I was raised on an 1100 acre cattle operation in Olathe, KS. Horses were a valuable asset to the cattle operation. We would use horses for many of our daily tasks such as gathering cattle for shipping, moving cattle to different pastures, in addition to roping and doctoring cattle in the pasture.
I knew at a very young age that horses were my true passion. Pasture roping was what led me down the path of rodeo competitions and helped me develop the skills needed to be successful in the calf roping.
Although my father had extensive knowledge about cattle, he knew very little about horses. His philosophy was simply point the head in the direction you want to go and say “gitty up.” He was very supportive of me and my brothers’ desire to compete in calf roping. He built us an outdoor arena with roping chutes and also went to the Bivens Ranch in Texas and bought us five 2 year old fillies that had never seen a human being. (This was quite an adventurous story in itself, but I will save it for another time.) When I was 16, I won the American Royal Registered Roping riding a 2 year old quarter horse gelding that we raised from one of these five fillies.
To not only stay competitive, but to train horses successfully I soon realized that the more control I had over my horse’s body parts the better they would perform so I started studying Dressage movements. This was the key to my success in my roping, training, and instructing career some of which are listed below;
- Winning the URA calf roping finals
- Winning and placing in numerous calf and team roping competitions
- Training numerous calf roping horses of which two were placed with World Champion Calf Roper Joe Beaver
- Starting numerous warm blood Dressage horses of which one was selected to be the first American bred 6 year old to represent the USA in the Germany championships and another went on to compete in the Rolex
- Instructing students in dressage movements of which one student went on to win the Young Riders Eventing Championship in Kentucky and another student won the Youth Reining at the Morgan Nationals
I am self-taught, but if you ask me who my first professor was I would say Barfly Skip. This is the 2 year old quarter horse gelding that I had won on in the American Royal. This is the horse that gave my daughter the opportunity to learn how to ride; he was my ranch horse, and my competition calf roping horse. He died at age 33 on the ranch.
Because of God’s grace, hard work and dedication to my passion, support from my parents, students and clients, and realizing at an early age that dressage movements are the keys to better horsemanship, I have been fortunate to make a living in the horse industry.