Your horses do what exactly???

It’s always fun to try to explain to people what it is that my horses do and what Diamonds & Dirt is.

First I have to explain to them that I have barrel horses for barrel racing. You can image the vision that pops in their heads, right? I explain that it’s a largely women-dominated sport where riders guide their horses in a cloverleaf pattern around 55-gallon oil drums and the fastest time wins.

At least most of my husband’s Wall Street cohorts know what the oil drums are, and no they’re not filled with sweet crude. If you hit one of those going 30 miles per hour with your bare leg—Well, that would make my sciatica look tolerable!

As an aside, my sciatica is no longer an issue thanks to my wonderful doctors; however, as soon as I’m able my shins will be fair game as I make my return to the arena. Yes, I can ride. Yes, I do go fast. And, no I don’t fall off–intentionally.

I digress. Back to what my horses do…

As with all sports there are many levels of competition. At Schiller Ranch, we raise horses for futurity competition, which pits young barrel horses in their first year of competition against each other. They can be 4- or 5-years-old, but they have to be in their rookie season of barrel racing. It keeps the playing field level, but raises the gamble.

Outside of rodeos, futurities are the richest events for barrel horses. Our own Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic, which raises money for K9s4COPs, is one of the richest in the industry. In fact, it ranked as one of the Top 10 events in the country in its debut.

I employ Latricia Duke to train my horses, and as she so eloquently told me when we first met, her job was to “take young stupid horses and make them look not so stupid.”

That philosophy works for her pretty well, she’s won more than $1 million running barrels and has trained several horses that have competed at the World’s Richest Rodeo—the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. In fact, one of those—Yeah Hes Firen—won the World Championship with Brittany Pozzi, who just happens to be the inaugural champion of the Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic Futurity riding a horse a horse she raised and trained herself, Ima Super Fly Guy.

Now if that venture wasn’t risky enough, we have slot futurities, or slot races, as they’re often called. These lucrative races offer 50 “slots” for $5,000 apiece. Typically $220- to $225,000 is offered as the purse with the winning horse taking home $100,000.

The challenge is to pick your best futurity horse for the slot, and you have to do that well ahead of time. So you’re basically guessing, based on their performance in practice situations, which will be able to handle the pressure of actual competition the best.

So very risky, but so very rewarding.

My first futurity horse, Insane For Fame, won the Lance Graves Pro Classic Slot race in 2012. Stay tuned. You’ll be hearing  A LOT about her.