Accomplished barrel racer aims to sizzle at Calgary classic with horse Flame
Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 06:00 am
By Kristine Jean
“I feel that Flame and I are just as good as those American girls coming up here and we qualified to be here -- everyone’s equal going in.”
Sydney Daines is heading to the ‘Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’.
This summer the 19-year-old Red Deer College student will compete in her very first Calgary Stampede.
“I qualified through the CFR (Canadian Finals Rodeo) in 2014. We are really excited to go,” said Daines. “We’ve been preparing since we knew we were going -- what it comes down to I think is what horse has the biggest heart that week, that puts it all in.”
Daines, an accomplished barrel racer, began riding as a toddler and entered her first barrel race competition with her horse Pepper when she was six years old. Today she trains with her horse Flame, whom she has ridden for several years.
“He was born on our farm and I named him after the Calgary Flames,” said Daines. “I’ve known Flame and his mom since I was little so I know him pretty well.”
Daines has been surrounded by the sport all her life, following in her mother Cheryl’s footsteps -- a barrel racer herself. Today Cheryl plays an important role in assisting Sydney and Flame, helping maintain the horse’s health and well-being through regular vet checkups and acupuncture treatments, as well as ensuring all gear, including saddles, are ready and fitted for every competition.
Sydney also looks to her father Duane, a seasoned athlete in the category of saddle bronc riding, and a veteran of the Calgary Stampede. He helps Sydney with the mental preparations needed for a big national competition.
“I think a big part of it too is trying to relax and keeping you and your horse calm -- the crowds are screaming and the music’s pumping,” said Daines. “They’re both very good in different aspects of it, which is great because it makes the whole team work together,” she added of her parents’ support and guidance over the years.
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