Bert Skimehorn and 2019 mare USnooze ULose NVegas laid all their cards on the table during the eighth annual Kissmas Juvenile Futurity at C Bar C Expo Center in Cloverdale, Indiana, from December 16–17. Skimehorn and “Scarlett” turned in a 15.262 and 14.997, respectively, to win Rounds One and Two, clinching the average with a fast 30.259 and adding $5,473 to Scarlett’s earnings. Skimehorn says the 3-year-old daughter of Vegas Resort is developing a fun style as her confidence grows.
“She runs in four-wheel drive,” Skimehorn said. “You don’t see her slow down or accelerate much throughout the pattern, because she sits in her turns but keeps pulling through with her front end. She’s also starting to get really gritty. I was on the fence about what to do in the second go — let her make another solid pass or step her up, but I knew in my gut if I put the pressure on, she was gritty enough to dig in and handle it.”
Skimehorn says taking the time to develop confidence has been essential for Scarlett, who made her debut runs last month at the Barrel Futurities of America World Championships in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
“At the BFA, she didn’t really know how to run yet,” Skimehorn said. “She made nice, solid runs — she ran a 16.3 in the first go-round and a 16.1 in the second go — and I was happy with how she worked. She didn’t shut the clock off, but it was a growth opportunity for her. It was a great confidence builder, and now we’re seeing that start to pay off.”
Skimehorn, who has been training barrel horses for nearly two decades, says allowing each horse to progress at its own pace and keeping the end goal in mind are key pieces of her program’s success.
“I want every horse to keep its confidence,” Skimehorn said. “With my futurity colts, I want them to go in and work solid patterns. I don’t ever want them to get scared of anything in the arena. It’s my job to make it a happy place for them. That means confidence comes before winning, and sometimes one may not win as quickly as I’d like. I bank on patience paying off in the long run.”
Knowing when to take the pressure off has also helped Skimehorn develop Scarlett’s confidence and transform her into the winner she is quickly becoming.
“I don’t send many horses home for a break, but with this particular filly, we felt like she needed to mature a bit more,” Skimehorn explained. “All the talent was there, but mentally she just needed a bit more time. Her owners took her home, trail rode her and hauled her around a bit. When she came back to me, she was ready. Sometimes that’s all it takes, but knowing when to make that call can really shape the future of a horse’s career.”
Weighing the needs of each horse as an individual and watching the horses under her guidance become the best athletes and competitors they can be is something Skimehorn says she feels passionately about.
“I wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t training horses,” Skimehorn confessed. “If I have a day off, I can’t wait to get to the barn and get back on. It’s who I am, and I love it.”
Skimhorn thanks Dr. Tony Hicks, DVM, and Equine Veterinary Services, Astaria Global Alpha2, Tribute Feed, JHA, MVP, Equinety, Cactus Marquee, Rhinestone Lipgloss, Chrome Girl, and her husband Bubby and family.
Kissmas Juvenile Futurity Average Top 5
1st — Bert Skimehorn, USnooze ULose NVegas, (15.262, 14.997) 30.259
2nd — Regan Henning, A Dark Story, (15.503, 15.349) 30.852
3rd — David Edwards, Streak Easy Movie (15.365, 15.615) 30.980
4th — Morgan Henning, Putta Sock In It, (15.706, 15.276) 30.982
5th — Bert Skimehorn, BS Rockin The Fame, (15.481, 15.701) 31.182
For compete results, visit facebook.com/kissmasjuvenilebarrelrace/.