A Word with Chris Vernier on the 2012 National Barrel Horse Association World Championships
By Rachel Beerbower
Christina Vernier, a senior Western Equestrian student at the University of Findlay from Michigan, took a week off of school this past October. But she was not skipping school like a typical college kid; Chris was traveling to Georgia to show at the NBHA World Championship! The National Barrel Horse Association held the 2012 World Championship in Perry, Georgia. She took some time to share her experience with us.
One aspect that made this experience so special for Chris was that she had to qualify in 2011. She explained that a rider has to qualify in their district and state, and that district can send either five or ten riders. In 2011, Chris qualified with 18 points and was number one in the second division for Michigan 2D barrels!
Now this may sound confusing for someone who is not familiar with barrel racing, so we asked Chris to explain. “1D is the fastest time, 2D barrels are the group of riders who are a half a second slower than the fastest time,” shared Chris. “This half second pattern continues all the way to 5D.”
Chris arrived in Georgia after a 13-hour trip. She said she “appreciated how well the show schedule was laid out, because there was plenty of time before the first race and in between each one for your horse to rest.” She also had time to travel around the area and enjoy Georgia.
During her first race, or “go round,” she and her horse knocked down the first barrel. However, there is second go round in which she qualified for the finals with a time of 16.201. The top 20 of each division moved on, which means about 200 riders qualified. Chris’s run for finals was a 16.430. She was eight riders too fast to be the 5D champion but her time was not fast enough to bump her to 4D. In barrel terms this is called “falling through the cracks”.
Even though she did not place in the final standings, Chris won a buckle and a check, not to mention experience. She was able to attend a free clinic with Sharon Camarillo and her daughter Stormy. Sharon talked about equipment and the rider’s position when they warm up and as they run a pattern. She even spent individual time with Chris to improve her approach to the first barrel. The clinic was certainly one of the high points of Chris’s week.
Chris described the NBHA World Show as a great experience. There were vendors such as 4-Star Trailers and Pfizer, a clinician, tourist attractions, and of course some fast barrel runs. Although she is not planning a trip back next year, she looks forward to going in the future… and bringing home a title!
Good luck to Chris in your future runs!