Rachel Renne Nottestad, 16, has been riding horses since she was in Elementary school. Nottestad actually started her horse adventure while she and her parents were living in Germany, beginning with dressage lessons. Tammie Nottestad, Rachel’s mother, was still in the air-force and was completing her last assignment in Germany. Rachel’s father John Nottestad is also retired air-force.
“Rachel went to school at the Department of Defense Dependent schools, basically its US school at an US army post, from kindergarten to third grade,” John Nottestad stated, “She started riding there for a German Trainer. Her mom, Tammie, had ridden for years and competed in California as a teenager, so when she kind of started getting back into riding while we were in Germany, Rachel began riding there as well.”
Nottestad normally competes on her Tennessee Walker, Midnight in Paris. She has been competing for the past three years on Midnight in Paris in various leagues in the Ozarks across Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas. However, Rachel took on a new challenge when she started working at the Missouri Mule Company in Strafford, Missouri for Bob Bingham.
“Originally he [Bob Bingham] wanted me to just mess with the baby mules to where they could get used to people,” Rachel said, “I asked him if I could ride and I had a show record already in gaited horses and a juvenile novice rider so he said sure and so I started riding there. He had this mule Soldier, part Tennessee Walker, gaited. I started to ride him a couple of times a week through the summer, going on trails and all sorts of stuff.”
Rachel then competed at the Ozark Fairgrounds taking two of Bingham’s mules. Sugarfoot competed in the English classes and Soldier competed in the evening events of racking and pleasure gaits. John states that “Solider had been very patient while Rachel sat atop him in the saddle, the stands were full which made the wait worthwhile.”
The gates opened and Rachel and Soldier made their way into the arena with the rest of the competitors, some of that had experience in training mules. After serval circuits in the arena, the competitors were called to line up, once the scores were tallied Rachel was award first place. Rachel and Solider took first in the next three events as well. While Solider and Rachel placed first, Sugarfoot and Rachel took third in the English class.
Besides riding, Rachel is currently a junior at Marshfield High School. She is currently a member of the High School Marching Band playing trumpet, she helps in set painting for the stage performances, and is a member of the National Art Society.