Palomino Horse Finds his Niche in Trick Riding, Will Entertain at Franklin Rodeo

Kiesner trick rides on her horse Cowboy. The palomino has found his niche in life, as a trick riding horse. Photo courtesy Avid Visual Imagery.

A special horse has found his niche in life.

Cowboy, a trick-riding horse belonging to Bethany Kiesner, is part of the show at the Franklin Rodeo,taking place this weekend –  May 16-18, 2024.

When Kiesner first saw the horse, he didn’t appear to have much value.

At first, she didn’t want him. He had kicked his former owner and bucked off a couple of people, and there’s not much use for a horse that kicks or bucks.

But he matched her other trick-riding horse, a palomino named Vanilla, and she thought they’d look good as a team, and someday he might have to replace Vanilla.

Plus, he was the right price: $900, a bargain for what trick-riding horses usually cost.

When she got on him, he tried his old trick and tried to buck her off. But she wasn’t having it. “I got on him a little bit,” she said, “and after that he wasn’t super naughty.”

Until she could spend time training him, he got sent to her parents’ house in Missouri.

Then the Covid pandemic hit, and the rodeos she and her husband Rider were hired to work got canceled.

So she had some downtime and started riding and training him.

“He knew absolutely nothing,” she said. For a long time, he didn’t show much potential. She considered selling him several times, but never did.

In 2021, she took him on the road with her. He gained experience and learned more, eventually catching on fast, she said.

“I prayed over this horse constantly,” she said. “I knew not to give up on him.

“One day, it all clicked for him.”

Now, he is her main mount at rodeos. He doesn’t get flustered, distracted or upset, which makes him a good trick-riding horse.

As a trick rider, Kiesner doesn’t sit in the saddle or hold the reins, so her horse must be trustworthy, dependable, and consistent, all things Cowboy is.

“I can do any trick on him,” she said. “He’s so fast, he’s kind, and he’s gentle.”

He is so calm that Kiesner rides him when rodeos use pyro or fireworks for their openings.

Cowboy does have his share of personality quirks, however.

“He does annoying things sometimes,” she said. “Halfway through the act (during a rodeo, after Kiesner is done riding him), he’ll head butt whoever is holding him. He knows it’s not me, and he can get away with it.”

And he’s also not fond of Kiesner’s husband, Rider, who is an accomplished horseman.

“He’s naughty to Rider. He doesn’t like Rider to load him in the trailer.”

The couple married in 2023; for their engagement pictures, they each were on horseback. Rider got on Cowboy, but the horse bucked him off.

“Cowboy for sure thinks he’s the one man in my life,” she laughed, “and he is.”

He’s not registered; usually, horses with value are registered with the American Quarter Horse Association, which lists their pedigree, but Cowboy isn’t, which goes to show even though his pedigree is unknown, he still has value.

“This horse should not have worked out,” she said. “The Bible talks about the least likely people, and I always take that in regards to my Cowboy,” she said. “But God says we all have a purpose, and this is his. He’s really living up to it.”

Cowboy, with Bethany aboard, will entertain during each night of the Franklin Rodeo May 16-18.

Held at the Williamson Co. Ag Expo Park, the rodeo begins at 7 pm nightly.

Standing room only tickets are available for $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under. They can be purchased online at, and at the gate, while supplies last.

For more information, visit the website

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