Rodeo fans are in for a special treat this year as Shelby Simpson and her daughters Paisley, seven-years-old and Hadley, five-years-old will be entertaining fans with their trick riding skills!
Currently a teacher at NWCS in Plenty, Shelby lives on a farm south of Plenty with her husband and five children, Lane (10), Paisley (7), Hadley (6), and James and Thomas (3). “I graduated from Kindersley Composite High School, so it’s exciting that I will get to perform at a home town rodeo.”
Riding since she was very young, Shelby began with riding English and going to shows competing in hunters and jumpers. “Then I switched gears a bit and dabbled in gymkhana events and joined the stampede show riders and later the stampede ranch girls!”
However, it was when she was a teenager that Shelby became interested in trick riding. “Once I tried it, I was hooked. I liked the speed and the ‘wow’ factor of it all. But, I’ve always liked speed–when I was little, my mom would have to set a timer for me and I was not allowed to run my horse until the timer went off (he needed to be warmed up first, but all I wanted to do was run).”
Her love of horses and rodeo runs deep; sharing this passion with her family, Shelby explained that all of her kids love horses and riding. “Paisley and Hadley are in the beginning stages of learning to trick ride. We have some good ponies and horses and they are learning more every day, but they are young and their confidence and miles in the saddle still have a long way to go.”
Something she also loves is that there are not many trick riders out there compared to other disciplines in the horse world. “I like doing something that not everyone else is doing. I always loved rodeo and being able to be the entertainment is exhilarating. The rodeo community is very supportive and many people quickly become like family–I especially love this about rodeo. The kids and I all go to the same place for the weekend together, unlike our hockey season when we are all driving different directions every weekend.”
In addition to spending time showcasing her talents at rodeos Shelby and her girls dedicate their time and energy to practicing with their horses. “You want to take lessons first on a horse that knows what they are doing already. It’s not ideal to learn at the same time your horse is also learning; you need a level headed horse, one with a good whither is best and one that loves to run and perform. Some horses are just not strong enough or tall enough or stocky enough to do all the tricks. Or sometimes there are certain tricks they don’t like to do.”
When starting off, Shelby shared that you want to start tricks at a standstill to work on muscle memory. Then you advance to the round pen and practice tricks at a lope in a more controlled setting than the entire arena. Once you have this mastered, you progress to the arena on your own. Depending on the trick and your level of strength and flexibility, the time it takes to learn the tricks varies. Some are a bit easier and some are quite difficult and take a long time to master. Tricks can also depend on the horse.
“You want to get your horse used to everything! You start by messing around at a standstill, hanging off of them, jumping around and on them and progress to doing different tricks at a standstill, walk, trot and lope in the round pen. You are simultaneously teaching them the pattern in the arena (walk and trot on the right rein/clockwise and lope on the left rein/counter clockwise) and teach them the “station” and the “corner” the station is where you start and the stopping corner is where you end. You want to trust your horse completely!,” explained Shelby. For those wanting to see Shelby and her girls in action, they will be preforming all three nights at the Kindersley Rodeo beginning on June 1st until the 3rd.