Tami Semas—professional barrel racer, saddle designer, and wife and mother of two—found her niche in the horse industry in high school, and dug deep into […]
Written by: Lily Weinacht< Back to Articles
Professional barrel racer Jackie Ganter took the road less traveled when it came to her rodeo goals this season. It ultimately led her to a new horse, who is poised to put Jackie firmly in the competition for the 2019 season. The 22-year-old from Abilene, Texas, started out her 2018 season by placing in Odessa at the Sandhills Stock Show in January, but the following weekend, she broke her ankle when her horse fell in the middle of a run. “I rode a bit prematurely and tried to run at San Antonio and Houston because those are such big rodeos, but I couldn’t really ride right, so I didn’t have any money coming out of the winter,” Jackie explains. “I changed my science and we went to Canada. Two of my horses got hurt really early in the year, and my mom really wanted to make the Canadian Finals, so we kind of focused on her.”
While Jackie and her mom, Angela Ganter, were rodeoing near Wainwright, Alberta, she was asked by a friend, Gayle Howes, to ride one of her horses, a powerful gelding named Tycoon. The duo won the first round at Wainwright, and they clicked so well that Jackie approached Gayle about purchasing the horse. “He was really special to her, but she said we fit so well together, and she sold him to us. Right after that, I went down to Cheyenne and he won fourth in the first round. My second round was under water, and we came back in the short round, which was muddy too, and he did great. Since my Baby J horse was hurt, I hadn’t ridden anything with that kind of power in a few months, so I had to get with it and remember how to ride that. He’s extremely powerful when he leaves a barrel.
“It was pretty hard to accept at first when I got hurt just because I had bigger plans for this year, but that’s sometimes how plans work—they don’t,” Jackie says with a laugh. “I think everything happens for a reason, and this year it was to take a step back, and I was also meant to get Tycoon, which probably never would have happened if my good horses hadn’t been hurt. I’ve been back on my other horses, and they’re both sound and they look great, so I’ll have Jet and Baby J back, and Cartel has been good all year. Now I have Tycoon, so hopefully next year we’ll start with four sound, ready-to-go horses.”
Part of Jackie’s program to keep her horses sound are her 5 Star Equine saddle pads, which she started using five years ago. “I started with them early in 2014—I won the BBR finals in Oklahoma City and I was riding a 5 Star pad, and they approached me and I’ve been with them ever since.” After four years of hard use, Jackie still uses her first sponsorship pad from 5 Star. “They’re incredible pads, and that’s all I ride in, at home and when I compete. I also use their breastcollars and just got introduced to their sport boots. They have awesome products and I’ve believed in them for a long time now. I’ve signed for them at the NFR both times I made it, and last year as well, and I’ve done some promotional videos and I try to promote them on Facebook. They are great people to work with.”
Since returning home from the summer run, Jackie is starting several colts on barrels and riding eight horses a day. “I’ve always been a jockey—I’ve never trained my own horses and I’d like to get into that. One of my good horses, Jet, is a stud and his oldest babies that we have are three, and one of them I’m about to start on barrels. It’s a whole new realm I’ve never done before,” says Jackie. “I don’t think you ever quit learning—you can get something out of every single person that you ride with, and I always try to pick up at least one thing that day that I can implement in my program.”
When she’s not in the saddle, Jackie enjoys visiting all the restaurants she misses while she’s traveling, along with reading. “I read murder mystery books, and I just read Rachel Hollis’s ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’. I thought it was incredibly motivational. Other than that, it’s horses from sunrise to sunset. I’m just glad to be home from the summer run like everybody is. Now I’m just trying to finish up the season in the top 40 so I can get into San Antonio next year.”