story by BreAnne Benson The first time Riley Isbell competed in barrel racing was in Waco, Texas. She was in pre-school, on her first pony […]
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Meet the Member Brianna Woodmansee
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Living in Preston Park, Pennsylvania, means Brianna Woodmansee will be traveling almost 2,500 miles to make a run for the money in Las Vegas. She qualified in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, back in June with a 16.2-second run in the senior division. “I was pretty nervous when I went into the alley, I was just hoping for a clean run,” said the 13-year-old. “I was determined to have a clean run and win it. I was just happy that I had a clean run more than anything.” Entering a KK Run for Vegas qualifying event has been on Brianna’s mind for a couple years now, but it wasn’t until 2019 that she gave it a go. If it wasn’t for a knocked barrel in 2019, this would’ve been Brianna’s second qualification.
She first mounted a horse at 2 years old but started riding on her own at 4. “My dad took me in the lead line once and then I just went on my own after that. I’ve been in love ever since.” Brianna’s dad, Brad, is a barrel racer and so is his mom, Brianna’s grandma. “My whole family except my mom (Jennifer) runs barrels. My mom is supportive, she helps me tack up and feed my horses, stuff like that.” Brianna’s dad is generally the pep talker before a run. “My dad always tells me to ‘ride ‘em like you stole ‘em.’ And my mom tells me to have fun and be safe.” Brianna’s older sister, Jocelyn, 19, attends as many shows as she can to cheer her on.
Competing in both the NBHA and AQHA, Brianna runs barrels now but is also hoping to dabble in pole bending when she gets a horse for it. “Running barrels is fun for me, it’s like a little game. I like the competition and trying to improve my runs every time. If I knock one on the first run, I try to go back in there thinking positive so I won’t knock again.” Brianna currently has two favorite mounts, one of them she calls Fancy. “We got Fancy (CC Fancy Lil Cowgirl) from Mechelle Jenks.” Learning to click with her newest mount, Harvey (AH Mias Cowboy), has proved challenging but the pair is getting more consistent with every run. “We got Harvey from Adrian Bolin who did a wonderful job training him.” As Herby is getting older, he’s being hauled and getting seasoned thanks to Brianna. The duo is clearly getting things figured out. “He’s got quite the personality and I’m really starting to figure him out.”
Back in 2018, Brianna won the All-American Quarter Horse Congress barrels on Mitey Broke. “That made me feel really good. It was a goal I set for myself that year.” Brianna has broken one arena record in her short barrel racing career. “I work really hard at home. My grandma Ann helps me a lot and so does my aunt Kristin; they both offer me advice. They play a big role in my riding.” Going on regular trail rides and slow work on the barrels are key elements of Brianna’s successful training program. “I trail ride every day to keep my horses legged up and minds right.”
Brianna and her parents will be traveling across almost the entire country in December to make it to Las Vegas, but long road trips are just the name of the game for them. “The closest place to home that we run at is about 2 hours away. The furthest we’ve traveled is Perry, Georgia, for the NBHA youth world.” The soon-to-be eighth grader will be taking up basketball this fall for Wayne Highlands Middle School. “I couldn’t really play last year because I was too busy with barrel racing to make it to all the practices. I’m going to give it a try this year.” Although Brianna will be branching out this fall, she tries to keep her focus on barrel racing as much as possible. “I want to thank my parents for helping me, if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have gotten this far. I appreciate everything they do for me.”