Rilie Stender is a 19 year old barrel racer from Norwood Young America, MN, and is a sophomore at Rigewater College in Hutchinson, MN. Stender works at Acoustical surfaces Inc. (ASI) as a product photographer, but hopes to pass the National Registry Test so she can change my career path to become an EMT, and eventually a paramedic.
In her free time, Rilie enjoys drawing, hanging out with family, and giving riding lessons to beginner/intermediate riders. She began riding horses when she was three years old. However she was not raised like most rodeo kids who have been around horses daily their whole life. Rilie started out in a much different setting. She has lived in town for all 19 years of her life, so when she was younger her love of horses came from pony rides where she used to camp at. Every weekend she would help the staff take care of all the ponies and she would ride at least 4 times every weekend. Her love of horses started to grow and Rilie’s parents knew that she wanted to be more involved with horses.
By the time she was 6 Rilie started to take riding lessons at Cedar Ridge Arabians. She started out riding Huntseat, but became more advanced with time, and she started riding Saddleseat. After 3-4 years of riding Arabians there, she started to work her way to the top, becoming one of the few advanced riders at the stables. Sadly, as her English riding career was at its peak, her trainer and his brother got laid off, and she had to find somewhere else to take lessons.
Rilie ended up taking lessons at a little place called Westwood Stables, where she road Saddlebreads and Morgans for about a year and a half. When she was 10 she decided she didn’t like riding English anymore, and wanted to do something different. On Christmas her parents got Rilie her very first horse, and that is where things started to change for her.
“Cowboy”, is a Dun quarter horse who at the time was 6 years old. She started out riding in 4H, and WSCA gaming shows, but she was not very good at it to begin with. At first she was very slow and timid. After about 3 years of transitioning from English showing to western gaming, Rilie finally started to click with Cowboy, and started to become much faster.
[media-credit name=”Al Braunworth Photography” link=”http://albraunworth.com/” align=”aligncenter” width=”300″][/media-credit]
As with everything, Rilie wanted to do more, and that is when she started doing High School Rodeos her sophomore year of high school. She only ran two types events her entire high school career, barrel racing and pole bending.
Her very last year in the High School Rodeos she was determined to make it to the Nationals. She ended up buying another team mate, “Runnin n Gunnin” a 19 year old Quarter Horse, to try to make one last push to make it. Sadly, she never reached her dream of going to nationals, but she was very proud to receive a buckle at the end of the year for the most improved, and the most heart.
After her High School Rodeo career came to an end, Rilie has been going to barrel races and has also joined NBHA. She is planning to be join the MRA, BBR, and other bigger association’s in the near future after college. Currently she is very humble to own two amazing Dun Quarter horse athletes. She is happy to look back and say that there were some victories and a lot of lessons learned. Rilie can’t wait to see what God has in store for my future and the sport of rodeo!
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