By Roz Kohls
DASSEL, MN The Jen and Steve Brost family of Dassel have a passion for horses.
Originally they lived in Delano, moved west to Howard Lake for more acreage for their horses, and then moved west again to two miles southeast of Dassel for even more acreage.
The Brosts now have 12 horses, including Appaloosas, quarter horses and a few crosses, Jen said.
Also, each member of the family has his or her own horse to ride, race and care for. The Brost children, who attend Dassel-Cokato schools, are Kelly, 17; Nikki, 16; Zach, 12; and twins, Clay and Jacob, 11.
Jen works in production at American Time and Signal in Dassel, and Steve is a self-employed drywall contractor.
Jen’s passion for horses began long before she came to Dassel. When Jen was a little girl in rural Delano, her brothers begged for dirt bikes, and she begged for horses. When she was about 5 years old, already she imagined herself riding and jumping with a sorrel quarter horse, Jen said.
Jen finally got a horse, Lady, when she was 12 years old.
“She was fabulous. Very trustworthy,” Jen said.
Not only did Jen race Lady with the neighbor kids’ horses, but Lady could swim in the nearby Crow River. If her brother’s car broke down, he’d ride Lady into Delano, about three miles from their hobby farm, Jen said.
Later, after Jen married Steve, who also shared her love of horses, they moved to Howard Lake, and got their first pony in 2000. A neighbor noticed the entire Brost family loved horses, and invited them to try patterned horse racing with the National Saddle Club Association, she said.
Patterned horse racing is called O Mok See, a Native American word for a race characterized by different speed and agility events. The Blackfoot used O Mok See activities to prepare for battle. They rode their horses around and through their camps, jumping over items, speeding through tight curves, and grabbing items as they rode past them, Jen said.
The neighbor told the Brosts the O Mok See events were family-oriented, friendly and for all-age groups, and that they would enjoy them.
When the Brosts went to the first event, featuring 100 or more riders, they didn’t bring a horse. They were just curious. They loved the O Mok See so much, however, they wished they would have brought a horse, so they could have participated.
“We were hooked,” Jen said.
O Mok See races are in an arena with three lanes of horses at the same time. Most shows have one horse perform at a time, Jen said.
There are five different age groups. The 25 events include pole bending, figure 8 stake race, two-barrel flag, devil’s cow hide, tomahawk race, exchange, western jumping, and express rescue, she said.
The best horse for O Mok See is a cow horse, one that is agile, calm and willing to learn, she said.