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Gracie Shepherd - Barrel Racer

Portable Horse Stall Mats keep horse healthy for weekly competitions

Related Product: Portable Horse Stall Mats

By Brett Hart

Having ridden horses as long as she's been able to walk, 16-year-old Virginia barrel racer Gracie Shepherd got her competitive start showing halter horses.

''I've only been barrel racing a year and that's a completely different ball game for sure,'' Shepherd said. ''I've always wanted to barrel race.''

So she jumped in head first and drove 17 hours to Texas to purchase a 4-year-old barrel horse named Rosie.

''A ton of people thought I was crazy for not only going that far, but buying such a young horse,'' Shepherd said. ''People always said 'don't buy a green horse for a green rider,' but I'm stubborn and did it anyways. I wanted a horse I could grow and learn with.''

''I took matters in my own hands and with God, my horse, and my family I made that dream my reality.''

Now Shepherd competes in a barrel race or rodeo virtually every weekend - sometimes as many as 4 shows in a weekend.

''There are very few weekends that Rosie and I are at home,'' Shepherd said.

In her short barrel racing career, Shepherd has gotten the biggest thrills from competing in the Forth Worth Stockyards Championship Rodeo and two trips to the AQHYA Youth Worlds.

''Rosie actually wasn't far off of placing against the big dogs,'' Shepherd said of the Fort Worth Rodeo.

She's also made the finals a few times at No Bull Barrel Races.

''My biggest accomplishment really is just being where we are within a such short amount of time,'' Shepherd said. ''I would've never thought we would be where we are in a year.''

Greatmats Portable Horse Stall Mats
With all over her and Rosie's time on the road, Shepherd discovered found pulling big, heavy stall mats out of her trailer to put in the stalls to be a major inconvenience.

''That was not very easy at all,'' she said. ''Those suckers are heavy. I really wanted something just easier to get to her stalls with lots of comfort. A lot of the shows are pavement stalls, so it can make her pretty sore.''

When Rosie was sore, Shepherd she would be stiff in her hind end and wouldn't perform well.

''Pavement stalls can do that to a horse,'' she said.

Then, while looking for stall mats to take to the AQHYA World Show, she came across Greatmats' Portable Horse Stall Mats.

''I love how portable and easy they are to set up.'' Shepherd said. ''They don't take up a lot of space in my trailer. And they are light and easy to get to my stalls at shows.''

Rosie has been happy with the new Greatmats Portable Horse Stall Mats as well.

''She definitely never feels stiff since we've used Greatmats, and she performs better since she's not stiff,'' she said.

Pleased with the progress she and Rosie have made with the help of Greatmats, Gracie Shepherd plans to continue chasing her dream.

''We are nowhere near finished yet,'' she said. ''I really want to make it to pro rodeo one day and win the AQHYA Youth World.''

''I'd like to personally thank Greatmats for joining Rosie and my journey,'' Shepherd said. ''Traveling down the roads wouldn't be as good if we didn't have them!''

Gracie Shepherd
Glade Spring VA 24340
For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats product page.