The Cowgirl

The Cowgirl

Jenn Zeller is a spunky, funky, talented, horse-crazed girl.

Originally born in Oklahoma, her family moved to Texas in the late 80s where she was able to fulfill her lifelong dream of owning a horse. She had begged her folks for a horse since she was four. Her dad gave her 6 weeks to tire of feeding him; little did he know that by the time Jennifer was a junior in high school they’d be going to 75 rodeos a year.

Cowboy Christmas, The South Dakota Cowgirl, Mandan, ND Pro Rodeo
Upon graduating high school, Jenn received a rodeo scholarship to attend Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico, where she began her college rodeo career. She stayed there for two years, and then decided to come back to Texas and go to school at and rodeo for Tarleton State University, part of the Texas A&M University System. While there she was fortunate enough to get to ride under a really talented reined cow horse trainer and gained some excellent knowledge from that experience. Jennifer graduated from Tarleton State University in December 2002 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing.

About the cowgirl, jenn zeller, the south dakota cowgirl, photograph by Kristina Barker

She took a small hiatus from competing on her horses while she worked on getting a career established as an Assistant Investment Advisor. She couldn’t stay away long, though; before she knew it she was back at coaching, riding, and training. In late 2005 Zach Ducheneaux of Ducheneaux Quarter Horses contacted her. They became fast friends instantly; he loved horses as much as she did and had a similar training philosophy. They bounced ideas off one another for a couple years. In 2007, Jenn had to make a choice – keep doing both, or only do the one thing she was passionate about. The horses won. In July, she quit her job in the brokerage world and went to work full-time for herself; riding and training barrel horses, giving lessons to horse-crazy little kids, like she had been, and began coaching high school rodeo competitors.

Jenn gets ready for her last day of the Buck Brannaman horse clinic in Rapid City. Jenn and her partner Zach and the family’s non-profit all utilize the philosophies and practices of Buck’s style of horsemanship. The foundation of the practice is that horses are like people and should be treated as such.

She started riding horses for Zach Ducheneaux in February of 2008. Shortly afterwards the opportunity presented itself for her to make the move to South Dakota and ride for the ranch. She jumped at it, and feels blessed to get to live the life she always dreamed she’d have.

The friendship between Zach and Jenn grew and they fell in love. Jenn now has the best of everything; she gets to do what she loves each and every day. She’ll be the first to tell you that she’s the luckiest girl in the world. Her horizons have expanded to include photography and journalism. She no longer rides horses for the public, but enjoys spending her summers going to barrel races, raising colts, and sharing her passion for life with those she meets along the way.

What's on your mind?

  1. Cruising around I found your blog. got to reading about you and found out you came to school in Tarleton. I live in Stephenville. We are ranch people. My Oldest son Was on a rodeo scholarship at SHSU in Huntsville. He quit his sophmore year to go pro. He is now going to his first NFR heading for Kory Koontz. Spent the day at a barrel race at lonestar arena today. Lonestar barrel finals. I let my sons fiance ride my good mare Real Famous Abby. Hit a barrel to be placing in the 1D but she has another run tomorrow. So hopefully
    will be clean tomorrow. We have cutting horses and 3 colts in the NCHA futurity. Boyd Rice trained them and will be showing The Dual, we also will be showing a peptospoonful colt. Chubby Turner is showing her for me . Faron Hightower was but he is showing the NoN Pro and they wouldn’t let him,. Hope you stop my blog. Been MIA for a while but hopefully will be updating from here on with everything coming up. Nice meeting you and loved you blog.

  2. postcards entry….. i am interested. laurie sent me and shannon is my dtr. i have heard so much about the south dakota cow girl and now i am amazed… ever hear of hominy, oklahoma? well keep on girl,