When you read the name "Fallon Taylor," you probably think glitz, glam, mermaid hair, tie-dye jeans...everything superficial that you see on social media and coverage of her rodeo career.
But, as I learned at her clinic in Wyoming on Monday, the 2014 WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer has a lot more to offer than a catchy soundbites and a million-dollar smile. (One she flashes every time she runs home on her mare, Baby Flo.)
Monday's clinic was Fallon's biggest yet with 32 riders and bleachers full of auditors videoing her every word. While many professionals are afraid to "give away their secrets," Fallon encourages her clinic's attendees to get in the arena to video up close what she tells each participant to do. She goes so far to say that she wants her clinic participants to give her a run for her money at the next barrel race and even—gasp—beat her.
From my perspective, every single rider left the clinic with at least a small piece of advice for trimming time from their patterns, changing their horses' bad habits, and overcoming personal roadblocks to success. But the most important thing in my mind was immeasurable: the way they carried themselves after speaking with Fallon about their horses and riding. If Fallon Taylor told you, "That's a nice horse" or "That mare reminds me of mine" or "That was awesome!" wouldn't you feel pretty darn good?
To close her clinic, Fallon gives a pep talk like only she can. If you follow her on social media, you know that she consistently shares motivational and inspirational stories, quotes, and anecdotes. The way she closes her clinics falls right in line. She made it clear that each rider had been seen and validated. She emphasized that they're important, they have skill, and that they're capable of achieving their goals if they set their minds to it, put in the work, and eliminate negativity. And, of course, she signs autographs and takes photos with her fans because it's Fallon Taylor, after all!
Our contributing photographer, Mallory Beinborn of Impulse Photography, also attended the clinic. She's spent a lot of time photographing the barrel-racing beauty. When I asked if Fallon is always so smiley and positive, Mallory said, "Always." She wasn't kidding.
We met to work on some magazine material after a long clinic day (that followed a rodeo and another clinic), when most people would be exhausted and ready to be done. I can tell you that the smile almost never left Fallon's face. (Usually only when she was piercing the camera lens with a serious "I'm here for business" look.) She was up for anything we tossed at her.
I'm excited to share what we worked on with Fallon in an upcoming issue of Horse&Rider. Even if you're not a barrel racer, I'd encourage you to follow her for inspiration in your horse life. I know I will.