Barrel Racers on Fire: Stevi Hillman
First off this year has to be a dream come true, you have dominated! So lets start with your background.. tell OTRR Fans about your history in the arena?
Thank you, it’s been a fun year for sure. I grew up on my grandparents farm in Ordway, CO. I have been riding since I could walk (or before lol) I never got to Jr rodeo or anything, but we did do Saddle club events when I was little, then later my step dad trained and showed AQHA, so I learned all my foundation stuff and basic training from him, I was his shadow. He was such a great trainer and I was so blessed to grow up with that. I’ve always had to train my own, which now I am very grateful for. I went to college and got my Radiology degree, because that was very important to me, so my barrel racing was put on the side for a little bit. Before college and after and I worked for a couple Cutters, a Reiner, a Polo Player…. I really feel that had helped me become the jockey I am, because you learn something from every horse you ride.
Tell us about the horses in your trailer and your relationship with them?
Cuatro Fame is a 9 year old Dash Ta Fame, he has become my best buddy, such a blessing in my life for so many reasons and I cannot thank Jason and Melissa Mouton enough for bringing him into my life. He’s such a cartoon character lol… into everything! It’s been fun and frustrating getting to know each other, and neat to look back and see how much we’ve grown together. One important thing to remember when getting with a horse is, you have to know their buttons and get to know everything about them. So that your communication is the same.
Morning Traffic is my back up horse, she’s a 5 year old Frenchman’s Guy owned by Michelle Darling. I am super pumped to have her in the trailer and thank Michelle for allowing me to have her this year. I trained this mare and got to Futurity and Derby her, it’s always fun to train one and get to go on with it to rodeo. She’s a very special mare, excited about her future. She’s handled all the different ground and set ups extremely well. She’s a ‘princess’, so I do my best just to keep her happy and feeling good, as well as Cuatro.
There are many highs and lows on the road, how do you deal with those mentally?
There are highs and lows training and running barrels period but yes the highs of rodeo are really high and the lows are really low. I have to remind myself daily why I am truly doing this, and to make one run at a time. Whether I hit a barrel, fall down etc, it’s the same game plan every run. My husband, Ty, has sure helped me become mentally tough and the competitor I am today, it’s been a process lol. It’s also important when on the road for months at a time to remember, at the end of the day, that your family is going to love you no matter what happens out here, and my husband loves me. That’s the important stuff.
What are your plans for the rest of the season?
My plan is the same as it was Oct 1, 2015 to make one run at a time. I set out this year to go for it and I will not stop until Oct 1st, 2016. I am blessed to be able to be out here doing what I love and am so passionate about. Main priority out here is keeping the horses happy and healthy and to keep pressing forward!
What do you feel is one of the hardest things about being on the road?
Keeping routine, it’s easy to live like a gypsy, but I am a healthy person and love to jog and eat healthy. It’s a little more challenging out here on the road to stay that way, but you just have to make it a priority. And stay disciplined. Also, my family, I definitely miss my time with family.
Stay turned for Part 2 with Stevi next week!
If you missed our “Barrel Racers on Fire” Series last year, be sure and check it out!