NFBR 2023 Horse of the Year

NFBR 2023 Horse of the Year

Boisjoli’s Onna Wins Horse of the Year for Second Time

By Ted Harbin

No Wimpy Turns was bred to be a reining horse, following in the footsteps of her sire, Whiz N Starlight, and her dam, Its Wimpy Turn.

Shelby Boisjoli
Photo by Clay Guardipee

Four years ago, though, she was acquired by Shelby Boisjoli and put through the paces of being a breakaway-roping mount. Since then, Onna has become one of the best in the business and was recently voted as the Nutrena Horse of the Year presented by AQHA. It’s the second time the 8-year-old sorrel mare has earned the honor; she also won the title in 2021.

“I didn’t know if she was going to win or not, but I was hoping she’d be in the top three of the votes,” said Boisjoli, the No. 1 breakaway roper in the world standings from Stephenville, Texas. “When they told me she’d won it, I pretty much just started crying. It means so much to me, and I know it would mean so much for her.

Shelby Boisjoli
Photo by H Rae

“I wish they could know they won it because it’s such a prestigious thing. My horsemanship has always meant more to me than my roping, so seeing her win this award is very special to me.”

Boisjoli has owned the talented red machine for half the horse’s life, and the two have experienced many great things. The Alberta-born-and-raised cowgirl has qualified for the National Finals Breakaway Roping all four years of the championship’s existence, and she’s had Onna with her every step of the way.

Shelby Boisjoli
Photo by Fernando Sam-Sin

“I remember perfectly the day that I tried her,” she said. “I was just praying the guy would take what I had to give for her, because that was all the money I had at the time. If he didn’t move on his price, I wasn’t going to take her home.

“I trained her in breakaway roping. I can count on one hand the number of other people I’ve let ride her. I don’t really share her. I want her to be mine. She’s so special to me, that if it’s her last run, I want it to be me.”

Boisjoli started the year strong, then went through a rough patch in the spring. As soon as she began her summer run in late June, everything came together; she credits Onna with making it all happen.

“It was because of Onna that I was able to do what I did this summer,” she said. “I got on a roll, and it just kept rolling.”

Winning an award like Horse of the Year is special in many ways. For one, it’s proof that among all the great horses in rodeo, Onna stood out. It’s even more appealing that other breakaway ropers agreed with Boisjoli’s assessment of her storied horse.  

“I’ve had a lot of compliments about Onna,” Boisjoli said. “I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone that has ever talked bad about her. It means a lot for others to notice her and to notice her efforts.”

Boisjoli took notice early, and she’s worked at her craft while working Onna. Being among the elite in the game year after year is evidence that something is happening. In the cowgirl’s case, it all comes down to the beating heart of her red mount.

“From the first time I ever swung a rope on her, I knew she was going to be great,” she said. “Some horses have that good feel and great timing with your swing.

“I love that mare like family. She tries so hard. She loves what she does. She knows when she’s done good. She’s a winner.”

From one winner to another, Boisjoli and Onna are on the rides of their lifetime.

431 South Cascade
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

(719) 447-4627
(719) 447-4631 (fax)

431 South Cascade
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

(719) 447-4627   |   (719) 447-4631 (fax)


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