The Barrel Racing Blog first interviewed Ed Henle in July, when he was in the midst of his record-breaking year. From Hookstown, Penn., Henle has experienced standing-topping success as a youth but was using 2009 to truly breakout as an open and adult competitor. This year, he also got to show off his training skills by running his own Appaloosa mare and winning the junior horse saddle with her. He also proved the staying power he has earned with his gelding, trained by Deena Fries, who has been one of the top Open horses in the Northeast for the last few years. Hear from Henle himself how he thinks his year went and what his plans are for 2010.
What horse(s) helped you win the Adult and Junior Horse title? (Reg. name, barn name, age, breeding)
I won the Adult class with my gelding SF Who Shot Doc (Gunner). Gunner is a 10-year-old Quarter Horse. His sire was Shoot Yeah, who has a speed index of 106, and on the bottom he has Our Docs Bueno. As far as the Junior Horse class, I won it on my mare Miss Hustlin Heather (Hustler). Hustler is a 6-year-old Appaloosa with Hustlers Hi Hand and Shy Town Hustler on the top, and Bun’s Miss Step and Big Foot Bar on the bottom.
How long have you been with that horse(s)?
I have been showing Gunner since 2006, so I am entering my fourth full year of showing on him. I have had Hustler since she was born, but I’m just entering my third year of showing her.
As for your Junior Horse, how early did you start her?
I began groundwork very shortly after she hit the ground. Hustler was broke when she was 3, and I have been working barrels ever since then.
Talk about winning both saddles – what was it like to win both classes?
Winning two saddles this year was extremely satisfying. There are many people who go a whole lifetime without winning a single saddle, so winning two in the same year is definitely something I’m proud of. I have won a few saddles on my gelding so I was a bit happier with winning a saddle on my junior horse because it gave me a sense of accomplishment knowing that the time and effort I put in actually paid off in the end.
Take our readers through your year. How did it start out?
The season started off extremely well as far as the Adult class. I give my horses almost three months off in the winter, so they usually come on very strong in the beginning of the show season. As far as the Hustler, that was a little different story. For her, the season started out a little on the slow side, but as she became more and more confident, the times began to pick up and by the end of the season she was clocking up extremely well. I was also extremely satisfied because I went through the entire show season without knocking a single barrel on Hustler.
What were some of the bumps in the road this year?
Most of the bumps along the way happened while on the back on Hustler. As can be expected on a junior horse there were times when I became extremely frustrated with the big differences in her times from week to week. For example one week she would be within one or two tenths from the 1D times and then the following week she would fall down to the 3rd division.
What was the highlight or best run of your year?
For me, the highlight of the year would definitely be setting the arena record at Buckhorn with a 14.408. In my opinion, knowing that my time was the fastest time ever run in that particular arena is the most satisfying feeling imaginable.
What was your mentality going into this year – were you planning on hauling to win it or did it just happen?
In the beginning of the season I was hauling more for the money instead of hauling to win a saddle. Towards the end of the season when I saw I was ahead in points I finished out the last five or six shows hauling to stay ahead in points in order to win the saddle.
How many barrel races do you think you made it to this year?
I’m not really positive how many races I made it to this year, but I would guess somewhere around 40 or 50 shows.
Who helped you the most throughout this year?
I can’t overlook the help and support that I received from my parents. I never realized how boring it is just sitting at all the shows and watching until I went to a few without a horse. I also got a lot of guidance from Deena Fries – she seems to always have a keen eye for all the little things that most people might not even notice.
What was your favorite Penn-Ohio arena this year?
My favorite arena this year was probably Crooked Creek. The ground seems to always be pretty decent, and it’s a nice place to show.
Tell us about your saddle. What brand and style did you pick, and why?
I chose a Pro Rider saddle for each of the classes I won. The club gives you a set amount of money, and it is up to the saddle winner to come up with the difference depending on how much the saddle costs. I know there are much better saddles out there but in my opinion, if I have to add $1,000 or more, that defeats the purpose of “winning” a saddle.
What are your goals for 2010?
My goals for 2010 are to concentrate on hitting some bigger shows. You never know what the future is going to bring so I really want to travel around to some bigger barrel races while my horses are running well.