Brittany Van Winkle

When did you start barrel racing? I am almost 14 years old, I live in Hempstead with my dad and mom, Billy and Lisa Van Winkle. I started riding when I was three.

Are you involved in any other equine events? I started out showing pleasure, halter, and trail, then I started speed events when I was six. I like going fast much better. I play volleyball at school and will start high school rodeo this fall. I also participate in 4H, showing heifer, steer and goats.

What are some of the events that you have won (or races that stand out in your mind)?  One of my most memorable barrel races was: I was running to the first barrel and my hackamore broke and fell down around Lottie’s chest. by that time we were at the 2nd barrel, I had to use all my strength to pull her over, we went around the 2nd and then around the third and I ran a 17.0. well someone had shut the alley gate when they saw me loose my hackamore, and Lottie ran right up to the gate and stopped hard. I should of gotten off then, but I thought she was thru running, well not her, she headed back to the first barrel and just kept on going, doing a victory lap full speed around the arena. I just held on and this time when she stopped again at the closed gate I hopped off… I won the youth barrels that day, and I was so proud of her for doing the pattern by herself.

Over the years have you noticed any changes in barrel racing what are the good or bad you’ve seen? I am too young to notice any changes in barrel races. 4D’s are fun, but I do love the excitement of going to rodeos.

What is do you think of an equal pay out 4d? of course the 4D, it gives everyone a chance to place. But I don’t think payout in each D should be equal.

Do you think of yourself as a professional barrel racer? No, I don’t consider myself a pro, but I might be one day.

Who is your favorite barrel racer or barrel racers? My favorite barrel racer is Janet Stover, she is calm and quiet, but firm with her horse, I like that.

Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out in barrel racing? My advise to newcomers is to get a horse that already knows the pattern and to get to be a team with your horse. Also, get to be good friends with good barrel racers and learn from them. You must also have a good horseshoer, my dad says ” no feet, no horse”, but he is a horseshoer, and a very good one. Ride in the pasture, work cows, rope, jump logs, etc. all of this is good for your horse. We (Lottie and I) don’t practice much, and we don’t exhibition, but we do have fun riding or roping, or just exercising my four horses every night. Some nights if its too late to ride I exercise them in the round pen. I think if the guys can keep up with us, then go for it!

What was the name of your favorite horse and tell us a little about it. I would have to say my favorite horse is Lottie. You will hear more about her soon. She is a 9 year old sorrel mare and I love her. I put sun – in on her mane and forelock. She does the same thing after every run. I get off of her, loosen her up, then she shakes all over, my whip falls off the saddle horn, and her reins go over her head, then she yawns three times, then she looks in my pocket for her treat. She gets a treat after every run, even if we don’t do well. Because if we don’t do well, I know it’s not because of her, its because of me. The better you get, the more little bitty teeny weenie mistakes will hurt you. You might stumble one little time, and it will make the difference between winning the 1D or getting 5th in the 1D. Lottie is a strange horse. About 10 times I would run in the open and do OK, then I would run in the youth right afterwards and she would outrun the fastest open time run that day. Same pattern, same timer, same horse. Who knows.

See Yall at the next barrel race. Brittany Van Winkle