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July 11, 2012     The Adams County Record
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July 11, 2012
 

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Page 8 Wednesday, July 11, 2012 The Adams County Record Community Spotlight. ber The Courage to Do What She Loves By Deb Wilson "Mom, you're not afraid of anything;' declared Kelly Swingruber's five year old daughter, Tia. Kelly paused thoughtfully and denied the claim. "I'm always afraid for something hap- pening to you and your brother;' the Council horsewoman proclaimed. Kelly Swingruber's life calls for lots of courage. Training, riding and shoe- ing horses and pushing cattle have been her life work. A tall, attractive bru- nette, she is one tough lady. From early morning until late night she trains r~nd shoes horses, and raises her two children, Wyley, 8, and Tia, 5. She learned her industriousness early in life, along with close-knit fam- ily values. Growing up in Great Falls, Montana, she man- aged to talk her parents, Thomas and Doris, into buying her and her broth- er Keith bargain Shetland ponies when she was four years old. An electrical engineer by trade, her dad knew little about horses, and Kelly ended up with a year old stallion. Within two years she was riding him all over the count;y- side. "I guess I was just meaner than he was;' Kelly laughed. The whole family worked very hard helping dad's construction business and the family farm and garden. A former army man, her dad entered the comput- er field in the 1970s. The strict parental guidelines kept Kelly and Keith out of trouble. A shy student and an excellent volleyball player, Kelly also ran cross country and track in high school. fished perch and bullheads in the Missouri Riven For her high school graduation, she and her father spent days packing through the Flathead Mountains. Most of all she rode. "I always got the bargain horses from the newspa- per," she laughed. "I never got to start with a broke horse." Starting colts and exercising race horses for the local race track during high school, she developed a passion for speed. "I love a big powerful fast horse;' she admitted, "the kind" that keeps your adrena- line pumping as you won- der how you will ever be able to stay on top of that postage stamp of a jockey saddle." After completing a degree in Animal Science and a course in horseshoe- Favorite family memo- ing, she continued horse ries revolve arotmd camp- work and met her former ing, hunting and fish-husband Tim. Together ing, especially with her they raised quarter hors- dad. They packed into the es and cattle, eventually Higlawood Mountains and moving to the Cambridge/ Council area in 1995 to ride herd on rangeland cat- fie for the Indian Mountain allotment association members. For seven years they trained green horses and camped through the mountains, packing in salt and moving cattle, from mid June until the end of October. They took on fencing jobs in the moun- tains and Hells Canyon. For 17 years they worked together, started raising a family, and continued to build their dreams. Sadly, Tim's drinking destroyed their happiness, and Kelly fell back on a different kind of courage to continue on alone. "It's a shame7 she shook her head sorrowfully, "espe- cially for the children. But it got so bad it's a relief that it's over." Pastures, and grass training arenas, house the several horses she's train- ing for customers and to sell. Last month she put on her first horse clinic at the Adams County Rodeo trace her string dolly on a Grounds. "I eafft even birthday card for a friend. remember how many I "Wyley goes all the time; trained the last month;' she said, "let alone how many I've trained in my lifetime:' Her room and dad, now living in Washington, visit her to help out. "I know they think I work too hard;' never quits. He is happy, soft hearted and loves animals;' she continued. Wyley has already helped drive cattle over Council Mountain. Both children love horses and their three she sighed, "but I know they are proud of me." Her beloved step-children, Ty, Brian and Tess, remained connected to her, and vis- ited recently. Fiercely devoted to her busy children, she ensures they make it to T ball, baseball, and dog 4-H. Both Wylie and Tia rode in the 4th of July parade, and are preparing for the Adams County Fair. Kelly teaches their horse 4-H. Tia is learning to read. "She is my girly-girl, who loves dresses, shoes and dolls. She is very shy;' Kelly smiled as she helped Tia huge dogs Coulee, Scooby Do and Raisin, who are Catahoula and Catahoula/ Australian Shepherd cross- es. "Childhood should be magical and fun; life slaps you in the face soon enough," said Kelly. She also wants her kids to learn to work hard and value family. "I hope they always stay close;' she said. Tia added, "Morn, I'll always be close to you when I'm grown up." Kelly and Tia especially love Annie, their gentle 1996 quarter horse brood and riding mare. Running Quarter Horses are Kelly's all time favorite breed. "They have lots of endur- ance and bursting speed, and they're cow-y and can go all day," she explained. But she appreciates many breeds for their unique characteristics, and their tolerance. "They are so for- giving, so powerful and yet so easily injured;' she relat- ed. "But they do need to learn respect, or they can be real problems. I love teaching people who want to learn about horses." She advises people to check out their trainers and farriers carefully, and to keep learning. Kelly hopes to continue to pres- ent quality intensive rid- ing clinics and to promote activities like Horse Play Days for families. She'd like to obtain an outfitters license for leading trail rid- ing in state and federal for- ests. Kelly also has an artistic side people may not know. Her prints were displayed in the recent Council Art Show. Her supplemental business of soothing hand made soaps, lotions and candles show her own girly side. She lives a challenging life. "I'm always worried about the next dollar;' she said, "and I put a lot of pressure on myself. But Council is a good commu- nity, and I am very grateful for all of the people who've helped me. People get it here; they've been through hard times themselves. It's comforting to know they'd be there if I got hurt:' "I can't imagine what would have happened if my " dad hadn't bought those ponies," she continued. "I'm lucky I'm making a liv- ing at something I love." 3,000 sq ft Multi-tenant building on .27 acre lot 5 separate o ces, common area with Parking area on shower) DOWN SAU 13TI 0 N