Meet the MTRA

Meet a MTRA Director: Diane Monson
My husband Tim and I have lived in Big Lake (Orrock
Township) on a small hobby farm for the past 36 years.
On our place we raised two great young men and a few
horses, dogs and cats.
My love of horses came at a young age, for all I can ever
remember asking for at any gift-giving event was “I want
a horse.”
Well my dream came true when I realized that once I had
a job I could board a horse. So my parents bought me my
first horse for my high school graduation gift in the spring
of 1979.
Quincy was a light palomino, coming 3 yr old, 1/2 Quarter
Horse 1/2 Saddlebred and did I mention that I had been
astride a horse maybe five times? We did have a pretty
shaky start but became the best of friends and had many
adventures together. I sadly had him put down 23 yrs
Since that first horse, Tim (who does not ride) and I
raised and showed Pinto Saddlebreds for 16 yrs until the
then teenage boys needed our time.
Sam, the last foal born at our place, is still with us and was
my trail horse until health issue had him retire early. He is
now a pasture pal, AKA large dog.
His replacement is Bric, a chestnut Morgan
who was to be my ride/drive horse but because
of an accident he is not “yet” a trustworthy driv-
ing horse. He has become one heck of a good
riding horse. We have visited many of
Minnesota’s beautiful riding trails, not to men-
tion doing the “Shore to Shore” ride put on by
the Michigan Trail Riders Association. You ride
across the state of Michigan from Lake Huron
to Lake Michigan—a total of 230 miles in 10
Speaking of driving horse, the only other gal on
the place is Josie, my 18-year-old Haflinger
driving pony. She too enjoys spending time on
the trails but sometimes a gal needs to get all
gussied up and be pretty. Josie and I compete
in Driving Trails (think of a 3-day event in a
horse drawn vehicle), Pleasure Shows and
Sleigh Rallys.
I taught myself and Quincy to drive within the first couple
years and started driving hayrides at a local riding stable.
We even spent many years doing the Camp Courage
wagon train which ended in 2002 after a 25-yr run.
I hope to have many more horse adventures in the years
to come and looking forward to getting to know more
about the MTRA as a board member.
Hope to see some of you out on the trail.
Diane Monson


Meet the MTRA: Alicia Jones

Since we have begun looking at the challenge of ‘re-purposing horses’ It seems appropriate that this issue of the newsletter includes an equine that was neglected, abused and had no hope of a future.


Alicia writes: “My life was first touched by Mouse in July 2004 when I saw him at the farm where he was being fostered at through the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation. His need and desire for someone to believe in him was immediately apparent. Mouse had been adopted out a few times but always returned. His approximate seven years of life had not been easy. He was Pine County #12 under the “Pine County 45” seizure of November 17, 2002 – still a stallion when taken from horrible neglect and he was now with me.



Mouse had no trust, avoided being caught, did not like his ears touched and flinched whenever you moved your hand up near his face. We spent many initial rides at a bolt .. and then a dead stand-still. I would not give up – much different than what he had previously experienced. Time and consistency took hold. Mouse and I pushed and tested and I stood firm in my consistency. We experienced many adventures in just the first couple of years (saddle club, game shows, parades, sorting, Rodeo grand entry), and never gave up. We had respect for each other and mutual trust developed.

Mouse has been my devoted partner for over 13 years now and is my greatest buddy. We have shared many wonderful adventures as noted above and with competitive trail, trail riding and camping we even relax a bit. Many a young horse has leaned on Mouse over these years for calming reassurance and even an occasional friendly tug through the water. A fine friend he is to many and I am so grateful our paths intersected.

Horses are fear and flight creatures and their instincts run deep. Mouse was no exception. Time heals, wonderful things flourish, respect and trust return and bonds are developed. Time and consistency.”