Take a peek at the daily schedule of world champion Hailey Kinsel while she’s on the rodeo road.

By Hailey Kinsel

When I’m out on the road, logistics may change day-to-day, but my routine is essentially the same.

I’m up early in the morning cleaning stalls and changing waters. I’ll also be getting the horses out of the stalls to move around. When I can, I like to be somewhere that is like a home-away-from-home to have turnout or pens.

Especially in the mountain areas, the temperature changes can be a 40-degree difference from day to night, so I may be putting sheets on at night and fans during the day.

A large part of my day revolves around the horses and water, whether it’s on their legs or in their tubs. Make sure they are hydrated before you get on the road, during travel, and before and after a run.

After feeding, I’ll make sure they have hay and water. Depending if I’m up at a rodeo that night, I may need to ride the other horses I have with me in the morning. I get them out of the pens, walk around, graze the horse that’s running that night, or possibly school and tune.

Then there are afternoon errands— diesel, ice for your cooler, anything for your horses. That’s the part none of us plan for. You will run out of hay or feed and food for yourself. I’m really bad about restocking my fridge. I end up forgetting to eat or buy food, so then it’s a gas station or fast food.

Nighttime is usually when the rodeos are, so I spend my afternoons, which are the hottest part of the day, doing my town errands, and maybe even take a shower or a nap. Matinee performances change your entire schedule. You may have to save your personal stuff for at night after a daytime rodeo.

The early evening is getting ready for the rodeo. I get the horses out about 4 p.m. and let them walk and graze. I take a couple to the rodeo with me and leave a couple at the place I’m staying. I’ll put out hay for the ones I’m leaving and prep two horses to run, so if anything were to happen my backup is ready to run that night.

When you get there, you’re getting horses watered, legs prepared, hay bags hung up, and then paying your fees and checking in. Some rodeos also have extra stuff you have to do, like autograph signings. If I take a colt, I’ll get on it and pony whatever horse I’m running so the colt gets to see the sights of the rodeo. It also allows my other horse to get comfortable with its surroundings.

I can be ready to run in 30 minutes if I absolutely have to, but I try to get there about an hour or two before the rodeo starts. I like to have the horses off the trailer for three to four hours before a run so their legs can rest and muscles can relax. I try to park in the shade and do about 20 minutes of grooming and massage. For Sis, I need an extra 10 to braid her mane.

I warm up for 30 minutes on Sis, 40 on TJ and on a younger horse it will be more like 40 to an hour.

My horses are bred sharp and ready to do their job, so I don’t pick at the while I’m warming up. If I have to do some serious correction I do it several hours in advance. It makes them too tightly wound and upset, and I want them to be calm before a run. I don’t teach when I’m warming up. I remind myself that this is not their first rodeo, nor is it yours, so you don’t have to go around the barrels just because someone has them set up in the warm-up pen.

Post-run is late-night time. After my run, I’ll do ice boots, apply a poultice, lots of walking, see if they want to roll, hydro their legs, hoof-pack, and give water and electrolytes. I use Platinum Renew, a muscle enzyme product, before and after my race.

I clean out the trailer again and head back to wherever I’m staying. While I was staying in Utah during July and going to rodeos about an hour away every night, by the time I got back, cleaned pens, put down clean shavings, gave fresh water, put out hay and feed for the third time, it was 1 or 2 a.m.

You have to be organized so you don’t run too many random errands. I try to stay in one hay crop for a couple of weeks to keep their sugar levels about the same. I feed Purina Strategy, which can be found anywhere so their feed will stay consistent.

There’s not a lot of sleep. If you can, squeeze in an afternoon nap when you don’t have errands to try to stay healthy. When traveling with a lot of horses, they definitely come first.

Article by Hailey Kinsel originally published in the September 2019 issue of Barrel Horse News.


Hailey Kinsel is a two-time WPRA World Champion barrel racer with more than $1 million in lifetime reported earnings. Each month she shares her tips, advice and expertise with Barrel Horse News readers in "World Champion Reflections" found each month in the magazine and online. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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