Ready to meet another Inspirational Western Woman?
I’m thrilled for you to get to know this gal. She hales from my hometown, Spokane, WA, and is such a kind, generous lady. For years, she hosted an Extreme Cowboy horse event I was able to participate in with my horse, Bucks Superwind.
With that . . .
I’d like to welcome one of this month’s Inspirational Western Women, Susan Rae.
My Mom said to me about 50 years ago, ”Susie, you will never get out of the horse S___!!!!!”
No truer words could have ever been said about this horse-crazy kid. My love affair with horses began at the age of 10 when Mr. Joe Kent of the Flying JK Ranch in Mead, Washington agreed to lend us a horse for the Summer from his band of broodmares.
He was the principal at my Dad’s school, and had said, “Let’s just see if she really is serious, if she still is crazy by the end of the Summer, you’re in for a lifetime of horses!”
My Dad was my first riding teacher, and he was terrific at teaching many skills and veterinary care and helping me live my horse life. I did 4-H Valley Broomtails, I gamed with Blazing Saddles, I have camped, have shown performance and halter, and I have raised a few nice babies.
My husband Rick, who I met in grade school, shared my passion for the outdoors and animals and was my constant support and companion. We found our dream Farm on 160 acres on the Four Mound Prairie in SW Spokane, WA, and began our next chapter.
I was working in radio at that time and made some terrific connections with all kinds of people in my work life and one of those was Richard Shrake. He and his wife suggested I think about producing a Horse Expo in the area and offered to lend a hand. I talked to my husband about it, and he never faltered.
“You can do it,” he said, “and I will help you too.”
Richard introduced me to Charles Wilhelm and Van Hargis and from there, in 2001, I started to build my Ride the West Horse & Ranch Expo. ,
We brought in an incredible collection of horsemanship talent, vendors, quality merchandise, beautiful breeds of horses, and entertainment to the Spokane Fairgrounds with the help of my dear friend Fair Manager Dolly Hughes. She truly supported the horse industry in our area.
Big R (North 40), Gus Johnson Ford, and Huber Trailers jumped on board, and away we went.
Josh Lyons, Lynn Palm, Ken McNabb, Al Dunning, Carole Mercer, Daniel Stewart, and Clinton Anderson were just a few of the fabulous trainers we brought to Spokane, as well as highlighting our local talent: Ann Kirk, Black Rock, Steve Rother, and Back Country Horsemen.
I had found my reason for living!
I fully planned to continue this endeavor throughout my life and after I reached 5 years, I knew we had made it. Unfortunately, with the recession of 2008 and the following years, we completed our 11th year and called it done.
But the best part of Ride the West was my 2006 introduction to Mo Gunderson, a spunky 68-year-old lady who owned Storybook Farm Ponies and 36 Shetlands. It is Mo and her ponies who changed the course of our lives, and we have never looked back. It has now been 17 years that we have introduced toddlers through Senior citizens to the Magic of Our Ponies.
From Princess Parties to beginner lessons and Walter’s Fruit Ranch to Broadway Court, our Ponies have taught, entertained, and loved the sweet faces of so many children and adults, with a nose to touch, a mane to bury a face in and a broad back to carry them to Pony Heaven!
But there was a tragedy in all of this.
On a beautiful Sunday Morning at the Farm in March of 2015, I lost my husband to an aneurism. To say my world ended that day is an understatement. I will never get over it, but I am getting through it with the help of my dear family, friends, and my Army of Angels on Earth.
My biggest warriors come in all colors and sizes with names like Miss Daisy, Hershey Kiss, and Tinkerbelle.
Their kindness and love surround me every day and they are still spreading their Magic Pony dust on my heart.
Susan Rae and Story Book Farm Ponies