As many know, farming and horse training are professions that come with risks. When you’re both of them, that doubles the danger. Mark Van Zomeren has been blessed to avoid serious injury during his 50 plus years doing both jobs, but the spring of 2021 wasn’t his best one.

The week of THF’s first horse show of the year, Mark was feeding horses in the hayloft. When carrying a bale of hay, he accidentally stepped through one of the feed holes with his right leg. Being Mark VZ, he decided to walk it off and finish choring. He later went to the doctor and found he did crack his knee. Mark was required to wear a full leg brace, but Van Kootens kindly lent him a scooter so he could still attend the Springfest horse show that week.

Mark didn’t seem too upset about using a scooter!

Mark seemed to be on the mend and still able to do most of his usual things. However, he was to face more yet less than two weeks later. When Mark was walking down a hill to feed his sheep, he got off-balance because of his still broken knee and fell on his right hip, breaking it too. He managed to pull his phone out of his pocket and call Renae. While Mark and Renae were waiting for the ambulance, one of his sheep came up to Mark and put her nose on him (either in comfort or wondering where her food was). 

Marked ended up going through surgery, having a rod and pin placed into his hip. His surgeon was actually the same one Nadine had when she broke her pelvis two years ago! There sure is nothing normal with this family. 

Mark FaceTiming with his daughters after surgery

Again, Mark being Mark, he was able to come home much quicker than anticipated. Recovery from a hip injury is definitely one of the toughest, but Mark made rapid improvements. He was even walking with a cane within 6 weeks. 

Mark managed to work up to doing most of his usual farm chores and even driving some horses. Getting back to riding horses was something everyone insisted he wait for, though. 

In March of 2020, the Van Zomerens purchased a colt from the Reedannland dispersal sale, named Reedann’s Desperado (“Raun”). It’s safe to say he was one of the most exciting horses to be sold at the sale, and the Van Zomerens have been very thrilled about his potential. However, with any young horse, their development is a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

Van Zomerens with “Raun” at the Reedannland Sale

Avis and Renae had expertly shown Raun the majority of 2021 with much success. Around of the time of the Iowa State Fair, however, Raun needed a bit of a change. After months of not riding, Mark got on Raun and it immediately became evident he was the best thing for the horse at that time. 

At the Iowa State Fair, Mark and Raun had stunning performances together. Mark gave the colt the confidence he needed, and it was fun for all to watch. Even the state fair-goers, who didn’t completely know what to look for in a saddlebred, clapped as Mark and Raun passed by. This pair won both of their classes.

It was thrilling to have Mark back on a horse, let alone at the perfect time for an exciting young horse. It was a triumph on many levels, and much gratitude is felt by the Van Zomerens and THF family!