When Regan Henning and Story Tellen Flower broke through the timers in the Coliseum, the duo crossed into barrel racing stardom. Running a 14.6 against some of the top pros in the industry and shutting off the clock faster than any barrel racer in recent history in that pen, 8-year-old Regan and 18-year-old “Daisy” topped their earlier win in the 13 & Under to win the finals and the average of the Sweepstakes.
Their win garnered mainstream media attention when Salon.com linked to The Barrel Racing Blog’s report on their story and thousands of non-barrel-racing enthusiasts flocked to watch the video, catching a glimpse into the strange world of barrel racing. The helmet-clad girl who whipped and rode two-handed put the barrel racing world on notice: this kid can ride, stride for stride, with the big dogs.
Regan, who has been riding for four years, rides four-five days a week, even through winter, with her sister Morgan. They spend much of their time jumping bareback in the cold winter months, building their horsemanship. Both of their skills are demonstrated in their recent accomplishments, as Morgan won the 13&Under Novice Youth Barrel Racing at the Congress in 2008, and in April 2009 Morgan won the WB Ranch Easter Youth Slot Race, and in 2010 she placed third. Father Joel credits Patti Elliott, Kevin Henning, Brad Shirey, Jim Ferris, and Cody Bauserman for helping with Morgan and Regan’s success.
We’ve seen the run, and read the horse’s specs, but do we know the real story behind the Hennings? Get the in-their-boots view from the family on their amazing Congress 2010. Plus, check out some exclusive videos of Regan before the Congress, in runs that helped her get with Daisy and learn the ins-and-outs of riding a superstar.
How did you get interested in barrel racing, and how did you introduce your girls to the sport?
Joel: Barrel racing has just always been around for Morgan & Regan. I grew up with Cody Bauserman. We were always watching webcast to see him run. Also, my older brother Kevin Henning is an accomplished rider. He has had many great horses over the year including “What A Sharp Chick”, the horse Chuck Tolbert won so many NBHA Senior World Titles on. As for me, I’ve always like the sport, but I raced motocross when I was younger. My 1st run on a barrel horse came 3 years ago. I know I pass on the great riding genes. According to Morgan & Regan though, I got passed over. LOL
When Karla Arthur approached you about buying Story Tellen Flower, what was your first reaction?
Joel: I was open to it! Regan didn’t have a horse at the time. An old friend had given us a 17 year old horse. To everyone’s amazement, Regan clicked really well with him. She won some Youth races and even a couple Open barrel races. She also ran a 19.7 in the poles on him once. All at the age of 7. Anyway, we had to return the horse after Congress last year, and Regan was devasted. The whole family really. I thought we would never find another horse that would fit so well. Karla had a barn full of colts and said she had to sell Daisy. She wanted her to have a good home. Karla promised Daisy would be like “Hot Shot” if she and Regan could click!
Did you worry about investing in a horse as old as she is?
Joel: I’ve never been worried about buying older horses. At my kids ages, Regan’s anyway, I think it’s just what they need.
How long have you been riding Story Tellen Flower?
Regan: Since Thanksgiving weekend 2009
What did you think when you first saw her?
Regan: She looked like my sisters horse “Breezy”.
How was she to ride the very first time you tried her?
Regan: Fast and kind of scary! I told dad not to buy her, I didn’t want her!
How has your year gone — how long has it taken you to get with her?
Regan: Good! I am getting 2nd in the NBHA district that I am in (knocked too many barrels throughout the year) We had the fastest time in the Youth at Colonial Nationals but hit a barrel. Also, we would’ve been 3rd in both go-rounds at the NBHA Youth World, but knocked there too!
Got her in November and starting clicking with her in June!
What did you do to get ready for the Congress?
Regan: Exercised her as usual, but didn’t run her very much for a month before.
What is your warm-up like?
Regan: I ride her 4-5 days a week, trot 3 times and lope 10-15 times each direction.
Who helps you get ready to go into the pen?
Regan: Mom and dad help get me saddled up, mom videos every time I run, and dad goes to the pen with me and makes sure I don’t get Daisy too hot when warming her up!
Were you afraid your third barrel was going to fall over in the Sweepstakes finals?
What was going through your head running home?
Regan: I was thinking “I made it” and then if I ran fast enough I might win!!
What was the first thing your mom, dad, or sister said to you after your run?
Regan: My sister told me I did a great job! My mom gave me a big hug and told me good just! My dad said you might win, let’s see what Jolene runs!
How did it feel going in to get your bronze and jacket after the Sweepstakes?
Regan: Very exciting!
Did you expect to be able to compete in the Sweepstakes?
Regan: Yes, Daisy’s a pretty faster runner!
What will you do with the money you won?
Regan: Buy some Breyer Horses!
Will you run your mare all winter, or will she be getting time off?
Regan: Will run her Thanksgiving weekend then she will not run for a few months, but will still exercise her through the winter.
What are your goals for next year?
Regan: That we do better at the Youth shows next year and maybe win some!
Were you nervous for Regan during the Sweepstakes finals?
Morgan: Oh yes! Was going to take some pictures, but decided not to because I wanted to watch every bit of her run!
What were you thinking during her run?
Morgan: That Daisy has never made it around 4 runs without knocking, so I was nervous she was going to knock!
What did you say to her after she won?
Morgan: Great job!
What was the 2010 like for you and Regan as sisters? How would you describe how special the trip was?
Morgan: Fun!!!!! We went to all the big Youth shows!
The best Congress so far!
Did you meet your goals for this year’s Congress?
Morgan: I was happy with my Youth 13 & under Pole bending run, got 3rd place, and the Novice Youth barrels go 6th! I wish I would not have knocked in the Sweepstakes 2ng go (I ran a 15.205) I would have made it to the finals too!
Tell us about your runs… which run at the Congress was the most memorable?
Morgan: Most memorable Congress run was the Novice Youth Barrels 13 & Under in 2008, I won!
How did your horse like the Congress’ ground?
Morgan: They did okay! My horse did trip, which caused him to knock the first barrel in the Sweepstakes 2nd go!
What was your favorite thing to do at the Congress?
Morgan: Of course, run my horse, but liked running around on a golf cart will my friends!