How to Build a Record-Breaking Ruby Buckle Barrel Horse: Michelle Alley’s Lipstick N Stilletos

Here's the key components that went into building the winning futurity horse Lipstick N Stilletos.
Michelle Alley and Lipstick N Stilletos
Michelle Alley and Lipstick N Stilletos broke the Buckles Lazy E Record in the Futurity.

Michelle Alley and Lipstick N Stilletos rocked the Lazy E Arena with a new Pink and Ruby Buckle standard pattern record in 16.476 seconds during the first round of the Ruby Buckle Central Race 2024.

The win is just adding to the pile for the 2020 mare, who won the Golden Buckle futurity in January, one round at the Diamond Classic main event just one week before Guthrie, and placed at a slew of other rodeos, futurities and jackpots since she busted out as a juvenile contender back in November 2023 to amass upwards of $75,000 in LTE after the Ruby victory.

“Stiletto’s just been amazing. She’s everything I hoped and dreamed she would be. Big patterns, little patterns, indoors or outdoors.”

Michelle Alley

There’s no such thing as an overnight success when it comes to the hard game of training horses and competing professionally. Alley has battled financial insecurity due to a global pandemic, injury with a broken hand throughout most of the 2024 season and a rollercoaster ride with Stiletto, but she hasn’t let it slow her down one bit.

Lipstick n Stilletos pedigree

Our editing team has a feeling you’re going to read about this mare on more than one occasion in 2024, so let’s first break down what went into building a winner like Stiletto, because Alley was quick to point out after her win that it’s not just the 16.4 seconds inside the arena that makes a true champion.

The mare: Seis Caress

Those mares, they just don’t give up. They love their job. When they find a job they love, they’re going to give you 150% every time.

Michelle Alley

Stiletto’s dam, Seis Caress earned $230,160 in recorded QData lifetime earnings with Alley before an injury cut her career short. Stiletto is “Saucy’s,” first baby.

MA: Stiletto’s just been amazing. She’s everything I hoped and dreamed she would be. Big patterns, little patterns, indoors or outdoors. That’s how Saucy was, too.

I just love mares. They have so much heart and try. But with Saucy, it was a double-edged sword. She had a knee chip for a long time and we didn’t know about it. She was never lame, it obviously never swelled. So by the time we found out about it, it had done so much damage to the cartiledge. She was basically running on three legs, and no one knew it. She just kept winning. If she was a gelding, she probably would have ran off when it happened and we would have known to look.

The stallion: RR Mistakelly

With Stiletto representing the first RR Mistakelly foal crop to reach running age, it begs the question, “Why bet on a junior stallion for the first foal out of your iconic mare?”

MA: I didn’t even really look at any other horses. I loved watching him run. I saw so many similarities between Mister and Saucy. I’ve always loved the Dash Ta Fames, and (Mistys Dash Of Fame) is just absolutely amazing. I’ve never ridden any Darkelly’s, but I love the race-bred horses. I put a lot of rate into my horses naturally, so that fits me.

I’m excited for (RR Mistakelly’s owner, Robin Weaver) because Stiletto may be Mister’s biggest winner this year, but (Jolene Montgomery) is placing on hers, Brandon Cullins has been winning on his, Craig Brooks has one that’s been pretty nice—for a freshman sire to succeed on those different bloodlines is amazing.

Michelle Alley and Lipstick N Stilletos.
Michelle Alley and Lipstick N Stilletos broke the Lazy E Arena Record at Ruby Buckle Central 2024. Lexi Smith Media

The colt starter

MA: She’s had confidence since she was a baby. I sent her to Robbie Sharp to be broke—I had thrown a saddle on her, and she made me jump the fence ouf of the round pen when she came at me. Nothing scares her. I told Robbie to just make sure he showed her the right way the first time, because that’s how she’s going to do it every time. And he did.

Robbie was an integral part of her start. He’s started multiple great horses for me, and I know I can ride behind him and he does a great job.

The team

MA: It’s such a team effort making these colts, and I think a lot of people get left out in the process. My team is incredible. The vets I work with are amazing. My horse chiropractor, Kim Gillespie, my equine dentist, Jenna Deupree, I would say my farrier, but I’m actually my own farrier. I shoe all of my own.

But I could never leave out Blake and Heather Moeller, Stiletto’s owners. I sold her at a time when all of us, especially us horse trainers, were scared because of the uncertainty that the COVID-19 outbreak brought on and everything that came with that, and they’re just amazing. Heather and I have been best friends for a long time and I couldn’t imagine this journey with anybody else.