I have lived in McHenry County, Illinois my entire life. Well, since I was two years old. Horses have been a lifelong love and passion of mine. My involvement with ponies started in the 1960's cleaning up after two little Shetlands in exchange for being able to ride them. As I grew, I was always looking for a way to be able to ride someone’s horse, and exchanged labor for that privilege. In junior high and I met a girl who’s dad was the manager of a facility in Bull Valley, and once again, I labored in exchange for riding. My summers there I was able to be a wrangler most days and that time in the saddle improved my riding.
The facility was on 465 acres and there were generally about 100 horses on the property. Most of them lived outside 24/7. We did breeding, training, hosted shows, boarded horses, and ran a livery line.
I have been the Owner/Manager/Trainer here at Meadowsweet Ranch since August, 2000.
I am a lifetime student of the horse and continue my education about the horse's general management, health, care, and training. I continually strive to improve my own horsemanship skills, as well as my instructing skills.
The long term health and welfare of each horse that lives here is of the utmost importance. It is my goal to keep the horses here as healthy and happy as possible and to provide a lesson program that inspires connecting with horses from the ground up through trust and respect.
At 18 and just a few weeks out of high school, I bought a 6 month old Appaloosa filly from them. When my third child was about 2, I purchased a senior Appaloosa mare from a farmer. Blondie would let me put all three of my children on her at the same time and took great care of them. She’d also let me have my youngest in front of me when I rode. I had to let her go when I went through a divorce.
In 1999 I purchased Kato. He was a 4 year old Paso Fino gelding that became my heart horse. I purchased him for trail riding. Riding outside, enjoying nature is my most favorite thing to do. It didn't take long to realize that Kato was afraid of everything, including his own shadow, and he was a bolter. Nothing I had learned in my younger days was working to stop the bolting. I found a trainer that was willing to work with me and Kato, which led to a four year apprenticeship. And the learning hasn't stopped. I thank Kato every day for leading me further down this path. Kato became an awesome partner and my heart horse. Losing him is the hardest thing I have gone through in my life. He was very special and the two of us had quite the journey.
On March 5, 2017 I adopted Tequila, a 10 year old Arabian Mare with two weeks of training and about 30 rides total from Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation. Tequila has come a long way since she’s been here and our partnership is steadily growing stronger. Tequila arrived being extremely reactive to her environment and not trusting humans very much. I learned with Kato that a relationship is built from the ground, not from the saddle. I enjoy groundwork very much and especially love liberty work. Tequila and I have started enjoying adventures together from in-hand work at other facilities to trail riding in the Gypsum Hills in Kansas.