A Little Bit About Karen & Dave
Karen started training and showing horses as a young teen and became involved in the Buckskin horses after raising them from her great mare, Adrienne Bar Beau. Karen went to school at UW-River Falls, and Lakeshore Technical College, and has a degree in Equine Management, in addition to having a Bachelor's degree in Business. She worked at a feed mill as a Certified Equine Specialist, and holds seven judging cards, including the American Buckskin Registry Association judging card. She attends judging seminars including the "Color Breeds Seminar in Oklahoma City, OK, to keep up with the showing standards. She has been involved in the Quarter Horse Industry for over 40 years. When she worked for a feed company in the equine nutrition department she also set up a tack store at the feed mill. She is well versed in many areas.
Karen has competed in the Wisconsin Quarter Horse Association, the International Buckskin Horse Association, and the American Buckskin Horse Association. She is a lifetime member of the American Quarter Horse Association, Wisconsin Quarter Horse Association, American Buckskin Association, International Buckskin Association, American Paint Horse Association, and the Foundation Quarter Horse Association.
She has shown horses to such titles as: World Champions, Honor Rolls, Register of Merits, and ABRA Champions. She currently exhibits offspring from her ABRA Stallions. She has competed in Western Pleasure, Halter, Showmanship, English Pleasure, Hunter Hack, Trail, Western Riding, Reining, Working Ranch Horse, and Speed Classes. She believes in all around horses and breeds for horses that can go in many events.
Karen is a Level 3 Richard Shrake Trainer. Karen believes in furthering her skills in her riding and training program in an effort of continuing education. She attends various seminars in order to not only keep up with the new techniques, but also to continue in her learning abilities.
Karen's husband Dave is a crop farmer. Dave grows everything from corn, wheat, straw, hay, beans, vegetables and oats. They also raise beef cows and pigs. In addition Dave builds pole buildings (Huber buildings). And yes, Huber buildings built the barns and are rebuilding our current facility.
Karen and Dave have two children, Mark (4) and John (6). Their children are very involved in farming and the horse farm.
And a note from Karen on her life in horses:I started riding horses when I was 5 years old. My mom & dad purchased a pony for us kids to ride. He was a Shetland that had spent too many years not being ridden, and was in a pasture with cattle. I will never forget my dad telling me that when you ride them you need to be the boss. If they buck you off you get right back on. I watched in horror as my dad got bucked off at least 5 times before that pony was worn out. My dad was pretty tuff! Well that pony not only bucked us off, but he bit us, stepped on our toes, kicked us kept running away. I remember dad would take our big Buick car and when he caught him he would tie the rope to the door handle and would drive slow while the pony trotted next to the car home. We didn't have a trailer. How none of us ever got hurt bad is beyond me. Through all that with the horrible pony we had, I was the only one in my family to still have the love of horses.
After that I rode with a stable that allowed us to ride for free if we showed up with a red shirt and a hat by 6am. I had to peddle my bike about 4 miles to get there, so I got up very early to do that. We rode bareback and it was a way to exercise the horses, although we had to allow them to eat as we were riding them. We would ride all over and through the river. You have to be a good rider to ride bareback, so I learned that way. It also taught me to "feel" a horses every move.
Then my mom and dad bought me my first horses as I was the only one in the family with the horse bug. We didn't know a lot about horses so they went to a stable that charged $100 to find a horse. That was a lot of money back then and it was our first experience of being "ripped off" in the horse world, because what we bought was not safe. We bought a Quarter Horse mare and her foal. The foal was about 6 months old and was ready to be weaned when we bought him. The dam I started riding and taking lessons on. She was petrified of everything. She could spook and shoot 20 feet sideways in 2 seconds flat. When I trail rode her I learned to be a good rider because I had to be able to stay in the saddle as she went on her terror runs. My arms hurt so bad after a trail ride from pulling on the reins to slow her down. She wanted to run 100 mph all the time. I couldn't have a conversation with another rider because she was always running sideways and spooking. I learned early on what I didn't want in a trail horse. When I went to give her a bath the hose was a snake and she would panic, busting anything I tied her too. She could sit back on her haunches and pull with the best of them, throwing her body from side to side. Back then Hamilton halters were guaranteed not to break. There was nothing she could not break. She wouldn't tie….period. We even tied her to an inner tube from a tractor tire tied to a tree where she pulled back & it sucked her back in. She would pull and pull, give up a little while, then start pulling again. Eventually she could even break one of those. If I had to clip her it was extremely dangerous. She would rear up in the air and fly over backwards. Trying to get a twitch on produced the same results. One day I raked up a pile of manure next to her and made the mistake of leaning the rake up against her. In 3 seconds flat that rake was in 2 pieces flying across the barn, as she twisted her body around to kick it because it moved when she moved. Trying to load in a trailer was over an hour ordeal with me being more worn out than the horse, and her being all banged up. My first experience of that was when my 4-H leader came to pick up my horse, only to load her on the road because she didn't know how to back a trailer. I went to the clinic that day with my horses legs all skinned up from flipping over backwards. She also knew how to buck well and could spook at things I never saw. To show her at a horse show I had to show up at the show about 2 hours early so I could get her used to the arena and the announcers stand without freaking out. I would ride her for an hour before the show to "wear her out" so she was good in the show pen. One day a judge came up to me at a county fair and told me something I will never forget. She told me I am such a good rider, and I do a good job of covering up the mistakes of my horse, but that this mare would never take me far in the show ring. That's when I decided I needed to sell her. I also had her foal and trained him when he was two and he was much better than her, but lacked the quality and good mind I wanted. I learned early on the importance of disposition. I don't know to this day how I did not get hurt with this mare. I believe the Lord was in keeping me safe and showing me what I needed to do. As a young kid I learned early the importance of disposition and quietness in a horse.
Horses are a passion and I put my heart and soul into learning as much as I could at an early age. I watched the winners at the shows and read every book I could about horses. As a young teen I bought a very expensive mare by the name of Adrienne Bar Beau, who was an own daughter of the famous horse - Beau Bonanza, out of Miss Bar Toad. I bought this mare as a 3 year old, and she was not started under saddle and I trained her myself. She was extremely easy to train even though I didn't know a lot about training. I'm proud to say I used my babysitting money and money I had saved up from birthdays to buy her. Not only was she a quality animal out of World Champions on the top and bottom, but she also had an extremely easy going sweet disposition. Nothing fazed her! That mare proved to be an amazing mare who could win a big halter class of 100 horses and go on to win Western Pleasure, and English Pleasure in the same day. I was also in 4-H and showed this mare at the county fairs, and showed at the 4-H state level placing at the top of my class. This mare went on to win approximately 100 highpoints throughout her show career. In addition I could put any child on this mare and send them in the show pen. This horse would listen to the announcer and do what they said - walk, jog, lope, stop, reverse, you name it. The kid just sat there and won the class. This mare is the foundation of my breeding program and I still have prodigy going back to this mare.
When I took this mare to a horse show I would tie the reins around the saddle horn and she would stay right where I put her. When I went to a clinic I would do the same thing and when she was at the trailer she stood at her hay bag with just a halter and lead over her neck untied. One day I was at a clinic at UW - River Falls with her. I met a girl named Tammy Koenig, after I watched her on her horse that flew all the way across the arena running sideways as fast as it could, over and over again. I got to know Tammy as she watched in amazement the way my horse acted. When we took a break I rode outside by my trailer, tied the reins around the saddle horn, while leaving my horse near my trailer, but untied, and walked to another barn to get a drink. This mare didn't move a leg. I walked about 500 feet or more to the building that had the drinks, and I couldn't see the horse from there. When I came back about 10 minutes later there she was still there. I will never forget Tammy standing there with her hands on her hips saying, "Really - wow!" That's when I had a conversation with her about horses because she had a horse that was just like my first, and I sure did not miss that! Lol! Jack Brainard from Texas would instruct our classes. He has several great western books he published. He wanted to buy my mare in the worst way but I would not sell her. I went to these clinics every year for several years. Most years I also bought her foal. I will never remember one year Jack looking at the foal I tied to the wall & asking whose foal that was. He couldn't believe I could go to a clinic with a mare and tie the baby to the wall without the mare or the baby going crazy.
I started breeding this mare and would raise one baby a year from her and then sell the baby. Those babies were so broke because there was only one of them, and I had plenty of time to do lots of things with them - by 3 months they had shown, been clipped, washed, ponied, had been in a trailer, etc. The babies from this mare had amazing temperaments, athleticism, quiet dispositions, and willing attitudes. I selected sires with those attributes. This mare is the sire of my stallion I stood for 20 years - One Impressive Beau. He too had this amazing quiet and sweet disposition, great athletic ability, and a willingness to please.
I started giving riding lessons and training horses as a young teen. I loved to help people after what I had been through with horses. Breeding quiet good quality horses with great minds became a passion for me. I didn't want anyone to go through what I did, and didn't want anyone to learn the hard way like I did. My parents got us horses to keep us out of trouble and it certainly worked for me. I didn't get into much trouble because my horses were my everything. I remember when I started dating sometimes I would just say no to my boyfriend about going out on a Friday night because I wanted to be with my horse. I remember one boyfriend driving by the barn (obviously not believing me) but yeah…..I was there with my horse! My dad told me when I was 18 & ready to graduate from high school that I should sell my horses because they were a luxury. He was raised a farm boy and got us horses to keep us out of trouble, but now I was grown and need to "move on." Well, I never moved on! I was too addicted to get rid of them, so that's when I created my business and started training for others, buying & selling, giving lessons, and obtained more judges cards. I was smart - I lived at home with mom & dad as they had a small barn & pasture there. I was able to save money towards my passion. My dad figured out I was not moving on when I bought a brand new Ford Dually and custom ordered a 40 foot horse trailer with living quarters. He was a plumber and placed plumbing supplies all over the driveway by the barn so I had a hard time getting my trailer backed in there. I think he wanted me to get frustrated and get rid of it. It was like a trail course and I learned how to back with the best of them.
My dad grew up on a farm and was an extremely hard worker and instilled those great work values in us and taught us to be "tuff." Being German, I will say he passed that on not only in heritage, but the will to have determination and great work ethics and that anything can be achieved. Anyone that knows me knows I can outwork the best of them. Lol! Sadly my dad passed away from cancer in 2005 and I miss him every day. I know he is looking down on me and pushing me to work hard for what I want in life. I thank the Lord I grew up with wonderful loving parents who taught us the value of great work ethics and determination. My dad always said, you can have whatever you want out of life - you just have to work for it!
I started judging horse shows before I graduated high school. Every spare moment was spent getting my hands on books and information to learn more about horses. Early on I went to shows just to watch the winners and learn. My parents didn't have a lot of money for lessons so I learned by watching and reading and trying. This determination is the basis of the foundation of my program.
When I bought my first farm my dad did not want to help with getting a loan at a bank. He was afraid I would go broke like a lot of horse people do. I went to about 10 banks before I found someone that was willing to give me a loan. He said if I could prove to him I knew what I was doing he would give me a loan. I brought in pictures of my horses I had won the world with and he let me have that loan. Six years later my father was at my farm and said to me, "wow, you are really doing well here." I had a 13 acre farm and had 65 horses on it. I owned about 12 at the time and the others were training horses, horses in for breeding, and boarders. I had to add on to the current barn to accommodate the horses. I told him I was outgrowing my facility and needed to buy something bigger. My non-horse loving dad was so proud of me he offered to help with a land contract (mortgage) on 80 acres that was on the next dead end road. I also had a loan at the bank for the barn. I designed and had built a 50 stall barn with an arena that was 81 X 180. Attached were living quarters and a clubhouse. One aisle was 300 foot long and the other was 200 foot long. People looked at the way I designed it and couldn't figure out some of the things I did. I made it as labor free as I could. (The current owner said he thought it was the dumbest layout when I built it, but then they bought it and he said to me: "I have to say you are a genius with the way you designed the building, as you thought of everything!") This building was almost an acre under roof. Here is what it looked like:
This barn is in Salem WI and is currently operated as training and boarding facility. During this time period at both of my farms I trained horses (rode up to 16 horses a day), boarded horses (at times having up to 60 boarders), stood stallions at stud, foaled out mares, customers horses and my own - I had around 15 + mares (the cameras were set up to view in my bedroom so when I was in bed I got little sleep - lol), gave lessons, did birthday parties & day camps, leased out horses, put on clinics, had horse shows at my facility including ABRA Sanctioned shows & bought & sold horses.
I put my farm up for sale after meeting my current husband, the love of my life. He is a farmer and he had his business in Watertown so I moved an hour & a half north. At this point I was burnt out. I worked 18 - 20 hour days for so many years. I told my husband I wanted to get down to about 6 horses. So I did and got rid of all my broodmares. I kept my stallion and only bred to outside mares and continued bringing him to the horse fair. Other than that and judging horse shows I was taking a break from it. During this time I had two children. Slowly I got my horse bug back. I always said some day I was going to get a silver grullo horse, so in 2014 I bought a 1 month old grullo colt. I showed him at the world show, won the world, and I was hooked again! That same year I also purchased a weanling Champagne Grullo colt as a future stallion prospect. Also at this time I started buying good quality broodmares and started breeding my own mares again to my stallion, One Impressive Beau. See his page on what a phenomenal horse he was - truly one of a kind. Sadly in October of 2015 someone burned my barn down with my most valuable animal inside, and I lost one of the best horses I ever owned. It was one if the hardest things in my life I have ever dealt with. I also lost all my tack (I had 25 saddles), all my equipment, golf cart, and more. The night of the fire we had to move horses that were near the barn and didn't even have a halter and lead rope to do it. We used towels to move them by wrapping the towel around their neck and leading them. My two stud colts were near the barn and they were late yearlings then. They handled being led with a towel like a dream. I will never forget this tragedy and the mark it left on my heart. I was ready to throw in the towel I was so devastated, but the Lord quickly made me realize he had great plans for me, and with the Lord and the support of my family I have slowly picked up the pieces of my heart and have been given a great amount of determination and drive to "do this." The Lord has showed me that no one can take away my passion and my dream of raising good quality, colored, quiet horses. Unfortunately we were underinsured by $30,000 and our contents were not covered so it hit our wallet hard. We are slowly rebuilding our new facility and it will be even nicer than our last facility and is being built in honor of our famous stallion, "One Impressive Beau", and all he stood for. Our house is being built on top of the barn. Please pray for us as we work toward achieving our goal of our new facility with a state of the art lab for AI work and shipped semen so we can provide a part of our wonderful horses all over the U.S.
One year and a day before this tragedy my husband fell 10 foot off a building (he builds pole buildings) and fractured his pelvis in two spots, amongst other injuries. He was off work for quite some time. We went thru 2 terrible tragedies very close together.
In 2016 we also acquired a very special stallion - Hollywood Glo Cody. Michelle Phillips ran a breeding operation with top quality stallions and mares, and was selling out because she met the love of her life and gave up everything to be by him in Texas. I am so appreciate to Michelle that she sold me this beautiful boy who has a heart of gold and everyday reminds me of the stallion I lost in the fire with his quiet disposition and beautiful heart. Michelle only bred her mares and to a few friends' horses, so this is the first time this stallion is offered to the public not only for on farm breeding, but also for shipped semen.
The Lord gives everyone special talents and gifts. We just have to figure out what they are. For me it was the ability to have natural talent in horses from a child, and have the "eye for a good horse. I have loved horses from a child on and even collected probably 50 Bryer horses that were on shelves going all the way around my room as a child. There is nothing better for a child than a horse. Kids with horses are less likely to get into drugs as they gain not only confidence from horses, but something to make them happy on the outside, instead of looking for a drug to make them happy on the inside. Before our barn fire I was working on setting up a program to have kids come to my barn & be able to pass on this experience to them. If we can find a way to steer kids away from drugs I would love to be a part of that. Horses give you a natural high unlike anything else. It's a passion and confidence builder for kids that are looking to fill that hole in their hearts. I hope to someday be able to provide this for kids, but for now it is on the back burner.
Today color seems to be the defining factor instead of quality in a horse. I believe quality and disposition must come first, but I breed for rare colors in Quarter horses. Sadly it's hard to find good horses in these colors from a reputable breeder. I have seen horror stories of people trying to buy horses. We will be the exception. We raise good quality animals and have no hidden agenda. We want you to have a good experience with us, as we have been selling good quality horses for many years and have lots of happy customers. We hope to "put some color" with quality into some top notch horses. If you look through my broodmare pages you will see the quality we have in our program. We offer a "design your foal" program where you can choose our dam and our sire for us to breed, to design your very own dream horse. We also sell foals in utero to our quality mares. Or we can breed your mare on farm or through shipped semen. We are also looking into the possibility of frozen semen due to all the interest in other countries with our stallions. Thanks for visiting our site and if we can help you with anything please let us know. Let us help you find your dream horse.