twin Falls, ID. He was the first outside person to open my eyes to the idea of horsemanship. The one tip I would like to share that came from him is:
"The nicer the horse, the harder he should be to ride."
It was quite the concept for me at the time. The idea that the more power and ability a horse is given, the smarter the trainer must be to harness it constructively. Horsemanship.
I began working for Judy Myllymaki during my summer vacations the year I turned 18. It was the best decision I've ever made. She gave me every tool I currently use as a barrel horse futurity colt jockey/trainer. She worked me hard and taught me more life lessons than I could ever have space to write. I'll list a couple of my favorites, though. The top one on my list is that there is no magic wand. Nothing replaces hard work and perseverance. The other is that class is free. There is no reason not to be a classy individual at all times. And then of course there are the skills it takes to make a barrel horse. She is so blessedly talented. I worked for her during my summers until I graduated college. I then went to work for her full time for 2 years and now venture back as often as possible to stay tuned up.
I graduated high school number one in my class and went on to the College of Southern Idaho on a full ride rodeo scholarship. In 2 years I had my Associates Degree in Liberal Arts and was on my way to Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. I continued my education, graduating in another 2 years with a Bachelor Degree in Business Management, minor in Entrepreneurship, and making my way onto the Dean's List.
This is where my dad played a crucial role in my life. I always wanted to go to law school. That was the plan from day one. But somewhere along the way in my junior year of college, my dad sat me down and had what has to be classified as the most influential conversation of my life to date. He told me there was no reason to go to all the work of law school to get a job that will consume my life unless it was my passion. I replied that lawyers made good money, and I could do it. He told me that so long as I was willing to pull myself up by my bootstraps, and always be willing to start over, that I would never truly have to worry about money. He insisted that I find my passion and do my best to make it into a career. Sometimes I wonder if he realized then what a can of worms he was opening.
That was it, the push I needed. I went to work for Judy full time after finishing college and never looked back. I am so grateful to have parents who supported me through everything, and gave me the start to my career. They have been the biggest blessing in my life as they have pushed me to be the person I want to be. How lucky am I to have them as my support team?
This brings us to today. I may be young for my career choice, but I believe it is my youthful exuberance that keeps me sharp. It is the "Why not me!?" attitude that keeps me getting up every morning, eager to learn something new in order to define the perfect circle. I am so grateful to the people who have stepped in to support a girl with a dream. A girl who loves the idea of finding the perfect cross in breeding, the perfect pattern to outrun them all, and a perfect horse capable of making all dreams come true. After all, who doesn't appreciate a great horse?
"Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake." ~Henry David Thoreau