Just a bit up in the hills from my place lives a real cowgirl. Barbara Piva (40) has been an active horserider all her life. She started out with show jumping at the age of 15, and as an adult she discovered the world of Western riding.
She looks exactly as you imagine on beforehand; slim, with long blond hair dressed in a pair of well used Wranglers. And of course wearing boots…
Barbara lives her life in the middle of the valleys of Coassolo, among many different animals. At least 8 of them are ponies and ca 10 are horses. I got to know her just after we moved to Lanzo some years ago, and our own horse lives in her stable.
Both me, my son and my husband have taken lessons with Barbara, and I´ve learned a lot about Gymcana, barrel racing and pony games. But only Luca wants to do barrel race competitions, it´s not really my thing…
Barbara discovered the world of Barrel racing in 1998, and since then she never looked back to the English style.
Barbara in the period of show jumping!
In 2003 Barbara won Lady Barrel, a very important competition.
This was also thanks to her amazing mare Mr Sweet Rosy, that soon became a real star. The year after they became Futury Champion in Reggio Emiglia, which is the best start a young horse can get. They followed up with maturità reserve Champion in 2005 and winning the Regional Championship of Piedmont in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Barbara and Rosy
But the joy must come to an end, and she decided to sell her horse while it was on top of it’s career. Obviously the prize of a horse winning the most important races Is quite high. Luckily Rosy continued to win many barrel races during her long lasting career, like winning the top 15 at Verona in 2012.
Barbara and Glory
Later on Barbara has trained many horses, and one of the best was another female Quarter Horse called Olivia. She also trained a beautiful Appaloosa called Glory. Today she is training her young Quarter Lulabelle.
Barbara and Lulabelle
Barbara’s life is not only about barrel racing. She has her own riding school where she focus on Pony games. She is a part of WSGA (Western Speed Game Association) and brings her group of pupils and ponies around to different events.
Many of her students are small Champions allready, and it’s impressing to see how well they can manage their ponies.
She focuses on making all the kids totally independent, and teaches them first of all how to clean and saddle their own horse.
Thanks to the small size of the animals, the kids become really togh and independent, and the games they learn inside the riding ground make them prepared for any challenge later on.
Her 11 years old daughter Nicole is now the main Champion in the family.
They have many private horses, as well as ponies, which give them the opportunity to continue doing what all the family love most; barrel racing!