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4 Tips to Picking a Great Prospect with Shari Kennedy

Last updated on October 11, 2023

Shari Kennedy going around a barrel during a race

 Shari Kennedy knows a thing or two about picking a good prospect- she’s a barrel racer out of South Dakota, who runs a training and breeding program alongside her husband, Will. Will’s grandma is Frances Louiseau, the founder of the famed Frenchmans Quarter Horses who has produced horses like the great Bozo or “French Flash Hawk” and helped make the names Frenchmans Guy and Casey’s LadyLove household names in the barrel racing industry. With a family so deep in the Quarter Horse breeding world, Shari has a knack for finding good prospect horses. In fact, all but one of the personal horses she and Will competed on during 2022 were second-generation horses from their breeding program. Meaning- they rode and competed all their current horses’ dams! Shari was kind enough to share with us some of her top “must-haves” in a prospect horse. 

4 Things Shari Kennedy Looks for In a Prospect

Shari Kennedy barrel racing

1. Pedigree is important!

  • Though she admits to being biased, Shari is instantly drawn to Frenchman’s lineage
  • Though they have and raise their own horses, Shari also really appreciates the Cowan Brothers’ program, T4 Quarter Horses, who worked closely with Will’s Grandma Fran’s program.
  • Statistics don’t lie! The Dash ta Fame cross on Frenchmans Guy breeding “has been proven time and time again”.

2. Conformation

  • Shari likes to see short cannon bones with low set hocks, and a powerful hind end
  • Shari also really looks for a short topline and long underline
  • It’s also very important to Shari that their horses are good movers- which goes right along with the breeding that they prefer!
    • “We like them to be floaty, really pretty movers that reach out front.”

3 . Shari prefers that her prospects are not finished

  • Shari prefers a horse that has been ridden 30-120 days with a good solid foundation
  • In her training program, it really gives them “not as many problems to undo.”
  • “We actually look for well-bred horses that are a little behind in their training, then we can continue their training and tailor it to fit our personal style.”
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4. Strong maternal line

  • It’s not all about the sire
  • “We would rather have something a big name sire a couple generations back but with a strong, proven maternal line.”
  • Frances Louiseau built her program on strong maternal lines and focused on mare power!

A Good Mind Trumps All

Overall, Shari’s number one thing she looks for in a prospect is a good mind. If the pedigree is great, but she doesn’t like their mind, she’ll pass because if they end up not making the cut for their barrel program, a good-minded horse will always fit a lot of people and have a place in the world. 

If you’re out looking for a new performance horse, keep in mind some important things to look for: breeding (including the dam), conformation, their mind, and a correct start to their training.

Shari and Will invite you to follow their Facebook page, Lazy Y Cross Performance Horses.