CFR 45 will be the first Canadian Finals Rodeo that 16 year old Justine Elliot has qualified for, and likely will not be her last.
The grade eleven student has been around horses her entire life; her father is cow horse trainer, Jody Elliot. No stranger to the winners circle, she won Provincials three years in a row in the Alberta High School Rodeo Association, was the season leader for the Wildrose Rodeo Association and Lakeland Rodeo Association in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons, and placed third at the National High School Finals Rodeo in her grade nine and grade ten seasons.
Justine will be bringing her famous bay mare Blondy aka Blondys Starlight, who is by Von Starlight and is out of a Small Town Baker mare. They found Blondy at the Canadian Supreme horse sale in Red Deer. She has no running bloodlines, all cow horse bred, and was shown as a working cowhorse her three year old year. During her four year old year she was run at the Canadian barrel horse futurities.
If you’ve been watching Justine over the years, you knew it was only a matter of time until we could call her a Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier. This year they won $14,167 after chasing 35 CPRA rodeos. The duo won Dawson Creek and Jasper Pro Rodeos and placed second at Armstrong.
What kind of quirks does your horse have?
Her quirks are she gets pretty excited at the gate, she’s kind of cranky as well.
How would you describe your horses style?
Her style is more push and you gotta help her but she’s pretty easy.
What was your favourite rodeo this year and why?
Armstrong was my favorite rodeo because of the atmosphere.
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?
I just don’t let a bad run get to my head, I just move onto the next one and try to fix what happened in the last run. Just always think it’ll get better when you’re in a low spot.
What was it like being on the bubble this year? What were your emotions and how did you handle them?
I thought to myself CFR wasn’t on the line and just made the runs I needed to have.
What does your feed & exercise program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
I feed Blondy the Hoffmans Elite Ration, Recovery EQ, and grain. I long trot her three times a week to keep her lungs ready to run. I also use Back On Track to keep her feeling good.
What has been your most memorable run over the years?
My most memorable run would be when Blondy ran a 17.0 as a 5 year old in Ponoka.
If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
I would run Taylor Mannings horse Matlock or Carman Pozzobons horse Ripp, because they both have really cool styles.
Who is your barrel racing idol?
My barrel racing idol is Sherry Cervi because she can get on any horse and make it work.
What are you looking forward to the most as you head to the 2018 Canadian Finals Rodeo?
I’m looking forward to the experience of being able to run at the first CFR in Red Deer.
*Photos submitted by Justine.