PERFORMANCE HORSES

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ANDREA CLINE - THE SECRET IS OUT!
Interview…

ONE WOULD THINK THAT SHE WOULD IN HER OWN RIGHT HAVE THE BRAGGING RIGHTS WITH ALL OF HER ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DATE.  HOWEVER, AFTER OUR VISIT, WE FOUND THAT SHE IS ONE OF THE MOST HUMBLE PEOPLE IN THE BARREL RACING INDUSTRY THAT ONE COULD HAVE THE PRIVILEGE TO KNOW.  AFTER CATCHING UP WITH HER DURING HER BUSY SCHEDULE, SHE SHARED HER LIFE, ANSWERING QUESTIONS “IN HER OWN WORDS” ABOUT HER BEGINNING / TRAINING / HER HORSES / ADVICE / LESSONS LEARNED / ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND MOST OF ALL APPRECIATION TO OTHERS……

      I'm from Bishop, Ca and Pahrump, NV both. I live in Springtown, TX now. Both my parents rode but my dad made his living around horses as a farrier and cowboy'd in his younger years. I have ridden horses for as long as I remember, but both my mom and my dad got me into dressage and reining lessons, which really helped me with the horsemanship aspect of barrel racing. My dad is very kind to animals and saw how important these horses were to me, so he made sure I had the right kind of education in training and riding them. My first barrel horse was an appaloosa mare named Yappy. I won a bunch on that mare and so did both my younger sisters. She was not treated well by previous owners-I think just treating that horse well, she appreciated us and always took care of us kids.


      My first futurity horse was a horse I called Thumper. I won money on him in the amateur class at a Speedhorse Futurity back in 2001. I didn't train him thinking of futurities though. I was still learning the ropes of competing and traveled quite a bit with Kay Blandford. I learned a wealth of knowledge from her. She was and is very confident and she never ever let a bad run get her down. Being around winners really rubs off on a person or at least it did me. Her attitudes and how she thought about competing and training are still with me today and I'm very thankful that I got to be around her.

      I sold that horse to a friend of mine who then sent me a horse to train and I slowly just started getting horses to train from friends or local barrel racers in my area. I trained a horse that World Champion, Kelly Kaminski ended up buying. Years later I sold another horse that ended up finding his way into another World Champion’s hands, Kappy Allen. Training barrel horses is easy for me. The competing aspect of it was a lot harder and I'm still just breaking into that I feel. I don't know that any one horse made my career as I feel like my career is just beginning.

     About 3 years ago, the best barrel racer in the world, Charmayne James, contacted me to ride a horse for her and that was the biggest thing to happen to me in training at that point. I could always train horses, but the more I rode with Charmayne, the better my horses got and the better I got. My training program did change and for the better.  I remember some of the things I needed to do differently the first time I came home to ride after riding with Charmayne--I felt like a beginner all over again, but I just kept thinking if I can master this I'm going to be 10 times better.

     Most of the horses I’ve had come in for training are already barrel horses that have bad habits or taught wrong. If the horse is quite a bit older I don't try to change too much because they're set in their ways. Most horses are taught to turn with no regard to what their hind ends are doing--I just work on keeping their bodies aligned and getting more feel from the hind end. My favorite style is to run all the way up in there and turn--no check, no bump, and just leave your rein hand in the middle. I teach the horse the correct places to put the feet and over time, it becomes a habit for them.

     I'm probably going to give the worst answer for finishing a barrel horse…. years! I can have a horse patterned in 3 months but there's going to be some help from the jockey. I'm always doing something to help that horse going into and in the turn. I start training each horse to learn to do the pattern by itself but it takes a long time to get them there. . I want them to be really easy to ride but keep their body correct at the same time.  It's easy to throw a horse away and get them to turn with no regard about where their feet are setting, where the shoulder is, or where the hind end is going.  It's another thing to keep a horse collected on a free rein. They have to be taught how to do that and that's why they need to be taught to travel correctly.  I also firmly believe it keeps them sounder.

     I'm haven’t been a futurity trainer until lately. If I get a horse in that is the correct age, and that horse is training how I want and they are ahead of a certain deadline for a futurity coming up… I'll enter that horse. I really haven't had an owner come up to me and say "I want to go to futurities with this horse". I am just now getting those kinds of customers for 2014-2015. On my own horses that I went to futurities with like Cashs First Lady…she was running good solid exhibitions in October and the feel was right. So I entered her at the Greg Olson in AZ in January and we ended up 3rd in the 2nd round and 3rd in the Average. I wasn't chasing futurities on her but I also entered her at the WrapN3 futurity in April of that year and finished 2nd. She had some bad luck that same futurity year which kept us out the rest of the year. But she ended up winning about 40k in open races, futurities and rodeos until I semi- retired her; and now she's going to have her first baby in 2014. Stitchs Streaknfame was running in the 3D at the beginning of this year, but I don't let times bother me when I know what kind of horse I'm on. It took him about 2 months of competing and he left that 3D division really fast--ran once in the 2D and then has been in the 1D all this year. I don't put that pressure on those horses, and year after year the horses I train readily give me the speed they have--I don't have to whip or spur it out of them. They want to give it and they build their confidence over time. I've read where some trainers feel their horses need to be running 1D times in July. I'm just not worried about it if they're not there in July. I have ridden enough horses to know if they are that caliber; and if they are, I'll give the extra time. If they're not, I'll never waste someone’s money telling them they will be.

          I ride between 12-16 horses a day--I do have help thank goodness! I don't overwork any of my horses. A horse being patterned sees the pattern every day. After a horse is patterned and has been making runs and has been doing really solid, they get a break from the pattern and we do other things. I really learn each horses personality. Some horses need to stay on that pattern to stay sharp and some horses can do other exercises.     

     Streak Sense is one horse that I don't like to take out on a straight away-meaning no traveling in a straight line. He's way too fast and he's way too free. So every day he sees circles and if we do go in a straight line it's at a walk. He may be that way for another decade, but that's fine by me because he's a winner. Most horses aren't like him; but I understand that's how he is and I don't try to change him.

     My best advice for someone wanting a winner is patience--pure and simple. Some horses take longer than others and NEVER compare horses to each other. I know a lot of girls that had a great horse and they can never get themselves back onto another horse; and I firmly believe it's because they expect this new horse to do what the other one did.  Mental attitude is huge.

“Every horse has their own gifts to give and they're not the same gifts.  I learned a long time ago to appreciate and accept whatever gift that horse has to give.”

     My routine changes per the weather. If it's hot outside I do a lot of walking. Winter I'll do more trotting but I don't ever want to overdo my warm ups. My horses don't like to be in stalls all the time, so when I haul I take them out often if they must be stalled, otherwise I like to put them in bigger pens by my trailer so I can keep an eye on them. They like when I can find them some grass to graze on. I firmly believe in Darrell Elliott, my chiropractor--my horses are sound and he's a big reason why. I like ice too and in winter I like the Back On Track products.

     I prefer rodeos myself. You go, pay your fees, run and leave. I think rodeos showcase a stronger animal, mentally and physically. Nothing is ever the same unless you go to the same rodeo over and over. I prefer the 5-yr old futurities because they still allow the 4-yr old to enter. I just think 5-yr olds are stronger physically and some horses need that extra year to get stronger mentally. A good 4-yr old doesn't get out-run by a 5-yr old. When you have a great horse you know it early on. The 5-yr old futurities give the horses that weren't there as 4-yr olds another chance. It doesn't make them bad horses; and a lot of those horses go on to make really nice open horses and good rodeo horses as well. Plus it brings in more entries! The big change I think would be just to allow the 5-yr olds in. At Diamonds and Dirt, Latrica Duke brought up some really interesting statistics about opening their futurity to allow 5-yr olds. It brought in more money to the pot, kept owners happy and the 4-yr olds that are great horses are still great horses and won a lot more than the 5-yr olds. I don't think a 5-yr old has outrun a 4-yr old at any major futurity to date. Drug testing at futurities… I really believe the cheaters are going to cheat. They know how to pass a test just like they know what kind of drugs they want to give. It'd be interesting to spring a test on them; but it should be done correctly--like in a quarantined type area.

Advice
    For novices and even non-novices…. Find someone better than you and go ride with them. It's ok to admit that people are better than you--that's how you learn. Pride can really get in the way of learning. I don't think I know more than anyone else out there. I am not perfect and neither are my horses. Being a horse trainer, I have ridden with a lot of different people. Pam Ross, Sharon Camarillo, Wanda Bush, Kay Blandford, Charmayne James, LIsa Anderson, Kathy my dressage trainer that taught me so much, Reining trainers, my dad. I wouldn't be the trainer I am were it not for learning from people who are better than me.

Goals and Appreciation
     It seems like this year I have had my head down doing nothing but training barrel horses. I have more horses than ever and I have a waiting list that I cannot get to as fast as I have in the past. I'd like to hire another trainer to work under me when the time is right--maybe in 2014.  
    I have some big things I want to conquer and haven't even begun to do that. I want to make the NFR and not just make it--I want to win the world. This year I want to win the UPRA and CPRA Finals.
    I have some great people in my life who have helped me monetarily, mentally and are the greatest friendships ever. Debbie Pundt has been very supportive of me. Kimberly Blackmon got me my sponsorship with Elite Compression who helps me get down the road to some of these races. Tim and Neali Novak have been beyond great--the most supportive people in the world. I have been down and those 2 have picked me up--I love them with all my heart. These are the people that I never want to be without in my life. I also have Ruby Lingo and Heather McGee who are great friends. I respect Kay Blandford for her confidence and mental game. Kassie Mowry, I love her dressage background and her horses seem to love what they do. Charmayne James because she's a true horseman. She gets those horses down to her bones. She's just a winner in everything she does.

Andrea’s Preferences
Bloodlines….
     I've ridden so many different bloodlines that I don't feel I have to have a certain blood line to win. However I absolutely love Streakin Six in there somewhere. I'm partial to Firewater Ta Fame because I competed on him and I've had 2 phenomenal colts by him. Stitchs Honornfame and Stitchs Streaknfame--they both are athletic and winning and can sure run. Streakin Six horses are athletic and extremely fast. So as of today I'm going with Streak Six and Firewater Ta Fame and I do think Jet Of Honor on the bottom side is not to be passed up.

Saddles, pads, bits etc…
    I like the Classic Equine pads and almost all my saddles are Record Breakers by Cactus. I put rims all the way around on everyone except Streak-he gets grabs. I don't believe horses will hurt themselves with rims on the back end--I think bad riding and putting them in incorrect turns hurts them. I like a 3-pc, small gag, and small shank with the same length purchase on all the beginners. I try and get out of a ring bit as fast as I can. It seems like they lug on a ring bit faster than any other bit. I really like all of Charmayne’s bits. The purchase length matching the shank length is what makes those bits really nice. I don't necessarily have a favorite running bit but it seems like I use the chain bit quite a bit. If I could have 3 bits it'd be the the short shank 3-pc bit, the Charmayne James chain bit, and the Sherry Cervi long shank. With a lot of my outside horses I can go to this bit and do well with. I have a Ford 450 and it's done well. My Platinum has been with me since 2007 and it's a good trailer. I like Bluebonnett feed, alfalfa hay and good quality coastal. I love Forco, TLC joint and the Oxygen products.

Favorite horse…

that's a hard one because I'm pretty good at not comparing. I am leaning towards Stitchs Streaknfame because this is his first year of competition and he feels like an open horse. He's done some amazing things including winning at rodeos from the very get go in muddy ground. Nothing bothers him in the arena. He's had to run 2 times in one night and 2 different arenas and he got stronger. He can feel completely rattled before a run and then go down the alley and completely zone into his run. Ground doesn't seem to phase him unless his feet are long. He eats and drinks amazingly on the road. He's healthy and sound.

Courtesy Andrea Cline
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