Meet the Member Talia Jaeger

by Rodeo News

story by Lindsay Humphrey

Just a short five years ago, Talia Jaeger was decked out in breeches aboard a lesson horse outfitted with an English saddle. This was her introduction to horses and eventually segued into rodeo. “My stepmom (Linda) got me some lessons for fun,” said the 13-year-old from Loomis, California. “I kind of got bored with that and one of our family friends wanted me to try barrel racing on their horses. And I haven’t stopped since then.” The rodeo bug has taken root and it’s about all Talia ever does or thinks about, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Of course, breaching a new sport isn’t always easy. Talia’s dad, Jeremy, rode bulls at one point in time but it had been a while since he was around horses. “We’ve really had to learn everything about horses and rodeo from scratch. We aren’t afraid to ask questions and will ask just about anybody for help when something comes up.” Talia’s inquisitive nature paired with her discipline and determination have likely been driving forces behind her success as a barrel racer. At the 2020 Junior World Finals, Talia finished fifth in the average. That was her first year to qualify in the junior barrels. This year, she’s headed to Vegas in the senior division.
“It was actually my first time running that horse in barrels for the weekend. We decided to enter her last minute, but it was a good thing we did because my other horse didn’t qualify.” That second horse was the one Talia qualified on and ran in Texas for last year’s event. That was actually her first time visiting Texas and Talia is a little disappointed the Junior World Finals will be in Vegas this year. “My first time in Texas was a really cool experience. It was really fun to run in the stockyards.” Despite the location change, Talia is looking forward to running her mare, Molly, this December.
“I started using Molly for poles and that’s what we bought her for, but then we decided to use her for barrels also. We started doing really well and now she’s my main barrel horse.” The 11-year-old sorrel Quarter Horse is petite just like Talia, but this duo has a big presence when it’s time to run. “I really like that she’s a smaller horse and I like her style of running. She rates a lot, which is good because I don’t really like free runners.” The try hard heart of this mare is a big part of why Molly is Talia’s favorite of the entire herd. With several months to prepare for their first appearance in Vegas, Talia intends to continue putting in the work at home while also hitting as many jackpots and rodeos as she can.
Earlier this summer, Talia and Molly proved they have the grit it takes to come back from a setback. At the California Junior High School Rodeo Association State Finals, the pair hit a barrel on the first day. “I really had to ride my horse past the third barrel to fix our previous mistake. We ended up winning the round by two tenths of a second.” Talia had been working all season long to do well at state and earning a buckle for a round win was evidence of the time she’s been putting in behind the scenes.
This eighth grader is the only one in her family who rodeos currently. Her 15-year-old brother, Sam, is a competitive dancer with little interest in horses, but Talia can’t get enough of them. “I really like being able to go out and ride my horses whenever I want to. I also like going to new places to compete.” One gift rodeo has given Talia is her never give up attitude. “When I first started, my barrel horse was ducking the barrel and my other one was running off with me. I used to get really frustrated and almost wanted to give up on it all together. But I kept working at it and I’m really glad I did.”

© Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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