A woman of many creative talents
WRITTEN BY Elaine Macdonald
A native of California, Julie Lane, a marketing professional, lived in Chatsworth before recently moving to Leona Valley. Most little girls go through a phase where they love horses, and Lane was no exception.
“My parents could not commit the time to horse ownership; instead they sent me to horse camp every summer at Big Bear,” said Lane, who is also a Zumba instructor. “My love for horses never disappeared. In my early 20s after I was established and had a good job, I decided to look for my first horse.
“I got Cayenne, an appaloosa mix, from a therapeutic riding center. I volunteered for the group and served on the board of directors of the riding center for about three years. Cayenne was the first horse that I rode in competitions.
“I got involved with the Antelope Valley Desert Riders, the oldest horse club in the Antelope Valley. I served on the board of directors and was very active for 10 years. It was participating in the AVDR gymkhana events that I got my barrel racing competition experience.”
“When I first brought Cayenne home, she was very green and so was I,” Lane said. “We were both beginners. I trail rode her and started to work her in gymkhana events.
“She became an amazing gymkhana horse. She was a real winner, and we got better with each year. We won many silver buckles awards and a saddle that I treasure.
“I eventually purchased my home in Leona Valley for its property. Now Cayenne is 23 years old and has a pasture in which to retire. Having property for my horses is important to me.”
Real Western girl
Lane has three horses: two quarter horses and Cayenne. She participates in the sports of barrel racing, pole bending, team sorting and trail riding and is currently a member of National Barrel Horse Association and the Simi Valley Riders.
The NBHA is a national organization that has districts that sponsor barrel racing events in their local areas. Divisional barrel racing gives all competitors, from beginners to professionals and from youth to seniors, a chance to compete, learn and succeed in barrel racing.
The divisional format encourages riders to improve their skills and work toward the higher divisions while still having a chance to be competitive. Cash prizes are usually awarded to winners in the larger races. The cash prizes usually depend on the number of riders participating.
Las Vegas barrel racing competitions, for example, may have cash pots of $13,000 to $30,000 that is split among the winners. Winners, for example, could be from first through fifth, with the money split among the four divisions. Other awards include buckles, saddles, and tack.
“I am very competitive and have been competing since 1999. Barrel racing is my passion!” Lane said. “I humbly say that I have won many awards and have a lot of fun along the way.
“The division that I compete in depends on the horse I am riding for that class. Last year I won the 3D Buckle in the (local) NBHA District 17 ‘Spring Bling’ series.
“There is still more for me to learn and accomplish in my sport. I enjoy my horses! I love riding them in challenging sports. In competition there is adrenalin involved.
“Horses are not meant to run and turn in tight circles. A good rider can make the sport of barrel racing look easy. But it is not! If it was easy, more equestrians would be barrel racing.”
Lane is committed to work her horses a minimum of one hour four times a week.
“My horses need to stay in condition. I squeeze in practice with my horses whenever I can,” Lane said. “There are barrel races every weekend within 100 miles of Leona Valley so I stay busy. Occasionally I will travel out of state for a race.
“I intend to branch out in other competitive equestrian sports. I am interested in riding in the extreme cowboy races and would like to try my hand at mounted shooting. It’s important to keep my horses well-rounded. They should be exposed to many other events and challenges.”
Six years ago Lane purchased her second horse, Chiquita. Chiquita is a quarter horse who was used for gymkhana.
“She is an amazing horse. I brought Chiquita home and bred her to have my second quarter horse. At the present time I am working with Joe, a 12-year-old quarter horse,” Lane said. “I am training Joe for a friend, and my friend in return is working with Chiquita’s baby.
“Joe has come a long way since I first started working him. There are many good horse trainers in the Antelope Valley. I don’t consider myself a trainer. I am good at coaching and supporting. Besides I really don’t have time to take on any other new projects.”
According to Lane it is easier to get into the sport of barrel racing if you are already a skilled horseman.
“The biggest mistake that some new competitors make is to buy a horse that is beyond their abilities. A mismatched horse and rider can creates a lot of frustration. I see this quite often. From my experience you should grow and learn with your horse,” Lane said.
Lane keeps busy with her work and hobbies. For the last 19 years, Lane has worked in marketing for Reynolds & Reynolds Co., which works with automotive dealerships.
“I travel quite a bit and work on computer software presentations for car dealerships located all over the United States. My second part-time job is a zumba instructor. I teach zumba classes at the Acton Fitness and also give private lessons.” Lane said.
“I initially got involved with the activity by attending a zumba fundraiser. It was all about dancing and having a great time. I got hooked and totally fell in love with the dance,” Lane said. “I started taking three classes a week. I lost 20 pounds and was in the best shape of my life.
“I met the owners of Acton Fitness, and they suggested that I get certified. I did! The owners hired me to teach zumba classes. I have been dancing zumba for four years and instructing classes for the last two years.”
There is time for several hobbies in her life as well.
“I took on the task of remodeling my house. I wanted my house to complement my lifestyle and have a rustic Western theme. I have learned how to install tile in one room and a new floor in another. Now I am building some pieces of my furniture to add to the Western décor,” Lane said.
She also sews and creates handmade items, including making custom, painted bell boots for horses. Bell boots are used to protect horse’s feet.
For more information about National Barrel Horse Association, see www.nbha.com. Antelope Valley Desert Riders is at www.avdesertriders.org.