Congratulations to our ILQHA Queen


Hi! My name is Michelle Grevengoed, and I am very honored to be the ILQHA Queen. From stories my parents have shared with me, when I was two years old, they put me on the back of a horse.  They had said that, I lost my “little mind”, buried my face in the horses’ mane and refused to get off the horse.  From that moment, my love for horses had officially started. I don’t remember a time in my life that I haven’t made horses a top priority.  Horses are not only a part of my life, but they are my life.

There are too many life lessons that I have learned from these 1,000 pound animals to share them all, but there are definitely a few that have molded me into the person I am today. One lesson I learned from raising horses that I use everyday in caring for my patients in nursing school is problem solving. I didn’t think it was possible for horses to throw as many curveballs as they have thrown me throughout my life. Those curveballs have taught me how to problem solve, not only in the horse arena, but also in the arena of life.  Life throws problems at us everyday and if you can solve the problem of a 1,000-pound animal that can’t talk, then you are sure to solve a problem that comes in everyday life.  Also, I learned from my horses to always remain humble. At the first AQHA show I competed in, my horse threw a fit and tossed me off in the horsemanship class. One minute, a horse can toss you off in the warm up pen and the next minute she can be in the top 5 at the Congress.  Remaining humble has become a trait I always try to maintain.  Every exhibitor that has shown a horse has had their lowest lows and their highest highs. A third significant lesson that horses have taught me is perseverance.  When I was 8, I endured a potentially life-threatening injury. A horse kicked me and shattered my femur.  I underwent two surgeries, wherein a plate, pins, and a rod were implanted in my leg and I underwent a year of rehabilitation. I was told I would never walk again without a limp and would never ride again, but several months later, I threw my leg over a horse, despite the doctors’ warnings. That horse literally taught me what it means to get back on the horse, after being knocked down. Horse competitions taught me to persevere through the losses and lameness, and to never give up. No matter the placing at a show, always show up, compete with tenacity and grit. The same is true in life. No matter what life throws at me, I never give up on myself or my goals. I tenaciously go after my dreams with the fierce perseverance I could have only learned in a horse arena.

I have always wanted to increase the involvement of youth in the Quarter Horse industry. One of my favorite things to do is talk to people and educate them about subjects they are not familiar with or are wanting to learn more about. I think many people would become active members in the quarter horse industry, but joining the industry can be pretty intimidating to newcomers. As the Illinois Quarter Horse Queen, I would like to hold more events in the upcoming year and talk at currently scheduled events, in order to educate the community on ILQHA. I would like to talk with Illinois competition teams and their trainers about the industry and the opportunities for youth in ILQHA. I would like to inform them about the scholarship opportunities that ILQHA and AQHA offer. I would also like to talk with kids about how they may become involved in the Quarter Horse industry.  As a young teen, I was very unfamiliar with the industry and had a lot of questions, but I never knew who to ask. I want to be someone that young people and amateur riders may ask questions of in order to make the industry less intimidating.  I want to support those that want to be involved, and need a little encouragement.  I would also like to increase the youth games and activities at the quarter horse shows, because I believe this attracts more youth as well as parents. I think we need to show the community just how amazing this industry is and how much of an impact it can have on our youth.  One of my favorite quotes that has stuck with me through the years is: “Horses change lives. They give our young people confidence and self-esteem. They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls. They give us hope!” – Tony Robinson. This quote sums up everything this industry and horses do for our youth. I would love to have the chance to make a difference in the lives of youth and amateurs that this industry has made for me.

When I was a very young girl, I would watch “Untold Stories of the ER” rather than cartoons.  My parents always teased me that I was destined to find my place in the medical field which is exactly what I am pursuing. I obtained my Bachelor’s of Science in Biology in 2019, and I am currently enrolled in Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences to receive my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. I will graduate in August of 2021 with my BSN. I have so many plans that I can’t wait to pursue with this career.  My passion has always been to work in a fast paced, trauma-filled medical environment. Oddly enough, I think my experiences with my horses drew me to this field. Something about helping my horse through a gruesome injury and the injuries that I have sustained from horses, led me to want to help patients through their medical trauma.  I plan to work in the Emergency Department upon graduation. I want to gain experience in this amazing field before going back to receive my Nurse Practitioner’s license and continue enhancing my knowledge in this field. I also dream of establishing a small horse breeding facility. I have a passion for the babies and breaking out young horses. I have found a career path that will allow me to continue my passion in the Quarter Horse Association as well as fulfil my passion for the medical field.

The quarter horse industry, ILQHA and AQHA have helped me achieve my goals and dreams that I had never thought were possible. I am so honored to serve ILQHA and hope that I will be able to make a positive impact on others the way this industry has impacted me. The Quarter Horse Queen is not just a title, it is about being a role model, a support person, and a true testament to what this industry stands for.

Guidelines & Application

It is the goal of the Illinois Quarter Horse Association to recognize deserving young adults who demonstrate active involvement in the horse industry, community involvement and leadership skills. 

Click here to read the guidelines and download the application.

Illinois Quarter Horse Association | PO Box 27 | Wonder Lake, IL 60097

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