Kristy Brundy thought she was raising a city girl but her daughter, Taenum, chose the country way of life instead.
“I grew up in the country here in Blackfoot, and tried my best to get her to be a city girl but it didn’t happen,” Kristy Brundy of Blackfoot said. “I finally gave in to help by baby’s dreams come true, so we sold our house and moved to the country.”
Taenum, 9, was headed down the competitive cheer leading path, and she even earned multiple trips to compete in nationals in Las Vegas. But her love of horses kept calling. She quit cheer leading and took up horseback riding and has set a goal of raising horses and competition as a career.
“All my family rodeos and I started riding when I was little. I’ve always just loved horses,” Taenum said.
Her family has helped her learn more about horses including her Aunt Shantel Falter, of Blackfoot, who is an equine sports massage therapist. Falter also raises and sells horses. Taenum and her best friend Akeelah Gonzalez, 9, of Blackfoot, often help Falter with chores, exercising horses and with trips to the veterinarian.
Taenum’s and Akeelah’s families support the girls as they compete in rodeos and jackpot barrel races. Taenum and Akeelah’s next goals are to learn to rope and compete in breakaway roping and team sorting. The girls are also thinking about learning trick riding.
“I love the relationship I have with horses, and the power of them. They are just very fun and soft, and a best friend when I need one,” Taenum said. “One of my goal is to be a professional barrel racer and compete while I’m still young against the adults like Chaney Chamberlain does, or to be a professional trick rider.”
Right now Taenum rides a sorrel mare and an appaloosa. One of her barrel horses is blind in one eye caused by Uveitis disease. He is a former dressage horse who has been fitted with goggles to block all ultra violet rays in his healthy eye. Taenum does everything she can to prevent him from going blind in that eye.
“The girls wear helmets because we emphasize safety first and one of Taenum’s horses wears googles,” Kristy Brundy said. “It’s kinda cool he has to have protective gear too.”
Kristy said Taenum is also excelling at learning how to rehabilitate horses.
“She likes to see what’s wrong with a horse and to learn how she can help them. Last spring when school was out due to COVID-19, Taenum was so excited to be able to go and help Shantel. She got to watch colts being born at Shantel’s, and see horses get weaned and halter broke. It was like a Zoology 101 class.”