DISCIPLINE – BARREL RACING
LOCATION – VALE, SD
COMPETING FOR 23 YEARS
HORSE – SKY HIGH GUY
HOW NIKKI GOT STARTED :
I grew up on a ranch in Western South Dakota. We saddled up and rode horses every day to check cattle, water, etc. My dad competed in bull riding at the collegiate and professional level, and my mom competed in some horse shows and local playdays. One day, my dad set up three barrels in a hay field and taught me the barrel racing pattern. I was hooked!! My first horse, “Toad” would let me go around the barrels hundreds of times. Eventually we got a set of poles, the flag race, and even a goat to practice goat tying. I enjoyed every second of it. I practiced so much, my horse would shake me off when she had enough!! I have loved horses, rodeo, and the competition aspect since I was a little girl.
I loved all of the rodeo events growing up. I competed in five events in high school rodeo (barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, cattle cutting), and continued on with the three events offered to women at the collegiate level (barrel racing, goat tying, breakaway roping). I worked very hard at every event I competed in, and each horse I competed on could work multiple events. It’s important to me to have an all around horse that can do multiple things; I think it makes them better athletes and more adaptable to different situations. Barrel racing is the only event that women can compete at the professional level. I still enjoy roping and doing ranch work on all of my barrel horses.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR EVERYDAY, BEHIND THE SCENES, ROUTINE THAT HELPS YOU ACHIEVE QUALITY, SUCCESS, AND HIGH PERFORMANCE WITH YOUR HORSES?
NIKKI: Physical fitness is the cornerstone of my routine with my horses. Each horse has its own fitness regime, depending on how physically fit the horse is.
I think it’s really important for horses regularly competing to have a break; therefore, I spend a lot of my downtime riding in the pasture at my family’s ranch. I feel doing ranch work on my horses really strengthens my bond with them, and my favorite thing to do is work cattle on my barrel horses.
In my opinion, spending a lot of quality time with your horse is the most important thing you can do to achieve success. Learning the idiosyncrasies of my horses, what things they like, and developing a bond where I know my horse like the back of my hand has helped me to achieve a high level of performance in my horses.
Q: HOW DO YOU STRIVE FOR SUCCESS?
NIKKI: Attention to detail, all day, every day, is how I work towards success in everything I do. My dad instilled in me how much the littlest of details matter. I am a creature of habit, so much so that every piece of tack has its place in my trailer or barn. I make daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals; each day I work little by little to accomplish those goals. Breaking things down to smaller tasks makes it easier to accomplish my biggest goals.
Q: WHAT DO YOU DO TO PREPARE YOURSELF MENTALLY BEFORE A COMPETITION?
NIKKI: Proper preparation is the best way for me to mentally get ready for a major competition. I start many weeks or months before a competition, ensuring that my horse and I are physically fit and healthy. Knowing that I have done everything that I can to prepare myself and my horse gives me a lot of confidence before a competition.
I have the same routine before every competition. While I saddle my horse and get my tack ready, I visualize the barrel run I want to make and reinforce in my mind the key things I need to accomplish to be successful. My warm up routine is very specific to my horse, and I do the same thing every time. In the minutes before I run, I tell myself to enjoy the moment!
Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS THAT WANT TO COMPETE IN THIS SPORT?
NIKKI: Be prepared to work really, really hard. The rodeo road can be long and grueling, but there is no greater feeling than making a winning barrel racing run with a great horse. Even more rewarding is competing on a horse that you have raised and trained. Perseverance is an important quality to have, as there will be times that you may begin to doubt yourself. Having a good support system will also help combat those feelings! It takes a great team to achieve success— be sure to find those individuals that will help guide you and support you along the journey.
Q: WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU SEE IN TECHMIX?
NIKKI: I have been so impressed with how thorough TechMix is in their analysis of products. Attention to detail and striving for excellence are very important to me, and I can easily see how important those same qualities are to TechMix. Also, I could really see a difference in my horses appearance and health. They maintain their weight better, have shinier coats, and feel outstanding every day!
Q: WHAT TECHMIX PRODUCTS DO YOU USE?
NIKKI: Stable Complete: This product is foundation of my feeding program. I know my horses get all the vitamins and minerals they need from this product. No matter how great a product is, our horses have to like to eat it, and every one of my horses loves their Stable Complete!
Build-Bac: My horses absolutely love this product!! They love the taste, and I love the peace of mind knowing that they are receiving the good bacteria they need to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Since feeding this product, I have noticed that horses maintain their weight very well while traveling.
Health E Oil: I appreciate the added energy and beautiful coat shine this product provides. However, my favorite thing about it is the vitamin E that helps decrease recovery time after an intense workout.
BlueLite Pellets: This may be my favorite product because keeping horses hydrated is of upmost importance, especially while traveling. My horses willingly eat it, and I know that they are getting the major electrolytes they need. BlueLite pellets are more than just “salt;” this product ensures that my horses can properly utilize the major electrolytes they receive.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS IN YOUR CAREER? IN LIFE?
NIKKI: My main goal in life is to enjoy and appreciate each day. I feel so blessed that my job is to work with horses every day!! I strive to do the best job that I can at anything I do. I would like to accomplish many things inside the arena, but even more so outside of the arena. My goals and aspirations are constantly evolving and change quite frequently. The key to all of my goals and aspirations is to do the very best job that I can do every day and work really hard in pursuit of those goals.