Aimee is a barrel racer who rides a Tammy Fischer treeless barrel saddle.
Circle Y (CY): We love horse stories. Tell us about your horse and what discipline you ride.
Aimee McNeil (AM): Neat Winnings (Opie) is a 2011 Quarter Horse, and I ride him in both seats, but we compete solely in barrel racing.
CY: Have you always ridden discipline/event or did you switch?
AM: I started as a young child in the western saddle and soon started riding both seats. Today, I like to switch it up. I thoroughly enjoy barrel racing, and I feel it’s where I’m most competitive and focused. I’m also a sucker for a good hunter pace. I also spend some time in the show pen, as that’s typically where I like to start my youngsters!
CY: Which saddle do you ride in? Why did you pick that saddle?
AM: I am currently loving my Circle Y Tammy Fischer Treeless. I went with this saddle after my vet and chiropractor had suggested it, as the treed saddles we had used seem to be putting stress on his lumbar. I have had quite a bit of success in the new saddle, so I’d say it was a good move!
CY: What is one of the best horse lessons you’ve learned?
AM: I think it’s important to remember to stay in your lane. It is so easy to get caught up in keeping up with others, especially when competing. When I prepare for a performance, be it in the barrel pen or show pen, I try to just stay in the moment with my horse, to connect, and not think about anything but us, right there, right then. We can only ride the horse that we brought for that day, and the only one we should be competing against is ourselves, the last time we were in the saddle.
CY: What are some tips you’ve learned that you can share to help other riders?
AM: I put a lot of thought and care into my herd’s nutrition, veterinary care, chiropractic and other treatments, but I feel that grooming is one of the most important aspects of my pre-workout regimen. I like to take my time with every horse I work and give them a good grooming from head to toe, almost giving them a full body massage before I ask them to work for me. I think they appreciate that.
CY: Do you have any special stories, facts, or tips that you would like to share with us?
AM: Sure! Although I was raised on a dairy farm, horse training is in my blood. My grandfather is a Harness Racing Hall of Fame trainer/owner/driver; the late Fred LaRouche. I, like him, also love to drive!
“I love the saddle and feel like it not only gives me the best opportunity possible to focus on my horse’s feet and balance, but does so without me having to worry about my own position in the saddle. My vet and chiropractor advised me to go with a treeless, as he was getting back sore with the treed saddles. I feel as though this one really allows him to open up in the shoulders, and his stride is almost surreal. We pulled some really nice pay today at our 2nd NBHA run of the season, and I’m really pleased with the choice I made to purchase this Circle Y!”
All photos used with rider permission.