DISCIPLINE – BARREL RACING
LOCATION – GREEN VALLEY, AZ
COMPETING FOR 11 YEARS
HORSE – BLAZIN RUBY ROCKET
FAMES EASY JETOLENA
HOW CHERYL GOT STARTED :
My interest in horses started at age 2, my parents would take me to the local pony rides on Saturdays. On my 7th birthday, they surprised me with my first horse and I started showing horses when I was 9 years old. I competed in both English and Western disciplines, but my passion as a young person was jumping. In 1992, I rescued a Thoroughbred stallion from the race track, I was so excited to own a fantastic jumping prospect. In reality, he was afraid of jumps, no matter how much time I spent desensitizing him to the jump course, he continued to be frightened. I had an intense desire to compete, so on a whim, I decided to try barrel racing.
She was active in the horse show world, riding Western and English until she graduated from high school. She started her barrel racing career while attending the University of Arizona and competed at the local jackpots while earning her Animal Science degree. In 2002, Cheryl married her husband, Dan Murray, DVM, and together they own and manage Animal Care Center in Green Valley. With his support, Murray juggles pro rodeos, futurities, jackpot races and her job and together they actively breed, train and sell quality barrel horses. In 2010, Murray joined the WPRA.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR EVERYDAY, BEHIND THE SCENES, ROUTINE THAT HELPS YOU ACHIEVE QUALITY, SUCCESS, AND HIGH PERFORMANCE WITH YOUR HORSES? HOW DO YOU STRIVE FOR SUCCESS?
CHERYL: To be successful in this industry, I focus on details. I think my horses perform best when I stick to a consistent routine involving hoof care, nutrition and body care. I perform my best when I commit to a high quality nutrition plan and exercise program for myself. I have a team of people who help me achieve my goals, both for my horses and myself.
I feel hoof care is critical. Without great feet, you cannot have great horses. My farrier, Tyler Basinger, shoes my horses on a 5-6 week schedule. He continually focuses on maintaining proper balance in the hoof. He also recommends that his clients feed hoof supplements. I feed Equine Hoof Protect daily to all my horses in training.
I feel nutrition is critical. I feed high quality forage, which includes a mixture of alfalfa hay and Bermuda hay. The Bermuda is fed in slow feeders so that the horses have hay available to them at all times. I mix my Tech Mix products into a combination of soaked beet pulp, alfalfa pellets and Renew Gold.
Body condition is the third part of the formula. My horses are exercised daily. I vary the exercise program to keep them excited about their work. I trail ride often and I spend quality time in the arena working on suppling exercises and timing. My goal each time I ride is to strengthen the rapport I have with each horse.
I use equine body workers to help my horses stay in top shape. The horses receive massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic adjustments regularly. I also have a strong relationship with Cave Creek Equine. The vets and staff do a fabulous job keeping my horses performing at their best.
I am part of a team with my horses. Since I am asking them to be superior athletes, I feel it is important that I am in peak health also. I eat a high protein low carb diet and exercise daily. Core strength is critical to my timing when I ride. I take Pilates classes weekly to maintain my core stability.
Q: WHAT DO YOU DO TO PREPARE YOURSELF MENTALLY BEFORE A COMPETITION?
CHERYL: When it is time to compete, I spend time away from the crowds and the other competitors and I work on centering myself. I imagine that I am attached to the center of the earth with an imaginary rope. I practice deep breathing exercises to rid myself of nervous energy. I trust that all my hard work and attention to detail will pay off. The most important thing I do is remind myself to have fun, to enjoy the ride and to enjoy my horse.
Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS THAT WANT TO COMPETE IN THIS SPORT?
CHERYL: When I coach others interested in barrel racing, I tell them to recognize they are on a lifetime journey. To improve as riders and competitors, we must always seek more knowledge. Make your primary focus your horse and your horse will give you everything they have to help you win. Above all, remain humbly confident and enjoy each and every ride.
Q: WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU SEE IN TECHMIX?
CHERYL: I am honored to be a member of Team TechMix. Everyone at TechMix is continually working to provide optimum nutrition for our equine athletes. The company is listening to the competitors in all areas of the equine world. The products are readily available at local feed stores. The products are high quality and affordable for all equine budgets.
Q: WHAT TECHMIX PRODUCTS DO YOU USE?
CHERYL: I feed Equine Hoof Protect daily to all my horses in training. I have seen a substantial improvement in the quality and the strength of my horses’ hooves. The hoof seals well around the nail holes. The sole is supple yet strong. I no longer see any brittleness to the hoof.
I feed Equine BlueLite pellets daily to all my horses in training. Hydration is critical to survival in the horse. Horses can often stop hydrating well when weather changes occur or when hauling. When dehydrated, I don’t think they perform at their best. The BlueLite pellets are very palatable, so I never worry about the horses refusing to eat them. I have had very few colic symptoms in my barn since I started feeding BlueLite pellets.
I feed Equine Restart to my broodmares post foaling. Restart provides proper nutrients to normalize the gut. I see less foal heat scours in my foals when the mares are fed Restart.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS IN YOUR CAREER? IN LIFE?
CHERYL: My goal in the barrel racing world is to share positive ideas and words of wisdom with those that ask. I enjoy riding horses more than anything else. I love feeling the bond I have with my equine partner as we charge down the alley to the first barrel. I want to help others feel the same way and enjoy their horses as much as I do.