Whare are you from? I was born in Newark Ohio, and moved to Texas 20 years ago, and fell in love with it and planted myself here.
When did you start barrel racing? I ran barrels in Ohio while in high school, we did not have a high school rodeo then, but I had my horse boarded right beside an arena and was able to attend their events.
Are you involved in any other equine events? I have always loved reining and have just started looking into the reining cow horse events. My mare is bred all cow, and is very light and easy to handle, I believe she will be able to make the change quite well.
I also write a monthly Basic Training tips article for the “Equine Times” paper, which is available at feed and tack stores throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I have been a certified Veterinary Technician for over 17 years. I also have my Masters Degree in Metaphysics/Holistic Theology and have completed a self-help book for women entitled, Awaken Your Butterfly Within, that should be available this coming year, and am currently writing a Basic Training/Communication book for horses and their owners.
We won the title of reserve champion in barrels, for season ending May 2000 in the Four State Rodeo Association. My mare and I also won, a breast collars, a headstall, and numerous monies, along with a Buckle and Saddle in 2002.
I teach the basics. Basics are the foundation to every move a horse will ever make. Horses already know these moves and can perform them all quit well in nature. My job is to teach the horse to give each move when I need it, and give it willingly with energy and control.
I teach with patience and a keen sense of horse understanding. Staying Consistently Correct. I connect with each horse individually, enhancing and working with each horse’s natural ability and qualities to produce a well-rounded horse.
I teach to instill confidence, along with a desire and enjoyment to do what is asked, without causing pain or fear. Using a positive reward system and using that as my primary means to encourage each positive behavior, I take the time to make sure the horse understands what I am asking, and only ask as much as they can learn at any certain time.
I teach, I do not force the lessons. By doing the basics correctly and consistently.
Excerpt from a news paper article written on my training principles by Judy Hill Nelson, Silver Creek Farms Fort Worth Texas. [She’s not Dr. Doolittle. She’s not the Horse Whisperer. I refer to her as “the Horse Listener”. Nancy Butler is perhaps the best horse communicator that I have ever met. She works from the premise that when you are not getting the results you want from your horse, you are not asking correctly. She says, “You are simply not asking in a way that your horse can understand.” She proclaims that what she does with horses is not magic. It is a case of being aware. “It’s a true gift from God that I have…. I feel things. I sense things with the horse while they’re happening. I have finally realized that what I have is a very special connection with the horse.”]
Excerpt from a thank you letter: Russell and Peggy McAfee, Tolar Texas. [I wanted to let you know formally that Peggy and I appreciate immensely the hard work and labor, which you’ve put into training our daughter this summer. Julia seems to have really come full circle with both her skills and dedication to her horses. I have told her quite a few times that she is very lucky to have you as a mentor and we’re very lucky to have you as a friend.]
Who or What got you started barrel racing? I started barrels because of the speed and rush of it all, then realized as most of us do at some point how technical it really is.. thats when the training really started and I found my own passion for training.
I broke and trained my first horse at the age of 15. Along with my own personal experience, I have studied from top barrel racers and trainers. I frequent clinics, and study in-depth with such Natural Horsemen as: Ray Hunt, Pat Parelli, B.F. Yates, Buck Brannaman, Larry Torcha, et Al, keeping myself tuned.
On the road sometimes things happen do you have an usual or funny story? At a NBHA race in Weatherford at the posse grounds this past Sept. , we came flying in and my mare saw the first thing on the right and started to go around it! It was the timer!! As soon as I noticed her attention was NOT on the first barrel I picked her up and re-directed her nose. She never missed a stride and went on and sucked up that first barrel. We had great run. Luckily I have it on tape and it is a hoot to watch.
What was the name of your favorite horse and tell us a little about it. WOW… My favorite horse is my current barrel mare “STARR” and she is my heart. When I bought her I was really looking for another horse they had for sale. When we arrived it had been sold, the gentleman said “well I have a black mare thats nice”. So I looked at her, he also said “she is pretty aggressive”. at that point I really didn’t want to go any further. But my fiancé was with me and he encouraged me to check her how more. I did and we decided to give her a try. Now at that time I was looking for a reining horse prospect. We brought her home and tried her to a tree while we worked on some fence in her pen. She went crazy! Reared, pawed, screamed and was a general mess. You can imagine what I was thinking. She was only three and barely had 30 days on her, but still, she really should have been under more control. I had my work cut out for me, and it has worked out very very nicely. I trained her completely. No one else has even ridden her. She runs a beautiful pattern, stops well when done, drops her head and thats that. She is my true Starr.
What are some of the events that you have won (or races that stand out in your mind)? I’ve just won a saddle in a 12 week average race in Boyd. and placed at Buz Post in Oct. at Will Rogers. The race that stands out is the “timer race at Weatherford”..
Over the years have you noticed any changes in barrel racing what are the good or bad you’ve seen? Since I started barrels before they had electric eyes and it was a rodeo event only, there has been huge changes, and I have to say. I really don’t have any complaints about them. It is really how each one is ran whether it’s good or not.
What is do you think of an equal pay out 4d? When I was starting out and placing in the 4-D I loved it, and I really don’t mind it now.. it keeps the sport alive, and girls showing up.. and thats what it’s all about.. making it fun and giving everyone a chance.
Do you think of yourself as a professional barrel racer? No, although I am a darn good one.
If your not a professional barrel racer what do you do for a living? I train horses. My preference is two year olds, but I find myself re-training older horses a lot. And I really don’t mind. My customers are people who really want help and are wanting to become a better horse person not just get the problem fixed and go on.
Who is your favorite barrel racer or barrel racers? Janet Stover, and Martha Wright… they are my heroes.
Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out in barrel racing? Yes… Take your time, the speed and timing will come. Train your horse.. Learn as much as you can.. And have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Do you think barrel racing should be limited to women only? Well thats a sore subject with me. and my answer will probable sound harsh, but “most” men can’t ride barrel horses!!! They man-handle and force the action instead of teaching and riding the horse.