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Alumni Spotlight - Debbie Kister

Central Wyoming College


Photo of Debbie Kister on a horse

Debbie Kister, AAS Horse Management, 2004, Teaching Riding Certificate, operates Rockin’ K Stables in Riverton, where she offers riding lessons, adventure rides, and horsemanship camps. The following is the story of how Debbie got started at CWC.

From a young age, I have loved horses. However, I didn’t imagine I would make a career sharing this passion with others. I started riding horses over fifty years ago. Growing up, I rode nearly every day but never received a formal riding lesson. In 2000, some family friends asked if I would teach their five children to ride. I warned them I had never taught anyone else how to ride. They said it wouldn’t be a problem. I saddled up one of my horses and took turns leading their children around my pasture. We had a great time, but I wished I knew more about teaching riding.

Soon after this experience, I noticed an announcement in the CWC course catalog for a Teaching Riding Certificate program.  I signed up for the fall Horsemanship 1 class. The instructor, Patty Stalley, was patient and broke down riding skills into small bite-size pieces. She gave me the confidence to finish the Teaching Riding Certificate Program. I took a few more classes and completed the Horse Management Program in 2004. I learned practical skills to care for horses and computer and accounting skills to start a business.

I loved the connection CWC has with the Certified Horsemanship Association. CHA promotes excellence in safety and education in the horse industry. CHA taught me how to give riding lessons in the safest way possible, such as by using riding helmets.

In 2008, I set up my business: Rockin’ K Riding Stable, LLC.  I built a round pen and a large arena with safe fencing to accommodate beginner riders. Since then, I have taught individual or small group riding lessons for all ages. With the help of Shannon Watts, I started and put my business on Google Maps.

Last year, I turned the small cabin next to the barn into an Airbnb. I have taken guests from all over the world on rides to view beautiful Wyoming sunsets. I am grateful to CWC for giving me the tools to turn my love of horses into an international riding stable.