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Full speed ahead in chasing dream for Josephine

FRIENDS FOREVER: Barrel racing competitor Josephine Howell has a deep connection with her champion horse Comanche, and says the friendship is the winning formula. Photo Anastassia Perets / Central and North Burnett Times
FRIENDS FOREVER: Barrel racing competitor Josephine Howell has a deep connection with her champion horse Comanche, and says the friendship is the winning formula. Photo Anastassia Perets / Central and North Burnett Times Annie Perets

JOSEPHINE Howell is proof that if you have a passion and a dream, you can overcome all obstacles.

The 19-year-old barrel racing competitor had a late start to the sport but this has definitely not stopped her.

"My horse Comanche and I, we tried a lot of things. We tried campdrafting, pony club, dressage, showing," she said.

"Then we came across barrel racing.

"He was eight by that time so it took him a bit longer to learn."

When she was 15, Josephine participated in her first rodeo.

And when she was in Year 12, that is when the real fun began.

"When I got my driver's licence, I started competing heavily and heading out most weekends," she said.

"This year, our performance is picking up and becoming a lot more consistent."

Originally starting with Comanche, her other competition horse now is Jimmy Barnes.

With national wins under Josephine's belt, the climb to the top has not been without its challenges.

"I try hard to encourage sportsmanship and to show people that just because you win, it doesn't make you better," she said.

"I know what it's like to be bullied, and am completely anti-bully.

"I fell sick with Q fever, which showed me just how strong I am."

Josephine's passion for horses has inspired her other career path - to become an equine muscle therapist.

"I did my first equine muscle therapy course at 17, I was inspired by watching another therapist who helped save the life of one of my horses," she said.

"Since I've been doing massages on my horses, I have seen improved results and they are feeling better."

When she was at school, Josephine was told that barrel racing did not count as a sport.

"Once I measured how fast I was going and it was 80kmh," she said.

"What people don't understand is we are not just strolling around, and you get a big kick of adrenalin.

"People make money from this and it is their full-time job."

Aside from the demanding competition days, Josephine works with her favourite animals for 8-10 hours every day.

"When you're dealing with horses, it has to be a 100% effort all day, every day," she said.

"They're our athletes. We need to care for them, give a proper diet, keep fit and take them to professionals when needed."

And for those wanting to start something new, whatever it may be, and thinking of being too old, Josephine has some words she used to get herself going.

"It really is never too late," she said.

"If you have a passion or a dream, just do it."

At the recent Mulgildie Rodeo, Josephine came first in open barrel race and second in the novel barrel race.

Topics:  barrel racing central and north burnett


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