For the Love of Horses

passions1Written by Jane Schorer Meisner
Photo by Duane Tinkey

Geneticists know that by the time Lisa Kruidenier was born, the color of her eyes and hair already was determined. Kruidenier knows that her passion for horses was in place then too.

“It was there when I was in my baby buggy 50-some years ago,” Kruidenier says. “My mom, if she were here, would verify this. We lived on Park Avenue, and she would take me down a side street where there were horses. These big, soft noses would come down on top of me. My mom said I would just start giggling and would want to reach up and touch those noses.”

So began the “addiction” that now has led to the establishment of Kruidenier’s Tailwind Ranch near Van Meter, her current ownership of six horses—Chance, Prince, Phil, Joee, Gus and Nikko—and her dedication to the efforts of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) to rescue, care for and find homes for horses in need.

“The ARL is such a loving organization,” says Kruidenier, who serves on the ARL’s Advisory Council. “The people who work there care so much about the animals. It’s amazing.”

During the recent $300,000 fundraising campaign to finance construction of the ARL’s approximately 11,000-square-foot indoor arena, Kruidenier issued two challenges to donors and matched $100,000 in contributions. The facility—named the Kruidenier Second Chance Arena—provides a place where ARL staff and volunteers can work with horses to help them become more adoptable. In addition, clinics are conducted there to teach potential adopters how to properly care for horses.

“Lisa’s contributions have been on multiple levels,” says Tom Colvin, ARL’s executive director. Specifically, she assists with organizational development, serves as a role model for adopting rescue pets and contributes as a philanthropist, he says: “She makes needs and dreams possible while challenging others to step up financially. She is truly an inspiration to me and others in our community.”

An only child, Kruidenier became a horse owner at age 6 with a Christmas gift from her parents, the late civic leaders and philanthropists David and Elizabeth Kruidenier. She took lessons and rode with her mother in Water Works Park after school.

“I was fearless when I was 10,” Kruidenier says. “My parents hired a live-in nanny because they traveled. She
was from Germany, and she rode horses.

She got me into jumping, which was not an interest that my mother shared.”

Kruidenier is a professional photographer who earned a journalism degree from Drake University and studied photography at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif. She lived there five years and in Colorado 20 years until returning to Iowa in 2010.

“I came back because I wanted to be with my mom when her health was failing,” Kruidenier says. “At first, it was hard being in Des Moines. It was kind of like living in their shadow. My parents were the best, but they were big socialites and were always entertaining and going out. I enjoy going out, but I’m kind of a quiet person. I’m very different from Mom and Dad.

“I will never be my parents, but I hope in some small way I can leave a legacy,” adds Kruidenier, who in addition to her work with the ARL, serves on the boards of the Des Moines Art Center and Blank Park Zoo. “I hope people can see that even by doing something little, it can make a huge impact.”

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