Leslie Lange

From: Greeley CO
Specialty: AQHA All-Around

How did you get started into riding horses and then what drew you to your specific discipline?

“I got started because I was born and raised on a working cow ranch in western Colorado so I have been riding horses forever. I mean we started out riding before we could walk I’m sure. And then we helped on the ranch so I’ve been riding horses ever since I can remember. My dad was a bit of a horse trainer too and he actually trained rope horses when I was little and then he gave lessons to other people and we just kind of grew up showing 4-H and I just liked the show horses. Through the course of life, my folks got divorced and my mom and I moved to Evergreen and I got involved with a show horse barn there, like an all-around show horse barn and so then from there I just kind of kept doing the all-around stuff.”

Have you always lived in Colorado?

“Yep I was born and raised right outside of Aspen and then went to school in Aspen through like 7th grade and then I graduated from Evergreen High School and then went to Colorado State University for college so I never ventured very far.”

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment?

“I don’t know, its kind of two fold. Probably the biggest accomplishment was being voted professional horsewoman of the year several years ago because that was voted on by my peers so I would say that that was a huge accomplishment. And then, having students that have done really well that have won the world or won the congress, that would probably rank up there second. Then I guess personal accomplishments and personal goals would be third.”  

What made you decide to do this as a career?

“I don’t know that I chose it as a career, I’d say that it probably chose me. When I was in college getting a degree to go do something else, I had students when I was in college and then I met the guy that was going to be my husband, that still is my husband, Tom and he trained horses so we kind of did it on the side. Then I thought, well I’ll just train horses and help students for a few years and then maybe go back to graduate school and get a real job. I have yet to go back to graduate school or get a real job.”  

What do you feel is the best way to prepare for this career?

“It’s so different now in todays world than it was. I think the biggest thing you can do is plan on having long hours and not a lot of money and you have to thoroughly enjoy the lifestyle. The lifestyle its more 24/7 than it is like a 9 to 5 job and if you don’t enjoy that then this is probably not the career for you.”

What was the best piece of advice you received when you were starting out?

“I guess my dad told me, he said when you think you’ve got it figured out, look around because you probably don’t, and keep trying. I think that was probably something that he told me early on before I ever thought I’d be a horse trainer. About the time you think you’ve figured it out, look around and see how you’re doing and you probably don’t have it figured out so keep working.”