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Montana cowgirl Cheyanne Carl, horse Abe cap memorable college career at UM Spring Rodeo

Cheyanne Carl
Posted at 12:15 PM, May 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 14:15:18-04

LOLO — There's something special about the relationship between a girl and her horse.

Cheyanne Carl, a senior on the University of Montana rodeo team, lights up when asked to talk about hers.

“My horse’s name is Abe and he is 15 years old and he is my baby right now," she said. "I've only had him for about five years, and it's been a long time to get to where we're at now."

Abe has a chronic foot condition Carl must constantly monitor. Fortunately for Abe, Carl is a psychology major at Montana.

“I think it's really listening to them and their body. They'll tell you when when they're uncomfortable, when they're not, and when they like what's going on and when they don't," Carl said. "Being able to understand what your horse is, like, portraying to you is a big part of keeping your horse healthy.”

Carl and Abe have partnered to race barrels for the Grizzlies in college rodeo’s Big Sky Region. The spring season concluded with the UM Spring Rodeo in Hamilton on April 26 and 27.

“Barrel racing is my favorite event, and I think I like just the teamwork that it takes to have a horse to be able to go as fast as you go around three barrels," said Carl, who also competed in team roping and breakaway roping while at UM.

"It is a lot of, like, quick movements. You’ve got to be placed in the right spot and you’ve got to have the right pockets going in, and your horse has to be in perfect timing to make sure that they hit all the barrels the right way. And also making sure that you can go around it as fast as you can without tipping any barrels is really hard.”

Carl, a Pompey’s Pillar native, started rodeoing early in childhood, following in her father’s footsteps.

But she’s also had other Treasure State barrel racers to look up to — whether on rodeo’s biggest stage or just down the road at Montana State.

“In like the big run, I really look up to Lisa Lockhart," Carl said. "I think she's able to ride each horse pretty good, and it is nice to be able to look up to someone who has a really great mindset, as well. Within college rodeo, I really look up to Tayla Moeykens. I think she has a great mindset, and she's really supportive of barrel other racers in the region.”

Moeykens, who competes at Montana State, is the No. 1-ranked barrel racer in the country and will try to corral a national championship in June.

And Carl has a great relationship with the Bobcats’ star.

"Her and her family have been super supportive of me and they're always there cheering me on and wishing me good luck and even behind the scenes giving me little tips here and there," Carl said.

The UM Spring Rodeo turned out to be Carl’s final college outing, as she just missed qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo.

She’s appreciative of her time spent with the Grizzlies and the camaraderie with her competitors these past few years, but now Carl is ready for the next phase of her life — putting that psychology degree to use on more than animals.

“I really want to help children," she said, "so I’m super excited to be able to have a helping profession and be able to help kids."