Horse Power

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

Having this quality team of horses has definitely increased my choices. I can’t complain. I just need to stick to a plan and roll with it and not overthink things.

by Shane Hanchey

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This is the eleventh straight year I’ve set off for the Fourth of July run. The biggest difference for me this year has to do with my horses. The most I’ve ever rodeoed with over Cowboy Christmas was two horses, but this year I have three and a half—Bam Bam, Pam Pam, Si and a new one called Bull that I bought with Clint Robinson. I’m biased, but I think I’ve got the best team of horses going.

My biggest question this year is, What horse am I going to ride where?

I’m traveling with Rhen Richard, Blane Cox and Clint Robinson. On Wednesday, we drove up to Ponoka from Reno. Clint and I brought Bam Bam and Bull with us. I left Pam and Si at Clint’s place in Spanish Fork, Utah.

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

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I’m excited to have Bam Bam with me, since I wasn’t able to ride him over the Fourth of July last year. He strained a tendon in his back leg, and I kept him out from April to August. I didn’t want to take any chances, and I had enough money won last summer that I could afford to be cautious. I wanted Bam Bam to be ready for the NFR. But there were times last July when I thought to myself, Man, if I had Bam Bam, there’s no telling how much I could win. Now I do have him, and he’s back and healthy and one reason I’m going into Cowboy Christmas with the most money I’ve ever won by this point. Last year, I had around $50,000 won. This year, I have nearly $67,000. I was fortunate to have some big hits at the right rodeos this winter.

I wanted Bam with me at Ponoka, because it has always been one of the best rodeos over the Fourth. I’ve driven away from the Ponoka Stampede with close to $17,000 in the past. That’s a lot of money, and it counts towards both the PRCA and Canadian standings.

Me and Clint bought Bull from Blane. Clint was mounting out and winning on Bull last summer. He thought this horse could take him to the next level. Clint’s been really successful. Now he’s at the tail end of his rodeo career. He knows I’m always looking for good horses and asked if I wanted to go in on Bull. That was a no-brainer. To me, a good horse is never gonna be a bad investment. I always want to keep a barn full of them. I feel like I have to since I’m not the biggest or strongest guy trying to rodeo.

Bull’s around eleven years old, probably the youngest of my four horses. He’s been rodeoed on for the perfect amount of time—three or four years before we got him. Blane finished sixteenth on him two years in a row. He was just one hole away from making the NFR on him—twice.

Bull adapts to any setup. If you need to turn ’em around and tie ’em in seven, he can do that. If you gotta go down the arena and tie ’em in nine or ten at a bigger setup, he can do that.

Bull looks like all my other ones, a sorrel with a white dot on his face. He’s medium-size—not to big, not too little. He blends right in with my team of horses, but only in looks. Bull’s not as easy-going as my other horses. He’s kind of a wild man. With my other three, you can put little kids on them—Clint’s kids ride them all the time—but Bull is more high-strung and kind of a loner. Put it this way: His name suits him.

If I make the short round at Ponoka, I’ll leave Bam in Olds, Alberta, when I travel back to Colorado for the Greeley Stampede on June 30. I’ve been lucky to get to know the folks at Coulee Equine in Olds. They’re good people. They used to keep Reata for me. They’d put him in the saltwater spa and put him on a walker—pretty much take care of him like he was their own horse. Hopefully, I’ll have a reason to leave Bam there this year.

Having this quality team of horses has definitely increased my choices. I can’t complain. I just need to stick to a plan and roll with it and not overthink things.

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