Gillespie Performance Horses LLC reined cowhorse team roping
Jennifer was born and raised in upstate New York and has always had a love for the country way of life. After graduating high school in Warwick, New York she decided to try the Big Apple for a while. She attended college at Fordham University and graduated in 2009 with a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in International Political Economy and Economics. However, after working for almost a year in Manhattan she decided it wasn't for her, she packed up the five suitcases she had and headed West to Colorado.
Jen and Taylor met within her first few months of living in Colorado when Taylor returned home from Afghanistan and began dating shortly after. It wasn’t long after Taylor moved up to Montana that Jen followed him on his adventures. Jen has embraced the “adventures” they have been on together and changes that have come along with the few moves they’ve made while pursuing Taylor’s career.
She has a huge passion for cooking and baking which usually means you can find her in the kitchen! Goodies are always expected when Taylor and Jen are visiting someone or traveling to a show. When she isn’t in the kitchen, she likes to spend as much time with Taylor at the barn as possible learning about the cowhorse industry. Jen is still a beginner rider but one day hopes to be in the show pen with her Husband cheering her on.
Taylor grew up in Southern and Eastern Colorado and as the son and grandson of a cattle rancher, he always had a desire to work with and be around livestock. As a boy, Taylor’s parents encouraged him to be involved with 4-H which included showing horses. As his knowledge and experience progressed, Taylor wanted to be a better horseman and compete at a higher level. He began riding with a long-time family friend, Magie Wolfe. While riding with Magie, Taylor was introduced to reining. Magie patiently hauled him throughout Colorado and New Mexico, teaching him how to get through a reining pattern and conduct himself professionally.
At the age of 15, Taylor saw his first reined cowhorse class and was immediately hooked. They were now on the prowl for a cowhorse trainer. Their lengthy efforts led them to Tim Unzicker in Calhan, Colorado. Tim started teaching Taylor about cowhorse in exchange for cleaning stalls and helping out around his facility. Tim also gave Taylor a strong foundation and education in starting colts. While working for and learning from Tim, Taylor qualified for the American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) World Championships in reining and working cowhorse two years in a row. Taylor also placed in the top 10 both years for year-end standings. Several colts that Taylor started also went onto be successful for non-pros and for Tim as well.
When Taylor was a junior in High School, he wanted to progress even further in his horsemanship, so he obtained a summer job with Dan Roeser in Marsing, Idaho. After competing in his third and final AQHYA World Show, Taylor asked Dan if he could comeback and work for him thru his senior year. Dan agreed and hired Taylor for another year. While attending a local high school in Idaho, Taylor decided he needed to go to college and be of service to his country. Taylor was granted an Army ROTC scholarship to the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Taylor received his Bachelors Degree and was commissioned as an Officer in the Army upon graduation from Saint Mary.
After several years of training, Taylor was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado and was deployed to the mountains of Afghanistan just a week later. Within the next few months, Taylor received his Infantry Platoon and worked along side them for the remainder of the deployment. Upon returning from his deployment, Taylor knew that God was pushing him to pursue his hearts desire and go back to training horses.
Taylor leased some stalls and took a few horses in training while he was finishing up his final year in the Army. He contacted Tim, and was offered a job after his service in the Army was complete. Taylor moved up to Montana to work for Tim and was given the opportunity to go back to starting colts, showing cowhorses, giving lessons and learning from Tim on a whole new level as an adult.
Just over a year later, Taylor was offered a job working for Brad Barkemeyer (2011 NRCHA Hackamore Classic Champion) in Scottsdale, Arizona. While in Arizona, Taylor was able to learn from some of the industries best horseman: Brad Barkemeyer, Corey Cushing, Al Dunning, Jake Barnes and Don Murphy. He was also able to continue showing and had a lot of success locally and on the national level as well. Brad also introduced Taylor to training and showing rope horses.