Professional Barrel Racer and Trainer
$200,000+ in 2017 Career Earnings
All American Quarter Horse Congress JR Pole Bending Champion
Old Fort Days Futurity Reserve Champion
AQHA World Champion
Josey Reunion Champion
Diamonds and Dirt Futurity Champion
Fizz Bomb Classic Futurity Champion
Parker Wood Memorial Futurity Reserve Champion
Parker Wood Memorial Futurity Slot Champion
MVP: How did you get started with horses?
OEN: I’ve been riding most of my life. I got started at a very young age with the help of my childhood neighbor, 2x - NRHA world champion Mike Flarida.
MVP: And how about your introduction to the barrel futurity industry?
OEN: I decided to take my career to the next level by trying out the futurity side of the barrel racing industry about 15 years ago. It's one of those decisions you just have to make for yourself when you think you are ready or looking for more in what you do.
MVP: When at an event, what does your exhibition routine entail?
OEN: I like to think my exhibition routine is fairly simple. I’ll usually get 3 exhibitions per futurity horse. I will lope through and slow school my horse on the first one. Then I will let them pick a speed and breeze them the second time through. With the last one, I will either work on something that was a mistake from the previous exhibition or just slow school them again.
If it is a 3 year old, I like to do 4 exhibitions unless they are about ready to enter. My routine in this scenario is a bit different. I will lope them all the way through, letting them make mistakes without correcting to allow them build confidence. The second one I will slow school them, working on sharpening them up on mistakes. I will then breeze or run them through, depending on how far along they are in their training. With the last exhibition, I will either be a slow school or a breeze a bit slower than before, depending on their level of training or their performance at the moment.
MVP: What is your favorite part about working with futurity horses?
OEN: I love having the opportunity to teach a young horse how the run barrels from the start. As they progress, it is very satisfying knowing I was the one to teach them, especially if one is excelling in competition. Another thing I love is seeing someone else win on one that you have trained.
MVP: Do you have any superstitions or quirks when competing?
OEN: I have a few superstitions. I put my horse’s boots on a certain way, and I'm the only one who can do it on competition day. I won’t pee in my horse's stall on race day. This is an old superstition from the race track; it’s supposed to be bad luck! If I happen to win a round, sometimes I’ll wear the same shirt for round two.
MVP: How do you stay focused and keep a sharp mental game?
OEN: I think it is something that comes with experience and time. My biggest thing is to remind myself that is not life or death to win or lose. There is always another barrel race I can attend and try again. It is important to just go do the bet you can, whether you win or lose.
MVP: What sort of things do you do to keep your horses sharp?
OEN: I don't do too much to keep my horses sharp after they are trained. I think the secret is to properly train your horse how to run the barrel pattern from the start. Allow them to become a trained barrel horse, and let them work when they run down the alley. I prefer to ride a horse that wants to please, so I don't have to worry too much. A horse as such is much easier to keep sharp and honest. However, I do have a few basic drills that I can use to make sure they stay soft and sharp in order to be at top performance.
MVP: What barrel horse, past or present, would you like to make a run on and why?
OEN: One of my favorite barrel horses of all time is Louie, Lisa Lockhart's gelding. He's so honest and solid. A true trained barrel horse! I wish I could teach every horse to be like Louie! I would love to just "catch a ride" on him!
MVP: What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
OEN: I'm the worlds' biggest "worrier” and a total OCD organization freak!
MVP: For someone just starting barrel racing, what advice would you give?
OEN: Find a mentor that you can relate with or just like their training style. Professional advice and lessons are so important. Have an open mind with every horse you work with. I have a horse every year that teaches me something new, so don't ever think you have it all figured out, because you never will. That's what keeps this career fresh for me; there are always new experiences to learn from.
MVP: What are your biggest health concerns for your horse when competing (joint, stomach, etc.)?
OEN: My biggest health concerns are my horse’s joints, stomach, and respiratory system. That pretty much covers the entire horse, but you have to have the entire horse at peak performance to win! So you must take care of all of it. Sometimes it is an "out of sight, out of mind" thing for some people. But what you can't see, could be the missing link to winning.
MVP: Favorite MVP Supplement and why:
OEN: My favorite MVP supplement is L-Lysine! It is a basic key ingredient in keeping my horses healthy! A horse with a strong immune system is the start of it all. Especially with all the outside elements they encounter with our travels.
MVP is honored to be a sponsor of Pete Oen and thanks Oen for his continued use and support of MVP products. Get Pete’s MVP Essentials below: