One of the first things people get wrong about Angie Meadors is her age, and not just because she’s retained the stunning beauty that launched her modeling career 20 years ago.
Meadors made a living running barrels for a full 10 years, then spent 10 years after that forging a new career as a successful trainer—and she’s just 33.
As a teenager, she competed at her first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 1990, and counted five qualifications to rodeo’s Super Bowl before hanging up her full-time rodeo hat in 1999. Then, a decade ago, she switched gears from running seasoned rodeo horses to schooling just-broke 3-year-olds.
"I liked the challenge of training the younger horses," she said. "And I was burned out on the rodeoing. I got tired of being gone all the time."
Meadors brought plenty of experience to her new career as a futurity trainer. She’d already ridden three different superstars to the NFR, including Heza Classy Osage ("Streaker"), Flaming Might ("Dunny"), and Dudes Compadre ("Popeye").
And she was in the midst of qualifying for her sixth NFR on a fourth horse—Ramblin Troubles ("Beau")—when the National Barrel Horse Association world champion went out for the season with an injured shoulder.
Tricks of the Trade
Feed: Grass and alfalfa hay; whole oats
Supplements: Formula 707 products
Shoeing program: Rims on front; slicks on back
Other therapies: Chiropractic and massage therapy
Saddle(s): Coats; and her new line from Master Saddles
Saddle pad: Impact Gel and Cutter Collection
Leg gear: Pro Equine
When she’s not modeling or styling hair, Meadors is horseback at her 20-acre place outside Oklahoma City, in Blanchard. Riding unproven prospects was a new challenge, but Meadors has already matched her rodeo success in the futurity arena.
"There was a lot I didn’t know, and I still learn something new every day," says Meadors, who gleaned advice from trainers such as Bo Hill and Talmadge Green. "I looked up to people who kept those horses going a long time, because it’s hard to do. You can get colts to make a few good runs, but it’s that solidness that’s hard to get. It takes a lot of time and patience."
Meadors’ first big futurity winner was Runnin Red Lites ("Ticket"), a big sorrel colt that earned more than six figures starting as a 3-year-old in 2005, when he swept both rounds of both juvenile futurities held that year.
"To think that horse could go and win that kind of deal as a 3-year-old," recalls Meadors. "I remember telling somebody, ‘This is as good as the NFR.’"
In the past couple of years, she’s returned to the futurity winner’s circle several times with VF Blazing Lights and Boogie Woogie Jones. Her latest star pupils, Famous China Doll and Chargen Ta Fame, made a big splash last fall as 3-year-olds and hold a lot of promise at this year’s futurities.
Meadors, who is sponsored by Grey Daniel Ford and Wrangler, has a new line of saddles coming out from Master Saddles, and has achieved enough success to have caught the attention of horse owners now hiring her to ride. Those include Chris and Angie Jean, who own 2008 futurity standout Fantasia Fame ("Fanny"), and Matt and Bendi Dunn, who own Mulberry Canyon Moon.
Fanny, now 6, earned more than six figures at futurities in 2008, and has been in Meadors’ trailer headed to the pro rodeos all winter. She’s being hauled alongside 7-year-old "Mulberry," the winningest futurity horse of 2007, on whom Meadors won the short round at Fort Worth in February.
Competing on young barrel horses is paying off for Meadors even more than modeling, an industry in which she’s appeared in at least 10 magazines, including Vogue, Seventeen, and Western Horseman. But she didn’t step out of professional rodeos because she didn’t enjoy it, and she’s one to watch in the 2010 world standings with Fanny and Mulberry.
Placing fifth at Fort Worth on Mulberry Canyon Moon
In this picture, we’re a little far into the second turn and I’m trying to sit deep and guide the mare on around. By using my body and looking at the next barrel, I’m really trying to get her to sit down on her back end. That’s what will help her finish the turn so we can make up some time after finding ourselves a little deep into the barrel at this point.
As you can see, she’s really down and responding to what I’m asking her to do. She’s just getting ready to make that move to come on around, so I’m just sitting deep trying to let her do her job. I’m also squeezing with my legs to keep her moving forward through the turn. She is such a quick-moving mare, it’s very important to keep that forward motion in her.
Winning Winning an IBRA Slot Race on Fantasia Fame
This photo depicts the positioning that I like and the form that I want all of my horses to use. Notice that Fanny is close to the barrel and is in great position to go on and finish the turn. She’s really standing up well and not leaning. You can tell that she ran all the way up into her pocket, then set her inside leg and is in great position to finish.
I’m trying to roll my hips downward and back, squeezing with my legs to keep forward motion, which triggers her to go ahead and make her move to leave the barrel. I’m also applying steady pressure to the inside rein, keeping my outside rein loose. And I’m sitting up straight, which means I only have to move my inside hand using very light pressure to help her finish the turn.
Placing at the BFA Juvenile Futurity on Famous China Doll
This 4-year-old Dash Ta Fame filly is very confident, and is what I call very "gritty"—she gives 100 percent every time. She’s in great position here, and I’m just trying to sit down in the saddle, stay out of her way and guide her around. As you can see, I have just a little inside leg pressure and am using my spur to keep her ribcage up and her body shaped around the turn.
I feel it’s very important as a rider to pay attention and be aware of your feet. And if you use spurs, really think about the cue that you might be giving. I see a lot of riders who apply pressure when the pressure is unnecessary, and it can cause problems. If you can’t control your feet or aren’t very aware of how they’re affecting your horse, it’s better not to wear spurs.
For more information on Angie Meadors, visit www.angiemeadors.net.