Champion barrel racer Fallon Taylor takes on a new challenge every year. In 2018, she took up show jumping. This year, she took on the Thoroughbred Makeover…
Already a champion, she was the 2014 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion and the 2018 AQHA World Champion. Now, Taylor can add one more line to her deep resume: trainer of the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion, Cowboy Swagger.
The 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, is a competition offering $100,000 in prize money in which Trainers acquire a recently-retired racehorse and prepare it over a period of time for competition in one or two of of the ten riding sports in the makeover challenge.
According to the competition rulebook, “the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium is organized by the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) and is dedicated to facilitating the placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in to second careers. RRP created the Thoroughbred Makeover to showcase the trainability and talent of off-track Thoroughbreds, and to inspire Trainers to secure the futures of these animals through correct and thorough retraining.”
Taylor acquired Cowboy Swagger based on the advice of a friend who knew the horse on the track and loved his personality. He was bred in Oregon by Dr. and Mrs. Jack B. Root Jr., and as of his last start on January 8, 2019 at Portland Meadows, he was trained by Sam Dronen. By Grindstone out of the Baquero mare One Fast Cowgirl, Cowboy Swagger made 16 career starts with three wins and total earnings of $20,299.
Taylor and Cowboy Swagger competed in the Barrel Racing competition at the Makeover challenge. In this competition, barrel racers are to complete a horsemanship pattern followed by two timed barrel racing runs.
Much like winning the average in a rodeo, Taylor and Cowboy Swagger’s consistent, steady performances earned them victory in the Barrel Racing discipline. Taylor didn’t lead after the horsemanship component, nor did she set the fastest times in the two daily barrel runs, but through those consistent performances she maintained the best overall scores in the division.
“I think the coolest thing about these Thoroughbreds is their demeanor,” said Taylor. “This is a special, unique horse. I’m just sitting here with no bridle on, people all around, all these cameras pointed at him, and he’s completely unaffected. The Thoroughbreds want to please. And these guys are made to run — they’re made for this job. It’s our job to be kind, be patient and help these horses learn the pattern and learn their new job. We need to go out and get these horses and scoop them up!”
And as for what this particular personal challenge has taught Taylor that she’ll take away to apply to her other barrel horses? “I’ve had to really be patient with this horse, and that’s going to help me on my other horses as well.”
Catch out Cowboy Swagger and Fallon Taylor on day two of the competition below!
Wish you could ride with Fallon Taylor? Take A 360° virtual ride with her without leaving your couch!
Press Release courtesy of Thoroughbred Makeover.