As a barrel racer, my horses are my best friends and my #1 asset

Laughton is a sophomore at Escondido Charter High School who started riding at age 8 and lives in Escondido.

I started riding horses when I was 8 and am now 15. I grew up in a family of motocross racers, so horses were a foreign concept to my family. I didn’t pay much attention to horses until friends of our family (the Powers) introduced me to the sport. They helped me with a horse named Sassy and lent me a saddle to use. I then started riding lessons at the San Pasqual Valley Ranch and immediately fell in love with the sport. Sadly, my parents didn’t know what they were getting into, but they supported me every step of my crazy journey.

My parents have always worked hard to support my three siblings, me and my crazy dreams, and I will always be grateful for their constant support. They taught us that you have to work for what you want, which certainly helped in barrel racing. Whether it’s getting ready for rodeos, training, or tending to the horses, the work ethic they taught me and my passion for the sport keep me going.

Another big supporter of my journey has been my coach, Destri Davenport. Not only did she make me a better rider, but she also taught me that it’s not easy and that no matter how hard I try, there will be bad days. I’m trying to learn from those bad days and do the extra work needed to be successful.

My number one assets and my best friends are my horses. They mean everything to me. They always give me their best and owe me nothing. They love their jobs, but I love them more. Every time we enter an arena, I try to stay as calm as possible and not let my nerves get to me. The horses feel everything you feel, so I try to make sure they feel as excited as I do to go out and win.

Racing takes a lot of hard work and dedication; you have a lot to do to get ready to hit the road. Whether you are racing close to home or in a different state, you need to have your horses trained and fit, ready to perform. You must have your trailer loaded with food, water, medicine, saddles and all the other riding gear and accessories we call tack. But when you go out and have a great race and everyone is cheering you on, it’s an incredible feeling. The hard work you put into it is worth it. Sometimes you have a bad race, but that’s where you learn from your mistakes, correct them and do better next time.

All my time is spent on my horses and at school. I have free time to be with my family and friends and do things other than rodeo. But for the most part, my horses get most of my time. I go out with them every day.

I am very lucky to say that I have never had a serious accident on any of my horses. Yeah, sometimes you hit a barrel and you get a nasty bruise on your leg. Yes, I had friends who had accidents, but like everything else in this world, accidents happen.

My plans are to rodeo in college and make it to the national rodeo finals.

For the past two years, I’ve been in the Poway, Lakeside, and Ramona pro rodeos. Poway, Lakeside and Ramona offer a junior barrel racing event for us kids under 18 who aren’t old enough for the big professional rodeos.

I’ve been in barrel racing in Texas, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Oklahoma and all over California, but nothing compares to local events and rodeos. It’s great to see the local crowds coming out to support the rodeo in a big way. It might be funny to say, but I know my horses love it too. They are just as excited as I am to organize these local events and want to show up for the hometown crowds and of course all of my family and friends who come out to support us.

I was blessed to win the Junior Barrel Division at Lakeside and Poway Rodeos and feel honored to represent Rodeo in Southern California.

About Frances R. Smith

Check Also

Boutique brands like Sherco and Beta dominate extreme off-road racing

The main venues for motocross racing have been motocross and supercross for nearly a century …