Caroline Dodwell is sort of a misfit in her family. Her parents, you see, were not quite ‘horse people.’ She says they were more into tennis and golf. Perhaps not as much a misfit, though. Her mother did compare her to her grandfather.
At fourteen she finally got her first horse. It wasn’t quite that simple, though. the horse was leased, the land on which it grazed was leased, and so was the saddle. When she bought her first horse she was introduced to Play Days. From there she went to Western Pleasure and showmanship. But when she left for college, her father sold the horse.
After she finished college, she once again bought a horse. She was a teacher in the Oak Cliff (Dallas) ISD for five years. Teaching turned out not to be what she was looking for. She went back to showing horses. She showed several Palomino World Champions and AQHA World Champions as well as a few paints. From there her interest moved to race horses and barrel racing thanks to her husband Ed, whom she credits for the biggest part of her success through his support, wisdom and help.
Her first ‘good’ barrel horse was named Mr. Booker T Bars. In December, 1986, her husband, Ed, bought this already trained and ready to go horse on which she ran in the Finals of the Girls’ Invitational Barrel Race at the Fort Worth Stock Show in Texas. But her first ‘really good’ horse was Suzita. Her husband suggested that she compete on Suzita, an AQHA race they had trained. Caroline says, “Suz wasn’t real consistent, but when she threw one she really stopped the clock because she was so fast.”
Those were her humble beginnings. She hasn’t stopped competing yet. Throughout the nineties she has amassed quite a collection
- 1991 – Won Nacogdoches Futurity, the Open and the Amateur Saddles, amateur saddle at The Texas Barrel Race, made the Futurity finals competition, and was Reserve Champion at the Charla Harkness Futurity in Oklahoma on Suzita.
- 1992 – Was a Derby finalist in the top thirty of the BFA World Championship Barrel Racing Futurity, and top ten of the ETBRA money, points, and the 39-49 Division.
- 1993 – Top thirty of the Derby again at the WCBRF, top ten ETBRA money, points, and the 39-49 Division, top thirty in the Derby at the Lazy E Futurity, and finished Reserve Derby Champion in The Texas Barrel Race behind Christy Peterson’s horse, Bozo!
- 1994 – Top fifty in the WCBRF Futurity on Dumas (Mr. Dumas Walker), top thirty in the Sweepstakes in the same event on Suzita, Open and 39-49 Champion in the ETBRA. Won the Fort Worth Stock Show’s Ranch Girl’s Barrel Race on Suzita, was Futurity Finalist at the Old Fort Days Barrel Race on Dumas, who finished the year as one of the top ten BFA Futurity horses.
- 1995 – Top ten of the Fort Worth Stock Show’s Ranch Girl’s Barrel Race on Suzita, won the CRA finals on Suzita, qualified for the CRRA finals in the top fifteen on both horses, ETBRA Open Champion, made the finals at the Old Fort Days Derby on Dumas, made the finals at the Lazy E Derby, won the Mesquite Dodge Rodeo Finals on Suzita, was in the top 25 riders in the nation in Futurities and Derby, was in the top 50 riders in all divisions, and Dumas was also the 1995 BFA Derby Horse of the Year.
- 1996 – Returned to the Lazy E as a finalist on Dumas, was Old Fort Days Derby finalist on Dumas, was in the top thirty at the BFA World Championship, was in the top 25 riders in the nation in derbies and futurities, one of top 100 riders in all divisions. Suzita was one of the top ten BFA Sweepstakes Horses of the Year while Dumas was one of the top ten Derby horses of the year.
- 1997 – Filled her WPRA permit and purchased her card, placed at numerous pro rodeos, just missed making the Texas Circuit Finals.Top ten ETBRA Open Points and 39-49 division, top thirty WCBRF Sweepstakes finalist on Dumas, and was reserve champion at the Mesquite Rodeo for the year.
- 1998 – Qualified for Texas Circuit Finals and ended up sixth in the state, won several pro rodeos (all in the state of Texas) and drew checks at most of the big ones, was reserve champion of the Mesquite Rodeo for the year.
- 1999 – Won the Mesquite Blowout 1-D and won the Mesquite Blowout Open the next day. Won the ETBRA Open, Point and 39-49 Division and the All-Around Trailer. Listed in the top fifty futurity riders in the nation, top 100 riders in the nation in all divisions, also owned and trained a BFA top ten futurity horse – Some Fortune “Cookie”.
- 2000 – Won the District 20 NBHA Open Saddle in the 1-D. Won the ETBRA Open, the 50 and over, and the All-Around saddles. Second in the Mesquite Rodeo Dodge Finals, qualified for the UPRA Finals, won the Finals and Dumas was voted UPRA Barrel Horse of the Finals. Eight and ninth in the 1-D on Cookie and Dumas at the Mesquite Blowout, and placed first and second in the Open Class the next day.
- 2001 – Went to the Nashorse World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, and ran the fastest time of over 5000 runs, was fourth in the finals and won the Senior World Champion. Won the ETBRA Open, Point, and 1-D Division. Won the NBHA, District 20, Octoberfest, was second and sixth in the Mesquite Blowout. Won the first go and the second go at the Fort Worth Stock Show where she had not competed since 1995. Caroline and Cookie finished this year easily winning both days and the average at NBHA Dist 20’s year end Super Show. From there they went on to the WCBRF to finish 7th among the best Derby horses in the country.
- To see more events that Caroline has won click here
Dumas was purchased by her husband at the BFA World Championships Sale as a three year old. All three years that he competed at Fort Smith he made the Finals. Dumas is by Mr. Blue Raider and an out of an own daughter of St. Bar.
We asked which of the three horses is her favorite: “All of them have won things that meant a lot to me, like when Dumas was the BFA Derby Horse of the Year and Suzita won the Nacogdoches Futurity – I mean, she won so much stuff and I was such a beginner. Winning at Fort Worth was an all-time high. They have all done so much for me in their own way. You just could not believe how fast Suzita was; she would run anything but a perfect barrel pattern, yet when she wrapped every single barrel, she’d outrun them badly.” Dumas is still the leader with more than $100,000 in winnings with Suzita and Cookie running closely behind with $65,000+ and $50,000+ respectively.
Cookie is her latest competitor. “She’s not quite as fast as Suzita but she’s quicker and will probably be more consistent. She’ll be a better horse than Dumas, she’s faster, quicker and she isn’t seasoned yet.” Cookie is by Some Dasher out of a Grade I Stakes winning Six Fortunes mare, she was purchased by Caroline as a 2 yr old.
When we asked what sort of advice she would give to novices she suggested: “Take on the kind of things that have 3-D’s or 4-D’s or classes that fit you and your horse. Try and run your horse where he belongs. Look for a horse that has a good mind, is quiet, and fits you. He may not be the fastest one out there but look for consistency. Set yourself a goal and try to attain it. When you do attain it, set a higher goal and work your way up.”