A Day for a Winner

Riding lessons converged with fun and friendly encouragement in Washington at the first-ever Horse&Rider Win-a-Day Clinic, presented by Weaver Leather.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so many smiling riders in one place. Usually someone in a group of 10 riders is frustrated or just having a bad day. But at the Weaver Leather Win-a-Day Clinic, held at Trinity Cowboy Church Arena near Spokane, Washington, in late June, it was happy faces all around.

Last year, Idahoan Staci Huffman entered H&R’s first-ever Win-a-Day clinic contest, sponsored by Weaver Leather. After submitting an essay, Staci advanced to the final selection round, where she submitted a video of herself riding and discussed her goals to become a better horsewoman.

Much of that can be attributed to the laid-back, fun personality of clinician Brad Barkemeyer, cow horse, reining, and roping trainer from Scottsdale, Arizona. And winner Staci Huffman, Rathdrum, Idaho, sported an ear-to-ear grin throughout the eight-hour day. (That’s right—these riders were horseback all day and never once looked tired or worn out.)

Here’s a glimpse into Staci’s big day, which she shared with nine of her riding buddies, including her husband and one of her daughters, thanks to Weaver Leather and Brad Barkemeyer. Be sure to look for video clips featuring exercises the riders learned, found on HorseandRider.com and on our Facebook page.

Staci invited nine of her riding friends with varied backgrounds and experience levels to join her for a private clinic with Arizona trainer Brad Barkemeyer. The seven women and three men gathered at the start of their day to discuss what they’d work on and set expectations for the experience.
Riders celebrated victories big and small, whether completing a flying lead change or working a cow in the round pen. Brad’s encouragement and expertise helped each rider get closer to achieving goals they might not have attempted prior to the clinic.
Weaver Leather completely outfitted Staci and her mare, Obvious Collette, in Weaver tack. “Faith,” her barn name, looked fantastic in the Austin tack set, including headstall and breast collar, and braided romal reins. Other Weaver gear included contoured EVA sport foam saddle pads, Prodigy athletic boots, skid boots, spur straps, and an alpaca cinch.
The picturesque Trinity Cowboy Church Arena had everything this group of riders could want, from arenas to round pens to fresh cattle to work.
The warm weather led Brad to remind all the riders to be careful not to leave hot protective legwear on horses all day. Increased heat in the legs can lead to soft-tissue injuries, so removing boots and placing them out of the way (for example, on your stirrups) is important to remember.
Brad worked a rollback drill with each rider to hone their control and correctness. He offered one-on-one consultation with each rider for every exercise they completed.
Riders came from all experience levels and different backgrounds, but they all shared tight bonds with their horses. The ladies of the group plan vacations together around clinics and riding opportunities, so riding with Brad for a day was right up their alley.
All smiles as they prepared their horses for the afternoon session, Staci included her husband, Mark, in her day. He’s newer to riding and enjoys team roping on his mare.
Brad’s diverse background includes team roping, so the ropers in attendance took away key learnings to improve their horsemanship, too. Brad shared his insights on tack and training to shorten their times and help their horses work better.
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