We were really excited when we were able to get Dona Kay Rule and Phil Haugen together for episode fifteen. Both from Oklahoma, these two equine professionals have been longtime friends and both have had a hand in the journey of a very special horse named High Valor. This story is a great one and we appreciated having a hand in telling it!
Dona Kay Rule
While some may have not known who Dona Kay was until the 2019 season upon her first NFR qualification, she has been a long time extremely successful horsewoman, barrel racing producer, horse trainer, and business owner for many years! Hailing from the small town of Minco, OK in Central Oklahoma, she has qualified to the 2019 NFR at 61 years young on her great 10 year old gelding, High Valor, she is an inspiration to all of us! Valor was also voted the 2019 Purina Horse of the Year.
Valor’s professional career took off after an unfortunate accident leaving Dona Kay’s first string horse “Juice” injured, consequently putting Valor in the position to step up to the plate. Valor was bred and raised by Lana Merrick, additionally she sent him to Phil Haugen as a two year old to start and be trained. Lana sold Valor to Dona Kay when he was five years old, and Dona Kay has dedicated the past five years to training him, seasoning him, and finishing him on the pattern. The rest…is history! We wish Dona Kay the best of luck at the 2019 NFR and we will be looking for Juice in the grand entry.
These are the runs from Valor’s first big win in Waco, TX at the D&D Barrel Race with Juice winning 2nd!
Phil Haugen has trained over 1,000 horses for the public with a training career spanning over 30 years. Based out of Weatherford, OK, horses that have gone through Phil’s training program have exceeded earnings over $1M. One of those horses in particular was High Valor. “Valor” went through Phil’s training program as a two year old while he was owned by Lana Merrick.
Phil has developed a unique training style based on his experiences in and out of the competition arena. His training program is focused on those fundamentals and his keen understanding of how to progress a horse in its training while mentally keeping that horse in a trusting, secure and confident state of mind. Phil’s philosophy is to train through understanding and that starts with a simple, common sense approach. He does this by building a solid foundation to to help each horse reach it’s full potential by focusing on effective and proven techniques helping the horse understand the response you are asking for, which in turn builds their confidence and yields success.
Today Phil is still currently training for the public, keeps a full clinic schedule, and has started his own podcast; Be Your Best Horsemanship! It’s available across all podcast platforms.
In this episode, we sit down to talk with barrel racers, Sherry Cervi & Jane Fambro. You’ll learn all about chickens (yes, you read that right), training barrel horses, their favorite equine products, time-management, motivation and the differences between traveling to futurities and rodeos. Along with this, you’ll be sure to get a laugh or two from a story involving the Racer’s Edge crew, Stingray and Pleasant Grove, Utah.
Sherry Cervi is a name that most should recognize. With four world titles, three average title wins at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and 19 WNFR qualifications in the barrel racing, Sherry has proven her value in the barrel racing industry. Along with her WNFR successes, Sherry was also the first Women’s Professional Rodeo Association member to cross the 3 million dollar mark in earnings. More recently, Sherry was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Though she calls Marana, AZ home, she spends her summers at her family’s ranch in Wisconsin and recently purchased a property in Stephenville, TX.
Jane Fambro grew up in the saddle, training her first horse in the fifth grade. In 2018, Jane was the recipient of the DISH Back in the Saddle Award at RFD-TV’s The American Semi-Finals. There is no doubt she is an all-around hand, starting her first horse bareback in a halter as a yearling and ending up with a well-trained horse in the heeling, heading, breakaway, tie-down, pole bending AND barrel racing. Luckily for the barrel racing world, Jane moved in with Ryann Pedone when she went to college and decided she would take a shot at training futurity colts by the time the second semester rolled around. Since that decision, she has gone on to train several successful barrel horses that have gone on to win with other riders, a feat of its own. Jane is a UPRA Finalist, RFDTV The American Qualifier and three-time cancer survivor. She is the strongest person, most astute Horseman and motivation for us all to be better and do better. She sets a great example of humility and hope.
As promised in the podcast, here is the link to Business Insider’s article regarding the chicken referred to as, “The Lamborghini of Poultry.” Feel free to look up chickens in your area, however, as Jane has proven, there is no need to own a chicken to be successful in the barrel racing world.
Both Sherry and Jane will agree that there is great pride involved when someone else is able to win on a horse that you have trained. Along with this, if they had to choose between training and competing at futurities or rodeos, both would choose the rodeo path. Sherry and Jane both believe that ranching on horses at a young age teaches them where to place their feet and prepares them for pressure, resulting in a horse that can handle rodeo ground and atmosphere.
Jane believes it is important to have patience and use repetition when training a horse regardless of where the horse will be competing.
Sherry has full intentions of going the futurity route with her young horses, but every year she seems to get busy and ends up with horses that are not quite ready to hit the futurity road. Though some may try to rush those horses to get them prepared last-minute, Sherry chooses to take her time and have patience in order to achieve the end goal of having a solid rodeo horse.
GOALS, MOTIVATION & TIME MANAGEMENT
not a detail-oriented person,
used treatment time to sit down and set goals,
journals everything she does on each horse in a day,
believes that in order to be successful you need to use your entire day and plan your time if you can
“People think that success is based on talent. Success is based on principles. If you master the principles and execute them every day, you will be successful.” – Tyson Durfey
“If you’re dumb, you better be tough.” – Jane Quote
Writes motivational quotes in her planner
Has sticky notes with positive quotes placed in her home and trailer
Plans can change 100X in a day when you’re rodeoing so you have to be prepared for that
If you haven’t been somewhere or done something, ask for help from someone who has
If you are prepared to the best of your ability you have a better chance at success
Favorite Quote: “Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”
Cozi is a shared calendar great for keeping up with appointments or anything going on and lets you assign a specific person to it. Every person has their individual color, truly a Type A personality person’s dream. 🙂