Sliding in by the grit of her teeth, and about the amount of change in my pocket, $1.27 to be exact, Miss Shelby Spielman is headed to Red Deer in 12th position.
It was a do or die situation for the Dalhart, Texas cowgirl. She had to win Hanna Pro Rodeo to make it back to the Canadian Finals Rodeo. With Hot Donna aka Fame N Red Hot (by Dash Ta Fame, out of a Docs Rocky Top mare) out at the time recovering from health concerns, it was Walters time to shine, and that he did. Walter aka Paints His Shirt Red is by Red, out of a Senors Lil Brudder mare. Spielman took home $14,276.63, winning Hanna, Pincher Creek, & Sundre Pro Rodeo.
What quirks does your horse/horses have & what is their style?
I would say Hot Donna is the kind of horse you can count on to give you the same run every time. She makes my job easy in that aspect because I know what to expect every time I send her down the alley. I wouldn’t say she is push style but she also isn’t a free runner, so I guess a mix of the two. I don’t notice her to have many quirks, but if she does they are probably self inflicted by me because I make sure she knows she’s special.
Walter, is definitely a free runner. I am still getting used to his style, slowly but surely. Small pens are definitely his ideal setup. He is the type of horse that tries so hard to please you sometimes he does too much. His main quirk is that he enjoys having a buddy with him all the time when tied up or turned out.
Where did you purchase/find your horse?
I purchased Hot Donna from Jessie Telford. I’m still so thankful to Jessie for giving me the opportunity. I purchased Walter from Kelli Kamm. I am also very lucky that Kelli thought of me first, when she decided to sell Walter.
What would you say is your horses weakness?
I would say, Donna gets a bit too turny inside, and Walter gets a bit too strung out when being ran outside.
Did you ever almost give up with your main mount?
I can’t say I have. This has been a very testing season for me, as towards the end Donna wasn’t feeling her best. I didn’t ever give up on her because it wasn’t her fault things weren’t going in our favour. She tries her heart out for me every time so I owed her the same to get her feeling better, rather than giving up.
With all the miles made, varying ground conditions, and expenses, what kept the CFR dream alive for you this year? Tell us about the highs and the lows.
Like I said before, this was a very trying season for me. The weather contributed greatly to ground conditions which made it hard, because no one can control that.
I had some tough luck when Donna tied up right before Armstrong. Thankfully, Taylor Manning was kind enough to lend me her great horse Merlin.
I also was flying back and forth every weekend from Armstrong until Hanna because of university which was challenging, as well as the fact that I didn’t place once in all of those rodeos besides at Hanna.
The highs included winning Sundre, which kind of kick started my summer.
Going into the last rodeo of the season, Hanna, knowing I had to win first to even give myself a shot at the CFR, and my backup horse Walter, doing just that for me.
What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
I really believe in surrounding myself with people who are driven and have goals to succeed. I think it motivates me to be the best I can. I also enjoy listening to motivational podcast while I ride or drive.
What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
My horses get alfalfa and grass hay morning and night. I feed Donna Purina Ultium with gastric support. She also gets Stierwalt Superflex. Walter gets Hoffman’s Elite, with Stierwalt Superflex and CEP Vitality Oil.
What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
I have been exercising them daily. I like to long trot in the pasture, and do sprints to build their air up.
What is an exercise you include in your routine to keep your horses working how you like them to that may help someone else?
I like to work on keeping my horses collected and soft when I exercise them or work them.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been told regarding life, horses, rodeo or barrel racing?
My dad always tells me to never quit no matter how bad things may seem.
What has been your most memorable run over the years, can be most embarrassing or run of your life?
This year my most memorable run might be Hanna. It wasn’t for big money or anything like that, but it was just fun the way things worked out.
Winning the short go at Cloverdale for $20,000 in the rain is also one of my most memorable.
What is your favourite barrel racing bloodline, and what do you look for in a prospect?
I do love my Dash Ta Fame, but as long as they have the heart and try to win for you I’ll ride anything.
What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
For my horses it would be my Hansbo products, I think they make a huge difference in the way my horses haul and perform. For myself, if I’m not driving, probably a blanket and pillow. If I am driving, a good music playlist.
If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
I would love to take a spin on Latte,although I don’t think I could ever do him justice like Mary. He is so amazing!!
Who is your barrel racing idol?
I really respect Lisa Lockhart. Shes an outstanding jockey and is kind to you no matter who you are and I appreciate that.
What would you be doing if you were not barrel racing/rodeoing?
I would probably be in school, as I am in my last year of university.
Favourite podcast to listen to on the road?
I enjoy the Racers Edge Podcast, I think there is so much to learn from all of the people they interview.
Which was your favourite CPRA rodeo this year and why?
I always enjoy La Crete because the committee genuinely cares about the contestants. Another plus is that the ground is always great.
I would like to thank my sponsors Hansbo Sport and Stierwalt Superflex. I would like to thank my parents for always believing in me. Thank you to my roommates at school for taking care of my horses back at school while I flew back and forth to finish rodeoing. Lastly, I owe the Bonnett Family a huge thank you for taking care of my horses and I all summer.
*photo submitted by Shelby