The Colorado Corral aka the “Horse Column” is back! Last summer we planned a short break…and here we are almost back to summer again! I am really excited for this year and those ahead for the Colorado Corral to continue to be a part of the local horse community. There is so much to tell you. Don’t forget, whenever you come across something horse related that our community needs to know, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why the Colorado Corral?
The why of this column, simply put, is to connect the local horse community within the circulation area of the Colorado Serenity Magazine. We create connection through spotlighting local horse people and horse related businesses; celebrating accomplishments of local horse people; publishing calendars of horse related activities to participate in, help with and meet new people. Beyond that, horsey topics like keeping, training, competing, mindset and just how we can be the best humans for our horses.
There is an amazing, gritty, and diverse bunch of people (and horses) in our mountain communities who keep horses at home on our granite hills as well as in the grassy valleys, or board them at local facilities. There are several top equestrian event venues within an hour from the Denver Foothills, which lends to diverse outlets for horse enthusiasts and equestrians. All that to say, our horse community fields a varied group of local, regional and international competitors in a remarkable number of English and Western disciplines.
Local recreational riders are devoted horse people who enjoy a variety of activities to add adventure and interest to their time with their horses. Of course, the incredible location that we live in, with many public land options, attracts trail riders who ride and care for the trails that surround us.
Horses are woven deep into the history of our mountain community and remain an important part of the landscape that connects us to nature, the land and each other.
Who writes this column?
Heather McWilliams has been writing the Colorado Corral since around 2005 and is a native of Evergreen. She grew up horse-less in a non-horsey family, but found every horse living within a three mile radius of her home. Her desire to be around horses drove her to work her way into local horse owners stables to clean horse poop, brush horses and every now and then, ride horses. During her tweens and teens, one of her friends had an extra horse which gave her the opportunity to ride somewhat consistently. They were fixtures in the Evergreen Rodeo Parade and would also hit all local summer open 4H shows where they entered every class possible from western pleasure to jumping to trail to barrel racing.
When she graduated from Evergreen High School, she had not yet grown out of the “horse phase” and went on to Colorado State University to get a BS in Equine Science. Fascinated by large horse farms, in her second year at University, Heather wrote 10 letters (this was before the internet and email…) to 10 Thoroughbred farms in Kentucky that she found in The Blood Horse Magazine. One of them answered and she spent the next three summers working in many parts of the Thoroughbred industry including, breeding, foaling, and yearling sales prep. The farm owners also had farms in England, Ireland and Dubai which gave her the opportunity to live in Ireland after University and start young Thoroughbreds for flat racing.
After returning to the United States, Heather worked in several areas of the horse industry including farm and ranch management, horse insurance, starting young horses and she spent 16 years in the equine veterinary industry in various positions.
Western or English, Heather has trained and competed in a variety of equestrian disciplines, most recently Versatility Ranch Horse and in the last 10 years, the sport of Eventing. With her equine partner Molly, she competes in Eventing locally, regionally and at the national level as well as in “pure” Dressage and Show Jumping. At this point, Heather is pretty sure she is not going to grow out of the “horse phase” and has realized that most of her personal growth and positive mindset comes through the horse filter first and then spills over to all of the other parts of her life. Heather’s husband Andrew and their two sons are avid supporters and participants in their horsey lifestyle, as well as Heather’s mom Roz, who lives still resides locally. Their horse family members consist of Brisby – Quarter Horse, Gus – draft cross and Molly – Irish Sport Horse. Never hesitate to reach out if there is a horse related topic that needs to be covered. Heather would love to hear from you!