Shay Hough and Tex – Her Little Horse With A Big Heart
- December 20, 2019
- Tiffany Schwenke
There is something so special between a girl and her horse. It is a bond that is hard to put into words.
In this article I hope to highlight how Shay Hough and her little horse named Tex have let their actions speak louder than their words.
Shay is the daughter of a lifelong friend of mine, Holly Hough. Holly grew up rodeoing with my older sister. Holly was always one to be kind to me when I was little.
I first met Shay when she was about eight years old, at my aunt and uncle’s branding. She was the cutest and sweetest little girl. Like her mother, Shay was good to all the other kids and helped take care of ones younger than her.
Our family ties and friendship go back even further because my dad and Shay’s grandmother Betty Mankin-Hough had grown up being friends as our families have ranches out on the same highway.
Betty Mankin-Hough was a National High School Rodeo Breakaway Champion! Shay’s cousin, Mandy Mankin, was also a National Breakaway Champion. Shay has other cousins and an uncle who are all very competitive in the rodeo arena, so the talent and drive was naturally in Shay.
Shay Hough became a rodeo stand out and people started to pay attention when she qualified for the National High School Rodeo Finals as a freshman on a little sorrel horse she calls Tex. The duo caught even more attention when Tex helped Shay win the NHSRA 2017 National All Around Cowgirl award!!
I recently asked Holly Hough to give us a little background on Shay and Tex…
CS: Please tell us about the partnership between Shay and Tex, and how it has grown.
HH: “My mom, Betty Hough, wanted Shay to be successful and build confidence through rodeo. She saw talent in them both and knew they would make a great team. She took the plunge and bought Tex for Shay.
The partnership between Shay and Tex was instantaneous. They have continued to grow together and Shay has learned to ride Tex well. Their favorite event and the one they shined in was pole bending! Shay came out #1 in the Wyoming State High School Rodeo Finals each year of her high school rodeo career in pole bending! Even accomplishing this her freshman year when she didn’t enter any of the fall rodeos. Which I think is very cool! Shay’s sophomore year through her senior year she was #1 in barrels as well as poles! So qualifying her and Tex for Nationals all 4 years! Freshman year, she was 8th in the world in poles and her sophomore year 2nd in the world in poles by a tenth of a second and 7th in the world in barrels making her the 2017 National High School All Around Cowgirl! Accomplishing this in her hometown of Gillette, WY! Her goal was to have her face on the cinch truck that went to all the rodeos for that year and she accomplished it! Tex definitely paid for himself in the 4 years of high school rodeo!”
HH: “The bond between Shay and Tex is a special one. Shay is about the only one that can go in the corral and catch him with ease! The rest of us, he runs us in circles till we give up! He is her special horse and he gets special care… maybe even a little more than our other horses. She has him at his best year round!”
HH: “Shay is now studying Ag Communications at EWC in Torrington, WY on a rodeo scholarship. Shay and Tex won’t get to show off in pole bending as they don’t have this event at college level but they will be competing in the barrel racing. Tex is a solid horse and we couldn’t ask for anything more. Shay is also breakaway roping at college rodeos on her other horse we call Whiskey. I think she’s excited and enjoying this new chapter in her life! Rodeoing is her passion and she does it well.”
HH: “My mom did get to see her win National High School All Around Cowgirl and that will forever be in our hearts! It’s too bad she didn’t get to watch her passed the fall of 2017. Forever my mom’s legacy will live on in Shay and Tex! AQHA Horse Of The Year in WY two years and Reserve National AQHA Horse Of The Year 2018.”
Shay Hough had this to add…
SH: “Tex (Chic n Smooth) came from Mattie Hepp, where he was trained in the barrels and poles, and was even roped on a little. The first time I ever swung a leg over Tex, I knew it was meant to be. It took us a little time to get used to each other, but as soon as we did, we were unstoppable. I have never had a stronger bond with a horse than I have with my Little Tex. Every year, we become a little stronger, accomplishing things I’ve only ever dreamed of. He’s the definition of a one in a million horse and has truly been a huge blessing in my life and my best friend.”
Further background on Tex from Mattie Hepp –
MH: “Dave Bliss bought Tex out of BLS to be a dude horse. My uncle was working for Dave at the time and started using Tex on the ranch and as a pack horse. They thought he had potential to go farther as an athlete so Dave asked if I would like to have a “project”. Run barrels and poles on him, rope some calves then he’d take him back to BLS and sell him again.
I got him the summer I was going into my sophomore year of high school (2008). He learned both patterns really quick so I decided I would try running poles at a high school rodeo. Dave said I could keep running him through the high school rodeos to season him. I think it was my junior year at Christmas, he sent me Tex’s papers with a note saying we were such a great team and it would make his heart happy for Tex to be mine and I could do whatever I wanted with him.
So we ran poles through 2011. Then ran barrels in college through 2014.”
Tex is obviously a little horse with a big heart who has now enhanced the lives of two young cowgirls.
I know it will be fun to watch Shay and Tex at college rodeos and beyond! This is quite the pair! I know they have more success ahead of them!
About Tiffany Schwenke
My family has been ranching and raising horses for over 100 years. We raise, train, and market AQHA horses at North Four Mile Creek Horse Ranch. We produce the annual event WYO WILD RIDE RANCH RODEO. I am a wife and a mother to 3 amazing...