Question: Trevor, I watched you at the American Rope Horse Futurity Association’s World Championship on the grey horse that you’ve done videos on now since he was 3. Can you tell us more about the journey with that horse that we didn’t see on teamropingjournal.com? — Kacey Kobza, Fort Lupton, Colorado
Answer: I call that horse Firecracker. He’s by FirewaterOnTheRocks, and the dam’s side was all run, too. The most challenging horses I’ve ridden are the ones bred to run like him. I’ve always been able to add speed to cow horses, but with these ones, it’s about discipline. It goes against the lessons I learned on the other horses. Firecracker has really taught me a lot.
With him, he felt so talented and so good from the start, that it was like, ‘Hey, watch this—look what my 2-year-old can do.’ Then, the next year it was, ‘Look what my 3-year-old can do,’ instead of viewing it as a process to get to the best 5- or 6-year-old finished horse. I lost sight of the final product. It was immaturity in my horse training. Yeah, he was a great 3-year-old, but if I skipped steps or pushed him too fast, we’d have been at the same spot as a 5-year-old.
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I was so excited about him as a 3-year-old that I forgot how old he was. I needed to take it in stride and, as I sped things up, he reminded me. Just because he was great, I needed to just have a great day instead of asking for more.
To reel him back in, I did a lot of drills on him, early in his 4-year-old year, that I do on a 3-year-old. We spent a lot of time loping behind cattle and keeping him gathered. We focused on walking when I dropped my reins, getting him listening well enough that I had to really ask him to trot, to lope—not just free-range running behind every steer.
I was fortunate that it came back to him. Once I got to the Futurity, it felt like he was as good as anything I had. I just didn’t get to enjoy the last six or eight months like I did on some of the other ones who didn’t start out as great as he did. But those horses followed a linear process, and they just evolved into being able to make consistent runs. With Firecracker, we had to revisit some things along the way.
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