Local lad ready to barrel down the competition in USA
THERE'S no horsing around for local boy Jacob Kattenberg, who has qualified to compete against some of the world's best barrel racers in the National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Championships.
Racing since he was nine years old and with a passion for horses and adrenaline, it's no wonder the 14-year-old Isis State High School student will be representing Australia in the United States in July.
Jacob's mother Melissa Kattenberg said the family was always "horsey” and after his second year competing, he and his first horse Arlo were named NBHA District 2 Peewee Champions.
"Jacob loves the partnership with his horses mostly but yes, he loves the adrenaline from running so fast in an arena,” she said.
"We often say that if you aren't scared to death going to first (drum), you aren't trying hard enough.
"I can remember when I stepped him up to my Open horse, Renegade, he giggled the whole way around.
"When he finished he just said 'do it again' meanwhile, I was almost dying, shaking with nerves.”
Finding his way into the winners circle year after year, last year Team Jacob really hit its groove, competing in the NBHA District in South East Queensland, District 1 and becoming the NBHA District 1 Youth 5D Champion.
"When we decided that we were going to make the trip happen given he had qualified twice as a champion, Jacob was very excited,” she said.
"He is very humble and his first question was 'are you sure I'm good enough to go Mumma?'.”
Excelling in the barrel racing world hasn't been without its challenges.
"Barrel racing, or for that matter the majority of equestrian events in Australia, are predominantly dominated by women and recently Jacob has copped a bit of flak for dedicating time and achieving as he has,” Ms Kattenberg said.
"Jacob is just the sweetest kid and very humble, but when he gets negative feedback it just seems to feed him to want to try harder - he has a real 'just watch me succeed' grit.
"Little do those with ignorant views realise that barrel racing is the fastest growing sport in the world, there is huge money in the industry (particularly in the USA) and most of the successful trainers are men.”
Jacob is training his young horse, Docs Peppy King, before he leaves on July 13, where he'll train and choose a horse to take to the NBHA Youth World Championships which begins on July 23.
Ms Kattenberg said they were appreciative of the local Howard community and the Howard Press Association who donated $1000 to help cover the cost to compete. If you would like to help fundraise for the $6000 trip, Jacob is holding a trivia night at Behans Bar & Grill on May 31.