Jimmie Smith is the 2019 Texas Circuit champion barrel racer and the 2018 WPRA Resistol Rookie of the Year. The McDade, Texas cowgirl won all […]
Featured Athlete: Rylee Howton
Written by: Ruth Nicolaus< Back to Articles
Rylee Howton and her horses are a walking advertisement for 5 Star Equine products.
The Three Rivers, Texas cowgirl is in love with the 5 Star saddle pad, sports leg wraps and sports boots, and they work well for her five horses: Turnpike, Moe, Hildie, Renee, and Lil Mama.
She loves the softness of the saddle pad and how it molds to her horses’ backs. She thinks the leg wraps are more supportive, and the straps grip better and support in places that other brands don’t. But they’re not stiff, either. “They are flexible so the horse can move,” Rylee said. “They’re more soft, and aren’t as long (as typical boots.)” Being a bit shorter is good, she said. “If a horse was to make a crazy movement, he wouldn’t step on the strap and injure himself.”
The seventeen-year-old competes in the barrel racing, pole bending and team roping in the Texas High School Rodeo Association, the Texas Youth Rodeo Association, the Better Barrel Races, and the National Barrel Horse Association.
For the barrels, she rides Bit of Gold Dust, “Turnpike” and Heza Fast Kitty, “Moe”. Turnpike, a seventeen-year-old, is her main horse and “the most consistent horse you’ll ever ride,” she said. “He makes the same run every time.” When Turnpike was injured earlier this year, the family bought Moe and she used him. Turnpike is recovered, so she trades off between the two. “Moe usually outruns Turnpike the first day, and the second day, Turnpike outruns Moe.” Turnpike prefers the big pens and Moe likes the smaller pens.
Turnpike was the big boss around the ranch, “the grumpy old man, the only boy at our house,” till Moe appeared, Rylee said. Moe has quite a personality. “If he sees you outside, he’ll run up to you and get all in your face,” she said. “If you’re not giving him attention, he’ll throw a fit.”
For the poles, Rylee rides two horses: Rocking Renee, “Renee”, and NQH Sun Hocks Hilda, “Hildie.” In the team roping, her mounts are Shes A Royal Fletcha “Lil Mama.”
Rylee is a 2020 graduate of George West High School. Looking back on her high school career, she recognizes how fun high school was. “I didn’t realize it when I was in school, but you see your friends every day and get to play sports every day. You don’t realize it at the time, but it’s a lot more fun to be in school than not.”
In high school, she participated in FCCLA, FFA, volleyball, basketball and softball. The pitcher for her softball team, the team qualified for districts the last two years.
In high school, she made it to the Texas State Finals all four years in the barrels and the last two years in the poles.
She will be a student at Texas A&M in Kingsville this fall, competing in the barrels and possibly the team roping. She plans on majoring in ranch management/ag business and would love to manage a ranch someday. She and her family live on her grandpa’s ranch, and she loves being around animals.
Her mom, Krystal, loves the 5 Star Equine products as well. “You can’t compare them to any others,” she said. The saddle pads “really reduce soreness in a horse’s back, and are one hundred percent wool, which absorbs sweat.” Krystal and Rylee use the garden hose to clean them. “Most saddle pads, with sweat, turn hard. These don’t do that.” They also have a horse with high withers and before they started with 5 Star Equine, they had trouble finding a pad that fit. “They just lay on the horse’s withers. They are so much softer.”
The boots also do what they’re supposed to do, Krystal said. “They stay where they’re supposed to be.”
Rylee’s step-dad is Londie Ruiz; her dad is Magoo Howton. She has a younger sister, Kylie Ruiz, who is six years old.