To simply say that Mary Walker and her horse Latte are "on a roll" is an understatement. This partnership has had rodeo fans talking and cheering all summer long. Wins like Cheyenne and Ellensburg have this duo currently sitting 4th in WPRA world standings. What is even more amazing is that due to an injury the year before, they did not qualify into the limited entry winter rodeos, yet still have a legitimate chance at that gold buckle. Our newest Justin endorsee had a chance to sit down with us so that we could learn more about her special horse Latte.
1. How long have you been riding and running barrels?
Since I was a little girl. Probably around 10.
2. What is Latte's registered name and what is his breeding?
Latte's registered name is Perculatin. His sire is Dash For Perks and he is out of Curiocity Corners.
3. How long have you had Latte and who did you get him from? Tell us a little about your journey together.
Byron bought him as a surprise for me on May 17, 2011. I had been riding him 6 months prior to buying him from a friend of mine, Cheri Cogburn. We have had a wonderful time together. We started this year with him taking care of me. I was really weak from my fall and he did exactly what I asked. As the year has progressed, we have gotten stronger. He has mentally and physically got me to where I am now. We have a lot left, but at this point I am totally amazed at how well he has done.
4. How would you describe Latte's temperament?
Latte is really laid back unless something catches his eye. He doesn't miss a thing. We joke that the safest place is on his back. He loves you to scratch his rear end and loves attention. He doesn't like anything underneath him. Latte is all business when it comes to running barrels.
5. What would you consider his strongest asset?
Latte is a gritty horse. He takes care of himself while running barrels, and he is very smart on bad ground. If we have two runs at the same rodeo he is stronger on the second one.
6. Does he like the indoor buildings or larger outside arenas better?
This is the first year he has been in big outdoor arenas and he loves them. He is great indoors. He was trained in indoor arenas. It really doesn't matter to him, he adapts to them all.
7. What is your proudest accomplishment on Latte?
Winning Cheyenne. That is the most tuned-in he has been all year. It was like he wanted it more than me. I was so proud of his runs. He is an amazing animal.
8. What is your most memorable experience while you have been riding her?
We went to Arcadia, Florida, this year. He smoked the first barrel, went to the second and turned so hard that I lost my balance and went over to the side of him. It was like he jumped underneath me! Terry Starnes was the announcer, and I could hear him say, "Sit back up and ride". I started laughing, and we ended up winning the rodeo by a 1/2 second.
9. Do you and Latte have a particularly funny memory together?
Every day is funny with him. He is always doing something to make you laugh.
10. What are some of your goals for Latte?
My first goal was to make the NFR. I want to be able to haul as long as he is happy and I am physically able. He is such an exceptional animal, and he deserves to be able to accomplish as much as I can for him. Animals like him don't come along every day.
11. What are you most looking forward to about competing at the Wrangler NFR?
The Grand Entry and getting that first run underneath me. Seeing my family and friends that helped me achieve my dream, that took care of me throughout losing Reagon and from my fall. This year is not all about Latte and me, but everyone that has been by my side and encouraged us.
12. Do you have any advice for young girls who are just starting to run barrels and find their special horse?
Work hard, don't give up, your dreams can always come true. You will always have one special horse, it may not be a world beater but it will always hold a special place in your heart.