Oregon Folklife Network

Tonya Rosebrook

2017-2018 TAAP Awardee

Traditional skill/art/craft: Horsemanship

Apprentice: Jordan Berquist

Contact Information

Email: tonyasquarterhorses@yahoo.com

Describe your traditional skill/craft/art, when and why it is done, and your history with it.

I teach horsemanship skills. My focus for TAAP will be mainly in the arena, from the first steps of working with a young colt through the process to a finished barrel horse. During this time, I will teach dealing with the different personalities of horses and understanding their various learning styles; some may require slower work than others. Some horses may need more warming up to get them to start paying attention. This will be taught by having my apprentice ride multiple horses in different stages of the training process. I teach young horses and young horsemen to have value in each other and in themselves. For me the horse culture is not only a part of my everyday life, but a passion that I want to pass on to the younger generation of up and coming horsemen.

How and from whom did you learn the tradition?

I was born in Portland, and my family was living in Vancouver WA in March of 1974 when my grandfather purchased 1600 acres in beautiful Mt Vernon, Oregon. He enjoyed the western lifestyle and did not want his family growing up in a city. This is where the western tradition started for me, we raised horses, cattle, and grew hay on the ranch. On weekends the whole family would load up and go to rodeos. I entered my first professional rodeo when I was 8 years old. At age 11, my grandfather took me to my first reined cow horse clinic where my passion for truly well-broke horses began. Through the years I have sharpened my skills by learning from some of the top trainers in the cow horse world. I then returned to the rodeo world bringing these skills with me and finding there is a need to pass these skills on to the younger generation of horsemen.

Why is this cultural tradition important to your community?

Horsemanship stems back to the early vaqueros, who’s lifestyle was based on good horsemanship and cattle handling skills. They took great pride in their abilities with a horse. As the vaquero tradition moved west the name changed from vaquero to buckaroo, and the pride and traditions have carried on through centuries. The roots run deep in Central Oregon, no matter if you are a buckaroo, rodeo cowboy, or a weekend warrior just enjoying your horse. Whether it be in an arena chasing cattle, going around barrels or going over jumps, there’s horsemanship involved. There’s horsemanship in country trail rides, and ranch hands gathering cattle.

Artist Biography

I started giving horsemanship lessons in my early teens. In my early 20s, I started training horses professionally. I currently train horses, give horsemanship lessons, and put on horsemanship clinics. One of the fist people I helped was Tiana Murphey (at age 10). She started lessons with me and, through the years, she has purchased several horses from me that she has been successful with. Jessica Wood started lessons with me when she was 12 years old and has gone on to a successful college rodeo career and now has a flourishing horse training business in Texas. In April 2016, I did my first horsemanship clinic in Redmond, OR with15 attendees. In May of 2016 I did my 2nd horsemanship clinic in Hermiston, OR with 10 people in attendance. I’m currently working on the 2017 clinic schedule.


1983, E.O.J.R.A., Barrels, Honcho

1986, E.O.J.R.A., All Around, Blackie

1987, E.O.J.R.A., Barrels, Blackie

1987, Hermiston, Barrels, Nevada

1988, Senior Barrel Race Grasshopper Festival, Barrels, Nevada

1988, JR Barrel Race Vancouver WA, Barrels, Steel

1988, Can Chaser Classic 3rd place, Barrels, Steel

1989, Grant Co. Rodeo, Poles, Honcho

1989, Lake Co. Rodeo, Barrels, Gold

1989, Hermiston, Barrels, Nevada

1990, Grant Co. Rodeo, Poles, Gold

1990, Idaho State Fair 1st, Jr Team Driver, Bell/Sugar

1991, AIPS Winter Rodeo, Barrels, Jay

1991, La Grande HS Rodeo, Poles, Gold

1991, Vale H.S.R. 1st, Pole Bending, Gold

1992, Knowels Arena Team Roping 3rd, Team Roping, Steel

1992, U.V.H.S.R Roseburg, Barrels, Gold

1992, O.H.S.R State Finals 3rd, Barrels, Gold

1992, All Around Saddle, Barrels, Gold

1992, O.H.S.R State Finals 3rd, Poles, Gold

1993, U.V.H.S.R. Roseburg, Barrels, Gold

1993, O.H.S.R State Finals 7th, Barrels, Jay

1993, O.H.S.R State Finals 2nd, Poles, Gold

1993, Central Oregon H.S.R., Pole Champion, Gold

1998, Top Gun Summer Series, Breakaway, Hank

1998, Top Gun Summer Series, Barrels, Hank

1998, Turn n Burrn Barrel Racing Winter Series, Barrels, Nick

2001, Turn-N-Burn 1000 Champ, Barrels, Quest

2005, Bridle Bit Livestock Benefit, Barrels, Juno

2010, Jefferson County Fair and Rodeo, All Around, Crackers

2013, Turn-N-Burn 1 D champion, Barrels, Crackers

2014, OBRA 4D Champion, Barrels, Crackers

2014, Double or Nothing, Barrels, Sam

2014, Turn-N-Burn, Barrels, Willy