Bertina grew up on a farm that always had a good number of horses. Her father races chuckwagons and has always had breeding, riding and wagon horses. She competed in gymkhana for years but hung up the saddle after she gradated from high school.
It had been a 17 year break before Olafson decided to climb back in the saddle to compete. She had been breeding barrel horses and wanted to get more active in the sport. A young sorrel gelding named Duke motivated her to get back at it, one whom she had purchased as a weanling. He was sent out for a total of five months training, split between Kim Senkoe who started him, then Rusty Quam and Rylee McKenzie for barrel training.
As a 4yr old Duke competed in gymkhana, futurities and jackpots, then derbies and rodeo. Beginning in the KCRA, the pair earned LBR Season Leader and made the finals. They then spent the next two years competing in the CCA, making the finals each year. They won the CCA LBR Championship and Average in 2016. Last year Duke was injured and their season was cut short at the end of June. In 2018 he came back stronger than ever and they began competing in the CPRA full time.
Olafson will be running Alive N Smashing (Duke) who is by Ante Up Guy (Frenchmans Guy) and a Lucks Running Bug mare. Her back up horse will be Frenchmans Paradise (Zena) who is by Perks French Cash (Frenchmans Guy) and out of a Docs Paradise mare. This year she took home $20,064 after 34 rodeos winning Lea Park Rodeo and setting the arena record. The duo ran at the Pro Tour Finals in Armstrong and placed fourth in the Grassroots standings to make the finals in Calgary.
What quirks does your horse/horses have?
It would be easier to answer what quirks Duke doesn’t have!!! He has a huge personality, he is too smart for his own good. He gets himself into a lot of predicaments in his pen and at the trailer. He is cinchy and can be cold backed when the weather changes. He doesn’t like being brushed; only his butt. Butt scratches are his favourite and will shift around or lift his legs to what spot he wants scratched. He doesn’t like the front stall of the trailer, he would paw the entire trip. 2nd or 3rd stall he is happy. The list goes on and on!!
Where did you buy/find your horse?
I purchased Duke through an online bidding site that was set up like eBay. I went on the site to buy a saddle and I saw this cute Sorrel colt, and bid on him without thinking it through. All week I hoped someone would outbid me. No one did and I won him. I had to do some explaining to my husband!
How would you describe your horses barrel racing style?
Duke has his own style. To change it, I slow him down. He is deceiving to watch, always appears slower than he is. He has a big stride. I try to stay out of his way & let him work.
What things do you want people to know about your horse(s)?
I talk about Duke a lot, anyone that knows me is going to know him.
When his potential started shining through at a young age I was overwhelmed. When he won a long go at Stettler Futurity as a green 4yr old, I remember asking God why he put this horse in my hands? I didn’t have the knowledge or skill to go on with him. I was too attached to this horse to sell him. I had no choice but to learn more and gather the courage to go on with him.
As the years went on and Duke was getting more competitive I continued to ask the same question. Now we are heading to our first CFR and I am no longer asking but instead saying thank you.
He is the only horse I’ve ever ran in a rodeo! Duke isn’t always an easy horse but I wouldn’t change him; that’s what makes him who he is!
Tell us about your 2018 season; the highs and the lows.
The highs came with great runs or conquering arena set ups my horse had previously struggled with.
As far as the lows, this summer was the busiest and toughest for me mentally. It was a lot of miles and weeks at a time away from home. I felt a lot of pressure at times. This summer I made mistakes. Other times, Duke would make mistakes. Getting down about it wouldn’t help me at the next race. I learned what I could from it and moved onto the next one!
What was your favourite rodeo this year and why?
Lacrete The Field Of Dreams. They have great ground, individual pens for our horses, water buckets filled, hay and shaving provided, complimentary meals and drinks, the best donuts ever, and bonus cash payout for day winners! All around great atmosphere!!
This is only one of my favourite rodeos, I have many. I hope all the committees realize how appreciative we are for all the work they do!!!
We all know that being competitive takes serious mental strength.What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
Staying positive. Finding the good in everything, sometimes I have to look deep to find it! I try to surround myself with positive people. I also set small goals, ones that help towards the big goal. I never try to overwhelm myself with focusing on everything at once. One run at a time.
What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
I feed good quality hay, Buckeye Grow N Win, Cadence Ultra, Elite Three Hemp Oil, Probiotics and Salt
What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
In the spring I haul to a couple different arenas & enter jackpots. Last winter I had went to Arizona but every other year I ride mainly at home.
We will be hauling to an arena once a week prior to the CFR. Mostly riding outdoors at our farm. I use him to pony the younger horses and babysit the weanlings. It gives him another job other than barrels.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing?
Enjoy the journey
Where there is a will, there is a way
What has been your most memorable run over the years?
The most memorable runs were winning 3 rounds at the CCA finals, placing 2nd and 3rd in the other two rounds to win the Championship. Duke wasn’t normally strong indoors back then so he surprised me with 5 strong runs.
Who is your barrel racing idol?
I look up to many barrel racers, to choose one it would be Sue Smith.
If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
Ripp, I believe she will go down in history as Canadians Top Barrel Horse of all time.
What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
Coffee with double cream!
What are you looking forward to the most as you head to the 2018 Canadian Finals Rodeo?
The first time running down the alley at the CFR. It gets my heart pumping just thinking about it!!
I would like to thank my husband Jason and children for always encouraging me and supporting me. My sister Roxanne, who has helped take care of my animals at home while I’m on the road. To the Groves family who always had pens and place for me to stay over while in Alberta. To everyone that has helped me achieve these goals, it truly takes a village. Thank you!
Karved Custom Leather and Design
Sky’s The Limit Performance Quarter Horses
*Photos submitted by Bertina