Sixth NZ title for Otago barrel racer

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Heading for home . . . Jenny Atkinson and her horse Methven on their way to winning the New Zealand Barrel racing title at the National Rodeo Finals in Wanaka. PHOTO: NZRCA

Hard work has paid off for a Middlemarch barrel racer who recently won the New Zealand barrel racing title for the sixth time.

Not only did Jenny Atkinson win the title at the National Rodeo Finals in Wanaka last weekend, but her horse Methven also won New Zealand Barrel Racing Horse of the Year.

Mrs Atkinson’s win came after accumulating points at rodeos throughout New Zealand during the 2017-18 season to qualify for the final.

Taking home first prize was thanks to lots of hard work and dedication, Mrs Atkinson said.

“It takes a lot of commitment and perseverance to train a horse to that level . . . it’s very satisfying when you come away with good results.”

She has been barrel racing for more than 30 years and said she first got into it after following her family around the rodeo circuit.

Now the 44-year-old competes alongside her husband Stacey as well as children Brooke (7), and Chad (5), who are keen to follow in their mother’s footsteps.

Mrs Atkinson said one of her favourite things about competing was the whole camaraderie of being part of the rodeos and doing it with her family.

and that is second to none .. now people who I grew up riding with are bringing their kids to rodeos. It’s pretty special.”

She said she loved passing on her knowledge to the younger generation and enjoyed giving barrel racing lessons.

She was also a coach for the New Zealand Youth Development Rodeo team.

For now, her beloved horse Methven will get a break over winter, while she trains some younger horses for the following season.

Mrs Atkinson said she would definitely be back to defend her title next year.