My father caught two wild black Mustang stallions on a desert near Salt Lake before I was born. When I was five, my family moved to Maryland and my father became involved with the Maryland Western Horse Associationn where I was the youngest competitor in poles, stock horse, pleasure and barrels on one of those stallions. When I was nine, a half Arab/half Mustang yearling filly got her foot over a barbed wire fence, nearly severing it. My dad bought her for $100 and I soaked and bandaged that foot until she healed. It scarred, but she was not lame and we joined 4-H. That horse was a great athlete and I could ride her without a saddle or bridle. My family split apart and I moved to MN when I was 13, but I always had my horse.
Fast forward: I trail rode for over 20 years (far from the show scene) and met Susan Lucas on a trail ride. She suggested I try Versatility. I had an unbroken quarter horse and a stressful job and wanted nothing more than to spend a weekend on my horse. At my first two Versatility Ranch Horse clinics, my horse did nothing but buck.
I made what could easily have been another mistake and replaced the bucking horse with a two year old quarter horse. Through Northern Lights Versatility Ranch Horse Association, I eventually found good advice, good help and some good friends. I remember watching Susan Lucas, Vicky Henderson, Gena Janetka and Lorri Underwood riding reining patterns, cattle cutting and roping and thinking I can never do that. It all looked so technical and well beyond my ability. I kept practicing and asking lots of questions. Imagine my surprise when my four year old and I ended up with a Novice National NVRHA Championship belt buckle in 2010.
I have served NLRHA as Vice President, Expo Coordinator, Event Manager, Marketing Coordinator, and have written several articles about the versatility ranch horse experience. I believe that the program really works. I would encourage any Western Horse enthusiast to discover your and your horse’s true potential.