I grew up south of Kansas City, riding whatever I could get my hands on. At the stables they joked that I could ride before I walked. My father would put me on a quiet old mare and leave me in the arena as he and my brother went on trail rides. Eventually, he bought a pony, Keeno. Keeno taught us the rest about riding. This Shetland/Saddlebred cross had the worst of both breeds for temperament and gait. My brother and I tried our best to train the pony before he broke us. That was before first grade. Before long, we learned his tricks and how to stay aboard...some days.
Today, I see photos of him and understand what gaits he was doing. After many scrapes and bruises, I outgrew him and I purchased my first mare with my babysitting money. This mare stayed with me as I worked as a geologist across the western states. My free time was spent trail riding and horse packing into wilderness areas in Colorado.
While working in New Mexico, I met up with Pee Wee Dryden and his Tennessee Walking Horses. Pee Wee had been retired for 25 years by the time we met, and he asked me to train his young stallion. Pee Wee rode beside me on his mare, explaining what gaits the horse was doing and how to keep him in just one gait. That was when I fell in love with this breed and purchased that young stallion after training him for a year. That stallion, "Threat's Dots Star" is the sire to some of the mares on our property. Star died a few years back, and now I am just starting back into breeding Tennessee Walking Horses again.
As a geologist, my horses and I moved across the western United States in search of work. I seldom bred Star to outside mares. With the inconsistency in employment opportunities and abundance of travel, I determined to change occupations. I returned to college and became a science teacher. This gave me the opportunity to pursue my breeding of Tennessee Walking Horses and stand the stallions to outside mares. Now, I predominantly ranch. We run a cow-calf operation. The cattle are at our home in Mack for the winter and to calf. In the spring, we move the cattle operation up into the mountains on the Mormon Mesa Ranch. The horses and I move to the ranch soon after the snow melts. I spend the summer up there irrigating and maintaining the ranch. Lyle stays in Mack to work in town and to take care of the livestock that are still in Mack.
In Fall 2012, we sold the cattle herd due to drought and loss of summer pasture, and in Summer of 2013, I went to work for Mesa County.
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