Ryan Jarrett is feeling a little more comfortable in the saddle.
He started off this year’s National Finals Rodeo in fine fashion, placing third in the opening round. Then things went downhill after that. He failed to catch a check for six nights before returning to the pay window on Night 8. He kept adding to it in Friday’s ninth round, stopping the clock in 7.9 seconds to finish fifth. That was worth $6,967.
“That horse is just getting with it a little now,” he said of Poppy, a bay mare owned by Cody McCartney and Bailey and Tia Moore. “I had some doubts in my mind. I got some better starts at the barrier the last two nights, and that played a big difference. It just feels a little better, and I’m getting more in a grove.
“I think when I came here for the first round, I had been practicing on her, and it was pretty good. Then after a couple rounds into it, things weren’t panning out.”
Maybe it was the horse, or maybe it was the jockey, but Jarrett placed the blame strictly on himself. He just needed to figure out what was wrong. In doing so, he became more confident in Poppy and himself.
In fact, he’s earned $42,222 so far in Las Vegas and has one more night to cash in even more.
“I wasn’t doing my job,” said Jarrett, a 14-time NFR qualifier from Comanche, Oklahoma. “I wasn’t using my left hand correctly, and that got her to quit running. We changed bridles, so when I do pick up, she doesn’t really feel it and just goes on. (His wife) Shy-Anne and I discussed it a little bit. I just made a move. I needed to something, so let’s change it up.”
Jarrett has increased his 2021 earnings to $134,155 and has another night to prove the changes he made will work. He will make a run at everything he can on the final night of the 2021 campaign come Saturday.
“Everything felt good (Friday),” he said. “Hopefully they draw me a good (calf Saturday), and we can finish strong. We could get us another check and call it a win-win.”