Bucket Full of Dreams
Anne Mitchell jumps into three-day eventing and raising pasture-to-plate beef
Story By Dianna Troyer
Considering different names for their ranch in southeastern Idaho, Brady and Anne Mitchell chose Trodaire—an Irish word meaning fighter, one who never gives up.
“It’s who we are and reminds us to never quit, to be persistent and optimistic, so we can turn our dreams into reality,” says Anne.
She shows a tattoo on her left wrist of Trodaire Farms’ brand: a combination of the letters T and F.
“It’s my visual aid to not quit,” the 34-yearold says.
“You are never too old to start checking off your bucket list dreams.”
Since she and Brady established Trodaire Farms in 2019 on 80 acres near Elba, Anne admits she has confronted countless frustrations and had good reasons to give up on her dreams to compete horses in the sport of three-day eventing and raising pasture-to-plate beef.
Three-day eventing combines three horse riding disciplines: cross country jumping, show jumping and dressage.
During cross country, a rider gallops a horse over a course, ranging from 2.75 to 4 miles with 24-36 obstacles of various heights and widths. Levels of competition range from novice to advanced.
During dressage, riders are judged according to how precisely their horse responds to slight cues to walk, trot and canter.
“It’s hard to explain the partnership, level of trust, and thrill of riding an event horse,” Anne says. “My parents encouraged me to compete in rodeo when I was a child, but it didn’t have the adrenaline rush I needed.”
During the cross-country phase, she says, “We trust each other. It’s humbling to feel this relationship, to know this powerful creature allows you to sit on its back in harmony as a partner.”
Anne chronicles her joys and frustrations on Instagram at #trodaire_farms. She juggles her time between training a new eventing horse, Monty, and working alongside Brady to raise their cattle.
Having competed for more than a decade in three-day eventing, Anne has suffered setbacks. She has recovered from horse-related injuries and dealt with the deaths of two beloved horses.
In 2015, she took time off.
“It was such a hard decision because I love the sport,” she says.
While taking time off from equine competition, Anne faced challenges of breeding cattle with specific genetics and finding a USDA-certified butcher who could handle their production schedule.
“When I held a package of our first boxed beef in July, it was emotional,” she says. “After we were married in 2016, we worked for years to do this, breeding Black Angus bulls on Baldy cows to have the genetics we wanted.”
The farm recently earned Global Animal Partnership 4 certification. The Step 4 label tells consumers the beef is raised on pasture without antibiotics or growth hormones.
“It’s a huge marker for Trodaire and sets us apart on a national scale,” Anne says. “I’m shipping as far as Florida and California.”
Beef orders are placed through trodairefarms.com.
With the beef business established, Anne will move in November to Ocala, Florida, to continue her three-day eventing season with her 8-year-old thoroughbred TF Paramount, nicknamed Monty.
Retired from the racetrack, her 17-hand partner “has been willing to learn a new sport,” Anne says. “I’m excited for our future. He’s been having a great season getting through new times. He’s doing amazing. In hindsight, he came into my life at a perfect time.”
Her previous horse had to be euthanized due to severe spinal cord issues.
“I wasn’t ready emotionally to get a new horse and risk another loss,” she says. “A couple of days after my horse passed, my agent called about Monty. She said he would be the perfect horse for me, but I was still hesitant.”
At age 6, Monty had retired from a winning career at a racetrack in Ocala.
“She sent a video of him, and a veterinarian assured me he was sound, and I’d be foolish not to buy him,” Anne says.
Shipping Monty to Idaho would be difficult, however, because businesses were shutting down due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“A company I had used previously for shipping had one slot left,” she says. “But he could only bring Monty as far as Fort Worth. A friend in Texas happened to be coming to Idaho.”
For six months, she turned out Monty with the ranch horses, “so he could just be a horse,” she says. “Last winter, I brought him along slowly. He learned to be ranch broke.”
Anne says eventing appeals to her because “it entails a lifetime of learning.”
She says her love of the sport was kindled when she began taking riding lessons at age 8 in Santa Maria, California, where she was born. Her parents, Wynn and Jeannine Dewsnup, farmed in California and nurtured a bucket list dream of their own—raising cattle in Idaho.
A California native, her father had become acquainted with southeastern Idaho after taking a trip through the area after high school and finding a job on a ranch near Almo, where he worked for several years. After starting a family, he returned to California to farm before ultimately returning to Almo to raise cattle.
While working the family ranch in Almo, Anne met Brady at a local restaurant.
“I couldn’t have found a more amazing man,” she says. “He understands and supports my bucket list dreams and who I am as an individual.”
Along with eventing and raising cattle, Anne has another goal.
“Thoroughbreds retiring from the racetrack need to find new careers,” she says. “Our farm might become a good base for that, too.”