During the last four months, you’ve heard how Brad and Mindy Barkemeyer navigate their horse life with their family, from being on the road for shows to coaching their kids at home to preparing the family for long trips.
It might leave you wondering, what do the kids think about this lifestyle? To put it mildly, the boys are all in, 100%, and love the lives they lead.
Parent/Child and Coach/Student
NBA player Magic Johnson once said, “All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and somebody who believes in them” In speaking with the Barkemeyer boys, it’s clear their parents share this philosophy. But navigating the coach/student relationship can be tough when familial ties are involved.
“We go from father/son in one second, and then once we’re in the arena, it’s student/coach,” Zane shared. “He doesn’t treat us any differently than his other students—he’s very professional about it.”
“Our dad wants us to be the best we can be,” Bryce echoes. “He’s really good at explaining what we need to do and why. We already have a close relationship, so I think that makes him coaching us more efficient. We understand what he’s saying. He’s a really good coach. He’s very understanding and sees everything and then explains it in a way we understand. His positivity and patience make it easier.”
While Brad is the professional horseman in the family, the boys also lean on Mindy to share her expertise and to keep everyone on track.
“Mom makes sure I have everything I need and that I do everything I need to do,” Zane says. “She gets the boots on my horse, makes sure his mane and tail are brushed, gets me the correct reins, helps with my chaps, and more. She has an eye for detail.”
Bryce agrees and adds, “Mom is the organizer. She’s the glue that holds us all together. I don’t know how we’d do it without her.”
All About Memories
Brad and Mindy have shared that one goal, no matter where they are nor how important a horse show is, they make time for family fun. It could be organized, such as a dinner or special outing, or more impromptu, like when Brad and the boys rope the dummy at their stalls. The boys agree that these memories stick with them and are an important part of making their lifestyle work.
“When we go to shows in Queen Creek [Arizona], there’s always roping, which means we get to be chute help,” Zane shares. “I really enjoy doing that together. It’s fun to be behind the scenes and see it all come together.”
“I really like traveling around,” Bryce says. “Every horse show has a fun element, mostly because it’s just us. It’s a good bonding experience, and a great chance to be together. We’re very fortunate to have that time together.”
[Read Part 2 HERE]
Working Toward Goals
Brad and Mindy expect their boys to hold themselves to high standards and encourage them to set goals to keep them moving forward in their lives, whether that’s horseback, on the football field, or in the classroom.
Right now, Bryce is hard at work to transition to college life next fall. His sights are set on Texas A&M. But before then, he and Brad are focused on the NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman and World’s Greatest Youth Horseman in February 2024.
“This will be my third year doing it,” Bryce says. “It takes a lot of preparation, and I enjoy it a lot. The goal is that we both make the finals.”
Zane only recently returned to the show pen and looks forward to competing more in the future.
“I’m really working on how I show a horse,” he says. “Last time, I got really nervous and was looking down. I feel like my horse felt that, so we didn’t do our best. It’s definitely something we can work on to improve.”
This article is brought to you by: