We reached out to RopeSmart Sponsoree, Rylie Smith to dive into her tips and tricks to being such a successful roper at a young age.
Miss Rylie Smith has won a couple bigger titles over the last year like the All Girl at the Windy Ryon, and also qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo heeling. But, her biggest accomplishment is her most recent win at the Patriot All Girl with Hope Thompson.
“What tips have you found helpful for training your horses?”
Rylie: “ I just try to keep them calm and try to keep their confidence up so that they want to do it and it doesn’t have to be forced. Every horse is different, though. I really pay attention to them and what they are telling me by their behavior. I don’t want to push too hard, but I also don’t want to let them just be lazy or develop bad habits.
I like to use my RopeSmart Calf Sled or Steer Sled to pattern them. Also, I track slow live cattle. I also like to use the sled if I’m working on a specific issue either with the horse or with my roping where I don’t want the action of the cattle to be an unknown factor. Taking away variables lets me focus on the problem I’m trying to solve.”
“What are your biggest struggles in the arena?”
Rylie: “My biggest struggle in the arena would have to be making sure I stay up and riding my horse. I have to stay aggressive, whether I’m roping breakaway or heeling. Sometimes my good horses make it so easy, I don’t hustle. I have to remind myself to just relax, get in position and take my shot.”
“Who are your life and roping influences?”
Rylie: “My life influences would have to be my mom and dad. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do half as much as I do now. They have taught me to be responsible and work hard to reach my goals and not make excuses. They have always believed in me and been my biggest supporters.
My roping influence would have to be Justin Maass. He has been one of the biggest blessings not only in my roping career but in life too. He’s always striving to make me the best roper I can possibly be. He’s helped my roping, horsemanship and mental game. I’ve also learned a lot from him about training my young horses and keeping the finished ones tuned and working well.
The best tips I have been given are:
● ‘Never let your mind get in the way of what you know how to do.’
● ‘Just go out there and do your job every time and make them beat you.’
“Walk us through your step by step routine for an average day in the arena”
Rylie: “My average day in the arena would be roping on all my young horses—roping for them, not for me–and exercising whatever else won’t get roped on that day. I like to end the practice on a couple finished horses to get some good practice in for myself.”
“Thank you for your time! Is there anything else you would like to highlight?”
Rylie: “I’d just like to say I’m blessed to get to do what I love and thank all of my sponsors. They help me so much–RopeSmart, Cactus Ropes, Lyssy & Eckel, Resistol. They keep me and my horses in the best equipment and feed and that really makes a difference.”
Rylie also was accepted to Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde, and will be rodeoing for them next year.