A Farmersville athlete is heading to a state championship next month.
Morgan Day, a sophomore at Farmersville High School, qualified for the Texas High School Rodeo Association state finals.
She’ll represent the school in Abilene June 6-11, competing in pole bending and barrel racing events. Reaching the state finals was a goal of hers and something she felt great about the accomplishment.
“It was extremely satisfying because I have been working on it all year,” Day said. “It’s just extremely good to see that my work is paying off. I’ve been working every day and racing sometimes twice a week to reach this point and now I’m making it and succeeding.”
Barrel racing consists of three barrels in a large triangle, in which the horse must run around all three barrels as fast as possible and back to the starting line. Pole bending is a line of poles that a horse must race down and back, weaving between the poles as fast as it can.
“Both presents different challenges,” Day said. “I like pole bending because it’s a little more challenging because it requires so much more physically, but barrel racing is much more competitive.”
To qualify for state, Day had to finish in the top 10 of each event. She finished ninth in both events, six points ahead of elimination in pole bending and one point ahead of elimination in barrel racing. To reach the national finals, she’ll need to finish top 10 again at the state finals.
“I want to be prepared in general,” Day said. “I want to make sure I have everything I need down. I may not make nationals but I want to at least make finals and give myself a chance to compete.”
Regional qualification was something that took place over seven months of the year, competing during six weekends from September to March in Sulphur Springs. Beyond just the events themselves, Day spends multiple days a week fine-tuning her craft and preparing to compete.
“Practicing, in general, is usually two hours every other day and some light work throughout the week,” Day said. “I love spending time with my horses and I get up earlier than my family to take care of them and put them to bed every night. It’s a lot of time spent with them.”
Day’s love for horses started when she was 10 years old with her first horse as a birthday present. She’s always loved animals and has dreams to go to veterinary school at Tarleton State or Texas Tech when she graduates high school.
She’s taken riding lessons since she was 11, but quickly took to the sport and after one and a half years when she began competing in playdays in Blue Ridge and Jackpots in Greenville.
In just her second year, competing in Texas High School Rodeo, she’s made her way to the highest level. Most of all, however, she just loves her horses.
“There’s just something about being able to work with an animal that isn’t obviously able to speak with you, but can go really fast and still have the ability to listen to you,” Day said.
While competing, Day rides her two horses, Bleu and Red. Bleu is a six-year-old Sorrel Gelding Paint Horse that Day has owned for 19 months, while Red is a nine-year-old Sorrel Gelding Quarter Horse that Day has owned for 14 months.
Day likes being able to ride both in competition, but Red’s speed and longer stride allow him to be a stronger barrel racing horse, while Bleu’s smaller stature and smoother turning ability allow her to excel in pole bending.
“I have to make sure I ride both of them in both events, but they both work so well in their events,” Day said. “It’s fun to go out and ride with both of them.”
Day will compete at state next month, but she said her journey has prepared her for her opportunity. She’s improved each year, to the point where she’s finishing with 15-second runs on the course.
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By Kyle Grondin • [email protected]