The Horse That Started It All

This story traces back to 2013 when I received a 2-year-old daughter of Coronas Leaving You as an early high school graduation present. She sold out of the Lance Graves sale and was an eligible futurity prospect. I had trained many horses, but none futurity eligible or as fancy as this mare. This mare was what dreams were made of, or so I thought at the time. A 2-year-old turned into a 5-year-old in the blink of an eye, and was still only loping a barrel pattern. I was losing confidence in my ability to train with every day that passed, until eventually I listed the mare for sale.

VF Your Ladys Corona, the mare that started it all. 

VF Your Ladys Corona, the mare that started it all. 

I couldn’t just sell the mare for cheap, though. I needed to get out of her what I had in her, so that I could buy something else that fit my needs—and her sire’s stud fee alone was $6,000. This mare was bred to run and the most beautiful mare I’d ever seen but being five and loping the barrel-racing pattern really put a dent in my asking price. Nobody wanted to buy her. So, I browsed horses that I could possibly trade for.

That’s when I came across a 7-year-old own daughter of Designer Red out of an own daughter of Dual Pep that was broke to ride and trotting the barrel-racing pattern. I fell in love with her pedigree and knew that under her lack of training there had to be some potential. The owners weren’t looking to trade, but I reached out in hopes that maybe they’d be interested. Sure enough they were! We exchanged information on the two mares and decided it was something we both wanted to do.

[RELATED: THANK YOU TO THE HORSES]

The Trade

Now still being a teenager at this time and living at home, I had to work with my parents to make this happen. I told my mom about the mare and begged her to help me make the trade happen. Mind you, I left out a few details about the trade that she just a few days ago found out about. I traded a mare valued at $12,500 with extensive training straight across for a mare that was trotting the pattern with a listing price of $4,500. Since I left out that bit of information, my mother agreed to help me drive and make the trade.

But you know when you keep getting things thrown your way and you just keep ignoring those things because you want something so bad? Well on the day we decided to make the trade that’s what happened. Instead of just driving halfway to meet the other owner, I decided to go to a barrel race that was about halfway between us. We get to barrel race and my gelding that I run started showing signs of colic. Thankfully a friend I race with is a vet and she lived close, so we took out towards her house to take care of him. My gelding was impacted, so the vet took care of him and after a few hours we were able to be on our way.

While we thought after my gelding was better that we’d be able to head back to the arena to pick up the mare, the other owner had different ideas. He kept giving excuses as to why he couldn’t make the three-hour drive, in which I explained we already made a three-hour drive in his direction and thought we’d be meeting here so I could ride the mare in the arena before making the trade. After finally agreeing that we both start driving and when we meet each other, then we will stop and trade, my mom reluctantly started to drive.

After two and a half hours driving, we finally met in a gas station parking lot. It was dark, we both unloaded horses, exchanged horses, exchanged registration papers, spoke a few words, and headed home in opposite directions. I barely petted my new horse before loading her in the trailer, and looking back, it was the weirdest and possibly the most dangerous situation I’ve been in.

My New Horse

I get my new horse, DD, home and am so excited to start working with her. However, when I get on her she isn’t as broke as I thought she was. DD will barely lope a circle, actually she would barely lope at all. Hiding the fact that DD wasn’t 100% as described from my parents, I sent her to a trainer for some basic training since I was going to be spending time on vacation. After getting the mare back she was a totally different horse and ready to start on the barrels. However, the daunting fear from my previous horse kept seeping through and telling me I couldn’t do it.

After training DD to the point of loping the pattern, I put her up for sale. At this point I had three other horses I was running, while going to college, and just kept using that as an excuse for why I wasn’t putting the time into her. But being a now 8-year old that was recently broke and only loping the pattern, absolutely nobody wanted to buy her. I kept trying to sell her. I wanted to use the money to pay off student loans and just get out of training horses and ride the horses I had already running.

Doing What I Had to Do 

When even my best friend turned down buying her, my mom knew just what I had to do. At college I only had one stall, so I could only take one horse at a time. Instead of taking my finished, winning mare, I needed to take DD. Take the horse that needed the most time put into her. It worked. I love to ride more than anything and DD was the only horse I had to ride, so I had to ride her. I spent hours every single day out there riding and patterning her on the barrels. It wasn’t long and she was running, and she was loving it.

After having her at school with me for two months, I entered her in her first barrel race. It wasn’t a small race, either. I took her to a bigger event and her first run was very special, it was on my 21st birthday. Of course, she made a few mistakes, as did I, but overall DD made an impressive first outing. Now, it was just time to keep working and improving those mistakes that we made.

Michaela running her mare DD around the barrels.

My very first run on DD at a barrel race.

The Outcome

That coming summer I was forced to give my winning mare some time off, which meant I had my two other consistent horses that didn’t win, but were fun to run, and DD. It was that summer that DD proved to me that she was going to be my next winning horse. Her first 2D run her reins flipped over her head and it was after they announced my time that I knew it wasn’t long before she ran in the 1D (the fastest division in barrel racing). The very next week she placed second at a race.

Since then, I’ve retired my other winning horse and sold one of the other horses I had been running. DD is my go-to horse. I’ve never ridden a horse around the barrel pattern that loves her job so much. The less I try to help her, then better she performs. She’s a special horse, with a very quirky attitude, but she’s my favorite horse to ride and the horse I trust the most to run around the barrels. 

Michaela Jaycox running her mare DD around the barrels.

My very first win on DD. 

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