For those that have met Donna Small, you know that she is very deserving of an Indian National Finals World Championship. It seems that she has created a bond with her horse that barrel racers dream of. Donna is a small, quiet, and polite lady, which seems to be just the opposite of her big, loud, beautiful paint horse. Do opposites attract? I think so…
I have had the pleasure of watching Donna and her amazing horse Boogie ‘get it together’ over the last six years. Donna and Boogie’s story starts in 2004 when her husband was still competing in rodeos and Donna didn’t want to sit on the sidelines so she started looking for a barrel horse. Donna found Boogie on Barrel Horse World and immediately fell in love with him. Boogie’s registered name is “Mr. Frodo Beggins”. He is an 11-year-old horse registered in the American Paint Horse Association. Donna made the call for Boogie but ended up being second in line for a try out. The first person to want a try on Boggie canceled her try out, giving Donna the opportunity to meet Boogie, and she was in Oklahoma within 24 hours.
The tryout didn’t go as planned. Donna was unsure if she wanted to take the chance on Boogie but her husband thought differently so they bought him. Donna states, “The ride has been awesome ever since”. 2011 was the fourth year attending the INFR Finals for the lady and the painted pony. It was Donnas’ 7th INFR trip overall and Boogie was the 4th horse she had rode out of her 7 qualifications to the big show. Donna never thought they would win the INFR Barrel Racing Championship, but she always dreamed that they could.
Donna says, “As each year goes by, Boogie has just gotten better and better. He loves his job and realizes it’s a race now. We do (or I do) sometimes mess up but for the most part I just have to keep hustling him and pretty much let him do his job. Every ride with Boogie is memorable.”
Donna, in her quiet and humble way, realizes winning the title of INFR Champion Barrel Racer is a great honor and attributes much of the credit to her outstanding horse and loving family. She would have never made this accomplishment without Boogie, her husband, her kids, and her God. She shares this honor with them. According to Donna, Boogie has acquired quite the fan-base as well, stating, “I know that Boogie has lots of fans and have heard comments like ‘all the bull-riders stop what they are doing and watch Boogie make his runs. Now that is something to be proud of! When the crowd hears the announcer say, “It’s time to Boogie”, Boogie starts the show for his fans!”
Donna also has a lot of gratitude for the INFR Association for its hard work in providing Native American rodeo contestants with the privilege of having a place to work and play our dreams. Donna says she knows not every contestant feels that way but her thoughts are – if you don’t like it here, go someplace else.
Boogie is an amazing horse! A horse that most barrel racers dream of! To Donna he is an awesome horse, and more importantly; a great friend and companion for the 65-year young lady.