Hoofprints On Our Hearts

The Midwest Renegades would not be where we are today without our partners – the horses we ride. They put up with our mood swings, new drill maneuvers, flags in their faces, and constant work so their human partners get things right. We love our horses and all they do for us. They are truly our un-sung heroes. Unfortunately we have had to say goodbye to several of our wonderful horses:


In 2002 in New Mexico a sorrel colt was born with no name. In Dec of 2003 he got a name, Captain, and a new family, Ron and Cheryl Schaefer. He would stay with Ron and Cheryl, traveling the west as a ranch horse, rope horse, trail horse and a general anything you need horse. In 2009 Ron and Cheryl found themselves back in IL with their horses in tow, and made the decision to sell Captain to Diana Gebavi. He was supposed to be a horse for her husband Andy, but as time went on, Diana fell in love with all he could teach her and eventually made Captain her horse. And teach her he did, together they both learned a lot, but Captain was rock solid at teaching Diana the ropes. And they became a great pair together and a nice addition to the Renegades. Captain had always had mild intestinal issues, but in 2013 they seemed to be getting worse. After many surgeries, medications, and different attempts to fix and diagnose his issues, the problem persisted. In 2015, Diana humanely decided he should no longer have to suffer because of his problems and he was put down. As far as heartbreaks go, this was a big one. He was a once in a lifetime kind of friend and while she knows she did the right thing; she still misses him every day. Run wild and free Captain!!!

(Words from Diana); "I don't love you less because you're gone -- I love you more because of what you taught me. FOREVER in my heart."

Gus – also known as Wonder Dust

One of the hardest things to do in life is to say goodbye to a great friend. Gus has been a Renegade since the very beginning of the Midwest Renegades and has given countless people the courage and ability to be on our teams from the original flag team to the Dirt Devils and also to the Dare Devils. He had the ability to know who was riding him for what team and how he needed to be for each and every one of them. He could be careful and cautious with the littlest of riders to being wild and courageous for the Dare Devils. I remember many a show standing in front of him to hold him for Nora hoping he wouldn't run me down to get into the ring!! And yet as much as he wanted to get into the ring to perform, he always, ALWAYS took care of his rider. Thank you Gus for all you mean to so many people -- for the courage you've given so many -- for the love you showed in taking care of riders -- for being the greatest Renegade ever. There will never be another you and we are all humbled to have been lucky enough to be a part of your life. Run pain free Wonder Dust and shake the heavens for every time we hear the thunder roar, we will know it's only you taking an angel into battle. Forever in our hearts...............................we love you.

“Tonka Toy”

Tonka was born in 1988 a feisty little pony with buckskin coloring and grey eyebrows. Over the years he has taught many a rider so many valuable lessons in riding, driving, trails, and showing. Linda Lanzer owned him for several years and states that he was the “hooves” behind the start of the Double L Mini’s. For 12 years he participated in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, and for the past year and a half he was Kylee’s best friend and a Renegade. They were an unstoppable force as Dirt Devils and he loved to follow her around everywhere she went. We lost Tonka on September 15th to EPM, but he will always remain in our hearts as the steadfast steed that carried Kylee to greatness as a Dirt Devil. His generous soul and love for her will be carried in her heart forever. We will miss you Tonka, but thank you so much for giving Kylee the confidence to be the best she could be, and giving us a glimpse of a truly great friendship.



At 2:30 am on Sunday September 23, 2012 somebody’s silly prank had horrible consequences. A shopping cart left in the middle of the road resulted in an accident as the MidWest Renegades were returning from a drill team performance. The SUV spun out, the trailer flipped over and while all the vehicle occupants were OK, the 3 horses didn’t fare so well. One managed to escape with barely a scratch, one was fairly beaten up and the third sustained serious injuries and had to be euthanized at the scene.  This image was taken from Sitch’s last performance at Dances With Horses in Waterloo, Iowa. Sitch was Sandy’s best friend and most wonderful steed allowing her to trick ride with the Dare Devils and perform things she never thought possible. He gave her the wings she needed to fly through the air and know that he would be waiting for her when she came down. He gave her courage and gave her his heart. But most of all he gave her his love and undying friendship. For all these things Sitch, we thank you……………


Excalibur was born in the year 2001, a beautiful black Friesian colt. As a yearling he was purchased by Bev Vlahos who broke him and trained him. Bev found herself in a position of having to sell him as a 4 yr old, and lost track of him until he turned 10. At that time through a weird set of circumstances she was able to see him again and he ended up being purchased by Emma Kane who boarded him at Bull Valley Stables. Emma absolutely loved Excalibur and went on to work with jumping him, dressage work, a bit of vaulting, and also rode him in the Dirt Devil drill team. He was the only Friesian on the team, but that didn’t bother him – he held his head up high and performed his best no matter where he was placed. Somewhere in his past he has suffered some hip problems that seemed to resurface – Emma took him to Madison for the doctors there to take a look at him. Unfortunately they discovered the hip injuries were more severe than originally thought, and Emma was told that he could never be ridden again. Emma and her mom desperately tried to figure out what to do for him, but it was decided that he was in too much pain and needed to be put down. We lost Excalibur in early November of 2012, but we know he is running pain free in the clouds. He had a magnificent soul that will be remembered by everyone who knew him. We love you Excalibur – you will never be forgotten……..



“Wile E Coyote”

Born in 1991, Wiley has been a Renegade since 2004. His first partner was MaryJo, and he gave her the confidence she needed to ride with the team. Once MaryJo moved into a coaching position, Wiley gave a couple others the transport they needed to ride with the team. Wiley was known as our “rock” with his fearless ability to handle parades, last minute changes, and anything we could throw at him. Due to severe arthritis, we were forced to retire Wiley in 2008. But it was in the fall of 2011 that we had to say goodbye to this wonderful horse. Wiley has left a huge mark on all our lives, and we are honored and blessed to have known him.

“Em’s Diego”

Born in 2000, Diego came into our lives in 2006 from Medieval Times where he had been a knights’ horse. Emily fell in love with him on sight and decided to make him her own. He joined the Renegade team in 2007. His versatile ability and calm nature made him a huge asset on all 3 teams as well as our parade team. He gained “star” status when he and Emily performed their bridleless, bareback routine 2 years in a row at “Our World of Horses”. Their partnership was awe-inspiring as they performed together to the Miley Cyrus hit, “The Climb” leaving no dry eye in the place. To our dismay we had to say goodbye to this wonderful champion early in 2012 due to injuries he sustained in the fall of 2011. Diego touched each and every one of our lives, and will always be remembered as the gentle giant who could fit in anywhere. Diego, we love you and miss you.

Ems Diego