Ever since Syd Wheeler can remember, she has had an unconditional love for horses. The story she got from her parents is probably pretty common. They first introduced her to a horse when she was three years old. She instantly became obsessed and it took a few years for them to realize this love was not just a phase. Her dad always had a love for horses and in her opinion, loved the challenge of always learning something new on them. He began riding as a kid and experienced many different disciplines. Later after becoming a parent and having their first child at 21, he was forced to sell the horses. He sure didn’t mind Syd’s instant love for horses because it finally gave him a reason to own them again!
Neither of her two older sisters ever had much interest in the big smelly animals, so naturally, Syd was daddy’s little girl.
Every summer for next 6 years, her dad took her on pack trips in the mountains with another father and daughter. She didn’t care where they were going, or who they were with, as long as she got to ride all day on her very own trusty steed, J.R.
Like her dad, Syd found each discipline challenging. She moved from trail to 4-H classes, to a drill team, from sorting to roping, cutting, cow horse and reining. She tried all other rodeo events before she found barrel racing and even tried to ride steers. She remembers the first time watching barrel racing, her dad hauled her up to Three Rivers to a roping. She watched team after team and was getting bored until she noticed something interesting about an event where girls were running their horses like wild indians! She was fascinated!
She was 9 years old when she patterned her first barrel horse named Sis who was a fat, spoiled paint. Her neighbors held gymkhanas once a month. Sid entered every single one and put her name by every fast event she could sign up for. She won her first year -end buckle at those gymkhanas where she learned to crave the sport of barrel racing. She soon came to realize that her fat pinto would not be fast enough to make it to the top. It turned out to be a good thing for her that her dad had a hot little cutter that didn’t work out in the cutting pen! All this mare wanted to do was please and go fast! This little mare was perfect and Syd,as an 11 year old, was on her way to making her second barrel horse. This mare went on to place at the top in every junior rodeo but would never be quite fast enough to win.
She then started to rope more and make her way into cutting. When high school rodeo came around, she entered every event except barrels and poles. She didn’t feel as if she had a horse capable of winning to justify entering. After seeing where she ended up in the girls’ All Around, she realized that she needed the points from the two events she failed to enter. With barrels and poles, she could be competitive.
By this time, her dad had a 5 year old reject cow horse who liked to be cold backed. Syd was using all of the other horses she had for the other events. In her mind, it only made sense to pattern and use her dad’s mare. Well, her dad did not agree and he was certain she would make her into the stereo type everyone knows a barrel horse to be, crazy! Syd was determined to make her into her barrel/ pole horse and she knew if she could prove to her dad that she could train her without making her crazy, he would let her. He agreed and this mare became one of the best barrel horses in the state. She took her to Challenge of Champions and High School state finals 3 years and even took her to Nationals her senior year. She then made a pro rodeo horse and placed all over California even winning a few big jackpots in Texas.
Her good mare has too many accomplishments to be able to mention them all. Some of you may know her as Black Betty (Just Got Nic). This mare really launched Syd’s love for the sport of barrel racing and since then she has been working on making more good horses like her. She has recently found a passion for making futurity horses, and found a filly (Hickory’s Smart Holly) that has really launched her career in doing so. She aspires to make top quality barrel and all around horses, making a very trusting and reputable name for herself. She absolutely loves the sport of barrel racing and loves to do her best to help everyone in and out of the arena.