630-w500-h500This is a new online series of articles that riders under 18 years of age will be writing to tell their stories! “In Their Boots” will cover all riding disciplines, all areas of NC and SC and hopefully introduce our ready to some fantastic young equestrians.

Hannah Grace Harmon and Little Grey

I have always dreamed of the life I am living now, and I couldn’t be more blessed.  Ever since I can remember, I have loved horses.  As a toddler, my mom says I would crawl around on all fours bucking, rearing and neighing!  At the age of 5, I started riding lessons.  At the age of 8, I started competing in English Jumping, and Western Pleasure.  It was also at the age of 8 that I saw my first South Carolina High School Rodeo.  I was hooked!  I told my mom and Dad that I was going to compete in high school rodeo when I became old enough.  As luck would have it, we found out that there was a South Carolina Junior High Association and in 6th grade I began competing.  It was also at this time that we learned of the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) and I began competing in barrel racing.


I currently compete in The South Carolina High School Rodeo Association, NBHA, Foothills Youth Rodeo Association and the World Barrel Racing League.  I have qualified for the Junior High Rodeo Finals twice and in 8th grade I was Reserve Champion of Pole Bending in South Carolina, and 4th in Break Away Calf Roping.  I have been blessed to qualify for the NBHA Youth World Finals the last 3 years in a row.  Last Year I had the privilege of being the NBHA South Carolina District 3 Youth 2D Champion and this year I am the NBHA  South Carolina District 3 Youth 3D Champion.  I say this not in a boastful manner but with all humility.  I thank God for the successes in my life.


Life in the rodeo and barrel racing world has its ups and downs, just like any sport does. I have learned that you will win some and you will lose some.  But most importantly, you will learn valuable life lessons along the way.


When you live on a farm, there is always work to be done.  Each day presents new obstacles for us to overcome.  Every day, stalls and water troughs have to be cleaned, horses need to be fed, the performance horses need to be worked, and manure needs to be spread in the fields.  There is also house work that has to be done.  My mom, dad and I split the chores up between ourselves so they don’t all fall to one person.  It gets pretty hectic every now and then, but we learn how to do things more efficiently every day.  We also get occasional help from our friends.  My best friend, Addie, boards her horse at our house and helps out when she can, another friend, Tyler comes to exercise our older barrel horse and I have a lesson student named Sydnie(I call her “mini me”), now leases one of our horses and helps when she is here.  At times, it gets hard to balance school, sports and family activities, but somehow, we make it work.


I try to exercise my horse’s everyday so they stay in the best possible shape.  When I know my horses feel good, it makes me feel good.  I also know they will give me 110% in the arena when it’s time to compete.  When I work my barrel horse, Little Grey, I long trot her about 2 – 3 times a week for 15 – 20 minutes up and down hills and then I breeze her on long stretches.  When I’m not trotting her, I am in the arena doing slow work on the barrel pattern.  Slow work is a huge part of being successful in the rodeo and barrel racing world.  My rope horse, RickyBobby, usually gets ridden 2 – 3 times a week.  We don’t have calves at our house to practice roping on so we have to go to some friends’ house in Greenwood.  We try to make it there 1 or 2 times a week.  When we can’t make it there, I practice roping the calf dummy at home and take RickyBobby on trail rides.


I am extremely thankful for my accomplishments and my failures.  It is these accomplishments and failures that are shaping me into the person I need to be.  One of my favorite quotes that I try to keep in mind is, “It is fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”  Many people fall into the trap of thinking that if they forget their failures, everything will be fine when, in reality, learning from your mistakes and failures are a key part of becoming the person you are meant to be.    My parents have instilled in me the importance of being humble and of having a grateful heart and I must say, I am humbly grateful for the blessings God has bestowed on me.  Living on a farm has taught me how to manage my time, balance chores and school, and to have a better understanding of life in general.

God Bless!

Hannah Grace Harmon