Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

One Stride at a Time

By Noelle Schleiger

When I was a little girl I was very shy, quiet and not confident at all but…. I told my mom “If it has fur I just love it and want it”. I remember my mom telling me when I was seven we were moving to Berthoud. I was faced with leaving my only friends and move to a place I knew nothing of. I was sad and worried. My mom assured me it would all be for the best with a “deal” that I was very excited about.

The “deal” was I could go to a horse riding camp, and if I liked it I could take riding lessons. My mother, being a teacher, looked over many ranches with such a summer camp program and picked Sun Pony Ranch in Berthoud. She meet a small, spunky, dynamic woman “Ginger Fedak” who had so much knowledge and personality. When my mom came home and informed me she had signed me up for camp at Sun Pony Ranch, she said “I totally like this women and trust her program”.

I went to my first summer camp in 2007 and rode a horse named Joey. I was hooked, I had a love for horses that was just indescribable. I told my mom this is all I want to do. I want to ride horses my whole life until I am an old. I took lessons, leased Romeo and began my journey into the equine world.

At the Fun Show!
Holiday Parade 2008 on Romeo

Flash forward 8 years, wow how my life has been influenced by Ginger and Sun Pony Ranch!  I look back in time and am just amazed at how mounting up my first time on Joey at Sun Pony Ranch was a destiny dot in my life. I own three horses now, an English jumper “Blitz”, a western all around great gelding “Avalon” and a western reigning horse “Loretta Lynn”.

Blitz was my first horse and Ginger and Tiffany (an instructor at the ranch) worked with me in learning the responsibilities and training of a young “green” horse. To say Blitz and I had some ups and down is putting it mildly. However, Ginger and Tiffany were always there supporting, teaching me and mentoring me through this learning experience.
Next step was to become a Rodeo Queen! 

Lori Berg, who’s daughter came to Sun Pony for lessons, told me that Rooftop Rodeo was looking for a Queen. Ginger thought I would be perfect.  I wasn’t so sure but thought it was a great way to meet people in the equine world, learn, and participate in the world of Rodeo (which I always loved). But, Blitz was not the right horse, so we started looking for a horse that would work in that setting. We heard about Avalon and Ginger went with us to check him out. Well, this time I think it was she who feel in love with him.

He was a barrel horse and Ginger had been a barrel racer back in college so the connection was instant. For three years Avalon and I traveled the Rodeo Queen world. He took me through tryouts and I won - thus becoming the 2015 Rooftop Rodeo Queen. Ginger and Sun Pony Ranch supported me every step of the way.
It would seem that horses are like chocolate they are all wonderful but there are many different flavors. Loretta Lynn is one of the best. You see, I’ve met a wonderful man Rich Smidt who is an original, old time cowboy with knowledge that is just incredible. I met him at a cow cutting clinic through Rooftop Rodeo and Gary Cleveland. We hit it off- I instantly respected him and wanted lessons with him. However, he didn’t just work with anyone -- only serious, lifelong riders. About seven months and I found out that he was looking for me because he thought he had the perfect horse for me and wanted to see if we fit together. I went out rode Loretta, it was love at first ride!

The desire to learn from Rich has me currently training her and working with Rich to learning cutting cattle, western reigning competing and all the other vast information that this man has to share about training, and understanding “reading” horse behavior and learning to “ride a horse the way they want to be ridden”.

Currently, I am working at Sun Pony Ranch as an Assistant Barn Manager, instructing lessons, camps and keeping an eye on the heard. I never thought 8 years ago when I stepped onto Sun Pony Ranch, it would be one of the most influential destiny dots of my life. It has opened doors, and providing learning opportunities that have made my life wonderfully blessed and doing what I love.

Ginger is the mentor of my life, she is an inspiration to me in everything I do. Finding Sun Pony Ranch with all their support, love, and knowledge has been a life experience of unsurmountable value. Working with Ginger, Tiffany Knight, many wonderful camp/lesson counselors has been heartwarming, fun and the best of what life has to offer. What a fantastic journey I am on.



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