Passing Down the Love of Horses and Nutrition

As I sit here in my office of our family company, my one-year-old, Reagan, is running amuck in my office. My three-year-old daughter, Riley, is our “helping” daddy move horses around and tear down some fence. This isn’t the usual scenario, as we have help caring for them so I can focus on answering questions, formulating products, dealing with licensing, etc. However, this makes me think of how lucky I am to have been raised in Horse Guard, much like my girls are being raised now.

1987 VSI show Del and Kelsey

Founder, Del, holding Kelsey at a Tradeshow in 1987

I was lucky enough to raised right in the middle of Horse Guard. While my mom and dad had care for us most of the time, Ty (the marketing director) and I spent a good amount of time in the packaging room, packing buckets bigger than us. After the work was done, we would go out and ride. Our whole lives revolved around horses, from work to play, just as our lives do still to this day.

Misty, a sorrel mare, was a particularly special pony that we had. She would let us stand on her back at the apple tree, then go to the arena and run as hard as she possibly could around the barrels and the poles. When my dad was competing at the Pro Rodeos he would take Misty and me with him. As I cleaned her feet out, all the cowboys would tease me by asking my pony’s name, tell me how pretty she was, and asking if I wanted to sell her (although there was no price tag big enough). We also gained the hearts of a few rodeo crowds when we got to make an exhibition run after the women’s barrel racing. I had the time of my life growing up with Misty and the many amazing horses to follow. This was where my love of horses, and my desire to learn about keeping them healthy through nutrition came from.

Riley age 3 and willow

Riley, age 3, and her pony Willow

Now, our daughters get to grow up the same way. On the days that the babysitter watches them, after work she brings them to my parent’s place, where Horse Guard is located, we walk out of the office and go ride the rest of the evening. Reagan is still confined to kids corral to keep her out of harm’s way, but she gets the occasional ride with mom or dad in between warming up the next horse. Riley, however, chooses daily if she is going to ride her pony, Willow, or her horse, Rita (who was my horse in high school and college). She is quite the boss and insistent that she brings up the steers or calves (and she will correct you if you say the wrong one), and makes sure we get our horses “warmed up really good”.

As both my girls grow, it is evident that they already have the love for horses that my entire family has. As I watch them grow as riders and caring human beings, I think of how lucky I am to get to teach them about the importance of nutrition to keeping their horses healthy. I am hopeful that one day they will get to experience the joys of working in and owning Horse Guard and enjoy this amazing way of life with horses as much as I do.

About Dr. Kelsey J. Nonella Ph.D., P.A.S.

Kelsey J. Nonella, Ph.D. is an equine nutritionist who was riding horses before she could walk. Her love for horses drives her to help educate people on what their horses’ needs in order to have happy, healthy horses. Kelsey went to Cal Poly receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Science and then onto West Texas A&M, where she got her Masters and eventually her Doctorates in Equine Science. At A&M, Dr. Nonella did extensive research on Selenium within horses. Click here to view her research. Kelsey’s colleagues have mentioned her as an one of the United States equine Selenium experts.
View all posts by Dr. Kelsey J. Nonella Ph.D., P.A.S.

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