In the Mix at the NFR

Like any favorite recipe, the makings of an NFR-caliber horse is intriguing and fascinating – and virtually impossible to replicate. We asked the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers to share their secrets, and with a little of this and a little of that, we’re pleased to bring you a precise list of what’s in the mix.

By Danika Kent

A splash of  honesty, vouches Kassie Mowry. “I haven’t been around rodeo horses for years – I’ve just read about them. It’s an honor to go out there and see these horses run in person. They’re honest, solid workers, and they give those girls a chance to win, every trip.”

A dollop of consistency, says Hailey Kinsel. “I think of Stingray, Hawk, Bozo and Scamper. They tried to make their same run every time, regardless of the set-up, the ground and conditions.”

A measure of great care, articulates Kellie Collier. “They wouldn’t be where they are if the girls didn’t take care of them like we do.”

A dash of guts and try, Tillar Murray mentions. “We try our best to take care of our horses, but it doesn’t change the fact that the long hauls and exertion of energy is extremely exhausting and there’s only so much you can do to limit that. Rodeo horses have a special kind of try.”

One part tough as nails, declares Kimmie Wall. “These horses are hauling 60,000 miles a year. They’re running in snow, they’re running in heat, they’re running in cold, they’re running in mud. They’re running because they love it.”

WPRAtop15 2017

A drop of grit, speculates Sydni Blanchard.

A hint of ability to handle any and all types of ground, adds Amber Moore.

A pinch of willingness, states Nellie Miller.

A heaping spoonful of heart, swears Stevi Hillman. “They get tired, they get sore, and they keep trying. That’s worth everything.” Collier adds, “They want it just as bad as the girls do; they want to be known as an NFR horse, too.”

Top with personality, says Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi. “They all have a very outstanding personality. You can be around them and tell that they’re winners. When you get on one, you know they want it as bad as you do. Nothing is forced.”

Cut with luck, states Lisa Lockhart. “It can be anybody’s game. Obviously, there’s a lot of talent that goes with it, but there’s a lot of luck, too.” Kathy Grimes adds, “It’s the luck of the draw. The bottom of the ground is almost never as good as the top of the ground, or you might have a weird stumble – or you might not.”

A bit of winningness, articulates Tiany Schuster. “They’re all winners, and winners find a way to win.”


Danika Kent is an avid barrel racer and freelance writer based in Minnesota. Email comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tags: WPRA, National Finals Rodeo , NFR, Wrangler National Finals Rodeo , top 15