Amberley Snyder is a professional barrel racer from Utah. Some of you may know her from the Netflix movie released earlier this year called Walk. Ride. Rodeo. You see, in 2010, Amberley was ejected from her truck after she overcorrected from going off the road as she was looking at her map. Amberley’s body hit a fence post and she immediately lost the feeling of her legs. After five hours in surgery, the doctors told her she would never regain use of or feeling below her waist. She was also told that if she would have had her seatbelt on, she would still have use of her legs. That one mistake has now shaped her life. The movie is called Walk.Ride.Rodeo. because when the physical therapist ask what her goals were, that was her response.
Amberley comes from a highly competitive family, with her father being a Major League Baseball player for the Dodgers. Since the accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down, she has graduated from college with a bachelors and a masters degree.
Amberley has returned to the rodeo scene and even won a new 1D buckle. In addition to competing in rodeo, she also travels with her sister Autumn, and teaches horsemanship clinics and presents motivational speeches.
Von Holten Ranch in Mora, Missouri had the pleasure of hiring Amberley to present her story on Friday, August 30, followed by two one day clinics. The ranch was full of trail riders in for Labor Day, which kept myself from being able to attend the clinic on Saturday, but Sunday was wide open.
As JoJo, my Missouri Fox Trotter mule, and I entered the arena for the clinic, there were some concerns from Amberley. She explained that she had never had a mule in a clinic, nor had she ever even been around one. Her first question was, ”Can a mule even do barrels?” “Are they fast enough to do barrels?” “Are they even like a horse?” I explained the genetic makeup of mules and gave examples of fast mules. She welcomed JoJo and I into the clinic. Several horses that others were riding had not been around a mule. My experience is that horses will either love, hate, be super curious, or be scared to death of a mule the first time they are around one. Lucky for us, there was a combination of horses that loved or were super curious about JoJo.
By the end of the horsemanship section it was time to move on to barrel work. By the end of the clinic the crowd, other participants, and even Amberley had found room in their heart for a mule named JoJo. If you were wondering how we did, I can safely say that you will never see us at the finals of the NFR, but if there is ever a 6D barrel race, we will be the first to sign up!