The final showdown is just around the corner. This is the time when the pressure seems the greatest. I know my stress level goes up because of the expectations I have on myself and that my customers expect from me.
The NRHA Futurity is equivalent to finals week in College. So much preparation goes into this week.
We have been training these horses for 2 years in hopes of having a successful money earning week. We have taken them to pre-futurities and tested them all several times. My expectations are high and I expect results. I have done my homework on these 3 year olds to the best of my ability. But you can never forget you are dealing with an animal. One that cannot communicate well.
My training is not always enough, so I have my vets go over the horses end to end. We try to make them as happy physically and emotionally as possible. I expect my staff to give them the utmost care. If the horses need it they get it. My customers are great they support me and their horses allowing me to have all the tools I need to help us be in a winning position. Vet care is not cheap, but in the end we hope to have happy healthy horses.
Once we get to the ring it is up to me to get everything I can from my horse without traumatizing him. We have multiple go arounds so longevity becomes a key factor in making a finals at the Futurity. We will work long hours and have sleepless nights, but in the end we hope to be successful! Going the extra mile with care and preparation will pay off- it may not mean a finalist vest but sometimes knowing you did everything you can has to be enough.
Best of luck to everyone!
Reining horse professional Craig Schmersal is the fourth-leading rider of all-time, with earnings of more than $3.2 million. Over the last decade, Craig has won almost all of the major reining events, often taking all three of his entries into the finals.