From the Archives: The Power Ponies

From the January 2019 Issue

Kathy Mitchell was born and raised in a beach town where horses aren’t allowed within city limits.

Her family inherited their first horse, “Kate”, when she was 18 months old.

“She was my grandfathers, out of his morgan mare by a Doc Bar son down the road. She was his head and ranch horse, and the only horse he ever bred, raised, and trained,” she said.

“She made more grown men and trainers cry than any other horse I’ve known. She was big, stubborn, strong, and a little crazy,” she said. “She gave me my first everything, to my first bad wreck. She taught me humility, which is something you don’t see enough of today in the horse community.”

Kate was boarded at a facility with the family’s retired cutting horse, ER. It was at this facility that Kathy was introduced to Lesley Mitchell, who introduced her to team penning.

“My sister was the first to try it and fell in love with it instantly,” she said. “I switched over from western pleasure to team penning around seven years old, won my first buckle at nine on Kate.”

Kathy learned ranch sorting from James and Remy Greer of JR Productions.

“I didn’t take it seriously until I was about 15, at which point they allowed me to crash on their couch and ride with them day in and day out to improve,” she said. “Getting that saddle time both in the arena and in the pasture with them is what gave me whatever level of skill I have in this sport.

Her fleet of horses includes Bet Hesa Star and Pay The Bet. 

Western horseback riding

Bet Hesa Star, “Wilbur”, is a four year old gelding by Bet Hesa Cat and out of a Hickoryote mare. 

“He is definitely a quirky one! He’s smooth as glass to ride, but being bigger he’ll leave you behind on a cow if you don’t pay attention,” she said. “Outside he is one of the most fun horses as he’s always aware of surroundings and covers ground like no other.”

Pay The Bet, “Miss Piggy”, is a four year old mare by Bet Hesa Cat out of a Sixes Pick mare. 

“She is probably the smartest horse I have ever met. She can take apart a portable pen in 10 minutes, escape almost any stall, and unties anyone you tie her next to,” she said. “But this comes in handy as you only have to show her something once and she’s got it down. She’s also great outside and great to be around, not a mean bone in her.”

The twenty year old’s favorite accomplishment is the 2018 #7 USTPA World Championship.

“It was my first time to go and on four year olds nonetheless. I qualified on Wilbur who had only been in this sport for five months and won in the final round on Piggy at her first show ever,” she said. “I had so many people help me in both preparation for the show and at the show that it really felt like a team effort.”

Team penning champions

A personal goal of Kathy’s is to graduate from college with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

“I’m also in the process of getting my real estate license within the next year,” she said. “Horse wise, my main goal is to keep these two and work with them to the point where I can have two finished young ones to continue to hit these bigger circuit shows with.”


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