When you've knocked a barrel at every race this month, hustle harder.
When you lose a cow two seconds before the buzzer, hustle harder.
When your rope just doesn't seem to catch, hustle harder.
When the days get longer and the nights get shorter, hustle harder.
You learn how to fight the hardest when you feel like giving up, so hustle harder.
Take your time, work with your horse, and make your turns snappy.
Spend time in the practice pen on tough cattle, not every show is going to go your way.
Rope the dummy, and work on reaching from a bad spot.
Use the time you have to accomplish what you can, and then do more.
You'll clock your fastest time and win the race.
Your horse will lay down a 74 to take home the championship.
Catching will be the least of your worries, so go win some.
Your days will be long, but they'll be worth it.
You'll be amazed with the results.
Looking for the perfect western outfit? Check out the suggestions below! Shop by clicking or tapping on the images. *Contains links
The RockN W Report was created with the mission to support and empower others in the western industry. The ones who push through the work week and jackpot on the weekends. The ones who run a side hustle and are constantly working to better their craft. The ones with a dream, an unshakable dream. The RockN W Report is a place to share that dream, no matter how small.
Instead of focusing on achievement, I’m invested in the mission. The mission to become great. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it may not happen for everyone. That’s just the reality. There’s no participation trophies in this industry. But, if you have the dream and constantly work towards your mission of achieving it, you will redefine success.
Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from my grandma Doreen about the opening Letter from the Editor in the June issue of the RockN W Report. She was talking about how the letter connected with something her trainer, Chris, had said earlier in the day.
My interpretation of what she said is this: It's not about winning, it's not about riding to win. It's about riding to become better. Instead of practicing like you're in the show pen, practice like you want to improve. Work on your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Then, go show to win.
If we lose the drive to become great, we will fall into a cyclical rhythm of being average. Or worse than that, completely accepting of the fact that we can never become great. Every legend once started out as a beginner, and they didn't give up when things were difficult. They also didn't accept anything less than their best.
Don't accept being average. Don't accept the participation trophy.
Go for the gold buckle.
Holly is the editor of the RockN W Report. Follow the RockN W Report on Instagram @rocknwreport.
As an avid horsewoman and purveyor of the finer things, I've pulled together a list of some of my favorite tack items for y'all to enjoy! I've been using these products for years, and swear by their performance. Read my little review on each item, and give them a try for yourself!
Professionals choice boots
My mare, Getta, loves her Professionals Choice VenTECH boots. Her (or my) favorite color is turquoise, and they have plenty of stylish options that allow us to show off our style, while keeping her legs protected at all times. This is especially important in our field, as cowhorse work can be dangerous without proper equipment. But I know that my boots are holding up their end, every time.
Riding all day can take a huge toll on the body, especially your knees and hips. I ride in a special Nettles stirrup that has padding for the sole of your foot. Not only does this make my ride more comfortable, it keeps my knees from aching. I swear by these stirrups, and won't ride in anything else!
D-Ring Snaffle Bit
Professionals choice shearling cinch
A few years ago, I transitioned away from the Professionals Choice neoprene cinch. I had started a little two-year-old mare and she was getting sores around her girth from the cinch rubbing. So, I got a shearling cinch and haven't looked back. They're undoubtedly more comfortable for the horse, and have been a staple in my tack set-up. I highly recommend them for a horse with sensitive skin, or as an all-around cinch for multiple horses.
For a light workout, I prefer to use polo wraps versus a full boot setup. For showing, we stick to bright white. But in practice, there are plenty of fun prints and colors to show off your unique style. Again, Professionals Choice is my go-to!
What are some of your tack favorites? Comment on this blog or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concho belts are all the rage lately. A truly versatile piece, the concho belt can take a t-shirt dress and turn it into a western fashion statement. Wear it with dresses, jeans, shirts, whatever you want! Inspired by some of the top western fashion influencers, I found some amazing pieces on Amazon that will take your outfit to the next level.
*This post contains affiliate links
It's all the craze lately... CACTUS! I'm obsessed with everything that has a saguaro on it, and I'm not ashamed. Recently I was searching around on Amazon, and discovered that they have everything I need to soothe my cactus fever (and you can too). Click the photos to shop on Amazon!*
There are so many more amazing cacti-inspired finds on Amazon. Happy shopping!
*This post contains affiliate links.
Sara Shier and Marco were introduced eleven years ago.
“I was terrified of him, he was huge and hot as hell. The first time I brought him out he tried to bite me, which resulted in me punching him so hard that he hasn’t bit me in over 11 years.”
Although their first meeting didn’t go as smoothly as planned, Marco and Sara have been together ever since.
“Marco is without a doubt my heart horse and the greatest gift I could have ever been given. I’m thankful for him every single day. That horse did anything and everything for me all in the hopes of pleasing me,” she said. “Marco opened a lot of doors for me to ride countless horses over the years, especially a lot of hot OTTB because he made me fearless in the saddle.”
Sara’s horseback riding career began slowly, as she was only allowed one lesson per week with her competitive softball schedule. She grew up traveling all over the country to play at the highest level.
“I received a full ride scholarship my junior year of high school to an NCAA Division 1 program at NSU in Louisiana,” she said. “I then transferred to Long Island University Brooklyn my sophomore year after they agreed to match my scholarship.”
Although many people understand the physical demand of competitive sports, Sara developed her mental game throughout her college career.
“The thing many people don’t realize about baseball and softball is it’s more of a mental game than a physical game. If you really look into what makes the game the game you will see how it is a confined version of life. It will present itself to you: the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with a lesson on how to handle them.”
“If you can master the mental aspect of the game you can master life.”
Sara uses the lessons that she learned through playing competitive softball in all aspects of her life, including some painful ones.
“Softball humbled me in many ways and helped prepare me for the game they call life. Unfortunately, I tore my ACL my freshman and junior year which followed with a back condition going into my senior year,” she said.
“The biggest blessing of these career ending injuries is it allowed the game to present me with more trials and conflicts that I had to work extremely hard to conquer. I carry many of the lessons I learned from my struggles of mastering the game into the workplace, into training my horses, and running my business.”
Sara now owns her own photography business, but before that, she worked at a hot rod shop as the office manager.
“I was hired as a Media Manager at BS Industries as my boss, Bodie Stroud, was filming a new television program for the History Channel. The show ended up turning into the reboot of American Restoration. As the months rolled on I was thrown into managing the office,” she said.
“I gained a ton of business knowledge and really became comfortable talking to all types of people; from celebrities like Tim Allen and Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons to car enthusiasts visiting from other countries.”
Sara had kept her decision to go full-time a secret, knowing she had to leave her job sooner than expected when her business began blowing up out of her control.
“I was unable to ride the horse I had just bought to train and become my next 1D jackpot horse because of my schedule, I was driving nearly 1,000 miles a month between all my shoots and I was quite exhausted from working about 45 hours a week at BS Industries and photographing 20-40 sessions a month with just 12 shoot days.”
Selling her horse, Sawyer, was one of the hardest decisions Sara had to make, but she knew it was best for him.
“I knew my schedule was only going to get more intense and leaving a six year old in a stall at a new barn where I didn’t know anyone that could help me at least turn him out was not fair to him at all. For me, I did not want to have the financial stress of having my board rate triple and not having a set salary like I did at BS Industries,” she said.
“All in all, it was a better decision for me to able to invest more time and money into my business, and for Sawyer to find a new mom who would give him the time and training he needed to have a successful career and the attention he deserved. I know without a doubt Sawyer has all the talent in the world and I am so happy with the home he went to, he is going to make that girl so happy!”
Sara knows that one day she will be able to dedicate more time to riding, but for now, she is focusing on growing her business.
“When it comes to riding, deciding I was going to have to put my goals, dreams, and desires on hold is something I am still struggling with. I have goals to rodeo, I want to continue to train great horses like I have, and I definitely want to get a truck again! Knowing I can’t go the barn everyday and hop on any horse I want definitely hurts my heart, but that little ‘adult’ in me knows that if I pursue my baby, my passion that is my business; riding will be right where I left it. There are champions born everyday, there are barns all over the country, there are always cans to chase, and you can win the NFR at 68. I’m putting those dreams on hold to pursue the bigger dream; having my life exactly where I want it to be.”
Going into her third year of professional photography, Sara is enamored with her business. She combines her passions for photography and horses to showcase the bond between humans and their four-legged best friends.
“I always dreamed of a career in horses, but realized the life of buying and selling horses just wasn’t for me. The fact that I am able to photograph horses for a living and get to hang out at barns all over the state, hopefully the country one day, truly makes my heart happy. Horses are my heart, my life, any day spent with them is a good day in my eyes.”
Inspired by an article in the latest issue of the RockN W Report, here are five of my favorite vintage-inspired cowgirl boots (you can find all of them on Amazon, click the photos to shop)!
Jenna Smeenk began her love affair with the clover-leaf pattern at six years old, when her parents took her to playdays and jackpots.
“I finally won my first buckle at a rodeo in 1996,” she said. “The buckle was from my hometown rodeo, the Newell Labor Day Celebration. It actually says the words ‘Pee Wee Champion’ on it.”
“I actually refused to wear it as a child because I was certain I was NOT a pee wee. But today, I love wearing it. It’s tiny, but it reminds me of where I started.”
Although she is well-known for her barrel racing career, there’s much more to this cowgirl than meets the eye. After Jenna finished high school, she joined the United States Air Force as an Intelligence Operations Analyst.
She deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan to serve her country.
“We have so many privileges that we take for granted on a daily basis. From turning on running water, to going to school, to the silly problems that consume our lives,” she said. “There are so many that are worse off. We have education and freedom - the possibilities are truly endless.”
“In America, you can truly be ANYTHING you want to be.”
After she returned, Jenna applied these lessons learned to her time in the saddle.
“Even though the entrepreneur route and rodeo life aren’t always easy, in fact it’s extremely difficult at times, it is what I’ve chosen. I have the ability to pursue my dreams and my goals,” she said. “I am incredibly fortunate for the life that I have and even in the moments of doubt and uncertainty, I just remember how grateful I am to be in this country and be here among my friends and family.”
“At the end of the day, my problems aren’t really problems at all. They’re blessings.”
Jenna became a self-made entrepreneur when she started her company, Knotty Halters.
“I just wanted a way to make a little money on the side and I knew a lot about the back end of a business through past jobs, reading books/articles and asking a lot of questions,” she said. “So I decided to go for it!”
“With a lot of encouragement from close friends and family, I took a deep breath and went for it. There is a lot of uncertainty and upfront cost with starting a business, but it was such a great decision and I’m so blessed for what has unfolded and come of it.”
Jenna is often seen wearing vibrant colored pants and bright tack. Knotty Halters offers the same feel, one of confidence and sense of self.
“It is my passion to create a feeling for horse owners. When your horse looks beautiful, you feel confident and capable, whether you’re competing, at home training, or enjoying a ride,” she said. “You may think fashion is just for humans, but oh no!”
“Your style can be reflected and expressed in your horse as well. Your halter and your tack aren’t just riding tools, they can speak to the world about who you are and who your equine counterpart is.”
In five years, Jenna hopes to continue working towards her goals and making a difference.
“I love to dream and set goals, but I truly believe and know that I’ll still be working hard at what sets my soul on fire, my passions, what I love, trying to make a contribution to the world, and executing my vision!”
“My definition of what that is may change along the way, as it already has so much. But I’ve learned, you can never get it wrong, and you can never get it done.”
Despite the occasional setbacks and ups-and-downs of owning her own business, Jenna is optimistic for the future of her career.
“No matter what, I will always be striving for more; greatness, education, and experiences, even five years from now. I can’t imagine who I’ll meet, what I’ll accomplish, what I’ll learn, what I’ll see, but I know it will be absolutely incredible.”
Elizabeth Hay was introduced to photography through direct contact, with her city and her family members.
“I grew up in San Francisco so I feel like I have always been surrounded by art in some form or another,” she said. “When I was 18 my aunt let me borrow her Canon film camera for my first trip to Europe, I think I was hooked after that.”
She purchased her first camera when she returned, and went to test it out at the English lesson barn where she rode.
“Since it was film, I took a notebook with me and wrote down all my settings for each frame I used,” she said. “When I got the film developed, I compared the images with my notes to see where I could improve.”
Her passion for learning earned her a place at California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo. Note here
“I have a B.S. in Animal Science and a concentration in Equine Production,” she said.
While pursuing her education, she also took part in many equestrian activities on campus, including the Quarter Horse Enterprise. However, Elizabeth didn’t become a horse owner herself until following her graduation.
“I currently own a 4 year old filly that I bred and raised myself, and she is such a special little horse. My filly’s name is “Stella” and she is the sweetest, most hard-working horse you’ll ever meet! She’s got so much “try” and really likes being around people,” she said. “She is truly such a wonderful horse to be around. I consider myself a “mare person” and have been incredibly lucky to have had some truly amazing mares in my life.”
It was also around this time that Elizabeth picked up a camera again.
“I picked up a digital camera on Craigslist and just started messing around with it for personal use, always practicing on horses and the occasional willing friend,” she said. “I upgraded camera bodies when I felt I had outgrown that and photography just sort of started snowballing from “hobby” into a creative outlet and now into a side-business.”
The meaning behind her passion comes from an experience that she had during her own equine photoshoot.
“I had some photos taken of me and my horse at the time a few years back from a very talented wedding photographer. The pictures were beautiful but I realized that the relationship between me and my horse wasn’t really apparent,” she said. “I started to think that if I wanted pictures of me and my horse, there had to be other people that wanted the same thing.”
“In order to do those stories justice, I figured it simply had to be a “horse person” behind the camera. Someone that understood the bond, the importance of it and the depth of that bond between someone and their horse.”
This bond creates a sense of nostalgia for Elizabeth, who could never pick a favorite from all of her shoots.
“I honestly feel like going to someone’s barn, ranch or boarding facility is like being 8 years old all over again and hanging out at the barn with friends and their horses,” she said. “There’s so much childhood nostalgia for me when I get to do that and I really and truly love getting to know people by hearing them talk about their horses.”
“It helps me stay really connected to my “why” and just solidifies that I love what I am doing. So to answer your question, every single shoot I have the opportunity to do is my favorite!”