In just her second year as a pro in 2008, Cassie Moseley not only realized her goal of making the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but did it on a horse she trained herself.
Moseley, 27, picked up Mitey Easy Alibi ("Mitey Man") as a 4-year-old off the racetrack near her hometown in southeast Texas.
"I was always kind of looking, and I had a feeling about him," she says. "I didn't even have to ride him. He was just nice and big, and I liked the way he was bred. I got lucky."
Ten-year-old Mitey Man is by a Dash For Cash grandson named Mitey Easy Dash (that also goes back to Mito Paint and Easy Jet) and out of a granddaughter of Streakin Six that also goes to Raise Your Glass, Secretariat and Jet Deck.
Moseley began training the gelding while attending the University of Texas, and got her degree in radiation therapy from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. When she moved to Clovis, N.M., a few years ago to begin treating cancer patients, she met farrier David Moseley. Not only did her now-husband get her horse sound, but he also helped Mitey Man mature by roping on him.
"Heeling on him got him stronger and got him stopping and using his hind end," Moseley says. "He just started becoming a better horse."
At just the pair's third pro rodeo in 2007, Moseley made everyone sit up and take notice by outrunning a field of NFR girls by a second and a half in Guymon, Okla., on her permit.
Although the $5,520 she raked in filled her permit, it didn't count toward the standings and therefore wouldn't help get her into the 2008 winter rodeos. So she bought her card with 2008 in mind and lost the 2007 PRCA Rookie of the Year contest to Canadian Cathy Grant by just $3,045.
But Moseley rebounded to an early lead in the world standings in January 2008, clocking right with that year's defending world champ, Brittany Pharr, and her own 16-hand Streakin Six/Dash For Cash superstar, Sixth Vision, at Denver. In fact, like Stitch, Mitey Man is honest, consistent, and has the rare versatility to ace indoor coliseums just as well as pasture-size outdoor pens.
Last year, as Mitey Man neared 10 and hit his stride, Moseley quit her day job to focus on her dream. And at her first Wrangler NFR, you'd have never picked her for a rookie.
She and Mitey Man were right at home in the Thomas and Mack Center, clocking more 13-second runs than anyone except for world champ Lindsay Sears, and placing in the top two in fully half the rounds of the Finals-save one tipped barrel in round eight. Had they not hit that barrel and another in round six, they'd have stolen the average title from Jill Moody and raked in another $40,000. In the end, they held onto fourth in the average and still took a whopping $97,090 home to Farwell, Texas.
With the television exposure, hundreds of thousands of fans got a taste of Mitey Man's tricks with a stopwatch.
"The number-one comment I get about him is that he's so deceiving," says Moseley. "He just doesn't look like he's running, but he clocks amazing, as opposed to some horses that look like they're running so fast their legs are about to fall off. He's covering a lot of ground when he's moving, but he's the smoothest horse I've ever ridden around the barrels."
In late April, Moseley and her mighty man were back in the WPRA's top 15. Follow the barrel racing duo at Moseley's web site, www.cassiemoseley.net.
Winning Guymon, Okla., in 2007
The ground was pretty dry at Guymon, and as you can tell from the dirt flying, my horse really uses his hind end in a turn.
I still use this combination bit when I run him, but not when I'm just riding at the house. There's not a lot of training that can be done with this bit. To me, it's essential to change up bits, so if I'm working on his flexion, I put him in a snaffle, or if my husband is tracking steers on him or I'm working on his stop, we use a ported bit.
I'm really sitting in this photo, which is his cue to turn. I have to ride him all the way up in there before I sit down, because for a horse as big as he is, that sucker can turn. He'll surprise you sometimes.
I carry an over-and-under in big pens to get a little extra on the way home, but I never use it in the pattern. He knows his job. If he's not running, it doesn't matter what you do, you're not going to get another gear. In a smaller pen, I carry a bat because it's easier to get up sooner.
At Salt Lake city, Utah in 2008
Mitey Man is not a horse that you really check. You have to trust him and really ride him in there, and you don't normally have to pull on him a lot. I've really got a hold of him here, and you're generally not going to see that.
I don't know what was up with him that night, but he really decided to run. I think we outran everyone by four-tenths. I'm probably holding on for dear life is what's going on! I don't remember everything about the run, but I remember he was just flying. He had some extra fire that day, and I think I was just helping him a little bit around the barrel.
In all three of these pictures, my upper body and head is in the same position as my horse's body and head, and I'm looking ahead of him. When you're riding these horses, you've got to stay with them, and be focused on that point where you're coming around.
Winning the Second Round at the 2008 NFR
It looks like my horse is a ways from the barrel in this picture, but he's funny like that. I have a picture from Garden City where it looks like my horse is nowhere near the barrel, but he outran everybody with a 17.2.
I never kick around a barrel, so I think I'm just about to get a grip here. And he's not really one you can position as you approach. Whatever position you're in, you better hope it's right, because there's no moving in or out. I'm pretty lucky he's not one to try to hit or shoulder a barrel. I think when a person leans, it can throw the horse off balance and make him feel like it's time to shut down.
Last summer I did hit some barrels, actually because of some issues in the alley. His hole is he's real nervous and would lock up and not move. When he did move, I'd never know what he was fixing to do, so I got out of sync with him at the first barrel. Last fall, I figured out how to keep him calm and we got back in sync.