East Bound Jet was not pretty. She was rough- in that ‘Are you going to work me or feed me? Hurry up and decide’ kind of way. She never ran to the gate to greet me. We didn’t have a ‘My Friend Flicka’ kind of bond. She was a gift to me in 2011. At the time she was 14, had been a successful futurity horse at some of the largest barrel races around, and she knew her job. Her job was to run- not trot the pattern so someone could learn while on her back, not run to the gate in hopes of getting a scratch or some treats- just run. And if you didn’t check her at the right time, she’d run right past the barrel, thus ‘donating’ your entry fees for that class and reminding you through your pocketbook to pay better attention and steer next time. Her purchase price- accomplishments, papers, and all- was $500.00
After about a year of jockeying this big red mare, I finally started to get the hang of things (I have a background in English and Dressage- this was quite a different style for me), and we started to win some money. I had zero barrel racing lessons, in fact Brent Puhl, an INCREDIBLE barrel race photographer based out of Ohio is the one who told me to switch hands going around the barrel, and to use my horn. “I don’t need to hold the horn- I can ride- I’m not going to fall off of her”- he quickly schooled me as to WHY I needed to use it. Each run we made while he was there I could hear him yell from behind his camera, “SWITCH HANDS” or “HORN”- whatever I seemed to be messing up the worst at the time. He’d video my runs, and them show me that I was NOT doing what I swore to him I was. Little by little, we got pretty good. Good enough to compete at the All American Quarter Horse Congress in 2014.
Even though Josie was only bought for $500, it cost me nearly $8,000 to keep her- a divorce had happened and even though legally she couldn’t be held from me, it was an expensive adventure. Nonetheless, she came home. After being told repeatedly I wasn’t good enough to run at the Congress, that she was too old (she was 17 at the time), I wouldn’t be able to afford it- I pawned my wedding ring, hooked up my old steel bumper pull horse trailer, and headed to Columbus, Ohio to run.
We were 17th out of 121 head that year.
While I was there, I made my first pair of earrings. My mom had sewn me a shirt that the likes of Dale Evans would have been proud of- fringe, Swarovski stones and all. I decided I needed some more attention drawn to myself, so I created some matching accessories. If we weren’t going to be the fastest, at least we were going to be the loudest. I ran in them the next day, and quite a few ladies inquired as to how I was able to ride in such heavy earrings. “They aren’t”, I’d say, as I pulled them out and handed one over so they could feel. “Can we buy these?!” They would say, to which I would reply “nope, but I’ll make you a pair”.
Fast forward a few months. I had created a FB page for my creations, which at that time also included tooled leather (Which I still love to do but lack the time), and realized that it was quickly getting out of control. I had $85 in an envelope left over from earlier in the season that Josie had won us, and I used it to buy our vendors license, get an FEIN number, and buy our first package of wholesale Swarovski stones.
Josey died on Mothers Day weekend in 2016. She coliced and her gut burst- she was septic immediately and had to be put down. Her job here was done. It wasn’t to run anymore, it was to set me up for life, with a company that would become something beyond my wildest dreams, and an inspiration to women all over the world.