By Kari deCastro

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Sabra O’Quinn.

Barrel racing champion Sabra O’Quinn has been riding horses her entire life. Along with her successful horse trailer sales business, Fiddler’s Trailers and Equipment, O’Quinn has found a passion for helping kids and training barrel horses.

Barrel Horse News caught up with this Florida cowgirl to learn how she keeps it all going.

Q: You do a lot to help kids. Why? And what do you feel is the most important thing you teach them?
A: I only have the time to help so many kids, so I commit to those kids, and when they get to a certain age, they kind of move on, and then I pick some younger ones.

Horsemanship is my number one thing that I think young kids are lacking. They think it’s all about going fast and pulling your horse around three barrels. I teach them how to use their hands and legs, and about timing, conditioning and consistency in their riding programs. I also stress everything from feeding to shoeing to fitness, and how to maximize the potential of their horse.

Not everyone can afford a $50,000 barrel horse, but if you can gain a tenth here or there, it adds up. I look at it like, “This is what you have. These are the ways we make your horse better.”

I have some young kids who want to get their professional card. I like to take them with me to the rodeos, teach them the ropes, how to enter and things like that. When I was young, I had people that helped me with that stuff. The one saying I always tell the kids is “Smooth is fast, and you walk before you run.”

Q: What is the most rewarding part of working with youth?
A: Helping them helps me emotionally. I think the biggest thing for me is when those kids call me after they’ve made a run, and it went well for them, and I hear that excitement in their voice. It brings tears to my eyes, and to me, there’s nothing better than that. I love when there are horses I’ve trained, and they go win a barrel race.

That’s what it’s all about for me, helping people accomplish their goals with their horses. It’s just an amazing thing. And I want them to outrun me. If they do that, then I’ve accomplished something as a person, and as a teacher and a trainer. It all goes hand in hand for me.

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