We all know that riders, trainers—and yes, horse book authors—have lives that extend beyond the barn and outside the paddock. Ever wonder what they like to do when they’re not on the back of a horse or teaching a clinic?
TSB author Kayla Starnes, author of the USTRC-endorsed TEAM ROPING 101, is on her way to the Toy Australian Shepherd Association of America (TASAA) National Championships in Ridgefield, Washington, October 16-18, 2013. And Kayla’s not flying all the way from Texas to Washington to ogle Toy Aussies—she and her own pup “Rocky” are competing for the National Championship.
The TASAA National Championships is a specialty show put on once a year for competitors to show off their best Toy Aussie. According to the TASAA website, it is the highest honor to be crowned a TASAA National Champion.
“Toy Australian Shepherds are a smaller version of the standard-sized Aussie,” explains Kayla. “They have the same look and herding ability, in a 13-inch tall package and have become very popular with the horse crowd the past few decades because they are perfectly-sized for the road.”
“The fact that we are going to the National Championship is still crazy to me!” Kayla admits. “Six months ago, I hadn’t ever seen a dog show and Rocky had lived seven years in obscurity as a ranch dog. Then, an acquaintance invited me to a show and we went, just to watch. There, the show secretary told me I really should consider entering my dog, so I did. A fellow competitor was kind enough to show me the ropes and help me with some quick grooming. Rocky ended that day Reserve Best In Show!
“That evening, Rocky managed to steal my chili dog when I wasn’t looking, so I had to buy myself a new dinner. I forgave him, of course, and now it’s tradition—every time he wins, he gets a hotdog. Rocky has eaten a lot of them this summer! He has earned his championship title in conformation, as well as an international championship.
“Nationals will be his last competition. He’s retiring from the show ring and gets to come home and be a dad. In fact, his first puppies are already on their way! That litter should be here just in time for the holidays.”
Kayla assures us that win or lose at Nationals, Rocky gets a chili dog. He’s earned it!
Everyone at TSB wishes Kayla and Rocky the best of luck at the TASAA National Championships next week.
(And stay tuned to the TSB blog for more Secret Lives of Horse Book Authors!)
TEAM ROPING 101, by Kayla Starnes and endorsed by the USTRC, is available from the TSB online bookstore.
What they’re saying about TEAM ROPING 101:
“This book will walk you step by step through picking out the perfect team roping horse to preparing for your first competition, and all the training in between. ” —Clinton Anderson, Trainer, Clinician, and Author
“With information covering everything from picking the right horse to roping your first steer, this book will help you on your way to becoming a great team roper.” —Horse & Rider
“The title should have been Team Roping 1001, because it is so full of great information. . . . It’s all here, and it’s a keeper.” —Working Ranch
“TEAM ROPING 101 should be the essential tool for team ropers and horse enthusiasts of every age alike!” —Chris Cox, Trainer, Clinician, and Team Roper