“I am changing the world one person at a time.”
Kylie Fowler at Fleetwood Riding Academy of Topeka emphatically evaluated her equitation business.
“There are a lot of horse trainers, but I am a people trainer. I teach people of all ages to become better riders, improve their all-around horsemanship abilities,” Fowler explained.
“My goal is really quite simple; I want to see one genuine smile a day, because they are so rare. If a student rider flashes a smile, I am satisfied with what I’m doing for them, their horse and the world,” Fowler insisted.
“My love is connecting riders with their horses,” she emphasized.
For clarification, “Equitation is the art or practice of horse riding, or horsemanship.”
“More specifically, equitation refers to a rider’s position while mounted, and encompasses a rider’s ability to ride correctly, and with effective aids. In horse show competition, the rider, rather than the horse, is evaluated,” Fowler accentuated.
While many lay people might initially think of Fowler as a cowgirl, because she’s a girl who rides horses, that is a misconception. Kylie Fowler is an “equestrian, a rider on horseback, a horsewoman, a woman skilled in equitation.”
“I specialize in equitation, technically equitation over fences. That is why I can teach different disciplines, because all of the basics are the same. Eyes up and hands down are my motto,” Fowler said.
“I’ve always loved horses and grew up with a horse in my back yard,” she admitted.
Daughter of Nile and Kate Fowler, Kylie and her family lived near the Topeka Roundup Club facilities west of Topeka. “Mom grew up riding bareback, but she had transitioned into riding English and jumping. So, Mom has to get credit or blame for my initial start with horses,” Fowler said.
However, her dad is allergic to horses and hay, so stays away from the barns much of the time. “Still, Dad is a cool guy; he’s the one who keeps me grounded,” Fowler said. “Dad was a buyer for the City of Topeka, loves to hunt and has always been a gunsmith, which is his retirement hobby now.”
With an older brother, Garrett, mechanic and salesman at 4×4 Land, a four-wheel drive and off-road vehicle center in Topeka, Fowler adopted her mother’s main traits, and her brother those of their father.
As children, our requirements were to learn to ride horses, shoot guns and drive manual transmission pickups. So, Garrett knows how to ride, but never did like it. He likes Jeeps. So, we’re both in our dream professions,” Fowler said.
Competing in Pony Club shows at a very young age, Fowler claimed, “I was going over jumps, before I ever even cantered a horse. It’s still a long standing joke between me and Mom, that I would say, ‘A trot is fast enough for me.’”
Remembering her first horse took a second. “Patch (Houlihan’s Bar) was not really my own, but our family’s horse, that I did a lot of showing early on. I was 11-years-old before I actually got a horse with my name on the papers. We call him Ziggy, but his registered name is Fleetwood, and I still have him. He’ll be 29, next month. He is the reason I named my business Fleetwood Riding Academy,” Fowler explained.
Obviously close to her heart, Fowler added, “People told me I should use farm or stable for my business name, but I like riding academy.”
Crediting her mother emphatically for teaching her about horses, Fowler said, “Mom has always been my biggest inspiration. She’s always maintained her amateur status in the horse show ring, but she’s a professional horsewoman in reality. I still depend on Mom for advice and assistance in my work with horses and training horse people.”
Additional early riding lessons for Fowler were from Jane Schweiger, head trainer at White Fox Manor in Kansas City.
A Washburn Rural High School graduate, Fowler became acquainted with longtime vo-ag instructor Jerry Vandervort.
“Jerry and his wife, Ingrid, own and operate the nearby Rocking V Equine Center. I started riding there, still do today, and now give lessons out of the facilities,” Fowler inserted.
While loving riding and jumping, Fowler said, “I’ve been showing horses all of my life, but I’ve actually never really been a very competitive person. I’m more interested in riding my horse to the best of my ability so my horse performs at the peak of his ability.”
However, the horsewoman collected numerous horseshow awards in the American Horse Show Association, now called the United State Equestrian Federation. “I qualified for national competition in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, three years, and competed in The AHSA Medal Finals,” Fowler pointed out.
Highlight accomplishment for Fowler was winning the yearend medallion finals in the Missouri Horse Show Association equitation over fences testing including jumping three-foot-three-inch fences.
Noteworthy is that Fowler has also been successful in competitions over fences up to four-feet high.
A member of the Virginia Intermont College Equestrian Team at Bristol, Virginia, the first year out of high school, Fowler said, “I’m not much of a team player, so that only last two semesters.”
Then, she started working for David Q. Wright, renowned Grand Prix rider at Hunter’s Court Stables in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “I was there two-and-half-years, and that is where I finished my training techniques,” Fowler said.
“While I was at Hunter’s Court, I helped train the Vanderbilt Equestrian Team. That was a challenge, a 19-year-old teaching riders my own age and older,” Fowler admitted.
Her life’s career was set in stone. “I actually started teaching riders when I was 16, to a girl who’s five years younger than I am, and she’s still one of my students,” Fowler said.
Today, Fleetwood Riding Academy has 40 students, ranging in age from four to 68. Most of them are female, with only a half-dozen male students.
“There are all levels of riders. Some are weekly students, others come every other week, or even once a month. About a half-dozen go to the shows, competing in a couple every month, a lot of them at the ExpoCentre here in Topeka,” Fowler said.
Fleetwood Riding Academy with outdoor riding facilities is located on her parent’s property. However, Fowler also gives lessons regularly at Rocking V Equine Center and at the Lee Hart Training facility, both nearby.
“I finish horses, and only for my students. I don’t take other outside horses,” clarified Fowler, who has four horses of her own.
“There are three lessons horses and my retired Ziggy, who hasn’t been ridden for ten years,” she noted.
“Evolution of riding is what keeps me rolling,” Fowler concluded.