In the saddle with Desirae Jackson
What defines a winner? How does a competitor separate themselves from the crowd to make a name for her self in rodeo? Desirae Jackson certainly knows how to do both. Throughout nine rodeos, Desirae secured the coveted title of the 2019 CIRA High Point Cowgirl with 2460 points. Outside of rodeo, Desirae is studying to be an animal health technician at Olds College. She has also been apart of the CIRA for four years. Desirae is a notable contender in the barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying with her horses Blondie and Tigs. Take a look below to see how this phenomenal athlete and horsewoman reached success.
1. First, tell us about the horses you compete on?
Blondie is my goat tying horse that my family raised, so we have had her for a long time. A funny thing about her is she’s actually half paint. My barrel horse, Tigs, came off the track and she’s missing her front teeth because she’s got a little more go then whoa. Both of them are 14.
2. Competing at an elite level how do you sustain a sharp mental game?
I just try to be consistent all the time, and not focus too much on the competition. I concentrate on doing my best and put any pressure aside.
3. What was your biggest success this CIRA season?
Aside from winning the all around, at the Thorsby college rodeo I won both rounds of the goat tying. I had never really considered myself much of a goat tier before then so that was cool.
4. What was your biggest challenge this CIRA season?
Maintaining my horses’ body condition over the winter and keeping up my grades.
5. How do you keep your horses sharp throughout the season?
I do lots of long trotting in the field. I definitely don’t do a lot of patterning. I save the pattern for the weekend at the rodeos.
6. How do balance your time and energy between school/work and rodeo?
I wake up early to do a lot of my school, and to be completely honest I don’t have a huge social life. The majority of my evenings I spend riding.
7. What are your must haves in the trailer for both you or your horses
I always have oats because my pole bending horse is a little lazy and she thinks she needs a treat to actually work for me [laughs]. I give my barrel horse Zesterra, which has definitely been important.
8. How do you handle a bad run or find motivation in a slump?
I just remind myself this is the life I want to live - this is what I want to do. So I might as well enjoy all of it and not take in the competitiveness of it too much.
9. What’s your best advice for aspiring rodeo athletes?
Treat your horse first, and start as early as possible.
10. What’s your favourite part about being a member of the CIRA?
Getting to meet likeminded people that have the same interests as me, because you don’t always get that opportunity in school
11. Who are your biggest inspirations?
In rodeo, I would have to say Hailey Kinsel.
12. Is there any people or sponsors you would like to thank?
I would like to thank Sundog Solar, Agriculture Supply and my mom and dad of course. Also, special mention goes to my sister because she’s been helping me out since I’m in multiple events. She actually lent me her pole bending horse this year too, so she deserves props for that!