Team #439: JoAnn Wegenke and Hesa Grand Slam
Team #439 – JoAnn Wegenke and Hesa Grand Slam
Ages 76 and 26
Combined age 102
When I was young, I discovered horses. I bugged my dad to buy me one as I was sure we could keep a horse in our garage in town. I could never convince him. As I aged, I still wanted to ride. I was fortunate to be able to work at St. Mary’s outside of Glacier Park, Montana, when I was 19, where they offered trail rides. Every day off from the kitchen I spent at the corral learning what I could. The old cowboy who ran the corral realized I was serious and taught me to ride. A few years passed and I started to work for the company that ran all the horse venues in the park. I cooked on pack trips in Glacier Park and into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It was so incredible. I could ride all day and still in the evening. I never got tired of it or the beauty of the mountains.
Then I fell in love with a Wisconsin State Trooper and married so no more trips to Montana and Glacier Park. Kids came and my third was a girl. She discovered horses at a very young age. Her brothers would not play horse with her, just GI Joe. Every one of her GI Joe vehicles carried horses.
Then she came up with the need and passion for a horse. She started lessons at nine and I stayed for each one so I could learn with her. When she was 10, we were able to buy a POA for her that was big enough for me to ride also. We shared years of lessons, showing, and traveling together. Memories were made and I wasn’t riding but sharing the joy. When she was 15 a friend bred a foal for her. His name was Hesa Grand Slam. I imprinted him at birth and he is now my buddy and takes very good care of me when I ride.
When I attended a Western Dressage show to help out, I fell in love again with horses and showing for myself. This was something I could do and build on what I knew. My daughter and her friends included “exceptional rider” classes in the shows and I was the first to sign up. The joy is the same as when I was 19 riding in Glacier Park. You are never too old to do what you love. You might have to make adaption to how you do it, but being with your best buddy of 26 years and making memories with your daughter is worth it.