Meet the Member Mari Sandoval


Don’t judge a book by its cover.
That’s an old adage that Mari Sandoval can relate to, all because of her barrel horse.
She rides an 11-year-old mare, a grade horse named Blitzen, who doesn’t know she’s not supposed to be good at barrels. “A lot of people discount her because she’s a grade horse,” Mari said. “She really tries, and she can hang right in there with the high-bred horses.” Blitzen doesn’t appear to be a barrel horse. “When you look at her, she’s short and stocky and you wouldn’t guess the amount of speed she’s capable of.” Blitzen was trained by Jordan Muncy-Tatum, then purchased by the Sandovals. Jordan saw the potential in her, Mari said. “That horse has everything. She tries as hard as she can.” Blitzen has a distinct personality, including her love for people food, especially burritos.
The New Mexico High School Rodeo Association member, a resident of Bosque Farms, N.M., also competes in the goat tying, breakaway roping, and team roping.
In addition to Blitzen, she rides a nine-year-old mare, a former racetrack horse named Sarah for her goat tying. Her heading horse, Dutch, who is in his late twenties, has been a member of the family since he was three.
The 15-year-old cowgirl is a sophomore at the Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science at the University of New Mexico. It is a charter school affiliated with the University, and it is geared towards math and science classes. Mari makes the forty-minute drive every day to school, and she feels fortunate to attend school at the Institute.
Math is her favorite subject, and she is currently taking an Algebra II and pre-calculus class. The Institute requires all students to take a foreign language, and the three languages they offer are Japanese, Chinese and Arabic. Mari is in Japanese class, which is her least favorite.
In school, she is involved in archery and was the number one archer for her team last year. She attends many of the academic lectures the school provides, and takes part in some of the Mensa-based clubs as well. She also has a black belt in Karate.
She loves to read “anything I can get my hands on,” with her favorite books being “The Divergent Series.” She’s waiting anxiously for the third movie, which will be released in March of next year.
Mari qualified for the National Junior High Finals all three years, and last year, for the National High School Finals in the barrel racing.
She has a younger sister, Isabela, who competes at local gymkhanas.
When she grows up, she’d like to be an anesthesiologist and continue as a barrel racer. She is the daughter of Martin and Connie Sandoval.

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