Five-year-old Piper Yule doesn’t have any secrets for her success in winning trick riding competitions, but she loves to ride horses — the faster the better.
Arguably the best in the world for her age, Piper recently won the Canadian and U.S. national title in the peewee division for 12 years and younger.
“She likes to go really fast,” said her mother Kelsey Yule, whose family farms near Wardlow, Alta.
“I think that’s probably what sets her apart, is her speed.”
Growing up on a working ranch, Piper was riding horses soon after she learned how to walk.
“Our community events are horse focused, so it’s really second nature,” Kelsey said.
“She’s really confident and just kind of a little horseman.”
Kelsey said Piper had to first win over her and husband Wes before she could compete in the dangerous sport, which is known for its daring and gravity defying moves. They were naturally afraid of their daughter getting hurt.
However, Piper’s poise, desire and natural horsemanship gave them the confidence to move forward with her training.
“We just got to the point where she was hanging off the side of her horse when we were riding anyways,” she said. “If she was doing it regardless, we wanted her to learn it as safely as she could.”
So at age four, Piper was enrolled in weekly, three-hour trick-riding classes with coaches Rae-Lynn Armstrong and Niki Flundra, both longtime and well-respected trick riding champions.
Armstrong believes Piper is someone to keep an eye on in the sport.
“Piper’s definitely got the talent for it. For her age, she is very self-driven,” she said.
Piper may get the glory, but one of the keys to great trick riding is having a solid horse.
“She’s mounted very well. She’s got great horses that are a baby-sitter to her,” said Armstrong.
Piper’s natural abilities, along with her training and confidence, shone through while recently competing in the U.S. National International Trick Riding Competition in Lindale, Texas. She rode a mustang horse named Dollar for the first time with less than a half hour to practice.
She competed against the top 15 girls in the United States in the peewee division and won.
“It was really exciting because I got first place and I beat the big girls.”