HJ/EDEnterprise Dispatch, Jan. 30, 2006

Cokato woman wins state horsemanship award

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

RaeDell Robbins of Cokato won the Minnesota horsemanship of the year award given by the Minnesota Horse Council this month.

Robbins’ love of young people and horses provide her the opportunity to encourage proper care, fun and love of the horse and other animals, despite that she has been battling cancer since 2002. She continues to share her knowledge and talents in the equine industry, according to the horse council, based in Coon Rapids.

Robbins and her husband, Tim, and children, Will and Becky, raise and show Morgan horses from their farm in Stockholm Township and have done so since 1989.

“The best part really is watching the kids grow and develop a team spirit and confidence as they work with the horses and other kids,” Robbins said Tuesday.

This winter Robbins hosted three 4-Hers from Hennepin County coming to their farm south of Cokato to ride her horses once a week. During the summer they come two to three times a week. Another 4-Her boards her horse there, Robbins said.

Robbins, who has ridden and trained horses for many years, is recognized in the equine industry for her outstanding contributions to beginning and young riders throughout the state. This year was the 36th year of the award.

Robbins is best known for her outstanding work and founding of the Hennepin county Hoofbeats 4-H Club. She has been a horse project leader for more than 25 years.

Last year at the Minnesota State 4-H Horse Show, for example, she received the “Green Blood” award for outstanding horse project leaders. She has been coach and teacher of Hennepin Hoofbeats Horse Bowl since 1984, when she took a team to national competition in Harrisburg, Pa.

Several more trips followed. Robbins introduced the “Equestrian of the Year” contest for more than 10 years, donating a yearling to the winner the first year.

The contest has six areas of competition including speaking, riding and judging, to broaden the horizon of the horse world for youth.

Another venture she started is “You Can Ride Too.” The program gives horseless beginner kids the opportunity to ride by matching them with a 4-H mentor for a series of lessons in the summer.

Two years ago she introduced the “Horse Dancing Show.” For several years she has been responsible for many of the club’s horse camping weekends, including Trail Trials. She has arranged leases for young riders who did not have horses of their own.

Robbins earned her first degree in communications and a degree in equine management at the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

She taught riding and trained with well known horsemen including Pat Jensen of the Pat Jensen School of Horsemanship, and Ernie Wood of Westwood Stables.

Robbins also taught riding, trained, and managed operations at Tri Oaks Stable in Waconia. While at Tri Oaks, she worked with and helped develop Twin Hills Happy Horsemen 4-H.

Working with Mona Bonham of Bonnie-Lee Farms, she helped develop the Kandi Klassic Morgan and Open Show in Willmar.

Robbins children, Will and Becky, graduated from Dassel Cokato High School in 2001 and 2003. Robbins also is a member of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato and teaches seventh grade Sunday school.

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