Headed to her second Canadian Finals Rodeo, now at the age of seventeen, is our number one Canadian Professional Rodeo Association Ladies Barrel Racing Qualifier, Justine Elliott.
This year Elliot won Moose Mountain, Wainwright Short Go & Average, Lea Park, & Grande Prairie, and brought home a grand total of $38,421.00.
Justine has been around horses her entire life, as her father, Jody Elliot is a well known cow horse trainer in Alberta. She began barrel racing when she was twelve years old, and started rodeoing in sixth grade in the Junior High School Rodeo Association. 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.
Riding in the trailer to Red Deer will be Blondys Starlight aka Blondy (by Von Starlight, out of a Small Town Baker mare) and Maduals Playboy aka Jackson. Blondy 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 ran at the Canadian barrel horse futurities.
What quirks does Blondy have?
Blondys quirks are she’s the boss. It’s her world and I’m just living in it. She has the typical mare mood and is a picky eater.
How would you describe your horses style?
Her style is simple. She stands up around her turns and you just have to help her through them. She is very free running in big pens so you have to help her rate down but she can get short in the small pens so you need to push her a bit more.
How have you and Blondy grown from last season? What will you be doing differently from last years CFR?
I think we have grown this year and got more confident in each other. I’m still learning how to ride her perfectly every run but that learning will never stop. This years CFR I’m going into with a better idea of what’s coming and how to handle it better.
With all the miles made, varying ground conditions, and expenses, what kept the CFR dream alive for you this year?
I had quite the mixture of highs and lows this year. I didn’t make any money at the beginning of the season until Grande Prairie but before that I was either tipping or just wasn’t riding how I was supposed to, but when I started clicking with Blondy again, things started to fall into place. I knew Blondy had more then enough ability to get me to the CFR again, and that’s what kept me going.
What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
I try to keep a good mental game by not letting the bad runs get to my head, but also not letting the wins get to my head either. It’s rodeo, your luck can change in the split of a second.
What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
I don’t give Blondy any extra things that she doesn’t need. I give her grain, Purina Pro-Athlete, and Calf-mana.
What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
At the end of the season I’ll give her a few weeks off then ride her once or twice a week doing lots of long trotting. During the season I give her a day or two off after I get home from the rodeo then I’ll ride her once or twice a week again just long trotting and breezing her out. Leading up to CFR nothing really changed, I might make the workouts more intense.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing?
A good piece of advice is never take anything for granted.
What has been your most memorable run over the years?
My most memorable run is from the CBHI in 2014 when Blondy was a 5 year old and she ran a 17.0
What is your favourite barrel racing bloodline, and what do you look for in a prospect?
I really like the Good As Nick Gets horses as all of the ones I’ve seen turn out to be pretty amazing horses. When looking at prospects I look at what other horses from that stud or mare have done.
What’s the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
On the road my Dad would tell you that I couldn’t live without my phone which he’s not wrong, but I also need snacks to keep me going especially on those long drives.
Which of the other CFR Qualifier horses would you swing a leg over if given the chance?
If I could ride any one of the other qualifying horses it would be any one of Taylor Manning’s horses.
Who is your barrel racing idol?
My idol is Sherry Cervi.
What would you be doing if you weren’t barrel racing or rodeoing?
If I’m not barrel racing or rodeoing I’m doing school or beading.
I also want to say thank you to my Dad for driving me literally all over the country, giving me all the things I need to be successful and giving me the chance to ride Blondy.
*photo submitted by Justine