Headed to her third consecutive Canadian Finals, in fourth position after $25,819 in the 2019 season, is Miss Taylor Manning.
“When I was four, I had a grey pony named Silver. My mom says I would go out and catch her every morning around 7:30 and spend a good hour cleaning her feet. I just loved to brush and clean her feet I guess.” said Taylor.
Her care and attention to detail with her horses is still very strong today, as you can always find her with her horses.
“My first barrel horse was Tivio. My mom said I wasn’t allowed to go to my first rodeo until I was seven, but my dad said I could enter earlier because I would do extra chores and always unsaddle his horse when he was done team roping. I followed in my moms foot steps to become a barrel racer.”
And what a barrel racer Taylor has become. Not only with multiple Canadian Finals qualifications at such a young age, Taylor competes at many futurities throughout the year as well, on what seems like at least twenty horses. But it’s not just who Taylor is on the back of a horse that always impresses me. I could sit here and list off her accomplishments; instead I want to make mention that Taylor is noticeably kind and supportive of her fellow competitors, lending horses when in need and always offering a warm smile, no matter where I see her.
Taylor will be bringing her main mount Good Little Nick aka Matlock, who is by As Good As Nick Gets, and out of Fols Dream of Cash as well as Ima Hot Bug aka Merlin, Hot Colours and out of a Copper Bug mare, and Justmoveslikejagger aka Jagger, who is sired by Dinero and also out of a Fols Dream of Cash mare.
What quirks does your horses have?
Matlock gets very jealous and doesn’t like to share me with the other horses. Merlin is sassy and tries to buck sometimes. Jagger is scared of his own shadow. Matlock and Merlin boss Jagger around, and Jagger bosses me around.
Where did you purchase/find your horse?
Matlock, Merlin and Jagger were trained and raised by Grant and Rayel Little. Jagger is owned by Robin Walker.
How would you describe your horses barrel racing style?
My horses style are all the same, as they were trained by Rayel. I try to be consistent with the way Rayel trained them and to keep learning from her.
With all the miles made, varying ground conditions, and expenses, what kept the CFR dream alive for you this year?
I was very lucky to be able to run multiple horses this summer. As Matlock tied up before Ponoka, Merlin had West Nile and Jagger jumped a fence and cut his stomach. We gave Matlock a lot of time to heal, and he came back amazing. Knocking barrels at Medicine Hat and Regina to be in the money. When we found out Merlin had West Nile, I gave him time off and ran Jagger when he was all healed up. I’m so thankful all my horses are good now.
What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? How do you stay motivated throughout the season?
I feel that there is so much to learn, that all I want to do is ride all day to learn everything I can. I’m addicted to riding. I do a lot of slow work and spend hours with my horses. Before I make my run my mom always repeats what Rayel says. “Don’t worry what happens today, we will fix tomorrow”. Oh, and to “have fun”.
What does your feed program look like, keeping your horses in peak condition going down the road and even in the off season?
I feed Buckeye Products, Sharpedge Supplements and a probiotic. I try to make sure my horses are all fed consistently. What I love about Buckeye is that I can adjust to what my horses needs, and it gives them the strength they need to go all summer.
What do you do to condition your horses leading up to the season, and what does your pre CFR routine consist of?
My horses will get a break from December to January, then I will start legging them up. Riding them 4-5 days a weeks. My mom always says, “they need a good six weeks of conditioning and then we can start taking them to a couple of jackpots.”
Before CFR I do a lot do slow work, and riding in the field. Then I will take them to one jackpot before CFR. We do a lot of slow work to try and keep them balanced and to have them ready for the next run. Rayel always says, “You have to do your slow work after a run to put your horse back together.”
What has been your most memorable run over the years?
My most memorable run was at Ponoka. It was my first year going to the professional rodeos. This rodeo helped me make it to my first CFR. Matlock made it to the final four. I don’t know where I would be without him.
What is your favourite barrel racing bloodline?
It’s hard to say what my favourite blood lines would be, as there are so many amazing lines. But, I think As Good As Nick Gets would be my favourite. Matlock was my first horse I made it to the CFR on and he’s so special to me.
What is the one thing you cannot live without on the road?
I wouldn’t be able to live without my driver/mom. She is amazing, she always takes care of her family before herself. Thanks for everything you do.
If you could make a run on any one of the other CFR qualifiers horses which one would you choose and why?
All the horses that made CFR are all amazing, but if I had to pick I would pick the legend Latte. I got to meet Mary Walker this year, and she was super nice to me. Mary better keep her eye on Latte, I might hop on and take him for a spin. Sorry, Matlock.
Who is your barrel racing idol?
My Barrel Racing idols are my mom and Rayel. Rayel has a special touch with a horse and is an amazing trainer. I love going to ride with her, every time I learn something knew. My mom can see a lot and keeps me focused.
I would like to thank my sponsors, Hillbilly Hallows, Frontier Western Shop, Classic Equine, CrossCountry Pipelines, Sharpedge Supplements, Back On Track Canada, & Anderson’s Builders Group.
*photo submitted by Taylor