Foxy lady: Pauley sneaks mare out of family sell pen, trains her to succeed in multiple events
A valuable horse doesn’t have to be hard on the checkbook. But some of them are hard on the joints while they are learning their job. Such was the case with Foxy the all-around horse.
Foxy has been named the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association Horse of the Year for two years in a row.
The buckskin mare is owned by Emilee Pauley of Wall.
The family happened upon Foxy at a horse sale in Philip and purchased her for $450 as a filly. The young horse came with a story-worthy background. Her sire had been involved in a case of mistaken identity. After the stallion was born, he and another colt switched mothers. One colt was bred for barrel racing and the other was cow bred. One family took the weanling that was supposed to be bred for barrel racing, but discovered its bloodlines when it was DNA tested. Therefore, the wrong colts went to the wrong owners. Foxy is by Tom and Sheila Trask’s barrel racing bred stallion, named PC Smokinfox Diamond.
Emilee participates in five events in high school rodeo, and often rides outside horses and day works for other ranchers when she is home. She qualified to the National High School Finals Rodeo in goat tying and girl’s cutting. She rides Clint Price’s horse, Jelly Bean, in the cutting event and Foxy for all of her other events.
“I’ve never really thought of not rodeoing,” says Pauley. In fact, she may not have had much of a choice. Like Foxy, it was in her blood. Her father Bud Pauley was an NFR bronc rider; her mother, Bunny, rodeoed and still trains horses; her brother, Jesse Bail, was an NFR qualifier in saddle broncs and bull riding; her sister, Tracy, was an avid breakaway roper; her neice Jada will also compete at the high school finals this year, and her older sisters, Mazee and Mattee are decorated all-around cowgirls. Pauley says, “It’s a family lifestyle.”
Once Foxy was old enough to ride, the family sent her to a trainer. However, every time she was ridden “she got broncier,” according to Pauley. Foxy came home and was turned out for a time. Later, brother Jesse would take Foxy. Each time he went to ride the young mare, he would have to tie her foot up. Calling her ornery was an understatement, as Foxy loved to buck and kick at everything, including other horses.
During a dry summer when hay was scarce, Bunny ordered that anything that was not broke be brought to the sale barn. Emilee was found out working with Foxy to try and prove that she was rideable. She was bucked off several times for her efforts, but Foxy got to stay. Foxy was six years old at the time, and was seven before Pauley was comfortable riding her in something other than a snaffle bit.
Slowly but surely, Foxy began proving herself. Pauley started her on the barrels first, then progressed to roping and goat tying. Emilee, Mazee and Mattee all had a hand in training her for the arena, and they often brought her to small playdays and jackpots.
The three girls were using a veteran horse named Chubby for the majority of their events at the time. At a 4-H rodeo in 2015, Chubby acted as if she would colic, so Foxy was elected to take over for the breakaway roping, goat tying and pole bending. The three Pauley girls gradually worked Foxy into their string of good horses. When disaster struck in August, 2015, Foxy stepped up to fill some big shoes. Chubby severely injured her spinal cord in a breakaway roping run in Ft. Pierre, and Emilee needed a goat horse within moments of the accident. She would have won the state title, if not for the goat getting up at the last second. The achievement was surprising, because, “she wasn’t a goat horse at all,” said Pauley.
Mattee college rodeoed on Foxy for a semester in the fall of 2015. Once she was back in Emilee’s hands, she qualified for the NHSFR in goat tying in June, 2016. Foxy won horse of the year at the state level, and Pauley was 8th in the goat tying on the national level. In July, Emilee took Foxy to the National Little Britches finals to compete in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and breakaway roping. The team placed fifth in the goat tying and sixth in the barrel racing averages. The average placing was special, because, “she hadn’t ran barrels much competitively,” according to Pauley.
Pauley says, “She’s kind of been the main mount, and won three all-around saddles this year.”
“She’s kind of spoiled now, but she’ll still buck once in a while,” Ironically, Foxy hates practicing goat tying. Pauley says, “I hardly ever practice on her. You just jump on her at the rodeos and she’s honest. She just does crazy things in the practice pen in the goat tying.” Whatever Pauley has been doing is working, as she won the goat tying short round at state and is headed to her third National High School Finals Rodeo.
Pauley is a junior at Wall High School, where she is an outstanding basketball athlete.