Hailey Kinsel’s Hot Mare Summer 

Rumors have flooded the internet since Hailey Kinsel made the decision to take off for the summer without DM Sissy Hayday, but she’s back and as strong as ever.

Photograph by Carolyn Simancik

Rumors have flooded the internet since Hailey Kinsel made the decision to take off for the summer without DM Sissy Hayday, but she’s back and as strong as ever.

For the past several years, fans have loved watching DM Sissy Hayday and Hailey Kinsel tear it up on the summer run En route to their three world championships (years) and 2021 reserve championship to Jordon Briggs. 

However, Kinsel mixed it up in 2022 and embarked on an adventure with three unique mares: two brand new faces TR Judges Doll and VQ Nonstop Stinson, and that “other palomino,” that fans grew to love during the winter rodeos, DH Jess Stellar.


TR Judges Doll “Reese”

“We bought Reese as a 2 year old,” Kinsel said of the now 6-year-old mare. “I trained her and know her pretty well. I didn’t enter her until her 5-year-old year because she just kept bucking. I kept trying to get her to stop. Mom has ridden her on the ranch, we’ve roped off her, and I finally was like, ‘Fine, as long as you don’t do it on the pattern,’ then I let her focus on running barrels. She’s still kind of waspy and can be a handful a lot of the time. She’s really starting to come on and be fast, and I think she’s doing great. I was hoping she’d be fast, then when she ran that 17.03 to win fourth at Logan (Utah)–which was probably her fifth rodeo—and I was like, ‘Okay, you’re fast!’”

It should come as no surprise that Reese has speed. Her father is the legendary Judge Cash, and her mother is TR Dashing Badger. “Dolly,” is a 2x Reserve World Champion, 4x NFR Qualifier, Multiple NFR Go-Round Winner, 2x NFR Average Winner, NFR 10 round average arena record holder. Dolly now has offspring by several different stallions and they 100% money winners, with 2 already having LTE’s over $100,000.

Reese placing at Logan, Utah.

VQ Nonstop Stinson “Valentina”

Valentina is a 5-year-old mare owned by Jeff Varner, and she has a few famous maternal siblings. VQ Suckerpunch, “Rocco,” who helped carry BarrelRacing.com coach Cheyenne Wimberley to the National Finals Rodeo multiple times and VQ Im Buzzed, “Big P,” who won Clovis, California, with Abby Phillips in 2022, are both also out of Honor This Nonstop. While Rocco and Big P are by Dash Ta Fame, Val is by Eddie Stinson, a son of Dash Ta Fame. 

VQ Suckerpunch, ridden by Cheyenne Wimberley and owned by Robin Weaver, is a maternal sibling to VQ Nonstop Stinson. Image by Robert Rosales/Natural Light Photography.

Varner approached Kinsel about taking Val down the trail in 2022, and she decided with Sister’s absence it would be the perfect time to take the mare, who was trained by BarrelRacing.com coach and 2-time NFR qualifier Carley Cervi, and futuritied by decorated trainer Kelsey Lutjen. Kinsel wasn’t sure if she would run the mare at first, but gained confidence in her and eventually made the leap.  

“She was hauling so good and handling it so good, I entered her one day,” Kinsel said. “She placed, so I entered her again, and she placed again. Some of it has been funny since she knew futurities with perfect setups and perfect ground but hadn’t been to rodeos, but she’s scrappy and she’s really been figuring it out.”  

Valentina placing at Coalville, Utah.

DH Jess Stellar “Jules”

Fans may remember Jules from her over $60,000 week at the Women’s Rodeo World Championship in May 2022. Click here to learn more about her start at Hodges farms and futurity season with Janna Beam Brown.

“It took us a little while to figure out that she likes running indoors more than outdoors,” Kinsel said. “But she’s been doing great.”  

Kinsel wanted to ensure that Jules had her chance to shine in 2022 since she can sometimes get lost in Sister’s shadow. As she stated back in May after her WRWC win,

“She’s not Sister. She has a name too. It’s Jules. People kept asking me if I’m gonna run her, or if it’s Sister. Guys, I’ve been running her for two years!”

Jules winning second in Casper, Wyoming.

Winning and Learning

Making the leap from Sister to riding other horses consistently was a jump for Kinsel, but she’s learned to enjoy the process and redefine what “winning,” means to her.  

“It’s always good to get on different horses with different styles and stretch yourself as a rider,” Kinsel said. “But, mentally, it’s also different. To go from a horse where you pretty much know if the barrels stay in position, you’re getting paid, to a horse that just gives you a chance—man, a chance to place is a lot different than a chance to win, and you just have to learn that. I don’t know that it’s for everyone, but for me it’s up there on my list of favorite things, to take these horses to their first few rodeos and see how we do.”  

She continued to share how the experience of running Reese, Val and Jules this summer has helped her grow as a competitor.

“It’s been good for me, mentally. Obviously, it makes you appreciate when the good ones are running well and firing and makes me appreciate (Sis),” she said. “It also makes me remember the process of making her, her. I’m remembering the process of seasoning her at rodeos, and we did not place every time. We didn’t turn barrels every time. The first time I took her to Cheyenne, we ran off at the third barrel. This year, I ran off at the third barrel on a young one.

“It’s going back to that process, and I love that process. It is fun, because when it goes wrong, it’s okay. I don’t always expect them to work when they’re going in and there’s a thousand people screaming when we’re running to the first barrel for no reason. It’s different than a futurity or barrel race, so you can’t expect them to win. But when they do put it together, even if it’s not fast, it becomes what you consider a win that day, and it’s so, so rewarding.”