Babyflo Barrel Racer
NOBODY KNOWS LIKE BABYFLO
BY KATIE NAVARRA
Barrel racing championships are won by fractions of a second, consistent performances and total money earnings. No one knows that better than Fallon Taylor and her chestnut American Quarter Horse mare, Flos Heiress, a.k.a. BabyFlo.
Entering the 10th and final round of the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Fallon knew she and BabyFlo had to finish in 14.02 seconds or faster to win the championship title. Sprinting through the pattern in 13.96, the pair earned $15,018.03, bringing their year-end winnings to $276,441.07, enough to claim the 2014 WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer title.
Standing at 14.3 hands, BabyFlo’s small stature captures the attention of spectators at every race. “Her most notable trait is how hard she runs for how small she is. Every person that sees her compete for the first time is inspired,” Fallon said.
BabyFlo’s talents aside, it may actually be her rider’s eclectic and unpredictable wardrobe that is what truly captures the audience’s attention.
“My outfits are made by various artists all over the world,” Fallon explained, “I typically let the fans choose what I wear (through all) my social media outlets.” Vibrant and flashy, fluorescent or tie-dye, Fallon’s outfits are often topped off with a helmet, an accessory not common among barrel racers. “I wear a helmet because of my neck injury (in 2009) and hope it is helping to remove a stigma for others that desire or need to wear one as well,” she said.
This barrel racer’s reputation as a trailblazer began nearly two decades ago as a youth competitor.
At seven years old, Fallon Taylor was the youngest Professional Barrel Racer to become a member of the Women's Professional Rodeo. By 13, she was one of the youngest riders to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo.
As a youth, Fallon dashed her way to the top of the world barrel racing standings riding both Flowers and Money (mare) and Dr. Nick Bar (stallion). Aboard these two horses she qualified for four back-to-back trips to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR), an accomplishment for any rider, but an especially impressive achievement for a young rider.
From those two horses, BabyFlo was born. “She is a result of breeding those two amazing horses owned by my family! She was born on our place and is the youngest offspring by this dynamic duo.” Fallon said.
After an exhilarating career as a young barrel racer, Fallon took time away from riding to pursue a career in modeling and acting. “I did runway and catalog modeling for a while and guest starred on Two and a Half Men, The Loop, The OC,” she said, “I had a role in a movie that came out a while back. I also did horse stunts and trained a trick horse for one of last year’s movies.”
Breyer released a model of BabyFlo from 2016 to 2018.
When Fallon returned to barrel racing, BabyFlo was a young horse waiting to be trained. “She was one of four babies my parents had bred and quickly became my favorite,” Fallon said. Most competitive horses begin their training at two or three years old, but BabyFlo would have to wait until she was five, nearly six years old.
During a riding related accident in 2009, Fallon broke her C-2 vertebrae. Doctors told her there was only a two percent chance she would walk and talk again.
Contrary to her doctor’s predictions, Fallon made a full recovery and eventually returned to riding. By mid-2012, Fallon began training BabyFlo. The mare was a quick learner and eager to please. BabyFlo’s training started on a Sunday, and by Thursday of that same week, she was loaded into a trailer, traveled to a rodeo and entered in her first race. The pair finished in the top of her division even with a less-than-perfect run.
“It was intimidating and terrifying to say the least (to return to riding). I had to really stare fear down and connect with BabyFlo.” Fallon explained, “She and I communicate without words and I know that she always has my best interest at the forefront of her mind when she is running.”
With less than a full year’s worth of training BabyFlo carried Fallon to the 16th spot in the world barrel racing standings. That year, BabyFlo collected enough cash prizes that she was only $700 short of qualifying for the finals.
In 2013, BabyFlo was named Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA)/American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Barrel Racing Horse of the Year, an honor voted on by the top 25 ranked barrel racers in the world. The honors continued rolling in, culminating with the 2014 WPRA World Champion Barrel Racer title.
Fallon and BabyFlo hope to continue their winning ways while bringing the glitz and glam back to rodeo.