Coming full circle

Life is moving at a different pace for Kassidy Dennison

Woman on horse pointing to something in distance. Young girl rides horse next to her.

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Kassidy Dennison directs participants at the start of a barrel racing workshop at the Sandoval County Fair in Cuba, N.M. Aug 3.

CUBA, N.M.

Kassidy Dennison is passionate about a lot of things.

With an affinity toward horses, Dennison launched a horse program four years ago in St. Francis, South Dakota, with her boyfriend Clint Whipple.

Just recently she started a clinic that is geared toward prepping the next generation of professional barrel racers.

“It’s a new journey of my life that a lot of people probably don’t know about,” Dennison said. “It’s something I feel passionate about because I’ve always loved horses. Horses have always been a big part of my life.”

Three years ago, Dennison made a name for herself by ascending through the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and earning her only qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada, on her bay gelding she calls Eagle.

That year she amassed $34,029 in Las Vegas and finished the world at No. 10 with a year-end total of $126,071.

The following year she was invited to the prestigious Calgary Stampede as well as the RFD-TV’s The American, the richest one-day rodeo in Arlington, Texas.

She made The American the following year but with her fledging horse program Dennison has put her ambitions to compete at the professional level on hold for now.

“Making the NFR again is one my goals to do eventually but with my horse program taking off I have to spend a lot of my time in that area for it to succeed,” she said.

For the past four years, Dennison said they have been cross-breeding quarter horses with thoroughbred mares and the challenging part is make sure the breeding is done right.

“We took a gamble on some of the different breeds we’ve done,” she said. “We try to get the right combination to foal a good baby. We’ve messed up a few times but, of course, you are going to fail before you succeed.”

Working with 80 head of horses, including 25 broodmares, Dennison likens this as a full-time job.

“I’ve been managing the ranch a little bit more with Clint rodeoing,” she said. “I ride quite a few horses everyday and what we’re shooting for is to have our horses user-friendly. I want people to take our horses and used them for whatever events they are passionate about, whether it be for roping or barrel racing.”

Dennison said the most rewarding part of her job is to take a two-year-old colt and get it trained.

“I’ve always been a competitor but to take a colt that absolutely knows nothing and teach it new things is something I enjoy,” she said.


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Categories: Rodeo

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at
qjodie@navajotimes.com