The Gift of Topaz
Anita and Dwayne Randle’s budding Praise Performance Horses in Temple, Georgia, is gaining traction in the barrel racing industry thanks to the beautiful gray mare Eyesa Topaz.
By Blanche Schaefer
The Gift of Topaz
Anita and “Topaz” won back-to-back National Barrel Horse Association Senior 1D World Championships in 2017 and 2018, in addition to multiple open 1D titles and have qualified for RFD-TV’s The American Semifinals.
“It’s amazing—the mare is incredible,” Anita said. “What’s exciting is the future that’s there. She’s phenomenal; the credit absolutely goes to God and the mare. They’re just incredible. God created her, and she’s been given to me.”
Anita says one of Topaz’s most outstanding characteristics is her consistency, especially since she’s only 6.
“She’s a natural animal—she does what she does for fun and enjoys it,” Anita said. “Three of her four runs [at the 2017 NBHA World Championships] were 14.9s over the course of the week. That’s the type of mare she is.”
Anita and her husband, Dwayne Randle, purchased Topaz off the 6666 Ranch Return to the Remuda sale as 2-year-old. The couple broke and trained the 2012 mare by Eyesa Special and out of Paddys Topaz by Paddys Irish Whiskey. Anita futuritied her as a 4-year-old, including a big win at the No Bull Barrel Races futurity in Swainsboro, Georgia. Anita says Topaz had innate ability from the beginning.
“She’s a little waspy, she likes to be a bit of a bronc sometimes. It’s more that she just does everything she does for fun—she doesn’t breathe hard, there’s no stress. She walks around like a cat before she goes in, prowling, and then comes out, takes a deep breath and walks away,” Anita said. “There is no stress or effort in anything she does. It doesn’t take tuning or schooling. She’s unique; one of the freaks.”
Laney Robinson, one of the country’s top youth barrel racers, has also ridden Topaz extensively.
“Anybody can hop on and ride her; she goes out there and does her job,” Anita said. “Topaz has actually been instrumental in helping Laney attain the WPRA Junior World Championship as well.”
More Than a Just a Barrel Horse
The Randles’ Praise Performance Horses works with many of the region’s top teen riders in addition to breeding and training barrel prospects. Anita says Topaz has opened so many doors for the couple to expand their program beyond breeding and training and into a youth-oriented outreach program.
“We’re a new program, and Topaz was part of our first crop we started the program with. She is making us visible, and it’d be our biggest honor to give the glory to God for everything,” Anita said. “The opportunities to work with young kids and younger adults with them using our horses and doing well gives us responsibility and an opportunity to mentor and lead as best we can. Most of ours are bigger kiddos doing well out there—my local area is more jackpot-oriented and don’t see as much of the big things. Topaz has impressed a number of the bigger-name visible young people, so they’re the ones I ended up surrounded with and trying to accept a responsibility to do the best I can and lead, help and guide.”
The Randles’ path into the barrel racing industry came via Anita’s involvement with racehorses.
“I barrel raced a little bit, but I came out of the racehorses, so barrel racing was somewhat new to me,” Anita said. “I had some formal training with English, hunter/jumper, dressage, fox hunting as a kid, and then I got into the racehorses as a young adult. I ended up at the racetrack and was an outrider, lead pony, jockey—I’ve had all the licenses you can get on a racetrack and done each of the different things. I got out of the racehorses to raise kids and live a normal life. I ended up back in the racehorses again around 2005 and messed a bit with the barrel horses, because it was an easier way to turn over some of the racehorses that didn’t run. Things didn’t work out so great and big life changes happened, and then a pretty quiet three or four years later, I met and married an amazing man who has helped put together this program.”
Anita and Dwayne grounded Praise Performance Horses in their strong faith and felt a strong calling to use their resources to help others.
“Between the three of us with Christ, we started going, and we feel like this is a platform,” Anita said. “It’s not about winning the barrel race, it’s about winning the big race. There’s no way we could do it any other way—it’s pretty obvious God’s hand is in this. He’s too present in everything that’s happening.”
Just as the Randles have all believed all along, faith is their guide in everything they do.
“Our brand is the dove for the Holy Spirit, and we’re incredibly thankful to God that we have the ability, resources, and opportunities to be a part of it and share,” Anita said. “We are thankful for those blessings. All our glory would go to God.”