Riding a horse at breakneck speed in an arena, while circling around three drums in a clover leaf pattern, is not for everyone but Morgan McLean can't get enough of the fun.
The 21-year-old from Mount Gambier is one of the rising stars in the sport of barrel racing.
With her trusty stead Slick, a sprint bred quarterhorse gelding, she took out the 2022-23 Woodall Rodeo Promotions' Ladies Barrel Racing Championship - across a series of SA and Vic rodeos, run by Ron and Edna Woodall.
"I like going fast and having that companionship with your horse and it is such a family orientated event with such good people," Morgan said.
She has her eyes on repeating this feat and claiming another championship buckle, having been among the place getters at several rodeos in the past couple of months, including at Hamilton, Vic, and Warrnambool, Vic.
She will also be hoping for back-to-back wins in the Ladies Barrel Race at her local rodeo, Penola Rodeo, in January.
Last year was particularly emotional as the Penola rodeo featured a tribute to her close friend Macey Inglis, who passed away just weeks earlier in a car accident.
"I was very determined to win for Macey," she said.
Morgan, who grew up at Heywood, Vic, has been in the saddle since she was three. She spent many years at pony club and showjumping before competing in her first junior barrel race at a rodeo as a 10-year-old.
It took a while for her to claim her first win but she remembers it being a memorable night at Dartmoor Rodeo in Vic, winning both the Junior and Ladies Barrel Race with Slick, who she bought in 2018.
The talented duo also qualified to compete at Equitana in Melbourne last year, finishing 11th out of 25 entrants, which included some of Australia's best.
"We seem to be progressing together as time goes on. You want a nice line to your first drum and not being off centre is so important and then a nice clean circle around the drum," she said.
Morgan has also competed at several rodeos further afield, including the nation's biggest one at Mount Isa in 2019. That same year, as well as in 2022, she also entered the Australian Barrel Horse Association finals at Tamworth, NSW.
She says her parents have been a massive part of her success and her biggest supporters, while close friend Julie Breed from Vic has been a wonderful mentor.
"I can't ever thank Julie enough for all of her help and support over the years. She is a huge help to this industry and we are lucky to have her around," she said.
Morgan also has two American idols, Hailey Kinsel and Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, both world champions who inspire her.
"I just love being able to watch such an incredible bond between both rider and horse and how much of amazing horse women they are," she said.
Morgan's success in barrel racing is even more impressive given she often starts work in the forestry industry early in the morning.
For the past 3.5 years she has driven skidders, chippers and excavators and now operates a forwarder, picking up logs harvested in the pine plantations and then loading them onto trucks.
"This is not what I thought I'd be doing but I absolutely love it and wouldn't change it for the world. I am super grateful my father, who is a manager for a forestry company, said to me about the job that started it all," she said.
The early starts allow her to ride Slick most nights at Yahl, where he is agisted.
"I don't really practice with him during the week around the barrels too much because he knows his job but most of the time we are trail riding out in the pines," she said.
One day Morgan would love to chase an Australian title in the APRA, but for the coming year her focus is on putting her best foot forward for a Rodeo Services Australia national title.
"I have always had dreams to travel over to America or Canada one day to see what it is like over there and potentially be able to ride over there one day too," she said.