Kelsie Miller winning aboard horses sired by PG Dry Fire (Playgun x The Dry Look x Dry Doc) has been a winning combination for over 20 years for the full-time futurity horse trainer in the Northwest.
The home-bred, -raised, and -trained 5-year-old futurity horse DMR Famous PG is just another one of the full siblings out of Dry Mountain Ranch broodmare Famed By An Angel (Dash Ta Fame x Abby Road x Cactus Road) trained by Kelsie that she has jockeyed to the winner’s circle.
The winning team stayed consistent to place fourth in the first go and third in the second go to run an aggregate time of 30.360 and win $1,181 at the Southwest Washington Futurity from March 25-26 at Rocky Top Arena.
“I like the cow/run cross, because the cow horse gives the horses more grit and try as well as conformational correctness. I feel like with the cow horses, you see a little more bone, substance and balance,” Kelsie said.
Originating from a cow horse background within her family, Kelsie has stayed true to her roots by developing a winning futurity barrel horse training program with prominent cow horse influence.
“Jake Telford, professional cow horse trainer, has been starting my colts for me for over 15 years now. He has played such a vital role in my program, and has started so many winners for me. I can trust him with my colts, and he is honest with me about what they are and what he thinks of them,” Kelsie explained.
Based out of Riley, Oregon, Dry Mountain Ranch not only is represented in the arena by Kelsie but also her daughter, Skye Miller, who is 19 and an aspiring future horse trainer and jockey. Skye followed suit to the winning ways of the Miller family, placing third in the average of the Southwest Washington Futurity with a 30.562 on 5-year-old futurity mare Bessie Coleman (Eddie Stinson x Adalena Moon Jet x The Reign Master), owned by Troy and Arley Hughes. The young talent clinched the win in the first round to outrun the field by three-tenths with a 14.786 and rolled over to place second in Saturday’s Open for $1,392 collectively throughout the weekend.
“Skye has several outside horses herself, as well as the horses we own. There is no competitive edge between Skye or I; if there is a horse in my program that I think she can ride and jockey better than I can, I have no problem watching her win on it,” Kelsie said.
Between Kelsie and Skye, the two travel to the futurities and derbies in the Northwest with not just one rig but sometimes even two. The dynamic duo eats, sleeps and breathes training futurity barrel horses, and their success together in the arena is a testament to the work and effort they pour into their program.
“Our entire operation is family-based and -oriented — I am so grateful for the support and help I have from our family. It is the best thing in the world to do this with my daughter, but we couldn’t do it without the help of the rest of our family, too. My husband, Mick, shoes the horses, and we grow all our own hay at the ranch. Mick and my son, Coltin, never hesitate to help care for the horses while we are on the road,” Kelsie said.
Kelsie also raves about the support of her clients to her program.
“Your customers build your business, and I most definitely have the type of customers you dream of,” Kelsie said. “The people you ride for play such an important role in training and competing on futurity horses, and mine truly understand what it takes to get these horses to the point of winning without having unrealistic expectations along the way.”
Rocky Top Arena in Salkum, Washington, owned by Viki Friedrich and Vanda Chess, have been long-time clients and supporters of Kelsie’s program. Kelsie has been attending the Southwest Washington Futurity since she has been riding for the two sisters. She says their impact on the Millers’ business is irreplaceable.
“Not only do I thank them for putting on a great futurity in their own home and arena, but for what they personally have done to promote Skye and I, is truly invaluable to our program,” Kelsie said.
Despite the record snow and rain falls in the region during the winter of 2022-2023, the barrel racers of the Northwest gathered together at the 17th Annual Southwest Washington Futurity to make the futurity the biggest one yet.
“I don’t think the futurities in the Northwest are any less competitive than the futurities down South,” Kelsie explained. “We just don’t have the raw number of entries here due to the lack of professional futurity horse trainers in the Northwest. Although the futurity is smaller, it has a very personal, positive atmosphere that makes it one of our favorites to attend.”
The weather remains one of the biggest challenges for Kelsie and other trainers in the Northwest, whereas most of the successful futurity horses are 5 years old due to the extra time needed to get them ready.
“Because we get so much rain and snow, you have to have an indoor arena to ride through the winter,” Kelsie said. “Most of the trainers in the northwest don’t get the time on the horses that those do down south due to the weather, so they are usually behind to a certain extent.”
Between the family ranch and the full-time program of outside horses, Kelsie also explained that sometimes horses from the West Coast don’t make it to the spotlight at the major futurities in the south due to the vast amount of miles traveled to southern events.
“The caliber of horses is definitely here, the horses just typically get brought along a little slower and are not always showcased like those down south,” Kelsie said.
After being on the road for the last couple of months at the spring futurity events, Kelsie has a plan to be home for most of May to regroup with the horses and prepare for the upcoming Colorado Classic and Run for the Rose futurities in Montrose, Colorado, in June.
Kelsie thanks her family for their endless help and support, as well as Viki and Vanda for hosting the Southwest Washington Futurity and for sending her capable horses to ride and train. Kelsie also acknowledged her sponsors: Platinum Trailers, Tami Semas Saddles, and BestHorseGear.Com for supporting her program.
Southwest Washington Futurity Average Results
- Kelsie Miller on DMR Famous PG 30.360 $551
- Amberleigh Moore Lion In Jules 30.524 $433
- Skye Miller Bessie Coleman 30.562 $354
- Amanda Marriot Ima Spendy KindaGuy 30.646 $276
- Alex Thompson A Guy Duck 30.705 $197
- Rebecca Olsen Queen Of Da Nort 30.877 $157