“My grandparents, Duane and Joan Sveen, gave me my first horse when I was six years old, and I was hooked ever since,” states Alesha Sveen who has taken her love of horses a step further by competing with her horses and then another step further by choosing her career around horses and their well-being.
Sveen’s first horse, Stormy, will be 28 this year and “happily still resides in my pasture,” she says.
Although her family lived within the city limits of Lanesboro, when she was little, that did not stop her, it didn’t even slow her down. “I spent every weekend I could with my Grandpa Duane and Grandma Joan as they had the horses on their farm,” explains Sveen.
“They gave wagon and sleigh rides with their Belgian team so I learned how to harness and drive long before saddling and riding,” she comments. “After a few years of pleading with my parents, they finally agreed to let me join 4-H and I showed my paint mare, Magic, for six years through the Fillmore County 4-H Horse Program and later competed in the Southeastern Minnesota Saddle Club Association (SEMSCA) and Western Saddle Clubs Association (WSCA) shows.
“I have definitely always been one of those horse crazy kids and I guess I never really outgrew that phase,” notes Sveen.
After high school Sveen attended the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, with an Equine Emphasis.
“Luckily, my parents, Dan and Deb Sveen, were super supportive and took care of my five horses I left at home when I attended college in River Falls,” she says, and her family has continued to support her in all her endeavors.
After college Sveen was employed by Bluff Country Veterinary Hospital in Winona, Minn., for six years as a veterinary technician.
She had applied with the Purina company but the timing never seemed quite right, as the work locations had not been feasible for her.
“Out of the blue, I received a phone call from a college friend, who was also a Purina employee that I had kept in touch with, that there was an opening, essentially in my backyard, and interviews were currently taking place,” states Sveen. Her friend urged her to send her resume in right away, which she did.
“A couple days later, I had a short phone interview. Fast forward two months and three personal interviews later, I was welcomed to the Purina team,” says Sveen.
In July of 2013 Sveen started working for Purina with the job title of Lifestyle Product Specialist, and that job title has now evolved into Farm Product Consultant.
Sveen is a Purina hire and works for Farmer’s Win Coop in Rushford. “It’s a program/partnership that certified Purina dealers can take part in and choose to have a FPC on their team,” she explains.
When asked what her job entails and what a typical day is like for her, Sveen says, “I spend my days in my truck making farm calls, I’m 100% at the farm gate. I take care of my current customers and am always looking to gain new ones. While my expertise is in horses, I also work with pets, deer, and all wildlife, fish, sheep and goats, and exotics.”
“Basically, if it walks, crawls, swims or flies, I can help feed it,” states Sveen.
“I evaluate and assist them with their nutritional program, discuss any gaps, help meet future goals, assess any problems, etc. I also conduct a few educational Horse Owner Workshops a year to help educate local horse owners. I enjoy working with 4-H Clubs, veterinarians, horse enthusiasts, etc.,” Sveen says.
The reason she chose the career she did is very clear when Sveen speaks passionately about her work. “Horse ownership is a challenge. There are so many different feed options out there – I enjoy educating customers and help keep things easy. Most importantly, I want to help them gain the results they want to see in their horses,” she states.
“I can offer free feed through Purina feeding trials and it’s so rewarding when the owners can visibly see the difference we can make in their animals by proper nutrition,” says Sveen.
Building relationships with her customers is Sveen’s favorite part of her job. “Being a people person, I love seeing my customers succeed whether they participate in the show pen, go down the trails, or simply try to keep their retired senior horse in the best condition they can while they live out their years. I take pride in knowing I took a little part in that. It truly makes me Purina proud,” she states.
“I am very involved in the equine industry both professionally and personally. Lucky for me, my career and my hobby mesh very well. I’m pretty engrained in a lot of aspects within the horse industry,” Sveen says.
Sveen is very competitive in barrel racing and spends many weekends at barrel races with her mare, Moose. “In 2018 we competed at jackpots and bulls and barrel events all over the Midwest,” she states, adding, “we’re currently gearing up for 2019 and looking forward to heading to Oklahoma City, Okla., in April for the BBR World Finals,” which is a highlight event.
Sveen’s fiancé, Brandon Freiheit, trains reining horses professionally with Freiheit Reiners, which is located at Plum Creek Ranch near Pine Island, Minn.
“Brandon and I actually grew up showing 4-H together so we both have a bit of a competitive nature. He let me steal his mare, Miss Van Winkle, (that he had trained and showed for the previous two years), for the 2018 North Central Reining Horse Association (NCRHA) show season, and I had an absolute blast joining the reining world,” states Sveen.
“With his training, coaching and support, ‘“Hipster” and I had an awesome year and ended our season in Oklahoma City in December – with a National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Silver Spurs Equine Rookie of the Year Top Ten placing as well as 2018 North Central Reining Horse Association (NCRHA) Reserve Champion in the Rookie Levels 1 & 2,” notes Sveen.
Sveen and her fiancé have a little rookie on their own hands as well. “Our daughter, Bryndle, age 6, has traveled with me since she was six months old and enjoys spending weekends with us and all of her horse show friends she’s made through our travels and shows,” states Sveen.
“She is slowly gaining her confidence in the show pen and has competed in peewee barrels and poles on my old show mare, Magic, as well as the peewee reining. She’s our #1 fan and loves helping with chores, packing the trailer and standing at the rail to cheer us on,” says Sveen.
“Between the reining shows and barrel races, we spend the majority of our weekends living in our horse trailer. We’ve gotten very good at ‘glamping’ and wouldn’t have it any other way. Our horses are our family and it’s a great way we can enjoy them as a family,” states Sveen.
For anyone interested in getting some help with their horse’s nutrition and learning more about Purina horse feed contact Sveen at(507) 259-4110 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Freiheit Reiners visit facebook.com/freiheitreiners.