Bayleigh Melton – Up Before the Sun, Riding Toward Perfection

Bayleigh on horseback

Beyleigh Melton, 15, of Springtown, TX, has been riding horses all her life. By age 8, her parents knew she had something special and enrolled her at Curragh Equestrian. It didn’t take long for Bayleigh to know that she wanted to start cutting horses, so she started working with Kyle Hooper of Hooper Cattle Company and Clint Allen with Clint Allen Cutting Horses. At just ten years old, she competed in her first cutting competition and made it all the way to the finals. “I was hooked after that!” she says. After that, she decided to start reining cow horse and ranch versatility. “This would give me the opportunity to work cows and work on my horsemanship as well.” Bayleigh explains.

This year, at fifteen, she felt like she finally hit her stride with competition. “This was really my first year to try 4-H.” she says “I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on all of these wonderful opportunities for so long. Wise County 4-H is such a great group of people.”

Bayleigh has also moved into the area of horse judging, and found it helped her confidence and public speaking skills. “I’ve learned so much this year. Especially from my horse judging coach Haley Shurden.”

It’s been a challenging road for Bayleigh to get here. In 2020, at only 13, she started showing with her then four-year-old mare, Peaches. “Learning to show with a four-year-old at the age of 13 was definitely a challenge.” Bayleigh explains.

The challenge, she says, was worth the lessons she learned along the way, especially when it came to developing her horsemanship skills. “I feel like things really started to come together with my mare Peaches this year. I’ve also been extremely excited to start working with my 3-year-old Blue.”

She continues, gushing about her “best boy” Blue. “My parents purchased Blue (Blues My Boy) as a yearling from the western blood stock sale during the summer spectacular. He is a son of High Brow CD by Blue Quilena. He is just a super cool horse. I love love LOVE him!! I can’t wait to start showing him in some derby classes next year.”

Along with Blue, Bayleigh just doesn’t have enough good things to say about her trainer, Tom Neel. I owe a great deal to Mr. Neel. Not only has he taught me how to ride and show cow horses he has been my greatest mentor.” She says “He’s taught me a great deal of life lessons. He’s even worked with my grammar and math skills as well. Every time I have a lesson, he asks me what I did in school. Then he we go over some of my educational skills before I start riding. He is more than just a trainer to me. I consider him to be part of my family.”

Bayleigh’s passion for riding is evident in her dedication to practice and training. “I try to ride every day as long as the ground is not wet.” She says “I bring both of my horses to Tom’s at least once a week usually on Saturdays. I also try to ride with him at least one day after school as well. On those days, my mom picks me up, I grab a snack, and we head out to Millsap. If I have a big show coming up I usually ride with Tom as many days as I can before the show.”

This passion and dedication are also why she takes great care in choosing what to feed. Hi-Pro Horse Feeds, especially Alfa-Pro, are what she trusts most. “What I love about Alfa-Pro is that it’s a great all in one feed.” Bayleigh explains “Plus, it’s a whole easier than trying to haul hay with you on the road! I feel like it makes my horses coat really shine.”

However, her schedule isn’t just about horse shows. Along with attending school, Bayleigh is active in track every day and works on horse judging once a week.

“I’m no stranger to waking up in the early hours of the morning to work horses!” she says “In order to make sure my horses were prepped and ready to show, during the heat of this summer I woke up at 5:30am so would be ready to ride by 6am before my mom goes to work. If I go to Tom’s I try to get there early as well.”

Her friend and teacher Kyle Hopper also has her out to his place to work cattle, which only helps to refine her skills. “Sometimes we wake up at 3am so we can make sure the cattle are worked by noon. Then we take an afternoon nap and work horses in the evening. By the time horses are worked and chores are complete it could be as late as 10 or 11pm.”

This schedule does not dampen her spirit, though, or her passion for horses. “Early mornings, long days and hard work are all just part of showing horses. You just do what needs to be done to make sure you’re horses are prepped and ready to go.” She says.

Bayleigh’s many show wins this past year aren’t slowing her down a bit. “I absolutely cannot wait to start the new show season next year. I will be showing peaches down the fence. I am extremely excited to start showing Blue as well.” She says. “It feels really great to win or place well, however, at the end of the day I know there will always be another show and I will always have things to work on. The strive for perfection is never ending and it is what motivates me to continue to work so hard every day.”

Hi-Pro Feeds is proud to support enterprising youth in agriculture. For more information on our horse feeds, click here. For more information on the Texas State Horse Show Scholarship program, click here.