Former rodeo rider works with kids and horses

Barbara Lawlor, Gilpin County.  When Krystal Meyer attended Gilpin High School, riding horses in gymkhanas and rodeos was her life. She and her siblings, Kendra and Reece McClain rode with the Gilpin High School Rodeo Team. Team members rode at least three times a week and were allowed to use the Gilpin County Exhibition Barn during the winter months to work their horses.

Now, after returning to Gilpin County, Krystal wants to give to other local kids the same opportunity she had to develop equestrian and horsemanship skills. To do so, she began the Gilpin County Play Day horse show and gymkhana this past summer. Not only does she want to expand the opportunity for young riders in the area, she wants to make sure the Gilpin barn and arena will be available for local riders to use all year long.


Krystal still has Tank, the horse she rode during her high school rodeo days. She attended Gilpin schools K-12 and was the president of the high school rodeo club for four years. After high school, Krystal got a full ride scholarship to attend Laramie County Community College where she found her niche with kids and horses.


Becoming part of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association was a step toward what has become a career.


“You have to take a test for horsemanship skills but you don’t have to have a horse. In fact, they encourage learning how to ride horses you don’t know. I took Tank to college with me and he earned his keep by letting other students in the program ride him.”


There were about 20 students in the association. While in school, Krystal was able to take equine classes, horse anatomy and physiology and reining and cutting classes. She loved going to class to do what she loved to do.

In fact, she loved the opportunity to study horses so much that it has become her dream to give back to Gilpin County what she received as a high school student.


Since she graduated in 2010, she became married to a Marine who was stationed in California. Krystal went to live with him there but Tank had to stay with Krystal’s mom. When the couple moved back in 2013, Krystal began giving riding lessons to local kids and she worked with horses at Rudolph Ranch.


She began taking her students to gymkhanas and rodeos and when she learned that the Peak to Peak Healthy Communities was putting on summer gymkhanas she thought if one horse event works, so would another one, designed to be a play day for riders and their mounts.


“I decided to do a small show that would get them started on working towards competing in the buckle series, but first I wanted to work on having better use of our facilities, make the barn available for kids.”

Krystal talked to the Gilpin County Commissioners who agreed that the barn could be better used, like it was back in her high school days, when she was able to ride in the winter a few times a week.


A March meeting led to the first Play Day gymkhana and equestrian show on June 1, taking place during the High Country Auxiliary Flea Market. The auxiliary welcomed the idea of having another event go on during their annual fundraiser.


Krystal had the experience of organizing a show as her family often worked with the Jefferson County Fairground rodeos. “So we knew what we were doing. They all went well.”


The first Play Day attracted 15 competitors which encouraged her to do two more over the summer.


She says she plans to work with the Peak to Peak Belt Series to have the events alternate weekends. She plans to reserve the dates for next year by November.


“If we can continue to show, we want to reserve the barn facility, maybe go through the Gilpin County Recreations Center so we can apply for grants. What we have done is prove the facility will be used. Let’s keep that going and encourage maintenance over the winter so it can be used after school and work.”


With so much interest among local students in both Gilpin and Nederland, Krystal would love to see a high school team offer the same opportunities that her family had as teenagers.


Results of the final Equestrian Play Days are:



10 & Under
1st Sammy, Tank, 27.9
2nd Raygann, Tank, 34.1

1st Eve Colton, Honey, 9.3
2nd Allison Hardt-Zeman, Lucky, 10.19
3rd William Siegrest, Sandy, 14.4

1st Jeff Fruth, Peppy, 5.8
2nd Nancy Billings-Colton, Bay Friend, 9.1
3rd Heide Morgan, Shadow, 10.8

19+ Just for Fun
1st Barbara Hardt, Tonto, 8.0
2nd Laurie Seigrest, Sandy, 11.96
3rd Mariah Colton, Bay Friend, 13.02
4th Anne Marie Fruth, Shiloh, 21.1

Speed Ball

10 & Under
1st Raygann, Tank 30.5

1st Allison Hardt-Zeman, Lucky, 13.47
2nd William Seigrest, Sandy, 18.2

1st Ali Nelson, Lucy, 10.4
2nd Jeff Fruth, Peppy 10.61
3rd Nancy Billings-Colton, Bay Friend, 10.9
4th Heidi Morgan, Shadow, 18.69

19+ Just for Fun
1st Laurie Seigrest, Sandy, 17.5
2nd Mariah Colton, Bay Friend, 19.23
3rd Barbara Hardt, Tonto, 20.9
4th AnneMarie Fruth, Shiloh, 37.3

Pole Bending

10 & Under
1st Sammy, Tank, 1:32
2nd Raygann, Tank 2:12
3rd Maggie Sue Morgan, Lucy, 1:48


1st Allison Hardt-Zeman, Lucky, 30.55
2nd Eve Colton, Honey, 41.5
3rd William Seigrest, Sandy, 75.09

1st Ali Nelson, Lucy, 27.14
2nd Jeff Fruth, Peppy, 29.9
3rd Nancy Billings-Colton, Bay Friend, 31.52
4th Heide Morgan, Shadow, 35.5


19+ Just for Fun
1st Barbara Hardt, Tonto, 35.05
2nd Laurie Seigrest, Sandy 42.5
3rd Mariah Colton, Bay Friend, 48.26
4th AnneMarie Fruth, Shiloh, 78.0



10 & Under
1st Sammy, Tank, 74.28
2nd Maggie, Lucy, 88.25
3rd Raygann, Tank, 91.31


1st Allison Hardt-Zeman, Lucky, 21.91
2nd Eve Colton, Honey, 24.16


1st Ali Nelson, Lucy, 20.36
2nd Jeff Fruth, Peppy, 23.53
3rd Nancy Billings-Colton, Bay Friend, 25.74
4th Hedie Morgan, Shadow, 26.54

19+ Just for Fun
1st Barbara Hardt, Tonto, 24.8
2nd Laurie Seigrest, Sandy, 34.15
3rd AnneMarie Fruth, Shiloh, 61.96


Western Trail

1st Sammy, Tank
2nd Mariah Colton, Bay Friend
3rd Raygann, Tank

1st Allison Hardt-Zeman, Lucky
2nd Eve Colton, Honey

1st Jeff Fruth, Shiloh
2nd Nancy Billings Colton, Bay Friend
3rd Barbara Hardt, Tonto


Western Horsemanship

1st Mariah Colton, Bay Friend
2nd Raygann, Tank
3rd Sammy, Tank

1st Eve Colton, Honey
2nd Allison Hardt-Zeman, Lucky

1st Nancy Billings-Colton, Bay Friend
2nd Barbara Hardt, Tonto
3rd Jeff Fruth, Peppy


Western Equitation

1st Mariah Colton, Bay Friend
2nd Sammy Kapke, Tank
3rd Raygann, Tank

1st Allison Hardt-Zeman, Lucky
2nd Eve Colton, Honey

1st Barbara Hardt, Tonto
2nd Nancy Billings-Colton, Bay Friend
3rd Jeff Fruth, Shiloh


Western Division High Point

Beginner, Mariah Colton, Bay Friend
Intermediate, Allison Hardt-Zeman, Lucky
Advanced, Jeff Fruth, Peppy

Western Division Reserve High Point

Beginner, Sammy, Tank
Intermediate, Eve Colton, Radcliffe Man/ Honey
Advanced, Barbara Hardt, Tonto

Gymkhana High Point
10 & Under, Raygann, Tank
11-18 Allison Hardt-Zeman, Lucky
19+ Ali Nelson, Lucy
19+ Just for fun, Barbara Hardt, Tonto

Gymkhana Reserve High Point
10 & Under, Sammy, Tank
11-18 Eve Colton, Radcliffe Man/ Honey
19+ Jeff Fruth, Peppy
19+ Just for fun, Laurie Siegrist, Sandy

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.