Local horsewoman wins with You Bet Your Roses

Nancy Massey Perkins made a decision on Mother’s Day two years ago that it was time to buy a horse.

“I bought her sight unseen, except for the video I watched on the Internet,” said Perkins, the daughter of two Zephyrhills’ pioneer families. “I thought she was cute and moved really good.”

Her instincts were right about the 2-year-old mare.

You Bet Your Roses, at age 4, is now a two-time reserve world champion after an impressive showing at the 53rd annual Pinto World Championship in Oklahoma, in June.

Nancy Massey Perkins skillfully guided You Bet Your Roses, aka Sierra, through an obstacle course at the Pinto World Championship in Oklahoma. (Courtesy of Nancy Massey Perkins)

The world championship is one of the largest gatherings of Pinto horses, miniatures and ponies. Riders and horses come from around the world, including Sweden and Canada.

Competitive categories include Western, English, driving, pleasure, halter, roping, and special events and trials.

Perkins, at age 66, is one of the oldest amateur competitors in her age 50-and-older class.

However, You Bet Your Roses – also known by the barn name Sierra – is an up-and-coming youngster in the horse world.

With little more than a year of training by Perkins, Sierra showed her mettle in the show ring. She shone in a competition against horses with more experience.

“She competed with world champions and former world champions,” Perkins said.

You Bet Your Roses and Perkins earned a reserve world champion, or runner-up, in the walk/trot trail class, among 26 competitors. They finished just shy of first place.

Perkins and You Bet Your Roses also won a reserve world championship in a halter competition among 3- and 4-year old horses; a third place in English showmanship; and 10th in another halter competition.

Perkins’ favorite is the trail class, where the rider and horse navigate an obstacle course with precision, control and timing.

It is much more involved and complicated than showmanship, said her husband, Donald “Dusty” Perkins.

“She is very capable of coming out with a win,” he said. “Nancy knows how to get them to be sharp. It’s her personality with the horse.”

Perkins said she banked on training and Sierra’s willingness to listen to her.

“It had to be a team approach,” Perkins said. “Sierra trusted me, and that to me was the highlight of my whole trip, really that my horse came through, and she listened.”

From their first meeting, Perkins knew she had a special horse.

Nancy Massey Perkins and You Bet Your Roses won two reserve championships at the Pinto World Championship in Oklahoma. They brought home other awards, too.

“She’s laid back, highly intelligent and really sweet,” she said. “She loves people.”

Her first two years were spent in Oklahoma on the Osage Indian Reservation.

When Sierra arrived, Perkins contacted owners of Red Hawk Ranch in Wimauma to do a Native American blessing.

“I felt the need to do that, since she grew up on an Indian reservation,” Perkins said. “I felt the need to honor the culture.”

Perkins is no novice in the horse arena.

She has a trophy case filled with ribbons, belts and accolades from more than 40 years of international horse shows aboard the quarter horses she has raised and trained.

She was honored as “amateur supreme champion” by the American Quarter Horse Association, with her horse, League Magnum Force. He went by the barn name of Bubba.

You Bet Your Roses, aka Sierra, is registered with the American Paint Horse Association and the American Pinto Horse Association.

She has the color pattern of a tobiano pinto horse, with white across her withers and hip.

Her sire is Gentlemen Send Roses, who is fourth on the American Paint Horse Association’s Performance Sire list for 2017. Her dam is a full-blooded quarter horse.

“She’s the spitting image of her daddy,” said Perkins.

Perkins’ father, Boyd “Bud” Massey, bought Perkins her first horse at age 11.

She knew pretty quickly she wanted to show horses.

So, at age 16, Bud Massey, gave her a choice of a used car or a horse. She took the horse.

But, she didn’t get her first choice of an Appaloosa.

Instead, her father bought a registered quarter horse.

She has been a passionate, and award-winning, horsewoman since.

Perkins traces her roots back to Pasco County’s pioneer days.

Bud Massey cut hair at his Zephyrhills’ barbershop for more than 52 years. It was the longest continuously operated barbershop in Pasco.

Massey Road is named for the family.

Before marrying Perkins’ father, her mother — Hazel Richburg — grew up on Handcart Road in Zephyrhills.

“They were actively involved as my cheering crew all my life,” the horsewoman said.

Perkins worked as a teacher for 35 years in Pasco County schools. She is still a substitute teacher to pay for her “hobby.”

She is unusual in being both an owner and a trainer. Most owners hire trainers, and in some cases, might not see their horse except at horse shows.

Perkins is strictly hands-on.

Horses learn by your body language, she said.

Her years teaching students also taught Perkins something about patience.

“Nothing is learned under harsh treatment,” she said. “You’ve got to adapt to every class. It taught me patience. You can’t push things. You have to wait for (Sierra’s) ‘ah, ha moment.’”

She credits trainers, such as Kim Beilein, with encouraging her, and in advising her about what’s right and wrong with her performances.

“I’ve forged some great relationships with trainers who have really helped me out,” Perkins said.

Published July 25, 2018


  1. Madonna Jervis Wise says:

    Congratulations Nancy on wonderful successes with your champion horse!

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