Taylor Davis Loves the Thrill of Riding
Story and Photos By: Taylor Davis
The year was 1991… Just kidding! We aren’t going THAT far back. However, a little introduction… My name is Taylor Davis and I am an off-road enthusiast, horse trainer, barrel racer, photographer, and then some. People who know of me think I’ve been a part of these sports my whole life. Contrary to popular belief, I was not born into an off-road or even a horse family. I was a lake girl with a need for speed! I grew up riding and launching myself off of Sea-Doos. Sitting behind the handlebars of watercraft was where I belonged. In fact my very first ticket, received at about 9 years old, was out on the lake. Turns out they don’t like underaged drivers by themselves on a watercraft… Who knew? Needless to say, I acquired my boating license when I was 13, with more than enough years of experience on the water. I would go out and burn a tank of gas and find the big cabin cruisers for the best wake to jump or ride on windy days for the thrill of it.
Jumping into the off-road life, the earliest memory I have was out riding with my dad and flipping a 3-wheeler going down a hill. I don’t even remember who’s 3-wheeler it was, or how old I was. However, my step-dad played a bigger part, as far as my dirt life. I remember when we moved into a new house as a family and seeing his trophies sitting up on the wall from racing dirt bikes. We used to go out to Apex to ride, and my sister and I had a small blue quad to share. Eventually, we started going out to Dumont Dunes and I haven’t stopped going since.
My Dad eventually moved me up to a Trail Blazer 250. Remember what I was saying about the 3-wheeler flipping? Because of that, I had a fear of going down hills. Well, it was that 250 and my step-dad who finally fixed that. I remember that day so clearly, conquering a fear. I always rode fast, but it was then when it all opened up for me—the joy, the thrill, the wanting to be fast and keep up or beat the boys. Then the wheelies came…
I tried to wheelie that 250 so many times. I would see my step-dad wheelie everything, and I wanted to wheelie too, dang it! So, I finally moved over to my Mom’s 400EX, and my step-dad taught me how to wheelie. That was all I could think of doing when I rode. I wanted to wheelie across camp as he and my brothers did. Eventually, I was on a Predator 500, which was mine and my dad’s to share. Wheelies were so much easier! However, I would always get in trouble when I tipped it upright. (Parents, am I right?!) I did drive an old dune buggy here and there—absolutely loved it, and of course, I had to try and jump it! Well lo and behold I got in trouble for that too. My dad and stepmom are not a fan of me getting wheels off the ground, but I can’t blame them.
Fast forward to my senior year of high school, I discovered horses and dove into the sport. I had no training or knowledge other than what I read online. Somehow my step-dad agreed to get some horses and had his friend come out and help me. I learned to ride on my own, for the most part, or we would go on some CRAZY trail ride. Once I graduated from school, I apprenticed under a reining trainer. Holy cow! I knew NOTHING, but he saw potential in me. Hours of riding, blood, sweat, tears and no pay, and I loved every moment of it! Horses are a huge part of my life and something I fought for and dedicated many years to. I eventually had to stop apprenticing to work, but I found another trainer later and apprenticed with her for a long time whenever I had free time.
Alright, I think it’s time we jump to what we are all really here for, that crazed UTV life of mine! Five years ago I convinced my boyfriend (now husband) to look into buying a RZR. We knew we needed one in our lives, and quickly picked up our first XP1000. We got some gripe from parents for spending money on such a thing (yes, even adults still get crap from their parents). That RZR brought me into an amazing UTV/off-road community. I have gotten so much help and met some amazing people. I have had some people doubt me, I’m sure, but rarely do I feel like I am looked down upon. Especially coming from a women-dominated sport such as barrel racing. I find off-road is easier to be in. Then, there is my husband. He has been my number one supporter and competition in this UTV journey, alongside some amazing friends of ours! It’s been a whole new world for me, and I love being the girl that goes on the “boys” fast rides, and it’s just normal.
Unfortunately, a few years ago, something happened. I still don’t know what caused it, but I started to have anxiety attacks. I was one who always thought people just weren’t tough enough if they had them. Now there I was, torn from doing activities I loved. My anxiety would trigger while riding horses, and driving the RZR. Two things I was most passionate about and I couldn’t do them. Sitting on a horse or in the driver seat, being mentally locked up and unable to move or snap yourself out of it is a terrible feeling, and I don’t wish it on anyone. I could still passenger in the RZR, but the driving stopped, along with being unable to ride most horses. That dream of being a horse trainer was abandoned. I kept fighting though, and still am! Over the past couple of years, I have been able to get back behind the wheel, and more recently regained my confidence in the saddle. It was not easy coming back, I will tell you that. Still, to this day, I have my moments where I need to stop and breathe, but I don’t quit. I feel like UTVs played a pretty big role in overcoming that anxiety because I felt like I couldn’t be a badass just in the passenger seat!
I actually managed to get my own Can-Am X3 XRS a couple of years ago and have slowly transformed it into a dream car. I have also taken on another dream of mine, off-road racing. I am thrilled to be heading out this season in my X3 for the DP4 series! Hoping one day I can be out with the big boys in BITD. As soon I can swing it, I will! For now, you’ll see me racing my husband in the dunes, desert, or out on a racecourse, or anyone who wants to race for that matter. If you see our UTV dust cars out there, come say hi! Oh, and yes, I wheelie this one too.