Meet the Member Lydia Touchet
story by Siri Stevens Lydia started riding when she was four on a sale barn horse named Peanut. “PawPaw bought him for both my older […]
story by Michele Toberer
Rivers and Stoney Raymond are the two oldest of the four Raymond daughters that all spend much of their time in the rodeo arena. At 16, Rivers is the oldest of Tracy and Brad Raymond’s daughters, followed by Stoney, 14, Meadow, 13, and Sage, 11. The four girls were born and are being raised in Oak Grove, Louisiana near their dad’s family. Tracy is from nearby Lake Providence, Louisiana where she was raised on cutting horses, competing in the NCHA. Tracy is now an RN for Kid Med Screening Clinic, and Brad is a welder foreman for Sunland Construction. The girls enjoy having their grandparents, Petey and Darlene Raymond just down the road, and they see them daily as they feed and care for some of the horses they keep at their barn, and practice at the arena at their grandparents’ farm.
Although the girls got their start in competition at playdays at the Oak Grove Arena on their dad’s team roping horses, they now compete in both the LHSRA as well as Deep South Little Britches Rodeo Association. Rivers will be a junior this coming year, so this will be her 6th season with the LJHSRA and LHSRA, and Stoney is just one year behind her. Going to practices and rodeos is a big part of the girls’ schedule, as they compete in multiple events. In LHSRA, Rivers currently enters cutting, breakaway roping and team roping; and Stoney competes in barrel racing and breakaway roping. Rivers enjoys riding cutting horses like her mom did and appreciates Buddy Brown’s amazing support as she has entered girls cutting in the LHSRA, as well as Mason Griffin’s help at shows. She’s had a sorrel mare named Suzie for 3 years and is hoping to qualify for nationals in the 2019 season. Rivers remembers riding on the saddle with her dad when she was young, as he would go gather cattle, and shares his fondness for roping. She rides her 12-year old dun gelding for breakaway roping and heading, “We call him Bunny, because his ears are so close together, we got him 2 years ago for team roping, but trained him for breakaway roping and goat tying also.” Stoney just finished her freshman year with LHSRA, where she has been riding a 16-year old sorrel gelding named Tex for breakaway roping. She uses him to compete in the LBRA also, and they just won the 2018 Champion Breakaway saddle for the Deep South, so will be heading to the NLBRA rodeo soon. Stoney rides Silk, a 14-year old black mare owned by friend and trainer, Tammy Gantt, in barrel racing. “Tammy really helps me and my sisters a lot, we go stay with her some, and she comes to rodeos to help us.”
All the Raymond sisters attend Oak Grove High School, where Rivers and Stoney both enjoyed dancing on the school’s dance team, the Tiger Kittens, performing dance routines during the football season. Both girls favor their science classes and they also have similar goals of working in the beauty industry in their future. They both would like to go to cosmetology school after graduating, and Rivers would like to extend her education to be able to do permanent makeup one day.
Working together in life is a lesson the girls have learned well, as they work together to complete chores at home, such as feeding horses, dogs, goats and cattle, as well as cleaning pens and helping wash dishes and clothes. They also work together at rodeos. Stoney said “We like to be able to help each other. If someone forgets something, we’ll grab it for them, and at a rodeo as one of us is coming out of the box you’ll probably hear the others cheering or yelling, ‘Don’t be late!’”
When there is any spare time, the girls like to hang out with friends, going to the movies, enjoying time on the sand banks of the river behind their house, or boating on nearby Lake Providence. They also enjoy family time when their entire family hog hunts on horses, with their Curr hunting dogs at a hunting camp in Mississippi. They are appreciative of their parents, grandparents, family, and friends for the support they provide as they chase their rodeo dreams.
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