For as long as she can remember, Wylene Davis has been riding and working with horses at her home in Arkansas.
Blessed with a gift for working with horses, her mother started putting her on tricky horses and teaching her everything she knew.
Davis graced Red Deer’s Mane Event this past weekend with her skills and knowledge where she participated in the coveted Trainer’s Challenge as the first ever woman trainer at the event.
Although Davis did not win the event, she wowed the audience of the round pen where she worked with a wild steed over the course of three days.
“It’s an emotional thing for me,” said Davis on being the first woman to participate in the event. “I’ve had to break so many stereotypes as far as being a woman so I’m just thankful that I was asked because it’s a huge honour and it really humbles me.”
Davis began her career early as she pushed her limits in high school rodeo with everything from barrel racing to roping and eventually moved on to bigger and better things.
“I started doing the extreme cowboy races because there wasn’t anything that I couldn’t do on a horse,” said Davis on the event where riders will race their horses through obstacles while shooting targets with certified blanks to pop the balloons.
“I had the guts to stand up and say you know what? I may be a woman but I am just as tough as a man.”
From there Davis began participating in the Wild Mustang Challenge where competitors are given 100 days to break and show an unruly stang.
While competing in the challenge, Davis encountered the unthinkable when her rope became wrapped around the back leg of the wild mustang and it took off.
The horse began bucking, after which it bucked off the bridle, leaving her with no control over the horse. She was launched into the air, landing on her back and breaking it in three places.
While this left her unable to compete in last year’s Trainer’s Challenge, she was back on a horse in a meager five weeks and made a full recovery.
“It makes you realize that you’re not indestructible,” said Davis on the accident.
“It made me realize how truly grateful I am for my gift with horses and to never take that for granted.”
Davis’s advice to other young women who want to push their limits and get into breaking horses and extreme equine sports is to “Ride as much as possible, get on every horse you can, go to as many clinics as you can and always ride with someone who is better than you or you will become stagnant.
“I allow the horse to show me what it needs and that’s the truth behind being a great horse trainer. You have to be a student of the horse and when you’re good you’ll listen to what the horse has to tell you.”
Her hard work, honesty and humility have led Davis to an extraordinary life filled with ups and downs. “I’ve had a good life, but only because I’ve chosen to,” said Davis. “It’s a choice you make when you wake up in the morning to be happy and I feel blessed.”