My Favorite Old Man
Little Marden, "Marde"
April 23, 1984 - March 9, 2017
Born in New Jersey and raised in Oklahoma, I fell in love with horses very early. I started out showing in Leadline classes, graduated to Walk/Trot, and eventually decided I had a "need for speed"! My family, consisting of Mom & Dad, five children (we would add one more in OK), 2 horses, my pony, and a collie moved to Oklahoma when I was 7. I got Buddy when I was 8, and he and I competed in everything from rodeos and playdays to queen contests and county fairs.
I attended Oklahoma State University, earning a B.S. and M.S. in Agronomy. Upon completion of my degrees in 1993, I moved to Iowa to work for Sandoz Corporation and eventually American Cyanamid Co. in my field of study. Although I loved the work, when I had children I decided to stay home with them.
My husband, Roger (whom I met in college), and I have three daughters. To my delight, all three love the horses and enjoy showing in 4-H and open shows, although they prefer slower horse sports than my barrel racing! We currently own 2 Quarter Horses, 1 Paint, 1 Hackney pony, and 1 miniature horse. Another important part of our family is The Pack: Niko, the Australian Shepherd; Sam, the Golden Retriever; and Paisley, the Black Lab. Along with showing the horses, the girls also show the dogs in 4-H obedience, rally, and agility.
In 2012, I came across information on One Heart Equestrian Therapy and their need for volunteers. Having a brother with severe disabilities and a love of horses, I was very interested in learning more. My three girls and I showed up for a volunteer training, and we were hooked! I could not have imagined then that just three years later, I would be working toward my certification as a therapeutic riding instructor. In 2015, I completed the qualifications, mentored teaching hours, and passed the required tests to receive my certification to teach!
Our experience at One Heart has been amazing in so many ways. One of my favorite things is that it is something my girls and I can do together. We all have our "favorite" experiences. I love the interaction with the clients, and there is nothing more amazing than watching the client/horse bond! I love the challenge of getting everyone involved in the class. Sometimes that means stretching like superheroes or finding just that "most favorite" game. My oldest daughter, Braeden (now away at college), loved trimming traditional Fjord manes, designing marketing material, and served as a backrider and sidewalker. Makenzie loves working with the clients in any way she is needed, especially the younger riders! She is awesome at assisting instructors. Rylie, the youngest and not yet old enough for all volunteer opportunities, often serves as my "arena manager" and is one of the best at it. She and Makenzie both like working with the miniature horses as well.
Along with my involvement at One Heart, I serve as a 4-H leader for the Luther Livewires 4-H Club in Boone County, serve on the Boone County 4-H Youth and 4-H Dog Committees, assist with middle school youth Sunday School at First United Methodist Church in Ames, and work as a substitute at United Community School.
My First Barrel Horse - Bay Bar Dee, "Buddy"
My first pony, Pal
Paisley, Sam and Niko