The Four Sorrels of Riley Webb’s Summer Run Dream Team
Heading into Fourth of July, Riley Webb will mount up on an enviable arsenal of red horses.
Riley Webb dismounting sorrel horse Boots during calf roping run
Riley Webb primarily rode Boots during his record-breaking-earnings season. | Click Thompson photo

Defending Tie-Down Roping World Champion Riley Webb of Denton, Texas, has stocked his trailers with great horses and has two rigs zig-zagging the continent throughout the 2024 Fourth of July week. We talked with him about how he selects which horse for which rodeo, and what they’re doing for his career.

Because this kid—with the help of his string of solid teenage horses—has catapulted himself to extreme heights in just a few years. Webb was the National High School Rodeo Association champ in 2020, became the Resistol Rookie of the Year in ’21, made his first NFR in ’22 and won the gold buckle in ’23, obliterating Shad Mayfield’s regular-season earnings record in the process. And keep in mind, he’s still not 21.

The easy one: Rudy

Webb’s gold-buckle horses, ironically, are all sorrels with bald or strip faces (he keeps them happy on the road by feeding ADM’s Powerglo and MVP’s Gastro-Plex and Exceed 6-Way). The latest weapon in his rise to the top was 11-year-old Rudy, the horse he picked up last August from Lane Livingston. Together, they built momentum in the Northwest that carried through the NFR and all winter. This spring, Rudy got to rest between Houston and Greeley.

“I’ve had so much confidence in him,” said Webb. “He’s just so easy. He always goes the same speed as the calf, whether it’s running or just loping. He stays at the perfect distance to rope their neck. He just runs to the proper spot every single time.”

The speedy one: Titus

On Rudy, Webb went 6.9 in the third round of the last NFR. But he’s actually clocked faster. A couple of years ago, Webb threw his hands up in 6.2 seconds at a jackpot in Texarkana, and that was on Titus.

Titus was Webb’s No. 1 horse his rookie year and got the call for half the go-rounds at the ’22 NFR. That sorrel is the oldest at 17, and Webb’s ridden him the longest.

“Titus likes to run around and buck a lot,” Webb said. “They’ve all got their own funny personalities. I like them all.”

Webb’s traveling partner, defending Resistol Rookie of the Year Dylan Hancock, also planned to ride Titus a bit over the Fourth. Hancock was riding Rudy when he won San Angelo this winter.

The record-breaker: Boots

Then there’s also 15-year-old Boots, the horse Webb rode at his first NFR in 2022, and most of last year. In fact, that was the gelding responsible for Webb’s record-breaking earnings last season.

The all-around unicorn: Paint

Riley Webb winning Red Bluff in 2024 on Paint. | Hailey Rae Photography

Finally, in April, Webb bought his fourth horse, Paint, 15, which he took to California this spring. On Paint, Webb won a round at San Angelo indoors, then went to the West Coast and won both Red Bluff and Oakdale outdoors. Looks like Paint is one of those unicorns that works well in all setups.

Which horse is Riley Webb riding in 2024, and where?

How does Webb choose what to ride, and where—especially with all the money up for grabs over the Fourth?

“It seems like Rudy is good everywhere,” Webb said. “And Boots is good. With one rig in Greeley and one in St. Paul that will also go to Calgary… I ain’t got it completely figured out yet.”

When the Paint is fresh, he said, he’ll pull the jerk line off and take his spurs off sometimes. It just depends on the setup and the calves. That horse pulls a little more, he said. Boots’ first step is a little slower, while Rudy’s first step is fast. So over longer scores, Rudy can cover 10 feet of that 16-foot box right now. On him, he needs to see a little more at the start because Rudy gets across the line so fast.

“I like Rudy in big outdoor arenas because he covers so much ground,” Webb said. “Boots works tighter and is good on smaller calves and faster setups. When I pull my slack, he keeps the rope tight with no delay.”

“I’ve rode them all so much now, I kind of a have a feel for how to score them all and don’t need to think about how to ride them,” he said.

With Webb and fellow former high-school champ Mayfield both on a heater already this year, it’s shaping up to be a heck of a battle.

Who’s who? If you watch Webb on the Cowboy Channel this week, you might find it hard to tell which sorrel he’s riding. Just so you know, Rudy has more white on his face and is built longer from nose to tail. Boots is more compact in build. And Titus is taller with a longer neck and a strip on his face. Paint is, well, pretty obvious.