In her first serious year of ProRodeo, Sarah Angelone has accumulated $86,798 in earnings and is sitting No. 5 in the 2023 world standings—and she’s done it with a team of not-quite-rodeo-seasoned horses.
Traditionally a stay-at-home horse trainer, Angelone joined her sister, 2022 World Champion Martha Angelone, on the road in 2023 with two young horses. The rodeo road has provided some stark realizations about having horses “rodeo broke,” including the need for a horse to respect a hot wire fence and keep their cool in a sketchy warm-up pen.
Who’s in the trailer?
Angelone’s string through the rodeo season are 8-year-old “Wilma” and 6-year-old “Dingo,” who are both cutting-bred.
“These are my two most-seasoned horses right now,” Angelone explained. “I have a few 4-year-olds at home that I could take, but they’re not quite ready for the rodeo trail yet. I picked Dingo and Wilma because I’ve ridden them at rodeos and jackpots.”
Sired by famed, late cutting sire Hottish, Wilma is putting her cow smarts to use running down calves on the rodeo trail.
“Wilma is a dragon. She’s buddy sour and definitely has the redhead attitude,” Angelone said. “I ride her when the start is fast—anything seeing neck rope or under. Wilma breaks the rope off faster than Dingo, so Dingo is my long-start horse.”
Watch Sarah and Martha run a few on their good ones: Jesse James and Wilma on BreakawayRoping.com
Angelone bought Wilma as a penner and sorter from trainer Jared Lesh and started roping on her. It took her a while to get her breaking to the pin, but Wilma’s never had a problem locking in behind calves.
Dingo’s bloodlines feature the ever-popular cross of High Brow Cat and Dual Pep. Sired by Bamacat, Dingo’s high-energy nature means he needs a little extra consideration on the road.
“Dingo will not stay in the hot wire—he’s terrified of it—and if he’s tied and can’t see Wilma, he’ll dig a hole all night and pull on the trailer,” Angelone said. “I had someone ask me, ‘Was that your horse that dug that big hole in Bigfork, Montana?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, that was mine.’”
Dingo and Angelone nabbed the BFI Breakaway Roping Championship in March of this year, earning $14,000.
“He’s a younger horse but he’s done really well up here,” Angelone said. “He’s a little on the muscle
, and, if you don’t ride him for a couple of days, he’ll hump up. But he scores good, and he can really run.”
Horse training lessons from the road
Considering Dingo’s hot wire problems, Angelone says she is resolved to, “break all my horses to the hot wire when I get home.”
The road has given new weight to taking the young ones everywhere and tying them up, and letting them see everything, too.
“From a jackpot horse to a rodeo horse—a rodeo horse has to be able to warm up on asphalt half the time,” Angelone said. “Sometimes, you can’t even warm them up. There are a lot of conditions out here for a horse.”
Feeding the rodeo horse
Keeping horses hydrated is often a top concern for competition horses, but Angelone says she and Martha haven’t had much trouble with their horses drinking different water while traveling.
“We just focus on keeping as much hay in front of them as possible,” Angelone said. “I have started feeding them more grain since I’ve been out here, just because hauling them is tough on them. I want them to be full all the time.”
Angelone feeds Nutrena ProForce Fuel grain, Equinety supplements and MVP Gastro-Plex for a happy gut.
Although Angelone loves to train an occasional outside horse, all the horses sitting at home in Lipan, Texas, are hers.
“They’re just home eating every day,” Angelone said. “They get turned out so they can run around and act dumb—they’re going to be pretty fresh when I get back. I am a little concerned about them falling behind in their training, but I am trying to tell myself the break will be good for them.”
The horses at home are Angelone’s next generation—mostly 3- and 4-year-olds. Between her rodeo road experience and the well-rested minds and bodies of her prospects, it’s going to be game on when Angelone finally decides to return home from the summer run and start training again.