Thorsby student excels in barrel horse racing

Published 11:48 am Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chyanne Martin rides in a barrel horse racing competition. She recently competed in the NBHA Youth World Championship in Perry, Georgia. (Contributed photo)

Chyanne Martin rides in a barrel horse racing competition. She recently competed in the NBHA Youth World Championship in Perry, Georgia. (Contributed photo)

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Staff Reporter

A few years ago Chyanne Martin and her mom were having dinner at a restaurant when they noticed a flyer from the Alabama Junior Rodeo Association. Martin’s passion for horses went way back to her childhood and she knew as soon as she saw this flyer she wanted to try it out.

She went to her first competition shortly after seeing that flyer and immediately fell in love with the entire atmosphere. She spent three years doing rodeo before she focused solely on barrel horse racing.

Martin recently attended her second National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Championship July 16-23 in Perry, Georgia. This go around she finished in the top 200 out of 1102 riders with her horse A Shot of Sizzle.

Martin has had a love for horses since the third grade and was extremely proud of her finish in the world championship.

“Driving a vehicle, you’re in control at all times, but a vehicle isn’t a wild animal,” Martin said. “Horses are wild animals and have a mind of their own, but when you’re riding them you have control of them. It’s just a great feeling to have control of a wild animal like that.”

Not only does she own her competition horse A Shot of Sizzle, but also takes care of a donkey and seven other horses, one of which is pregnant with the soon to be eighth member of the family.

“I’ve learned a lot of responsibility through my love for this,” Martin said. “Most teenagers have a dog or fish that they take care of, but I have seven 1,000 pound animals that I have to take care of every day. I have to brush and feed each one and make sure each horse takes the correct supplement because giving them the wrong one could cause them harm.”

Some of you may be confused about what barrel horse racing is. Well it’s a timed race event where riders have to ride around barrels set up in a cloverleaf pattern. The time starts when they cross the start line and ends when they make it all the way around and back to the finish line. The best way to go around the course quickly is to stay as close to the barrels as possible, but if you knock a barrel over then you will receive a penalty of no time.

“I’m so proud of her,” said Chyanne Martin’s mother Kimberly Martin. “She’s been working with horses since the third grade and to be a finalist going up against 1102 people from around the world was incredible to see.”

There were riders there from not only all over the United States, but also places like Australia, Italy, Canada and Belgium.

“I remember a girl from New York coming up and talking to her and she just loved listening to her talk because of her southern accent,” Kimberly Martin said. “Those kind of experiences are huge for her life.”

Chyanne Martin has juggled a busy schedule with traveling for barrel racing, winning a state championship in horse judging for Thorsby and being a member of the schools volleyball team.

While she plans on giving up both of those after graduating from Thorsby, she has no plans of giving up barrel horse racing anytime soon, saying she hopes to be in the saddle until the day she retires or until she just can’t do it anymore.