story by Linsday Humphrey Making the decision to commit to rodeo as a high school sophomore has forever changed Rylan Wildeman’s life for the better. […]
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Meet the Member Emma Krase
story by Lindsay Humphrey
“If I’m having fun, I’m already winning so I don’t care where I end up placing,” said 17-year-old Emma Krase who’s a senior at Moundridge High School. “When things get hard, I always remind myself that I’m a lot further along than where I first started.” These wise words come from a girl who was born obsessed with horses into a family that had zero experience with them before her. That all changed when, at 9 years old, Emma convinced her parents – Quincy and Kim – to let her take riding lessons. “I started riding with Katrina Hogg for about 3 years before she talked my parents into letting me compete at a junior rodeo that only happened once a year.” Emma got a taste for every type of speed event that didn’t require a rope: barrels, poles, goat tying and flags. That was all it took to get Emma hooked on rodeo.
She quickly joined the CKYRA where barrels and poles rose to the top of her list of events. That association’s been the drumbeat of Emma’s competitive rodeo career so far, but almost two years ago she finally broke into the KHSRA. “I wanted to high school rodeo as a freshman, but my parents weren’t quite ready for that commit just yet. They finally bit the bullet last year and this is my second season in the KHSRA.” When Emma first started entering rodeos, she was riding her trainer’s barrel horse. It didn’t take long before she needed up a step up mount. That’s when Remi came into the picture and Emma fulfilled all her childhood dream of owning a horse.
“I got Remi 3 years ago and I only used her for about a year,” she said of the now 14-year-old grade, blue roan mare. “I bought Arizona as a project horse that I was going to ride last summer and then sell. When she started beating Remi at the jackpots we were going to, I realized she was a lot more athletic and smarter about the events, so I kept her.” The sorrel mare is only 7, which can present some minor issues for Emma who’s still learning how to be an effective jockey. One of the major lessons learned has been differentiating between rider and horse error. “I’ve had to watch my videos over and over again to really understand my hand and body position in relation to a mistake. I feel like Arizona and I have a pretty good connection that if we screw up, it’s only because she was listening to what my body was saying.”
When the season started last fall, Emma simply wanted to improve enough that her times in both barrels and poles would slowly decrease. That’s since changed. “Now I’m focused on having clean weekends. I don’t care how we place as long as we’re clean. We’ve been fairly consistent in keeping our runs clean but riding a young horse there’s always a good chance of hitting something.” When Emma first started high school rodeo, it shouldn’t be surprising that the competition was intimidating. “There I was on my cheap, little grade horse who barely knew how to run barrels when I got her, and I was watching girls run 15s and 16s when I was still in the 18s and high 17s. I was just excited to even be there.”
During the Border Bash this spring, Emma was reminded of why she loves this sport. “I finally broke into the 21s in the poles at the Lazy E and that was pretty cool. The better part of the weekend was how apparent it is that rodeo is one big family. There were plenty of horses from both Kansas and Oklahoma who wouldn’t go in the arena, and I saw girls from both states stepping up to help each other. It helped my mental state knowing how much comradery we had and that if I had trouble someone would be willing to help me too.”