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Fillies in Her Future

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Ryleigh and her horse Charlene.

Ryleigh and her horse Charlene.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Ryleigh and her horse Charlene.


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Ryleigh Hauer preps for a career in equine production

For Ryleigh Hauer, success is measured by the ability to make a living by doing what she loves and allowing her dreams to become a lifestyle. Ryleigh is spending her last year of high school preparing her mare “Charlene” (Flashy Meter Maid) for next year’s college and pro rodeos. The Hauer family raises performance horses and Ryleigh has been fortunate enough to be a part of it since she was five years old. Ironically, Ryleigh competed in western pleasure for five years before entering the polar opposite world of barrel racing five years ago. Whereas pleasure horses are more mellow and “showy”, in a barrel horse people are mainly looking for an animal that’s gritty and athletic with quick reflexes to hunt a barrel and get down and turn. These horses have a lot, as in half a ton, of heart and the means to work, which is something that any barrel racer can appreciate.

In her rookie year of barrel racing, Ryleigh competed on a horse named Prince and later stepped up to a mare called “Sparks” (Joy Double Decker). This mare is unable to foal, so the embryo was transferred to another mare. This is special to Ryleigh because this is “Sparks’” first baby, and the surrogate mare will foal next spring. Ryleigh hopes to train and futurity on the filly as a four-year-old.

Last year, Ryleigh purchased her main horse, Flashy Meter Maid, that she now has run at a few pro rodeos and, more consistently, at jackpots. Jackpots generally have better ground and a quieter atmosphere than that of a rodeo and are ranked anywhere from the 1 to 5-D which allows for horses of different calibers to enter. Ryleigh said, “This mare is just a lot of fun and I love her personality. She really works hard for me.” This horse is currently placing  in the 1D to 2D  in Colorado and Wyoming against some high caliber horses. Ryleigh said that it’s amazing to be able to make money at a sport at such a young age. “Many talented athletes never see a dime for their hard work and rodeo is one of the last to do this,” Ryleigh said. Although barrel racing can be a very expensive sport and can easily become a “money pit,” Ryleigh said sometimes the hard work pays off. “It is truly a blue collar sport and participants are only rewarded if they go out and work as hard as they can to win.” She says she enjoys the long hauls to new places and various arenas, and she is looking forward to traveling more out of Colorado and Wyoming. Blood, sweat, and tears are the key components of a barrel racer because every moment is a learning experience and horses have “off” days just like their owners. Ryleigh said that one day you’ll be on top and the next you’re in the bottom of the 5D. “I have learned that rodeo is a humbling sport,” Ryleigh said. “And I’ve learned the importance of kindness, being humble, and having a positive attitude.” In December Ryleigh will purchase her permit so that she can begin filling it with her rodeo earnings. A permit holder is allowed to compete in “side pots” to compete for more money or at rodeos that do not require a WPRA card. Once a girl has won one grand in the 1D at WPRA approved events with her permit she can go on to get her pro card and become a member of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. “Not only is it my dream to compete with the top ladies in the world,” Ryleigh said. “But one of my goals is to enter the Pendleton Round Up.” The Pendleton is a famous race that  only the top 50 women in the WPRA can enter. After high school Ryleigh will attend LCCC (Laramie County Community College)  in Wyoming where she will compete in college rodeo and study equine sciences. After college she hopes to work her way up into owning an equine rehabilitation and reproduction center and become one of America’s top women in rodeo.

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