Say HI to Gus! Heza Supreme Dream – 3 year old APHA gelding

Gus is the newest member of the Wild Cowgirl Horsemanship family.  So happy to partner with this inquisitive, kind, young soul.  Please catch us here or on Facebook as Wild Cowgirl Horsemanship will be hitting the road again in 2018.

Gus and I will also be willing to share our knowledge with a few folks in 2018.  Let me know if you are interested by calling or emailing.

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Bonina Ranch Trail Challenge 2016

Scotch ended his second show by winning the Novice Horse class and placing second in the Senior Horse at the Bonina Ranch Trail Challenge in March 2016.  I was most pleased that we finished the more difficult courses at the end of the event stronger than we started.

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Peppermint Brick Memorial Award

Jokers Magic aka Wyoming   –  20 year old APHA gelding

Peppermint brick award II

Wyoming’s journey with the Zessin Family began in December 1996 in Rock Springs, Wyoming.  We were attending a draft horse and carriage auction.  Instead of bringing a Belgian draft horse home we brought home a yearling paint gelding.  Worth mentioning: It was the first time that it was Gregg’s idea to buy a horse instead of mine.   From the very beginning Wyoming was willing but very independent.  He made a habit of getting hurt more often than all of the rest of the horses combined.  Nothing serious but always something.  He always fit in with the draft horses as if he was one, which I am sure he thought he was.   I got him going under saddle and at the same time we taught him how to drive with the drafts.  Over the years many draft and saddle horses came and went but Wyoming was always in the mix.   We used him trail riding, gathering cows, packed him into the back country and lead a pack string from him, drove him as part of a pair and four up for parades, plowings and even did some combined driving, a driven version of three day eventing, with him.  He has earned awards for his hours, miles and accomplishments with the APHA Ride America program as well as the APHA Paint Alternative Competition (PAC) program.  Wyoming also went through a rigorous process to become a certified equine with the Walla Walla County Search and Rescue Team for about 10 years and was deployed on many searches. These are all wonderful gifts he gave us but they were far from the most important ones.

With a bunch of nieces and nephews around, Gregg and I didn’t see a need to have kids!  From the time that Wyoming was 4 he was the horse that our most precious cargo was assigned to.  He helped to teach them how to care for animals.  He taught them how to be a good leader for him; remember I mentioned that he was independent well he was also opinionated.  He taught them how to work hard as he always comes into the barn to poo and pee and who ever got to ride him had to clean his stall.  He was always there for them to crawl up on and have a good cry when they had a bad day.  He provided the opportunity for them to learn thousands of life’s little lessons and several of them have very fond memories of growing up with him.  One of the most favorite was ski joring with him.  If the kids weren’t paying attention to him while they were swapping ski boots for cowboy boots so they could take turns, Wyoming would take himself back to the barn and wait by his halter in hopes that they were done.   Perhaps some of you have ridden with Wyoming’s most recent pilot, 12 year old niece Makenzie.  They have partnered to win numerous buckles and awards over the past 4 years and developed a very deep connection.  Wyoming’s influence didn’t stop there.

He has touched a few adult lives as well.  Not only was our dear friend, Bobbette, traveling with Gregg and I on the trip to the Draft Horse Sale when we bought Wyoming, she has remained a part of his life throughout the last 19 years.  After an unfortunate involuntary dismount off of Cedo in 2008, resulting in an extremely fast ambulance ride and hours in the emergency room, Wyoming stepped up to the plate and took on the role of guardian while Bobbette regained her confidence and developed a training plan to develop Cedo into the successful competitive trail show horse that many of you may remember from past years of competing here at OHC and other events.

Another fan of Wyoming’s, Mickie Maxson-Box also has a story.  Many may not know but she was diagnosed, in 2005, and lives with Cerebral Palsy.  When symptoms and signs originally started showing up and we realized what was happening Gregg and I offered Wyoming to her to ride.  Her family joined us in being concerned for her safety and wanted to make sure that she still had the opportunity to ride for as long as possible. Wyoming was able to make that happen for her until such time that she was able to regain much of her ability to balance and become independent again.

On September 13, 2008, Wyoming escaped from his pen in the barn and during his romp through the property, he chose a path across some concrete that sent him skating head first into a 4×4 post with his forehead.  The accident also included him getting tangled in some panel fencing and the resulting injuries were severe.  We quickly realized that the accident caused blindness.  After veterinary services, it was deemed that the next 48 hours were critical for Wyoming.   With the instructions that his head had to be kept protected, we padded his pen with blankets and sleeping bags, placed a cot on the outside of the pen, and there I spent the night, with my hand on the lead rope and Wyoming’s nose touching my hand.  We had several close friends and family help us, over the following weeks, provide that level of care that enabled Wyoming to very slowly regain some of his vision, mobility and personality.  Although Wyoming remains with limited vision, especially with objects down low and close, he leads a normal life.

While Gregg and I show ownership on his registration papers we know that Wyoming is claimed, in one way or another, by a very large extended family.  We were just blessed to be the ones to play the role as primary caregivers.

Gregg and I trust and visualize Wyoming’s guardian nature will continue as young new members of the Zessin family, and individuals we might not even know yet, make that step into the stirrup and experience the love of this special horse.

In closing, thank you to the Banks Family for loving and honoring Cowboy for his contribution to the lives of their family.  While preparing for this class the Zessin Family had the opportunity to re-live many of our special times and memories with Wyoming. Your commitment to honoring a special horse created a wonderful laughter and tear filled walk down memory lane for our family, one that we are grateful for.

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Cowboy Mountain Trail Challenge 2015

Another year of Cowboy Mountain Trail Challenge has come and gone. Mickie, Bobbette, Lana and I were in awe of the amazing people who have chosen to spend their time with us. Once again we had to close entries a couple weeks prior to the event and we were blessed with warm sunny weather, lots of wonderful people and amazing horses.

Wild Cowgirl Horsemanship clients did a wonderful job at CMTC. Stephanie Johnson, riding Mackay, walked away with the All Around Cowboy title (open and amateur riders). They competed in 3 days of judged only trail, timed and judged trail, cow work, reining and cowboy pleasure to earn the title. I couldn’t be more proud of them. Stephanie has accomplished another goal and now she can move on to other goals that she has.

Niece, 12 year old, Makenzie Zessin riding Wyoming, moved up from the Cowpoke level to ride on the Cowboy level courses and was the only youth to compete with the adults at that level. She also competed in 3 days of judged only trail, timed and judged trail classes as well as cow work, reining and cowboy pleasure to earn the All Around Ranch Hand title (novice and intermediate riders). Needless to say the apple isn’t falling far from the tree. She likes the timed and judged trail competitions!

Other Wild Cowgirl clients competed and earned many successes as well. There are too many for me to remember, off the top of my head, and they have all made me proud as they accomplish goals and continue down the trail in their own journey with their equine partner.

In closing, I’m blessed to be allowed the opportunity to join their journeys.

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Bonina Ranch Trail Challenge

What a great event to start off the season.   Thanks to Bob and Nina Lundgren for hosting the Bonina Ranch Trail Challenge.

Wild Cowgirls and one wild Cowboy….  aka Bob, did a great job at Bonina.   I was very proud of every last one of them.  Lana and Bob led the charge by winning the Open All Around and Amateur All Around, respectfully.   Stephanie won both the Senior Horse and Gelding classes, Makenzie won the Junior Class and Bobbette, Chris, Sandy, Jenny, Laurie, Christa and Angela all enjoyed personal achievements.

Lana receiving her Open All Around Award

Lana receiving her Open All Around Award



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NW and National Mountain Trail Championships Oct. 31 through Nov. 9, 2014

As trainers and exhibitors we sometimes gauge our success on how much we, or our clients, win.  I encourage us all to look a bit deeper than that.   As we each strive to grow our abilities, and that of our horses, I think we need to put more emphasis on celebrating the little steps as we accomplish them.  They will eventually lead to obtaining a personal goal or a big success.  That was my personal lesson for the season’s culminating mountain trail events at Oregon Horse Center this fall.

All my clients ended the two weekends very successful in my eyes, and several in the eyes of the judges as well.   I’ve said this before but I think it is important to say again. I’d like to encourage folks to look deep inside themselves and ask if the relationship with your horse grew, or maybe you figured out how to get past one difficult hurdle that you had been struggling with.  Maybe it is that you accomplished a simple goal you had set for yourself in the spring.  Ribbons and prizes are great, but they don’t keep you safe and help you to enjoy your time with your equine partner during all the rest of your rides.  Building the relationship and broadening your equine’s boundaries does.

I am lucky as a trainer.  I was able to see personal accomplishments in everyone of my clients over the two weekends.  It was very rewarding to watch as the two weekends unfolded and the numerous opportunities to grow presented themselves.  I do appreciate those that ride with me and I hope that they know how thankful I am for the opportunity to be a part of their journey.

Stephanie Johnson was probably one of the more decorated exhibitors this fall.  The entire Wild Cowgirl Horsemanship team is very proud of her growth this first year of her mountain trail competition career.   Mackay has been a wonderful partner for her to learn from and grow with.

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Stephanie and Mackay present their winnings.

Bob Long has established himself as a strong competitor across multiple platforms including speed and cattle work.  His accomplishments with Wayne and Norm are something to be very proud of.  There is another side of Bob that intrigues me more than his wins.  Even though he can ride like the wind Bob has exhibited his desire to be a life long learner as he continues to grow his skill set and his relationships with his horses.   He is the only guy brave enough to be a Wild Cowgirl!

Bob Long

Bob and Wayne accept another ribbon.


Lana has ridden with me longer than I can remember and nothing made me prouder than to have her accomplish her goal of winning the Peppermint Brick Memorial Saddle.  This is a special class sponsored by the family of Bob and Linda Banks in memory of the very special horse they called “Cowboy”.   Lana bred and raised “Cowgirl” and has worked to prepare for this opportunity for several years.  The Wild Cowgirl team is immensely proud of your accomplishment along with the other championship and reserve championship earnings.


Cowgirl and her winnings


Sam Elliot Zessin, as the OHC crew called him, is making a name for himself.  We found that he has a sweet tooth and loves peppermint candy canes!  I am proud of the growth this special horse has shown in his third career show.   He is teaching me what his definition of the word exclusive means. It appears that I’m not supposed to engage in any other activity with any other horses, and only some people meet his approval.   I had to laugh out loud as we figured out what his antics meant.  I suppose when he picked me it was forever. Sam worked hard to keep up with the seasoned horses and I was very proud of his 3 reserve championship placings.  Two in the Logan and one in the Silverado. I just keep coming back to the fact that special horses can be found under unusual circumstances.

Sam Steps

Sam over the podium

podium moment

Jolinn, Lana and I – Limited Equine Class, Silverado Arena

Bobbette Ewing-Myra is continuing the process of developing another champion.  Peaches was labeled abandoned early in the winter of 2012 at 10 years old.  She was extremely hungry and had not been cared for almost a year.  She ended up at Mickie’s, who nursed her back to health.  While starting her in the summer of 2013 I found a sweet disposition and a willing attitude.  She was terribly fearful and looking for someone to buddy up to.  This is where Bobbette came into the picture. Peaches pretty much picked her from first site.  Bobbette’s calm confident personality and Peaches timid but willing desire melded instantly.  I’m particularly proud of the duo and anticipate wonderful things in their future.

BobbetteMickie Maxson-Box and Outlaw round out the Wild Cowgirl Horsemanship team and they experienced multiple personal achievements this year.  Good job!


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All Around Cowboy – Lewis-Clark Saddle Club

Sometimes we just have to roll with the flow.  I was ready to leave for to the Lewis-Clark Saddle Club annual All Around Cowboy Challenge mid October 2014.  I pulled 6 year old Sam out of the pen and found him lame.  About that same time 19 year old Wyoming was making a raucous playing in his pasture as if to say…. take me, take me, so I did.    Now our niece, Makenzie Zessin, has somewhat taken over the trusty steed, but since she was sidelined with a cast on her foot, I was in luck.

Wyoming did the family proud as he won the All Around Cowboy title and also the Timed and Judged class.  Sometimes the old guys are just better.

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Wild Cowgirl Horsemanship August 2014 Clinic

It was warm but the hardy cowgirls moved their horsemanship forward!  I enjoy watching them grasp new concepts and seeing their relationships with their horses grow.

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America By Horseback – RFD TV

A BIG congratulations to Lana Bland and Cowgirl!  They recently earned the Championship title at the America By Horseback trail competition in Burlington, WA this past weekend.  We knew you had it in you Wild Cowgirl and we are proud. Below Cowgirl is modeling the saddle she helped to win.

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Cowboy Mountain Trail Challenge 2014

Wild Cowgirl Horsemanship clients made us proud June 13 – 15, 2014!  Many of our clients  participated at one level or another and we appreciate them taking the step outside of their normal routine and challenging themselves.  Here is a quick summary:

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Chris Rolf & Cowboy – Senior High Point, Colored Horse & Senior Horse Classes winner – Cowpoke Course

Sandy Goble & Leggs – Runner up Senior High Point – Cowpoke Course   WHAOOOO!

Sue Webb & Quaker – Gelding & Solid Horse Class winner – Cowpoke Course

Trudy Lowery & Gabe – Novice Rider Class winner – Cowboy Course

Sandy Moore – 50 & Over & Ranch Mare Classes winner – Cowpoke Course

Laurie Deyoung & Red – Most Improved (judges pick) – Cowboy Course

Adaile Hille & Comet – First major competition and “She did it!”  🙂

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Bob Long & Wayne – Open Class winner – Cowboy Course

Bob Long & Norm – Amateur and Buckaroo Classes winner – Cowboy Course

Stephanie Johnson & Mackay – Intermediate Horse & Rider and Old Timers Classes winner – Cowboy Course




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