Starting off the Futurity Season with Rylee Mckenzie

Hi everyone since the futurity 2020 season starts this week I thought it would be great to interview a futurity trainer Rylee McKenzie. Rylee has had success not only on the futurity circuit but in the rodeo arena as well.

I was very excited to do this interview for not only you guys but for myself as well! You see I have two coming 5 year olds for the 2020 season and I love to learn from people that have had success before me!! As many successful people have said before success leaves clues to follow.

If you want the truth I went to edit this blog and I ended up reading it over a couple times just for my own knowledge (had a nerd moment).

That’s enough of me rambling on.  Lets get to Rylee!  ** Read all the way to the end of this post and if you like it leave a comment about your own young horses**

A little about Rylee McKenzie. . .

I basically grew up on a horse. My mom was a barrel racer, and I always loved to be around the horses. As the years have progressed, so has my place in the industry, I went through the amateur ranks, made several finals in those associations, all the way to filling my pro card, and qualifying for the CFR.  From the CFR, I had a what’s next stage.

If you’d have told 18 year old me, I’d be training futurity horses, I would have laughed right away. But, I also believe in following the path laid for you. So here we are, 30 year old me, training futurity horses. And I love every moment of it. Some days I think “pinch me” I can’t even believe the horse power in my yard. I am forever grateful to my owners, who trust me with these great prospects, especially the ones who took a chance on me when I started to get this venture off the ground. 


1.  What is your favorite part of training horses?

The challenge. I love to discover what personality each horse has, it’s key to how you approach them as far as teaching them. I encourage the colts to be confident, and trusting. I also talk to them all like they are human. All my own nod their heads and shake their heads to agree or disagree. I appreciate that, it keeps the environment light. 


2. What would you say your riding style is?

When I was rodeoing full time;I would have said Aggressive. 

Since I’ve been on the futurity scene I have consciously had to revamp that habit. I have tried to stay quieter with my legs, and encourage the colts with my hands (like a jockey), over kicking or whipping on one. 

My riding style is complex, and trying to become adaptable. 


As for the horses, I just want them to run where I put them. Generally if they mess up, it’s because I didn’t show up for them that day. And honestly, that’s just part of it.


3. What is the importance of ground work in your program and what is an example of an exercise you do?

This is huge. Every single horse I have gets ground worked before I ever step on them. Basically if they are going to get themselves in a wreck I would prefer to step back to watch, rather than trying to ride them through it. I also use this to see where the horse is lacking, does it want to turn front end or hind end more, is it stiff in the neck, shoulders, ribs, etc, Does it hold its head high/low, flexed in or out? What’s its reaction to pressure? Does it flight, rear, spook, or attack? 

I like to teach them from the ground how I want them to move, how to handle pressure, how to relax regardless of their surroundings, and headset.

I recently shared on Facebook one of my drills with a whip where I rhythmically touch the horse with the whip, until it holds its feet still. 

However, my must do exercise is to lunge on speed control, and get the horse to roll back, towards me, to change directions. This gets the horse to engage the inside hind leg and follow through its rib cage. It also teaches them to “leave” a turn, again without panicking. 



4.Every horse is a little different but what do you focus on when starting a horse on the pattern?

Perfect circles. Large and small. I want their hips engaged, round in the ribs, and just a hair elevated in the front end.

If they can do a perfect circle they generally transfer over to the pattern pretty easily.  


I use the train track approach when starting them on the pattern. Repetition. 

I try to implement skills away from the pattern, to make them better on the pattern. 


5. What is your favorite futurity to go to and Why?

The Barrel Futurities of America (BFA).  My competitive spirit loves to be placed in a rink with the best. And that place has multiple horses, from the best in the world all aimed at a world championship. At a rodeo you only have to outrun one of those A-liners horses, at the BFA, you’re up against all of their barn. It’s great! 

Plus you have all the best trainers under one roof!! What’s a better place to learn?! 


As for Canada, they are more intimate for their size, and unique to the producers. I appreciate that, and think that’s what makes Canada special in all western events. So, I enjoy them all, for what each one offers. 



6. What do you look for in a futurity prospect?


Bloodlines. Good bone. And maturity. 


I have personal little quirks, I like a nice flat hip/back. Hocks to be equal to the knees. I can look past a crooked foot or flaw.  



7. What are some of your favorite bloodlines?

Frenchman’s Guy, Streakin Six, Dr nick bar, Martha Six Moons, Fire Water Flit , Page Lee, Jet Deck 


I’m lucky to have Jodi Hart breeding horses, she stays on top of what’s coming in the future. 2/3 are out of her program for 2020. I’m just lucky enough to actually own one of those two. 


8. What young ones do you have coming up for the 2020 season?


 Triple Fast Fling sired by a Streak of Fling 

Convincemeimonfire sired by Firewaterontherocks 

Epic Lickins sired by Epic Leader



9. Over the years is there one horse that sticks out in your mind?

Dr Nick Assured aka Dollar. 

Dollar, before his passing had me in a position to make the NFR. He gave me the reality of being able to get there. And that’s something that I think is pretty special. People used to run up to the fence and say “how fast will he be today” 

One day, I will have another as great as he was, and hopefully will complete that path set forth. 


10. Thank you so much for doing this interview! How can anyone get in contact with you for lessons or for training?


Thank you for thinking of me. I appreciate it. For anyone wanting to send a horse for training, or lessons the best way is to contact me via my Facebook page. I try to stay on top of answering people. 


So I hope you loved that as much as I did!

It gave me ideas for my own horses and I hope it has helped you in some way too. I also want to say don’t be afraid to contact her. She gets back to you, is very nice and is easy to work with!!

To make it easy here is a link to her Facebook page or look up Rylee McKenzie. I would like to thank her for doing this interview and wish her luck in the 2020 season!!

Don’t forget about the draw I am having on my Facebook Page this week. You don’t want to miss it!

As always click here for us to chat to let me know what you think of this blog or who do you want to see on my blogs!

Coming soon . . . my virtual Christmas Stocking you won’t want to miss it!!

Bye for now!!

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