I Sur-Thrived 2020 (part one)

Updated: Jul 6

Say what you want about 2020, but man oh man has it changed my life. I quit my job, I've had family struggles and I lost love this year, but I can't remember a time I've been more honest with myself or focused on making my life exactly what I want and need it to be. I've been wanting to get "back into" the horse world for a while and boy did I do just that this year. So here goes! This was my 2020, part one.

Let's start with Sister

I got Sister and Boo (you'll meet Boo a little later) in a surrender a few years ago, so in January I resolved to dip my toes back into the "horse world". I put Sister in training with a local cutting horse trainer to see what kind of horse I had. Needless to say she did not disappoint. I decided to start her on the barrels and see if she may make my daughter a high school rodeo barrel horse. Spoiler Alert! She didn't have the goods to make it at the big show, so I started using her around the ranch and I put her up for sale. I had a few people come out to look at her, but she was going to have to go to a very specific home. Well as bad luck would have it she pulled up lame and after a few vet bills we figured out she had a strained suspensory ligament in the hind, which is pretty serious and requires a 6 to 8 month recovery. I ended up rehoming her in December to a family that was willing to wait with her through her rehab, and I'm happy I found her a nice loving home.

Emil's Shoe Store

After talking it over with my dad in December I decided that I would be able to quit my previous job and come to work for him in the family business. FINALLY! I have kind of assumed that this is where I would end up for, oh I don't know... my entire life. The dream in my head was that my dad would retire and live happily ever after and I would run the store and all that jazz. So, we cohabitated at the store just swell for three months and then the COVID crisis hit.

Well as some of you may or may not know I have two beautiful children. Two beautiful children who were suddenly distance learning in my kitchen.

It wasn't an easy decision, and it caused some strain on mine and my dad's relationship, but I chose to be home with my kids during this time. I'm glazing over some of the details here, but I'm going to end with I am extremely lucky and blessed to have such a supportive dad.

We accomplished some pretty awesome things while I was there though. We completely re modeled the inside of the store and breathed some life into the store. If you're ever in Woodland CA. stop by and pick up some work boots or have your shoes repaired. FUN FACT: Emil's Shoe Store has been in the family with the same store front for over 66 years!


Boo's Story is very short. Like I previously mentioned I put Sister up for sale, remember that? Good, because that's important. I got Boo along with Sister and in April I decided that I would bring her out and get her started and see what kind of horse she was going to be. Well she was going great and I actually was really starting to like her and then one day a lady came out to try Sister and they really weren't a match so she asked me if I knew of any other horses. I told her about Boo and she tried her, and that was that. She took her home and they're tearing it up in Northern Ca. I'm still in touch with her and I see the duo on Facebook all the time.


Boo Leads us to Nikki. This is where "dip my toe" back into the horse world turned into "I jumped head first". The family that took Boo mentioned that they had an OTTB that they bought from a lady and were interested in parting with her. After checking out her papers I (a) knew a

million times more about Thoroughbred pedigree's than I did to prior and (b) decided to make Nikki part of the family.

My plan with Nikki was to breed her to a working cow horse bred stud and bring up a baby with a big motor and some cow horse agility. So I found a really nice stud and we're expecting a baby Nikki in late April this year.


Birdie is a one of the first steps toward a bucket list goal that I have set for myself very recently. My goal is to raise, train and campaign a horse and qualify to the NFR. Now, she is "cow horse" bred and I understand that they are not the "favorites" as far as high caliber barrel horses are concerned, but that's the kind of horse I like; and they have graced the Thomas and Mack in years prior. So we shall just have to wait and see. Who knows, maybe Nikki's baby will want to chase cans. It will be interesting to see if I can make it on either one of these prospects. As of right now though Miss Birdie is only 2 this year and won't be started under saddle until at least the end of 2021.


The impulse purchase of this year is a 5 year old Mustang mare I named Khaleesi. Shout out to all of my GOT fans out there!

I've always been intrigued by wild horses and I've always wanted to have one just to say I had done it, so this year I did it. She had all of the ground work done and she was extremely gentle. I plan on getting her pretty well broke and selling her eventually, but only if I find her a home that has an appreciation for mustangs. Who knows she may be one of my good ones. I will keep you posted.


I even found a horse for my mom this year so she could get back in the saddle with me!


One of the biggest blessings of my life this year was the volume of kids that I found with an interest in learning more about horses and learning how to ride! As soon as the pandemic hit and kids were entering into distance learning (therefore they're stuck at home with few options for outdoor activities) I opened my little arena for horseback riding lessons. I ended this Fall with over 12 kids a week coming out and learning with me. It was such a neat accomplishment to watch these young kids grow up a little and improve their horsemanship skills over the season.

… PART TWO coming next week. 2020 was too big a year to fit in one Blog. Come back to here about Broken J Bar's rodeo adventures, brush with fires, remember a great horse with me and see some of my favorite memories from last year.

I love hearing from you! What was something you accomplished in 2020, and what is one of your goals for 2021?