My Horsemanship Background

While in high school, I trained with PHBA multiple 1st in the Nation Reining Honor Roll Award Winner and Reserve World Champion, and Color Breed Congress Reining Champion trainer Richelle Beene. From Richelle, I learned to treat every horse as an individual-there is no “cookie cutter” training method to force a horse to perform. Richelle also introduced me to natural horsemanship, teaching me to make the right thing easy, the wrong thing difficult, and to reward the slightest try. To learn more about Richelle and equine opportunities in the Northwoods of WI, visit Richelle let me show her horses at PHBA shows (Youth riders do not need to own a horse to show PHBA.) I earned ROMs in Reining, Horsemanship and Hunt Seat Equitation. In 2005 I was 3rd in the Nation-Youth Reining 14-18. I also showed my horse, Tin Tanker, in AQHA shows earning points in Novice Youth Horsemanship, and 4H shows earning multiple Top 10 Awards at the WI State 4H Horse Expo.

WI State 4H Horse Expo with Tank

After High School, I moved away from Rhinelander, WI to attend college at UW-River Falls. There I continued learning through the Equine Program, competing on both the English and Western Intercollegiate Horse Show Association teams. I completed the Colts in Training Class in 2008 and 2010. I took every equine management and western riding class offered, including the Equine Reproduction class, breeding mares by AI, collecting stallions, and foaling care. I graduated from UW-RF in 2010 with a major in Biology and a minor in Animal Science.

My College Graduation Photo

I have applied my “book learning” to the horses in my care. I have worked with horses of all breeds and disciplines, from Quarter Horses to Welsh Ponies and even some gaited breeds. In January of 2009 I was chosen as a trainer for the 2009 Midwest Extreme Mustang Makeover, receiving two wild Nevada Mustang mares that I had 100 days to tame and train for the competition. “Renegade” and “Revolver” tested everything I thought I knew, and taught me a lot in the process. The biggest thing that they gave me was confidence-if I could teach two wild mares to not only accept human contact, but to trust me enough to actually allow me to ride them, and trust me through the commotion of the people packed Midwest Horse Fair and still concentrate enough to compete, then I could accomplish anything.

Competing with Reva at the 2009 Midwest Extreme Mustang Makeover

After graduating from UW-River Falls in May 2010, I went out on my own training horses. I became an IPHDA Professional Trainer, utilizing the IPHDA Patterns to teach both horses and riders basic body control for success in many different disciplines. Horses that I trained were successful as recreational trail horses, in 4H Shows, and at Foundation QH Shows. My biggest successes were with Welsh Ponies-Ponies that I have trained, shown, and/or coached earned over 1,300 WPCSA points in events ranging from Halter, Western Pleasure, English Pleasure, Trail, Low Hunter, and Ridden Welsh Classic, including multiple Top 10 in the Nation and North Central Region Grand Champions.

I continued my equine education by attending clinics with World Champion trainers including Sandy Collier, Richard Winters, and Mike Major. I have become a Protege member of Al Dunning’s Team AD International, to further improve my horsemanship. In addition to riding with other trainers whenever I can, I also am an avid horse training dvd and book learner. I believe that we never quit learning, and since every horse I train is different I find it to my advantage to learn a bunch of different methods and approaches to training.

Riding with Richard Winters at the 2011 Midwest Horse Fair.

Riding Mike Major’s AQHA World Champion mare Black Hope Stik at the 2011 Midwest Horse Fair.

Riding Lesson with Al Dunning Summer 2012.

In the fall of 2012 I relocated to Reedsburg, WI, to my fiance’s farm, and quit taking in training horses.  In January, 2013, I became the luckiest cowgirl on earth, and married the cowboy of my dreams. Special thanks to Mr Dunning, who not only introduced us, but allowed us to have our wedding at his beautiful ranch.

Wedding photo taken by the amazing Charles Brooks.

Since getting married, I have learned a lot about cows and am very involved in running our registered Hereford cow-calf operation. I am enjoying the resulting shift in my horse training too, instead of focusing on show pen goals, we instead focus on training our horses to work our cattle. In July 2014 we welcomed our own little cowboy to our family, which has added another set of tasks to my list, and we are expecting little cowboy #2 in 2016. I enjoy every day working with my family, taking care of our animals, and wouldn’t trade my farm life for anything different!

Cowboy Colton