'I like to work with the odd': Unique partnership in unique sport
You may not have heard of the sport "extreme cowboy racing" if you live inside the limits of any major city.
It's an obstacle-based sport that demands balance, finesse, speed and control between rider and horse.
"You go really fast in an arena…and sometimes things can go really wrong," said professional rider Melissa Glowinski who trains near Busby, Alta., a hamlet northwest of Edmonton.
"The way the sport describes itself is your ultimate display of speed with control."
Glowinski was recently crowned Alberta champion for the first time on her partner Jessica Rabbit.
"We spend so much time together and we do so many things that are scary…and when you work through that kind of thing together you really have a special bond."
Team synergy is critical, as is communication, and Glowinski says she knows exactly what her partner is thinking.
"You get so familiar with these animals….we call it, feeling their thoughts."
STUBBORN AS A MULE?
Most riders in extreme cowboy racing use horses, but no Melissa. Her partner is a mule. An animal associated with stubbornness, but Glowinski says the stereotype isn’t necessarily accurate.
"They’re just committed to being treated fairly and to being in a partnership…people definitely notice that you're not on a horse when you go in the warm up pen."
Glowinski and Jessica Rabbit have qualified for the World Championships in Texas.
The duo will try to become the first tandem of its kind to win a World title.
"I like to work with the odd…with the underdog a little bit and that would be much in alignment with something I love to do," Glowinski told CTV News Edmonton.
The World Championships for extreme cowboy racing takes place in Glen Rose, Texas, Nov. 5 to 10.