When My Troubles Are Over goes through the ring at the National Snaffle Bit Association Sale later this week, it’ll be the culmination of a dream that has been more than a decade in the making for Dean Quarter Horses owner Meagan Dean.
In 2004—just weeks before attending her first show—Dean was in a car accident that left her paralyzed. In just a few short minutes, any hopes she had of going to a show turned into hopes of just staying alive. But in the months of rehabilitation after the accident, she found that horses gave her the inspiration she needed to heal.
“I believe horses gave me something to really look forward to,” Dean said. “I wanted to get better so I could get out of the hospital and I could see my horse again, and I still wanted to barrel race on him. My 4-H and horse community friends were also a big help in my recovery process as well. From the constant letters, phone calls, visits and fundraising, they really took care of my family and me. They never let me lose sight of my goals because they wanted me back home just as badly as I wanted to be.”
Dean realized her injuries and being wheelchair-bound would make competing in high speed events a challenge so she switched to Western Pleasure. It wasn’t long before she bought her first broodmare, feeling that raising foals gave her an independence she hadn’t had since her accident.
“I’ve always been fascinated by equine reproduction and raising foals,” she explained.” A couple of years after I was released from the hospital and my life started settling down, I purchased my first broodmare. She was really nothing special but she was bred to a local APHA stallion who sired offspring I had worked with when taking lessons. It took a bit of a learning curve and some heartache along the way, but I realized that I was actually not half bad at handling foals and teaching them the basics. For a young, independent girl having her independence taken away from her as I had when I was injured, raising and working with foals was something that I could do on my own and it just felt right.”
This year, Dean Quarter Horses has hit milestone after milestone with two of her homebreds showing in the AQHA Youth World Cup and My Troubles Are Over accepted into the NSBA sale.
“I was REALLY excited [about the AQHA Youth World Cup],” she said. “For the first time, there was a horse that I raised being shown at an AQHA approved event. What was even more exciting was that it wasn’t just one—there were two homebreds being shown and they were literally competing right down the road from me in College Station, Texas. Neither mare ended up in the placings but they were really solid competitors. This was kind of their first show and they were up against more seasoned horses, so I can’t say I was disappointed with them at all.”
A foal Dean waited on for years, My Troubles Are Over’s name was fitting from the day she was born.
“Her dam, Just Invitin Trouble, had health issues shortly after we purchased her and there were many times when I thought I would never get a foal from her,” Dean explained. “Then in 2016 we happened to flush an embryo from her on the very first breeding of the year and the entire journey felt like an accomplishment. We celebrated when the recipient mare checked in foal, we celebrated when there was a heartbeat and each little milestone after leading up to her birth. I prayed for a healthy buckskin filly and when the breeding farm that foaled the recipient mare called me, they told me I had exactly that. I was so anxious to go over and see her, and she came right up to me and let me love on her. It was a surreal moment after all the struggles we had gone through with her dam.”
The filly will be consigned by Gumz Farms, owned by Amy Gumz who has been Dean’s mentor since Dean bought a broodmare from the farm in 2013. While Gumz is impressed with her client’s will in the face of adversity, she’s also impressed with how much effort Dean has put into making the breeding program the best it can be.
“I think she inspires everyone with the way she has overcome her adversity and manages to excel in an industry that traditionally is reserved for people that are more physically capable,” Gumz said. “I feel that she is an inspiration to do what you didn’t think you could because she certainly has. I think her dedication to improving her herd, stallion selections and ultimately producing a marketable product will positively impact the industry with good serviceable stock.”
My Troubles Are Over is the first of a few horses Dean Quarter Horses is pointing toward the sales ring this year with a few others eying the AQHA Congress Sale in October but there’s one homebred who won’t be listed for sale any time soon.
Best Thing Ever, now a 2-year-old, was put up for sale with others in her crop but it didn’t take Dean long to realize she had something special. Currently in training, Dean hopes that not only will “Surely” turn into a broodmare for Dean Quarter Horses one day but she’ll also be a horse her owner can show in a few years.
“I’d never had a heart horse or a favorite, but all three of my closest friends who happened to be watching told me from day one that I would end up keeping Surely,” Dean laughed. “I denied it for a long time and each one of them would give me that look that said, “Yeah right.” I even put Surely up for sale with all the others from that foal crop and then finally I broke down and decided to take a leap of faith. Everyone said there was something about that filly and the way she would act around me that was special and I realized that I just can’t see her leaving my family at this time.”
With her goal of having horses shown at AQHA shows and going through the ring already achieved and the prospect of many more in the future—including one she may be riding one day—there’s no doubt Dean Quarter Horses is an operation to watch in coming years.
About the Author
A native of Vancouver, WA, Melissa Bauer-Herzog followed her passion for all things equine to Central Kentucky. She is a frequent contributor to America’s Best Racing, and publishes a blog on international bloodstock, All Equine All The Time.