When she’s not crunching numbers, creating budgets or making sure city employees get paid, Finance Director Alberta Barrett, 54, slips on boots and saddles up her horse.
“I’ve always had horses growing up and I learned how to ride when I was a kid,” she said. “I just wish I had more time to ride these days. My family keeps me pretty busy.”
Barrett has been showing horses for the past 10 years and her youngest child, Bailee, 15, shows horses and livestock. Barrett has two other children, Dustin, 33, and Weston, 22.
On her 30-acre property, she raises sheep and rabbits. She also serves on the Killeen Junior Livestock Association board.
Kid, a 18-year-old bay quarter horse, is a performance horse specializing in western pleasure and riding trail.
Barrett said contestants compete simultaneously in western pleasure, traveling the perimeter of the arena, and at the discretion of the judge, are asked to walk, jog, lope and reverse the direction of the horse.
“Horses are evaluated on quality of movement while staying quiet and calm, traveling on a loose rein,” she said. “Basically, the horse should be a pleasure to ride.”
She explained that trail riding, which Kid excels at, tests the maneuverability of a horse through an obstacle course. Mandatory obstacles include opening and passing through and closing a gate. Scoring is based on the horse’s willingness, ease and grace in negotiating the course. The other two mandatory obstacles are riding over at least four logs or poles and one backing up obstacle.
Born into a military family and raised in the area, Barrett is a product of the Killeen Independent School District and received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Central Texas in Killeen.
In high school, numbers weren’t her strongest suit but she gained her footing after working in the banking industry for 11 years. “When you do something everyday you gain the confidence you need to excel and move on,” she said.
Working in finance wasn’t something she aspired to do.
“I thought I wanted to be a teacher but once I started down that path in terms of coursework I realized it wasn’t for me,” she said. “When I started taking accounting classes in college, since it was familiar to me, I decided that was the direction I needed to go in and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Barrett has been the city’s finance director since 1990.