Carman Pozzobon has dedicated her life toward her goal of qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo. In 2018, she saw those years of toil come to fruition.
“I’ve been working my whole life working at doing it on a horse I trained myself,” Pozzobon said. “I train all my own horses, and it’s been stepping stones trying to get the money to be able to rodeo the whole season and get down south across the border [to the United States], and everything aligned so I could, and it was on one of my own horses.”
That horse is Ripn Lady, a gritty mare by Frenchs Hula Guy and out of Bijou Betali by Eli Betastreak. “Ripp” and the Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada, horse trainer have earned several major pro rodeo victories together, including the 2017 Canadian Finals Rodeo Championship. Ripp was also named the 2017 Horse with the Most Heart in the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association.
In the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, Pozzobon earned $86,947 at 58 rodeos to qualify for her first NFR in the No. 15 position. Pozzobon hustled the last couple weeks of the season and didn’t consider herself qualified until October 1—the day after the pro rodeo season ends and WPRA standings become final.
“I didn’t really accept it until then. The last few weeks were hard,” Pozzobon said. “My horse needed time off, so I had to give her off until the week or two before the Canadian Finals [the last weekend of October]. I had to go solo without her and jump on different horses.”
Pozzobon says her driving force in the waning days of the rodeo season stemmed from her own goals as an athlete. Even without Ripp, she found a way to make things work.
“I figured the last couple weeks in Texas, I just did it for myself. I didn’t want to let myself down,” Pozzobon said. “If I got bumped out without [my horse], I would have been sad for not trying, so at least I would have been down there trying rather than sitting at home watching everyone else trying.”
With the CFR behind her and Ripp back from the break, Pozzobon will lay up in Arizona to focus on getting her equine athlete in peak condition for the arduous 10 days in Las Vegas.
“I’m trying to get my horse’s lungs up, because she had the last while off before the CFR,” Pozzobon said. “We just had to get through that, and now I’m going to be in the middle of the mountains until we get down to Arizona and get her lungs and muscle back. I’m trying to get her physically sound, healthy and in shape to make those 10 runs.”
It’s been a grueling season, but Pozzobon and Ripp proved they are just as tenacious.
“Her try, her heart … she wants to please,” Pozzobon said. “All she wants to do is win just as much as I do. We feed off each other; we’re both very strong. You’d never know if she was sore or not, she’ll still go out there and give her whole heart.”