COLCORD, OKLAHOMA -- She's always been good at catching on.
Lindsey Hughes learned early to throw a rope around anything.
"Practice," she says. "We eat, sleep, and breathe it."
As a Breakaway roper last year she won a world championship with the International Pro Rodeo Association
Her partner for the past 11 years is Topper, a muscular Paint horse, a trusted friend, but a bit of a goof ball.
"He's got the most unique personality of any horse I've ever been around," says Hughes. "He's very ornery and playful."
Just before Christmas she turned him out to get a bit of fresh air.
Topper started jumping around and promptly strained a ligament in his back leg.
Lindsey says, "He just took a wrong step and did something funky."
She thought her preparations for the upcoming International Finals Rodeo were over.
"Our first thoughts were to panic," she recalls. "Lots and lots of tears."
Her equine team-mate sidelined, Lindsey could have taken the rest of the winter off, but she kept throwing her rope.
It wasn't long before it caught on a solution by the name of Zoom Zoom.
"I had no choice but to find something quick," she says.
He's a world champion roping horse in his own right, a rodeo veteran that owners Nick and Julie Foreman don't loan out to just anyone.
"That's mighty neighborly of you," states a visitor to the Foreman's ranch in Kansas, Oklahoma.
"That's how a lot of people are," says Nick, "but I'm pretty particular about who I let have him."
So Lindsey and Zoom are partners for a little while.
A good time is Break Away Roping is less than 3 seconds.
They both know what they're doing, both able to make the quick decisions that might result in winning times.
"I think he's going to put me right where I need to be," says Hughes confidently.
And when the weather gets a little warmer Topper might round into top form again.
Until then, she'll keep throwing that rope no matter what happens.
Lindsey Hughes stands in 3rd place on the list of top money winners on the IPRA Circuit going into the International Finals Rodeo.
The IFR takes place January 13-15 at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds Arena.
For tickets and schedule information go to www.ipra-rodeo.com