Kylie Weast’s homegrown Hell On The Red rocked the futurities as a 5-year-old in 2017. Now, the fiery mare has transitioned into a pro rodeo competitor to be reckoned with.
Interview by Blanche Schaefer. Originally published in the August 2018 issue of Barrel Horse News
What is “Reddy” like to be around?
“She doesn’t have to be petted on and she doesn’t love to be loved on. It’s getting a little better—I’m her security in places she’s not comfortable in, and that’s what I hope I can be for her. She’s just a bit arrogant, that’s just her personality. She’s not a big pet.”
How has she handled the transition from futurities to pro rodeos?
“I haven’t given her an option. I just stuck her in the trailer. We started the winter in the buildings and she did real well there, and then we stuck her out at Guymon (Oklahoma), and she won Guymon. We’ve thrown her to the wolves and she’s taken it, so I’m thrilled with how she’s transitioned.”
What makes her so competitive?
“Pure try. Her try and grit are to a fault. If something is going to happen in a run that’s out of the ordinary or if I get by a barrel, the only reason is because she’s tried too hard.”
What’s her riding routine at home?
“I do not miss [riding] her. She’s not a horse I can let off or let her know she’s done good. I’ve made that mistake. I’ve got to keep after her. She gets ridden six days a week if I’m not going somewhere. It’s not a lot around the barrels. She’s so physically fit it’s really hard to get her tired from just exercise, so I have to get her mind tired before I put her up.”
How is she different now than she was as a futurity colt?
“With a lot of good horses, there are several transitions in their lives. When you go from a 3- to 4-year-old, you’re trying to make that transition to get competitive to go to the futurities, and she did not make that transition, which is why I held her as a 5-year-old futurity colt. Halfway through her futurity year she went through another transition, and instead of her runs being wild and sporadic, she got more solid. As a rider and trainer, I’m trying to get my routines down for what she needs to become a more solid individual. I went to Denver [in January 2018] and she made a terrible first run, and we made another transition right there. I left her saddled all day and ran that night, and she came back focused and won the second round. She’s made another transition to big outdoor pens. I changed bits and upped my headgear. If they don’t make transitions, they’re not getting better. For her to be realizing what kind of atmosphere and setups and conditions we’re in and overcoming, it makes her that much better of a horse.”
What was it like competing at The American?
“Oh my gosh, that meant more to me than I don’t even know what. She tried so hard. You get into The American and you look up at that screen and it’s so big, and she looked up and it scared her to death. You don’t just hear the music, you feel it, and I know she felt it—you feel it in your bones it’s so loud. To have been in that atmosphere in that stadium and do it on a mare that I’ve gone through hell and back on, it meant a lot. Because we’ve had some bad days.”
As a trainer, how do you move past the bad days?
“I have my mother, grandparents, two sisters, and my husband who lets me vent. We sit at the table while we’re eating dinner and talk it out. Nine times out of 10 we go ride again, and that’s how you get through anything. You can’t talk about it and hope it happens.”
What is your favorite quality about Reddy?
“Her try. I thought I would have trouble seasoning her because she’s not of the soundest of mind outside the arena—she’s fragile that way. But when she goes down that alleyway, it’s like that’s what she’s meant to do. Her ears perk up and she looks for the first barrel no matter where we are. I know she loves her job.”