My entire life I have had a deep passion for horses. My mother rode saddlebreds when she was young, and as a child I loved to hear about riding and horse shows. I started lessons at Hoof Beat Ridge, and Mrs. Bennett let me come on weekends and clean tack for $0.50 an hour to earn the $4.00 it cost me to ride. When we moved to up to the Fox Cities I was able to get my first horse. Not the smartest move, an unbroke 2 year old Saddlebred. We made a lot of great memories ( and a few trips to the ER). After a while I got a new Quarter horse and trained her western and began barrel racing. The stable I worked at rented horses, so I would spend 8 hours a day in the saddle guiding trail rides, then go out in the woods at night to play tag, and to a speed show every weekend. Those were the days...
After high school, it was off to college at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse to become something "respectable". I had to sell my horse and that nearly broke my heart. I missed riding so terribly that I started lessons with Lois Heyerdahl across the river in La Crescent, Minnesota. I never wanted to do anything that didn’t involve horses, so I finally left La Crosse for UW-River Falls and enrolled in the pre-vet program. In the ‘70s UW-Madison did not have a vet school, and the only way I could afforded college was with instate tuition. The U-M Minneapolis had reciprocity for only 16 students, so getting accepted into the program was a crap shoot. The barn manager position opened up at the farm where I grew up, so I moved out there and began training.
I trained and showed horses and managed that stable and a few others for years until I purchased my own farm in Greenville, WI. I had 25 borders, gave lessons and trained there until 2000. With our second child on the way, my husband and I bought the family farm in De Pere, WI and have been here ever since.
We boarded a few horses at the beginning and grew to a 40-horse stable. I watched owners struggle with issues like arthritis, navicular, stringhalt, heaves, and laminitis in their horses. There were many other ailments that came with age, and it was always heartbreaking to watch the horses suffer, and the emotional and financial struggle their owners went through.
As our kids grew up, they had more of an affinity to trail riding than showing, so that is where life took us! I gave a lot of lessons and helped many kids learn to enjoy horses. Some moved on to show barns but I know they will always remember the fun they had with horses were when they first started. We have 13 school horses and a small handful of borders. Penny Griesbach joined us a few years ago and brought her sunny disposition and love to the barn. We teach the general public as well but are moving to emphasis on our F.A.I.T.H. (Finding Abilities Instinctively Through Horses) Program. We help at-risk youth find confidence, and children with Autism learn daily living skills through horsemanship. We are also launching a program geared towards veterans.