Tammy Fischer won her first barrel racing trophy when she was 2 years old. When she fell off between the one and the two, her Dad, a horse trainer, picked her up and put her right back on her horse. Fischer proudly finished the race, and earned herself the “Hard Luck Cowgirl” trophy that day. She has been taking home awards pretty much ever since.
After heading to Sam Houston State on a full rodeo scholarship, where she earned a master’s in library science, Fischer taught elementary school for many years. But she couldn’t stay off the saddle, eventually quitting teaching to focus on training the horses she had at home and rodeo professionally. She went on to win on every professional rodeo stage.
“I prefer horses to people, always,” she laughs. “And I crave the speed.”
These days, the seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier brings her teaching skill-set to the barrel horse industry, translating her incredible knowledge and experience to develop her horses into winners.
“When you take a colt and train ‘em, you always want to see the greatness in the horse,” Fischer remarks. “It’s never for you—it’s always about the horse.” For Fischer, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a horse succeed. “It’s like taking your kid and getting them out into the world,” Fischer states. “You want to raise a really good person—it’s the same thing for a horse. You want them to be successful, regardless of their skill level.”
Any Texan knows: It’s not just riders or trainers who get a rush from barrel racing. The excitement and tension of a beautiful horse tightly hugging a barrel at full-speed can reverberate throughout an entire rodeo. Fischer wants to bring that energy to more people.
“We want it to grow,” she explains. “There’s all these facets of barrel racing—from trainers to professionals—but we’re a limited base. To get our product out there...we have to get our product out there.”
One of the best ways Fischer has found to do that is through working with the Texas Quarter Horse Association, where she is an active participant on the TQHA Barrel Sub-Committee to design incentives and special races for Texas-bred horses. Because of HIEA funding, Fischer has been able to drum up some serious buzz—and funds—at the barrel racing elite level, all while promoting Texas horses. “If you buy locally,” she says, “you support the business you’re in.”
Fischer doesn’t just mean the business of elite racing. “For weekend warriors who go to one or two barrel races a month, it’s their hobby.” Fischer clarifies, “It’s just like going fishing or hunting or anything else, except that now they have a best friend. A horse makes their world a little better...a little happier.”
Buying more in Texas means promoting more in Texas, Fischer explains. It’s something she hopes owners will keep in mind if they are debating between two pretty equal horses—one from here and one from somewhere else, like Oklahoma. And for anyone still undecided, the Hard Luck Cowgirl by the age of 2 has a final piece of wisdom: “Texas horses are the toughest.”