Novice amateur champion Francesca Jackson took her mare, Ms Becaco Snakeyes, from a green horse to an all-around all star.
Growing up in a non-horse owning family didn’t keep Francesca Jackson from dreaming of one day owning her own horse. Saving pennies helped this Texan purchase a green mare from the San Antonio Livestock Exposition’s Select and Ranch Gelding Sale in 2014. In 2019, she rode the mare to a national championship title.
Jackson rode Ms Becaco Snakeyes to the National Ranch and Stock Horse Alliance novice amateur championship by winning the ranch riding class and reserve in the ranch cutting.
Ranch Horse News caught up with Jackson to visit about her win on this home-trained mare.
RHN: First, tell me about your horse.
Francesca Jackson: My horse’s registration name is MS Becaco Snakeyes, but I just call her “Blue.” I purchased Blue as a 2-year-old from the San Antonio Select & Ranch Gelding Sale in 2014 when I was just a senior in high school. In my family, I am the only one who has this passion and owning horses was never really in the budget. I worked and saved every nickle and dime since I was 8 years old to make my dream a reality. Hard work and the endless support from my mom made it possible to not only own a horse but to be able to compete on my dream horse.
RHN: Does your horse have a “day job” during the week?
FJ: Blue’s day job consists of long rides out on the trails, whether it be at my grandfather’s ranch in the Hill Country or in state and national parks. When we aren’t preparing for a show it is fun to explore new and remote areas, camping in Texas’s most beautiful places.
RHN: What NRSHA affiliate association did you show in to qualify? Was qualifying a goal all last year?
FJ: The Stock Horse of Texas association was the very first organization I competed in and it was a huge goal of mine to qualify. I especially wanted to qualify and compete this year because it would be my last show for awhile, while I started my training in the United States Army.
RHN: What class challenged you the most at the national show?
FJ: The most challenging class for me at the [NRSHA] National Show, and really all shows, is the reining class. I still struggle with driving my mare into executing flawless lead changes.
RHN: How do you prepare for the all-around versatility shows?
FJ: To be honest I tried to not think about the all- around. I just wanted to focus on having fun and showing my horse to the best of both of our abilities. My weakest classes were the reining and cutting; the cutting because I had never competed in that before. I studied my rule book and watched lots of videos the night before to prepare for my weakest classes, but did not prepare my horse any differently than usual. For all the classes, even my weakest ones, I warmed up my horse making sure she was listening to all my cues and went through my personal warm-ups to try to work out all my nerves before entering the show pen.
RHN: What was your first thought when you were announced champion?
FJ: I was elated hearing my name called. The first shock I received was when they announced that Blue and I won reserve champion in the cutting, followed by a grand championship in the ranch riding. I couldn’t have been more proud of my horse. I was even more ecstatic to know we had a shot at the all-around title! For the rest of the show, I tried to contain my excitement and focus on the classes at hand and having fun. To my surprise not only did we win the novice amateur all-around title, but Blue also received an award for being the [American Quarter Horse Association] ranching heritage-bred highest placing horse. It is such an honor to have received these rewards, and I am so thankful for all those who have taught me and supported me.
RHN: What are your future goals in ranch horse events?
FJ: My future goal in ranch horse events is to keep working and striving to improve my horsemanship skills and compete in higher divisions. I know my horse has a lot of potential and athleticism that I haven’t even unlocked yet. I have been working with her and riding her since she was a 2-year-old and it has been a long journey of trials and errors, but the reward is great. I am reminded every day how blessed I am to have a big-hearted horse and the opportunity to ride and learn from some amazing people.