When I was 6 years old my mom found a 2-year-old palomino mare that she just had to have. When we pulled up with our steel 4-horse stock trailer to pick her up and discovered that she wasn’t broke to lead, my Dad made a quick decision and backed up the trailer to the barn and we shooed her inside.  All the way home we were trying to come up with a name for her.  Finally it was decided she would be called “Roseanne.”  Our last name was Conner, as was Roseanne Barr’s screen name in the popular sitcom that was on-air at the time. Our Roseanne was also a Bar, only from the Zan Parr Bar bloodlines.


Several of the kids in my 4-H group and their parents commented on Roseanne saying that she was a scrub and they would never buy such an ugly horse. Several months later Roseanne was green broke. During our 4-H practices held weekly, my parents who were the horse leaders, usually had an odd assortment of children and their horses over to our place.  Roseanne proved herself; not as a school horse or a star in the western pleasure ring; she proved that she was too much horse for my Mom. Roseanne wanted to go a lot faster than just a trot and had more sass than all the others.

When I was 9 years old Roseanne started undergoing professional training and was on the fast track to becoming my new show horse.  I had mostly been stuck on Shetland ponies, and I outgrew them quickly.

My Mom was willing to give Roseanne to me because at the time she was the best horse we had. Roseanne and I clicked. We entered into our first quarter horse show in Topeka, Kansas in the spring. Somehow, we got talked into entering a halter class and I remember being excited because I had the only Palomino. As we lined up, I heard some old breeders looking through the fence and talking about the mares in the class. When they saw Roseanne, they remarked that they wouldn’t even use her as a broodmare back at home. We had driven four hours to get to this three-day show and within the first thirty minutes I was ready to go home.

Several months later, my Mom talked with our trainer and decided that Roseanne and I were good enough to show at the Palomino Youth World. I thought that Roseanne and I were ready. Two weeks before the world show the trainer told my Mom that if she didn’t withdraw us from the classes, we’d be kicked out of her barn.

That Sunday after church, we ran into a 4-H mother who we’d competed against for years. They were winners. She agreed to take us on as clients and shortly thereafter Roseanne went to live with Sheri and her daughter. I got up in the morning, started riding and rode until it was so dark I couldn’t see Roseanne’s white mane anymore.  Finally, after a lot of preparation we were headed to Tulsa.


For several years after that Roseanne and I became well known on the palomino circuit.  We may not have been the best, but she always gave her all. We placed high point youth or reserve high point youth at almost every show. In 1998 we were nationally ranked top in the nation at the year end standings. Roseanne and I became local stars and even had a news reporter come out to our farm to meet us.

By the following year, I had moved up into a more challenging age group and my parents decided that a cow pony couldn’t compete in a hunter-hack like a thoroughbred. Roseanne was officially retired to broodmare status. I got a big Palomino gelding and I fought with him for a year. He was not the same push button horse I was used to. I’d also started high school and horses were becoming less cool than they had been when I was in grade school. In 2000, Roseanne gifted us with a beautiful filly. With the birth of this filly, I dove into genetics research. I’d only heard other people talk about “Cremellos” and I wanted to learn more about this unusual color.


Several years later Roseanne passed away in a freak accident. Now my family is left only with her memories. I still have all of the ribbons we won from the Youth World Show. We placed in the top ten in every class we entered. Roseanne taught me a lot. I think the most important thing she taught me was not to judge a book by its cover. Throughout her life there were a lot of people who doubted her ability as well as mine. She gave me a passion that no one will ever take away and she gave me the confidence to persevere. Roseanne proved to everyone that it doesn’t take a perfect horse to win, it takes a perfect team.

The man we bought her from still has a framed picture of us that he shows to people. Best of all, I have the bragging rights saying that she was and will forever be, the best cow horse to ever look through a bridle.

By Mandy Conner


Michaelanne (Mikey) Dehner grew up in Bucks County, PA and took up horseback-riding at an early age. She showed competitively before going to college to pursue a degree in Vocal Performance, focusing on opera and musical theater. Her passion for the outdoors led her to Colorado where she has lived for the past 13 years with her husband and her Siberian husky, Logan. She recently left her job in the outdoor industry to spend more time with her 2-year-old daughter. In addition to riding horses and writing, Mikey is an avid hiker, marathon runner, certified running coach and personal trainer.

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