Stacey Roberts, Okotoks, Alberta, recently placed top five in Alberta in the 2,000 Limit Rider and also made the Okotoks Novice Challenge finals this year. Stacey has had her ups and downs showing in the 2,000 Limit, just like the the rest of us, but this year during the Okotoks Classic I remember watching her ride her gelding, Two Spot, like he was a damn Mercuria horse and thinking to myself, "this girl is going to do something big next year." She definitely has what it takes to make it into my top beginners blog, but, for real I have a feeling most of you saw this interview coming... because, you know, Stacey is kind of like my significant other when it comes to the show pen. I've blogged about her throughout this series, because she was like.. my first friend.. in the lope pen when I came back to Canada. I awkwardly told her I liked her shirt, she awkwardly told me she knew who I was, our romance was born. Three hour conversations about how are horses worked? High fives every time either of us scores over a 68? Tears over bad practices? An endless amount of texting about cutting? (except Stacey is literally the worst texter I've ever encountered)Walks in the parking lot after a bad show? Obnoxiously loud cheering like this is a damn aged event? Yeah, we're those friends! So I mean, favouritism, be damned, Stacey Roberts is on the blog today to share some beginner wisdom with ya'll.
Stacey Roberts showing Hesa Neat Thing Photo Credit: Have Dog Will Travel Photography
What is your horses registered name?
Two Spot The Cat (Cats Merada x Lena Dually)
What is their barn name?
It's very original and creative... Two Spot.
Tell me a little bit about their personality?
Well, since he used to be a stallion, we imagine that he enjoys walking into the barn wearing his old varsity jacket, telling old stories about hist stud days. He's honestly just a very dependable and trust-worthy guy... sort of like the guy you would take home to mom. What is your favourite thing about your pony?
All jokes aside, honestly it's the confidence he gives me and the ability has has to calm me down. My other show horse (Hesa Neat Thing) is very high energy and I would get stressed out that I wouldn't have enough time to get him ready. I then commandeered Two Spot from my husband, Dustin Roberts. When I started to show Two Spot I asked Dustin how to get him ready and he said "honestly, I think you could ride him for ten minutes before his run and he would be ready to show." Like, that's the best answer ever! Describe their style in the show pen?
Two Spot was trained by Gerry Hansma, which basically means he knows his job, and his job is to go out there and stop cows. He does have a lazy streak, which means you don't just get to sit there and smile, you have to really ride him too. What class(es) do you show in?
I show in the 2,000 Limit Rider... or is it the 200,000 Limit, I swear... #Lifer. When you started out the year, what were your goals?
My goal this year was to get my 1000 achievement buckle... achieved!
Stacey riding Two Spot The Cat Photo Credit: Have Dog Will Travel Photography
Do you ride with a trainer, if so, who?
Yes, I ride with Keith Stewart, I'm a part of the #StewCrew.
Since my first lesson with Keith I fell in love with cutting. He is very passionate about the sport and the horses. He has endless amounts of patience, answers all my questions (which there are a lot of), and keeps practice fun by never being short of "one-liners". What was the highlight of your show career this year specifically?
Oddly enough my highlight this year was making the Novice Challenge finals on my other horse Hesa Neat Thing (Neato). I think inside I had really allowed myself to think I was unable to show him. Then I started to ride Two Spot as a confidence booster, but I struggled to show him as well. Do you see a pattern here? By the end of the year I was successfully showing both of my horses which was a great feeling. What was the low point?
As stated above the low point was having 2 amazing horses that I couldn't seem to show. There were tears and threats to quit. The phrase, coined by my darling husband, "That girls got a lot of quit in her" was thrown around a few times. (Editors comment - a lot, it was thrown around a lot. Still my favourite one liner from 2017) They also told me to pull on my big girl panties, get out there and show my ponies! There will be low points again, there will be days I can't get through runs, but I have really learned this year that, that is okay! I got through the low points thanks too support from my husband, parents, trainer and friends. It takes a lot of practice, a lot of video watching, and frankly a lot of work to show cutting horses!
Do you get nerves/anxiety in the show pen? How do you deal with them?
Yes. I started to work with a sport psychologist who gave me excellent tools to conquer the nerves and worked a lot with me on visualization exercises. I created a mantra that I repeat to myself over and over during my runs and this helps me stay focused and calm my nerves. Two Spot helped me a lot with this also, the constant feeling of not having enough time really bothering me when I was showing Neato, but knowing I had a horse like Two Spot that was so relaxed really helped me in the show pen. What was the best advice you received in the show pen, or about cutting, this year?
"It's Just a Cutting" ~ Keith Stewart
Duh, I am a Non Pro and this isn't my job - it's my fun!
Dustin and Stacey Roberts, with their unicorn - Two Spot.
Showing alongside your husband - tell me how you guys "make it work"?
First, let me tell you how my husband, Dustin, got involved in cutting. One day, while I was struggling with my herd work he told me how easy it was. So naturally I told him - "then you try it!" Try it he did, and what do you know, he was good at it and fell in love with cutting. I mean, how could you not?! AND how annoying that he seemed to figure it out so soon!
Fast forward a year, he has had successes with horses... which I then commandeered from him. But, more importantly, he now has a new horse who he struggled with the same as me. He IS just a human! I was starting to second guess it!
I have had many people tell me how great it is that we show together and most of the time it is. He was a gentleman and decided to move into the 15,000 Amateur class so that we didn't show together. It has made it easier to take care of our daughter, Sloan, whose three, and also help each other out when needed. With both of us showing it makes out busy lives... even busier. It's double the practices, double the time, double the entries, double the horses. Basically double it all! But, it also means never driving home alone after a bad run and never celebrating alone after a good one. He is always there at the trailer with the wrong things to say, and two cold beers! What was your best moment in the show pen this year?
Marking a 73 on Two Spot. Finally, after all that practice and frustration, knowing I can show him. What was your most embarrassing moment in the show pen this year?
I am not easily embarrassed, but my shirt coming open would do it! What do you plan to show in next year?
In the 2,000 Limit! What are your goals for next year?
I would love to have this huge goal to haul for worlds, but in reality I have a young family and a job. So for now my goal is to do my best, have fun at every show and enjoy my family.
Stacey and Neato