Uintah Basin's Sydney Davis started the year winning the National Reined Cow Horse Association Non-Pro Hackamore World Championship in Fort Worth, Texas, in February against people of all ages.
“I had known about it my whole life, but I didn't know I would be able to compete there let alone win it,” Davis said.
Davis didn't have a let down at all because she captured the high school reined cow horse title June 3-5 in Heber City.
The Uintah High School senior said her support group made up of her coaches and parents make all the difference.
Sydney is the daughter of Kathy and Ron Horrocks.
“It felt pretty good to have all the hard work pay off,” Sydney said. “My horse is very special. All the help I have had around me has been key. My parents have taken me to get lessons and down the road to different rodeos every weekend. I couldn't do it without my parents. They help me with everything.”
The high school title locked up a spot for Sydney at the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) set for the middle of next month in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Sydney also finished fourth in girls cutting. The top four in each event make nationals.
This will be the first trip to the NHSFR for Sydney.
“I will just keep my horses going at home,” Sydney added. “There will be some very good people at nationals.”
During the reined cow horse the cowgirls and cowboys are pitted against each other.
“It's fun beating the boys because sometimes it's hard when you are split up,” Sydney said. “I like it because you can all bring horses and see what we all have.”
In the event, horses are asked to work a single live cow in the arena, performing specific maneuvers that include circling the cow, turning a specified manner and performing a reining pattern.
“The competition was very competitive,” Sydney explained. “Everyone had some really nice horses. Everyone came to show what they had. You just need to mainly have confidence in your horse, come prepared and not let anything else get in your head.”
Sydney entered the state finals with a one-point lead.
“I just knew I had to be consistent and make three good runs,” she added. “I knew my horse would do it, I just had to be there for him.”
She produced a run of 292 points apiece in the first and second performances. In the finals, she scored 289 points. Cheyenne Tedford from the Spikers finished 14 points behind Sydney in the standings.
“Some of them had good parts and parts I need to work on,” she said.
The cowgirl said she has built a special relationship with her horse, Remington. The two have been a tandem since August.
“We have come a long ways,” she said. “It has been crazy to see how much we have accomplished together. My horse is very unique. It has been hard to get quick with him, but we got it pretty quick.”
In girls cutting, Sydney entered the finals in Heber City in a tie for fifth-place. She knew the pressure was on in order to make the top four.
“I knew we had to climb in the standings and make some pretty good runs,” she explained.
Cutting is a western-style equestrian competition in which a horse and rider work as a team before a judge or panel of judges to demonstrate the horse's athleticism and ability to handle cattle.
“There are a lot of good girls in the cutting event,” Sydney said. “We had some setbacks this year, but I'm glad we made it to nationals.”
Sydney finished fourth with 86 points, while McKenna Coronado from Cedar won the title with 109.50 points.