In a sport where your horse is also your best friend, it’s only fitting that demonstrating “horsemanship” would be at the top of the list for any rodeo cowgirl.
It is also the most important category for contenders in the race to the Rodeo Princess Quest WA crown.
Charlotte Johnson, 15, is among one of the many girls, aged 12 to 17, throwing their hat in the ring for the title.
The rodeo enthusiast from Baldivis spends her weekends competing in junior rodeo, team roping and barrel racing events, and recently competed to gain points towards a WA State Title.
However, both Charlotte and her standardbred gelding friend named Franco — a breed primarily used in pacing — are relatively new to the sport.
“I started going to rodeo to see my big brother ride but I soon realised I wanted to do it too. I love being a part of Rodeo,” she said.
“My best friend is my horse Franco; making sure he enjoys the competition as much as I do is such an important thing to me.
“Franco and I have spent the last 18 months working really hard learning new skills to compete in Rodeo events.”
Charlotte, who attends Narrogin Agricultural College as a boarder, said she hoped to be named Rodeo Princess to represent up and coming young competitors in Rodeo, and to promote the “great sport” to others.
“What I have learnt by joining rodeo is, encouragement from not only family, but those who are close to you, is what allows people to believe in themselves.
“If we don’t encourage the younger competitors, then there won’t be a sport to enjoy in the long run.”
Charlotte said while the judges were looking for “happy, enthusiastic girls with exceptional sportsmanship and role model skills”, the most important part of the quest was to demonstrate horsemanship.
Winners will be announced at the Harvey Dickson Rodeo in Boyup Brook in October.