Two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifying barrel racer and 2016 RFD-TV's The American Champ Sarah Rose McDonald graciously caught up with us this week from the Red Bluff (Calif.) Round Up. She's battled to overcome the untimely and tragic loss of a once-in-a-generation horse, Bling, with style and class over the last four months, dedicating herself to teaching clinics across the country while she seasons her new 5-year-old mare, Diamond, on the rodeo road.
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What horses do you have on the road with you?
I have my 5-year-old mare, Diamond, by Brookstone Bray out of Millennium Star, the same dam as Arson that Sherry Cervi ran at the NFR. I got her last March from Aimee Kay, and she's pretty much my main horse right now.
Has anything positive come out of the last few months?
It's been hard, for sure. I feel like I've just been trying to keep going. It's been really hard because I didn't have anything else. This is my 5-year-old's futurity year. Her first run was when I got home from the NFR in December. She's done awesome for what I have asked her to do. I have three 3-year-olds, and I've been trying to keep riding them.
What do you do to take care of Diamond on the road?
She's young, so I don't have to do too much. She's grown up a lot. I hauled her last summer and had to send her home and just turn her out because she got way too upset on the road. She's calmed down, and I've learned to really appreciate small things. I try to take it slow with her and treat it as a learning experience for both of us. I'm letting her mature on her own. I ran her during the winter, and when I got home I turned her out for two weeks and let her be a horse and get her a belly back. She's been really good since I brought her back this year. It's hard to travel with a young horse, but when you have a run and you're not too far off the rest of the girls, it's pretty rewarding seeing them grow up.
Did you consider not running this year?
I don't think that would be good. I could, but I'm not trying to go hard. I've been doing a lot of clinics and traveling a lot. I have tried to enter rodeos around the clinics. I enjoy that a lot. When all the girls come out, we all learn. I've really enjoyed doing those.
What did Bling teach you?
She taught me to believe in her and to believe we could do it. I ventured out randomly into rodeo, and I felt like I had her and I was supposed to give her the chance. Everything fell into place. That was pretty cool to experience. She was so athletic the way she could position her feet and make up for slips. She was so smart and cool to be around all the time.
*April 25th clinic 3-8pm Ceres, California
*May 9-10th lessons Gonzales, Louisiana
*May 13 or 14th clinic Fallen Timber Stables Elizabeth Township, Pennsylvania
*May 15-17th lessons Gonzales, Louisiana
*May 20 or 21st clinic Mason, Tennessee
*May 29th 3-8pm clinic Hector, Arkansas
*June 11th clinic Tioga, Texas
*June 13th clinic Florence, Mississippi
*June 18th clinic Macon, Missouri
Contact Sarah Rose on Facebook for more info