Local Girl a World Ranked Barrel Rider Despite Disability

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

Just about everyday, you'll find eight year old Austyn Peacock riding her horse.

She's only been riding horses for a few years, but in that short amount of time she's already become one of the top barrel racers in the world and she does it all with just one arm.

"It's just really fun to go fast because then you know that you're going to get a fast time," said Austyn.

Holding on to a horse at a full gallop is no easy matter, but for Austyn it's a piece of cake.

"I ride so fast, I don't even think about it. When I switch (my arm), I switch and then I get into it and I don't even think about it," said Austyn.

Austyn and her horse Bandit have built a very close relationship riding in rodeos all over the country.

"He's my very best friend. He's always good to me and he tries to work for me in barrels and poles," said Austyn.

"She really really rides and that makes us proud. She rides like her momma," said Austyn's mother Chastity.

Chastity is a former barrel racer herself and when Austyn was born six weeks premature, just under four pounds and without half her left arm, Chastity knew she had a fighter. A fighter that would learn one important lesson to defeat the odds.

"We use the I can't policy. we don't say I can't. You have to do it, you have to figure out a way to do it," said Chastity.

"Author Bethany Hamilton, when her dad tells her you've got to take it easy, she says I don't do easy, I just need possible and that's my saying too. It really helps me concentrate because then I know what I can do," said Austyn.

"She is amazing, she inspires us," said Chastity.

In a matter of months, Austyn won her first buckle and just last year, she was ranked fifth in the world in her age group.

"It's awesome because I get to see new sights that I've never seen before," said Austyn.

During a trip to Colorado for the Little Britches Rodeo, Austyn was approached by a casting director who opened up a whole new door.

"He actually asked me to be in the music video and I was shocked,' said Austyn.

Austyn was cast in a music video for Speed The Band.

"We had lots of fun with it but also it was for rodeo. He wanted to inspire kids to rodeo," said Austyn.

And when it comes to either riding in the rodeo or becoming an actor, Austyn is very clear in what direction she plans to go.

"Yes, sir. When I grow up I'm going to try to go the NFR and I'm going to pro-rodeo," she said with a smile.

It's been said that to ride a horse is to ride the sky. Well there's nothing but clear skies ahead for Austyn.


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