Weather Forecast


Young rider provides home for Rue

When Madison Tornio-Belisle heard about the Young Horse Development Project, offered by the American Quarter Horse Association, she jumped at the chance to apply - but her expectations were low.

The program offers free weanlings to youth nationwide to further young people's education of horse training, care and health.

When the 15-year-old New Richmond High School sophomore heard that she had been selected as one of the 13 members nationwide to receive a foal, she couldn't believe it.

More than 60 youth applied for the young horse development program, according to Brandon Black, manager of special programs for the American Quarter Horse Association.

Tornio-Belisle's filly, Miss Cosomos Buena (known as Rue at the Tornio-Belisle household), came from the Lauing Mill Iron L Ranch in Sturgis, S.D. Denny and Doris Lauing, owners of the ranch, will act as mentors to Tornio-Belisle through the program.

Originally, Tornio-Belisle was to be awarded a sorrel stallion; however, the young colt was injured just before he was to be picked up. The 6-month-old Miss Cosomos Buena was his replacement.

"She was a horse they were going to keep for themselves," Tornio-Belisle said of Miss Cosomos Buena.

As part of the application process, Tornio-Belisle was required to write a 200-word essay explaining why she wanted a weanling. In her eassay, Tornio-Belisle wrote, "While other kinds my age are on their phones, computers or hanging out with their friends, I am home training with my horses. It is the most important part of my life, besides my formal education."

Tornio-Belisle began riding when she was 4 years old, said Tammy Belisle, her mother. She bought her first quarter horse when she was 8 years old after raising $1,000 from selling handmade headbands. At age 12, Tornio-Belisle started her own business, Hearts & Hooves Riding Lessons, where she teaches students the basics of riding and game patterns. She's involved in high school rodeo, the National Barrel Horse Association, 4-H, and is an officer with New Richmond FFA.

"And she spends all her free time looking for horses to buy," Tammy Belisle said with a laugh. "That's why, when I got an email about this project, I told her about it."

As part of the process, Tornio-Belisle will be tasked with documenting her training and management practices in an attempt to win scholarship money for college. She's planning to attend the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where she'll study large animal veterinary science. Tornio-Belisle will also be required to show Miss Cosmos Bueno at an American Quarter Horse Association, 4-H, FFA or other local show in a novice or introductory type of halter or showmanship type class.

Tornio-Belisle said she's so far been impressed with Miss Cosmos Bueno.

"She was just pulled off her mom and put in a stall before coming here," she said. "She's hardly been handled but she's really calm and tame."

She said she hopes to train Miss Cosmos Bueno to be a rodeo horse.

For more information on the Young horse Development Project, visit

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
(715) 243-7767 x243