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A Shot in the Dark

Anyone who knows me well knows my two favorite things are horses and guns. So when I found out my friend and fellow Paint enthusiast Betty Dietrich was getting into mounted shooting, I dropped many not-so-subtle hints—that turned into nagging—to let me try it out on her horses.

Even though I’m new to mounted shooting, I’ve very seasoned at both shooting and riding. I started riding a pony when I was 7 years old and started showing when I was 9. After college, I successfully showed cutting horses until I was 32, when the “First Financial Bank of Dad” closed for business.

But Dad also immersed me into shooting and hunting starting with a BB gun at age 8. He took me deer hunting with him, and I harvested my first deer at 13. By the time I got to college, showing horses and chasing cowboys took precedence, but about seven years ago, I started hunting again and remembered how much I loved it. I still hunt to this day, and I’m a member of a ladies’ gun club called Diva Wow.

Needless to say, finding a way to combine these two passions piqued my interest. What could be better than riding and shooting and doing it at the same time?

Betty took me to a clinic and loaned me her Paint Horse named Cash Codys Big Chex, a 2008 bay tobiano nicknamed “Cody.”

At the clinic, I practiced a lot and learned a few important keys: keep your arm straight, keep your holster tight, and don’t shoot your horse in the ear!

I have to admit, I was worried that I might get carried away and shoot Betty’s horse, thereby ruining a good friendship. Thankfully, Cody emerged unscathed, and I found a new discipline. I love the personal challenge of trying to get better and better in every run. When I was riding world champion cutting horses, I just had to cut clean and hang on. Mounted shooting is all about the person’s ability to shoot the balloons and guide the horse, and it gives me a goal to fuel my competitive nature.

If you’ve recently tried mounted shooting—or any new discipline—we’d love to hear your story. Were you excited, like I was? Or were you skeptical and apprehensive?

And mostly, how did getting out of your bubble help you reconnect with your passion for Paints?

Are you and your Paint trying a new sport like mounted shooting? Email your story to the Flash staff for a chance to be featured online.