by | Oct 8, 2023 | Rodeo

A picture of Presho and Rachel Gagliardi, Miss Rodeo North Carolina, is the lock screen photo on Gagliardi’s phone. She’ll give the North Dakota horse a rib adjustment, if he needs it, when they are reunited at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Minot Oct. 13-15. [Photo: Rachel Gagliardi] 

MINOT — A North Dakota horse and a North Carolina cowgirl have become good friends.

When Rachel Gagliardi, the 2023 Miss Rodeo North Carolina, came to a rodeo in North Dakota, she found a special friend: a palomino gelding named Presho.

Presho, owned by Brandee Moore and Shane Gunderson, of Bailey Pro Rodeo in Karlsruhe, N.D., was Gagliardi’s horse for the 2023 N.D. Winter Show in Valley City.

On Presho, Gagliardi carried sponsor flags in the grand entry at the Winter Show Rodeo.

“I happened to get put on Presho,” she said, “and he and I hit it off. He is such a cool horse. He’s all business, he’s incredibly fast and smart, and he’s an awesome horse.” 

She “fell in love” with the gelding and decided that she’d come to another rodeo where Presho would be, as a flag girl again.

So she came to the Miles City (Mont.) Bucking Horse Sale, where she rode Presho again.

It was at Miles City that she noticed that Presho wasn’t feeling as good. Gagliardi is a veterinary student working on her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, and when she rode him, she could tell he didn’t respond to her when she used her leg as a cue and pressed on his left side.

“When horses are dull sided (not responding as well to the rider’s leg pressure) and it’s an abnormal change, it can indicate that they may have a rib out of place,” she said. 

She could tell, by palpating over the rib head, where they articulate with the spine. “They’ll be pressure sensitive and will give a flinch response.”

So she was able to adjust the rib, and Presho was back to feeling better. “It’s an easy fix that takes only a couple of seconds to make sure the horse I’m riding feels 100 percent.”

Gagliardi is working on a dual doctorate program at North Carolina State University, with the goal of getting her DVM degree and a PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences. She plans to graduate with her PhD in May of 2024 and earn her DVM in May of 2026. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2018 with her bachelors degree in animal sciences.

She and Presho will be reunited this month when she comes to the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Minot, and if Presho needs an adjustment, she’ll give it to him.

She says she loves the horse.

“He’s very intelligent, he’s very sensitive, and we hit it off from day one. He’s very easy to get along with, and I can work with a smart horse all day long.”

Gagliardi, along with Miss Rodeo North Dakota Lindsay Miller, Miss Rodeo South Dakota Morgan Erickson, Miss Rodeo Minnesota Kendra Klosterman, and Miss Rodeo Kentucky Colby Rice will be at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo.

The circuit finals are Oct. 13-15, with performances beginning at 7 pm on Oct. 13-14 and at 1 pm on Oct. 15.

Tickets are $25 for adult general admission and $10 for kids ages 3-10. Gold buckle seats, the five rows closest to the arena floor, are $35 for all ages. The October 15 performance is Family Day with all general admission tickets at $10.

Tickets are available online at, at North Country Mercantile in Minot (2000 20th Avenue SE) and at the gate.

For more information, visit the website at or Facebook and Instagram (search for Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo).

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