| Sep 10, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - September 10, 2009 Barrel racing way down southBy Julie Druker

Jessica Nedow and her horse Sunny Daze at the NBHA races in Jacksonville, Mississippi

Jessica Nedow, a 15-year-old barrel racer from Parham whose parents Denise and Charles own Heads or Trails Boarding Stables, returned from Jackson, Mississippi in the United States last month after having competed in the National Barrel Horse Association’s qualified runs there.

Jessica and her family made the 50-hour drive after Jessica had secured a first place spot in the 3 Division against north and south Quebec and Eastern and Western Ontario in 2008.

Once down south she and her horse were faced with temperatures upwards of 44 degrees Celsius and it took a lot of effort for Jessica just to keep herself and her horse cool. Racing against 1004 other competitors, Jessica and her 7-year-old gelding Sunny Daze, which she trained herself, put on a great show and ran a first run at 15.5 seconds and a second run at 15.3 second. It was an impressive finish and though she came home with no awards she was thrilled to not have knocked down any barrels.

The races were by far the largest event that Jessica has ever participated in and it was also Jessica’s first visit to the United States. She spoke to me from her home in Parham on Monday and said, “It was an amazing experience. I got to see the mountains of West Virginia and we also stopped in Nashville, Tennessee.”

She was impressed by the size of the event and added, “It was so big that most people drive around the grounds in golf carts. I had to walk about 1 km to the barn where my horse was and I have never seen so many trailers before.”

Jessica says her goal this year is to keep getting faster. She conceded that although her horse Sunny Daze has many barrels to run before even coming close to retiring, still, she is looking to increase her speed and has just purchased a 1½-year-old registered paint stallion named Tuxedos Luckie Lito. She also plans to train Luckie herself and will be offering him to breeders for stud services.

Balancing barrel racing and school is another challenge for this 15-year-old. Her horses require regular conditioning, which can take up to 15 hours a week of her time, and it knows can be a bit of a juggling act.

Still, Jessica is determined to keep racing and hopes to qualify again this year for the NBHA races in the USA. She will be attending three separate races this fall in Ontario, which will determine if she qualifies for this upcoming year.

The experience was a very rewarding one for Jessica and her family. The family wishes to thank all of their relatives who shared in the excitement and all of their supporters, Donna and Rick Beasely, Aimee Watson, Kickin Quarters Ranch, Eastern Cowboy Adventures, Donna and Charlie Clow, Rodco Steel, Annette Howes, Babcock Masonry, Art and Carmel Cowdy and Hope Stinchcombe.

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