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Kay Young riding horse Tiger around the barrel

It is a muggy, stifling morning in Southern Oklahoma. The red maples have begun their fall blush and rain puddles the drive, yet the air remains thick with humidity and heavy with ongoing summer. There will be no cool air today. Buttoning the cuffs of her long-sleeved shirt, a petite figure steps out of the grey daylight and into the shadowy quiet of the barn. This is Kay Whittaker Young. She moves quickly, smoothly, her eyes scanning the stalls for signs of the horses that are in her care. As if on a rotating cue, six heads appear one at a time over the stall doors, ears up, eyes glittering.

With barrel racing being a sport that all ages can enjoy, building a solid horsemanship skill set at a young age is important for any barrel racer’s confidence later. The learning process is just one of those things that never ends. You get motivated to learn at a young age and that enthusiasm and hard work gets you the tools, confidence and power it takes to ride well for a lifetime. It’s a lifelong pursuit, and sometimes people don’t realize just how much goes into barrel racing.