By Gary Redfern
8:36 PM PDT, October 10, 2012
Billy Bob is a majestic animal. Tall, lean, muscular, his sorrel haircoat shimmering in the morning light, he has the good looks the camera eye just adores.
Unfortunately, for any would-be modeling career he’s a bit camera shy, and, besides, what would 11-year-old Lexi Van Der Linden do without her prized barrel racing and pole bending horse? This is no show horse. Billy Bob is a registered quarter horse groomed for quick-launch starts, crisp turns and discipline to win precision barrel and pole bending races on tight courses in rodeo arenas. His good looks? Lexi gets the credit there.
“You always have to keep them clean and clean their pens,” Lexi explains of her labors on the family’s horse ranch near Holtville. “You bring them feed and water and clean their pens in the morning, bring them hay and check their water at lunch, and feed and water them and clean their pens again at night.”
Of the work, her grandmother Joanie Moore quips, “It’s not like other sports. You have this big animal. You can’t just put it in a closet like a tennis racket.”
On top of that there are hours of practice and some recreational riding. Lexi isn’t going it alone, however. In her family, barrel and pole bending races are literally in her blood. Both her mother Jennifer Van Der Linden and grandmother won competitions as children and as young adults, and now Lexi is starting her own collection of prizes. She won a Desert Valley Barrel Racing Association (DVBRA) event in 2010 and a Junior Barrel Racing event in Yuma last February.
Read more about this story in the September/October 2012 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition
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