Mary is one I'd call a legend and pioneer in barrel racing in these parts. Breeding and training many winning barrel horses as well as coaching many barrel racers to championships all over Montana and the Dakotas. Her horses are known for their perfect patterns and consistency. She's a force to be reckoned with.
Mary has been very instrumental in helping me become the barrel racer that I am today. I first met Mary in 1999. I spent 3 days at her house learning the ins and outs of barrel racing. I did my best to take in all that Mary had to say, but the woman is a fountain of knowledge! She left a lasting impression on me. Before spending the weekend with her, I "liked" barrel racing, but upon leaving, I LOVED barrel racing and was hooked!
I was always in awe over Mary's ability to make everything look simple. She has the feel of a horse that can not be learned; she was born a horsewoman. Sure, she had to work at it, but she has something few people have. Just like her horsemanship, she keeps training and running barrels just as simple. She has a few exercises that she does other than the pattern but a lot of the problems that many have training a barrel horse, never work themselves into problems because of her amazing feel, timing, and balance.
I learned most everything I know about barrel racing from Mary. Every time I talk to her I become a sponge trying to soak up all her knowledge. My foundation is much the same and I follow her principles of keeping it simple. Sure, I've changed a few things to develop my own style, but my roots still run deep from Mary's teaching.
Through the years, I've been so grateful of our friendship. I can come to her with any problem and she will give me her honest answer. She has been with me whenever I've went to look at a barrel horse, no matter the distance. She has a great eye for potential and a good horse that I can't imagine not having her thoughts before buying another barrel horse. She came with me to most all of my high school rodeos my freshman year when I was first starting out and she never missed a state finals. Whenever, I'm at a low spot, I'll find myself calling Mary. She gives me encouragement and advise. She never sugar coats things but her honesty has helped me become a better barrel racer and person.
Mary has been a great inspiration to me. She has gone through so much in her lifetime that many without a strong work ethic and will would never have made it through. Years ago, Mary was kicked in the head by a young horse. She was in a coma and her chance of returning to a life of normalcy and productiveness were bleak. The fighter in her fought for her life and by the grace of God, returned back to the saddle. Many if put in her position would have gave up. She did not stop or give up hope.
I don't know where I'd be at in my barrel racing career if it wasn't for Mary. She's been my coach, motivational counselor, business adviser, but most of all she is a best friend. I value her friendship more than she'll ever know and she's taught me so much that I'd been lost without her.
Not everyone is as lucky and blessed to have someone like Mary be a part of their lives. Others may have someone just as influential but overlook it. I however, will always treasure my many summers at Mary's, the road trips and hours upon hours of conversation on the phone and in the saddle with her. She is amazing and I'm a better person and barrel racer due to her influence on my life!
|Mary with her stallion, Ketchums Ote Blitz.|