“She was kind of the horse that nobody wanted,” said Brandi Provow, owner of Elza The Snow Queen.
But there was something about the bay tobiano mare that stopped the horsewoman from Machesney Park, Illinois, in her tracks while scrolling through a local horse auction’s Facebook page. The auction didn’t have much information about the mare, but Brandi couldn’t get the horse out of her head. So with the eye-catching tobiano set to sell in just a few days, Brandi scoured the internet to see if she could dig up anything more about the horse or her past.
“I spent three days searching for tobiano mares for sale in Illinois, and I finally found her original sale ad,” Brandi said; she networked with former owners to find out more. “She was naughty, and she’d been through multiple trainers. The lady told me she reared and bucked. The mare was only 5 [years old] at the time.”
A Second Chance for Elza The Snow Queen
Despite the red-flag warnings, Brandi had a feeling about “Elza”—there seemed to be something beneath the surface that hinted at talent, despite the rough behavioral exterior. On a whim, Brandi messaged the seller directly and offered $2,800—a bit more than the mare was expected to bring at auction. Money changed hands, and the 2014 bay tobiano came home with Brandi in October 2019.
Throwing the occasional buck while loping, and somewhat aggressive in her stall, Elza was a challenge, but she certainly wasn’t hopeless. And a natural connection developed between Brandi’s daughter, Brianna Massie, and Elza.
“I knew this horse just needed a kid to love her,” Brandi said. “Bri has to earn every step she rides on that mare, but that mare just does anything for her.”
After fixing some physical issues and reapproaching Elza’s training with kindness and patience in mind, the mare transformed. With Brianna in the saddle, the pair made a splash at the 2023 APHA World Championship Show. There, they were world champions in Novice Youth Western Horsemanship 13 & Under and reserve world champions in Novice Youth Hunt-Seat Equitation 13 & Under.
“We were told she’d never make it at the World Show level, but I had so much faith in my daughter and this horse,” Brandi said. “So many people have come up to us saying they are rooting for Bri and Elza. That mare has a lifelong home with us. She’s precious.”
[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.