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Through Almost 3 Decades Together, Singin Saddie Sue & Kelly Mancinelli are Still Winning Hearts Along the Way

Twenty-six years ago in Rock Springs, Wyoming, a little 8-year-old girl named Kelly Mancinelli and a yearling filly named Singin Saddie Sue (Saddie) met and fell in love. It happened by mere chance. Kelly’s mother was babysitting for the (then) owner of Sadie and, in an effort to satisfy her daughter’s obsession, she offered to trade $300 worth of babysitting services in exchange for the filly. A deal was made and the rest, as they say, is history. Little did anyone know at the time, that bartered childcare horse trade would lead to Kelly and Saddie not only still being together, but winning multiple championships in the show pen nearly three decades later.

“Saddie was the first horse my family ever owned,” Kelly Mancinelli, who now lives in Cleburne, TX, and is a small animal vet, told us. “She went with me through grade school, middle school, high school, undergrad in Laramie, Wyoming, and veterinarian school in Fort Collins, Colorado.

“She has been there for me in the most challenging times of my life and is always there to greet me with her neigh. She has taught me so much about life and shaped me into the person I am today,” Kelly reveals. “She has proven that you can do anything and to not give up on your dreams. She has a heart of gold and more try than any other horse I know.”

This duo continually amazes everyone along the way. At this year’s Pinto World Show, Saddie, now 27, and Kelly won eight World Championships, one Reserve World Championship, and two Top Fives. They also ended up All High Point in the Amateur Junior Walk-Trot division. “I think my favorite memory is now winning the Amateur Jr. Western Showmanship this year at the Pinto World Championship Show. This has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.”

When Mancinelli got Saddie as a yearling, Kelly said the little filly didn’t trust anyone. Mancinelli had to work with her to get her over her fears. “She had to have a halter on with a lead rope dragging on the ground to catch her. It was a long process just to gain her trust, but with countless hours of grooming, even in the cold weather, and working with her, she began to trust me,” Kelly recalls. “My parents paid for me to have one lesson a week to learn how to break and train my horse. This included everything from learning how to tie a horse properly, groom, train, to longe and eventually ride. We had never owned a horse before her, so we knew nothing about how to train them. It was just always a dream I had as a little girl to own a horse.” 

Kelly remembers the first time she showed Saddie. “It was at the Sweetwater County Fair in Rock Springs, Wyoming. We showed in walk-trot western pleasure and got dead last. I remember being in awe of how people got their horses to move into a walk or trot without kicking them a lot. Man, were we beginners! We slowly progressed over the years, taking lessons once a week, which I would pay for by cleaning other people’s stalls and homes.”

This team started going to local open shows and the 4-H county fair and slowly started to see their hard work pay off. With Kelly being 5’8” and Saddie being under 14.3H, over the years, many people kept telling her that she had outgrown Saddie.  “She has beaten all the odds and proven how incredible she is,” Kelly told us about her mare. “I have been told so many times over the years that she couldn’t compete at the breed show level or that she was too short or not good enough.”

The team has proved their critics wrong. Kelly and Saddie went to their first Pinto World Championship Show in 2007. They won two World Championships in Amateur Novice Western Showmanship, Amateur Novice Western Horsemanship, and a Reserve World Championship in Amateur Novice Western Pleasure. They also ended the 2007 Pinto World Championships as High Point in the Amateur Novice division. 

Saddie is now a PtHA 16-time World Champion, seven-time Reserve World Champion, and 16-time Color Breed Congress Champion. She has also won the High Point at the Pinto World Show twice. The mare was never able to get her APHA papers because no one knew her sire and dam. But luckily, she qualified for Pinto papers.

As far as their future plans go, “I do plan to keep showing her. She loves her job, and as long as she keeps enjoying herself, I will keep competing with her.”

“Thank you to my mom, Denise Lear, for coming to all my horse shows with Saddie over the past 26 years in the cold, heat, rain, and shine and always being my greatest fan and cheerleader,” Kelly continues. “We couldn’t have done it without all your love. And thank you to my wonderful husband for supporting me and encouraging me so much. And thank you to my amazing mare, Singin Saddie Sue. She truly is one-in-a-million. The best girl ever.”

View the slideshow below of Saddie and Kelly’s incredible journey through the years.