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Cowgirl blogger Jenn Zeller brings remote ranch to life online

Courtesy photoJenn Zeller's blog features her personal stories, ranch history, hand-crafted jewelry, recipes and photography.
jennifer zeller |
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Like a lot of little girls, Jenn Zeller fell in love with horses at a young age. She dreamed about horses and studied every book and publication she could get her hands on to learn more about these beautiful creatures. There was only one problem with Zeller’s horse love – she lived in a big city in Texas. The opportunity to get on a horse didn’t happen until she was 12 years old, and by that time, she was hooked.

Her obsession led to a college rodeo scholarship, where she graduated with a business administration and marketing degree in 2002 from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX. After graduation, Zeller worked as a registered assistant at an investment firm. The job left her plenty of time to ride horses in the evening, and before too long she was teaching riding lessons and taking outside horses into her barn. After a few years, she was so busy training horses, she hung up her business career to commit her life to the equestrian industry.

And, just like in a typical Western romance novel, the summer of 2007 brought Zeller love in the form of South Dakota rancher, Zach Ducheneaux. The cowboy first fell for her horse handling abilities, and he offered her a job at The DX Ranch in Eagle Butte, SD. In June of 2008, Zeller moved from Texas to South Dakota to lend her unique abilities to benefit the horse program at Ducheneaux’ ranch.

“I moved for the job, but I also fell in love,” said Zeller. “I fell in love with the country, with the people, and with Zach. I’ve always wanted to be a full-time cowgirl and live on a ranch, so when the opportunity presented itself, I had to take it.”

Ducheneaux is a third generation rancher who resides on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The DX Ranch has a 40-year horse program that started with some great foundation blood.

“We’re a family run operation with myself, Zach and Kelsey, Zach’s daughter, doing most of the work,” explained Zeller. “We also have an internship program on the ranch, where we take high school and college-aged kids and teach them how we do things, from starting colts to working cattle.”

Cowboy meets cowgirl, and the two fall in love and live happily ever after. End of story; or just the beginning? Zeller has committed herself to much more than a cowboy, the land and the livestock; she is dedicated to bringing her story to life online through her blog, “The South Dakota Cowgirl.”

“I’ve always used my blog as a way to share the happenings in my life, and as I began to share more of my life online, the comments and feedback on the blog began to take on a certain tenor,” said Zeller. “One day, I just changed the name of the blog to reflect what it had turned into; ‘The South Dakota Cowgirl’ was born.”

Zeller’s blog features her personal stories, ranch history, hand-crafted jewelry, recipes and photography. Despite being 65 miles from the nearest Walmart, she has successfully brought the remote ranch life to the internet.

“The beginning reason for the blog was to keep my family informed of my life, but it has evolved into a more interesting purpose, which is to share ranch life with the world,” noted Zeller. “Where our ranch is located is some of the prettiest land on this great Earth of ours. I think a great photo can tell a story and being able to include great photos with blog posts is an awesome way to further communicate agriculture life, as well as sell our horses.”

Although she considers herself a horseman and rancher before her other talents of photographer, jewelry designer and blogger, Zeller’s diverse skills have evolved into one sweet deal.

“I would say blogging is just something I do for fun, and if I can make a little money at it, then great!” explained Zeller. “I just started taking photographs for people last summer, with my first three jobs being senior photos. I love taking photographs, almost as much as I love riding. Almost. Primarily, I mainly work here on the ranch, starting colts, riding saddle horses, moving cows, helping with the calving and making breeding decisions.”

Zeller estimates she spends about three hours each day working online. She maintains her blog, as well as the ranch Web site, Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can find her information at thesouthdakotacowgirl.com, the ranch site can be found at http://thedxranch.com. The rest of her day is spent working with horses and cattle.

She also writes for a few different blogs, “Kindred Cowgirl” and “The Corner Stall.” In addition to being in the process of trademarking, “The South Dakota Cowgirl,” Zeller is also working on a coffee table photography book, which will be titled, “Year in the Life of The South Dakota Cowgirl,” which she anticipates will be done in the spring of 2012.

Whether it’s training horses, making jewelry, taking photos, cooking or enjoying ranch life, Zeller is a jack of all trades – a city girl born country and an undeniably talented woman with a true passion for agriculture.

Like a lot of little girls, Jenn Zeller fell in love with horses at a young age. She dreamed about horses and studied every book and publication she could get her hands on to learn more about these beautiful creatures. There was only one problem with Zeller’s horse love – she lived in a big city in Texas. The opportunity to get on a horse didn’t happen until she was 12 years old, and by that time, she was hooked.

Her obsession led to a college rodeo scholarship, where she graduated with a business administration and marketing degree in 2002 from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX. After graduation, Zeller worked as a registered assistant at an investment firm. The job left her plenty of time to ride horses in the evening, and before too long she was teaching riding lessons and taking outside horses into her barn. After a few years, she was so busy training horses, she hung up her business career to commit her life to the equestrian industry.

And, just like in a typical Western romance novel, the summer of 2007 brought Zeller love in the form of South Dakota rancher, Zach Ducheneaux. The cowboy first fell for her horse handling abilities, and he offered her a job at The DX Ranch in Eagle Butte, SD. In June of 2008, Zeller moved from Texas to South Dakota to lend her unique abilities to benefit the horse program at Ducheneaux’ ranch.

“I moved for the job, but I also fell in love,” said Zeller. “I fell in love with the country, with the people, and with Zach. I’ve always wanted to be a full-time cowgirl and live on a ranch, so when the opportunity presented itself, I had to take it.”

Ducheneaux is a third generation rancher who resides on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The DX Ranch has a 40-year horse program that started with some great foundation blood.

“We’re a family run operation with myself, Zach and Kelsey, Zach’s daughter, doing most of the work,” explained Zeller. “We also have an internship program on the ranch, where we take high school and college-aged kids and teach them how we do things, from starting colts to working cattle.”

Cowboy meets cowgirl, and the two fall in love and live happily ever after. End of story; or just the beginning? Zeller has committed herself to much more than a cowboy, the land and the livestock; she is dedicated to bringing her story to life online through her blog, “The South Dakota Cowgirl.”

“I’ve always used my blog as a way to share the happenings in my life, and as I began to share more of my life online, the comments and feedback on the blog began to take on a certain tenor,” said Zeller. “One day, I just changed the name of the blog to reflect what it had turned into; ‘The South Dakota Cowgirl’ was born.”

Zeller’s blog features her personal stories, ranch history, hand-crafted jewelry, recipes and photography. Despite being 65 miles from the nearest Walmart, she has successfully brought the remote ranch life to the internet.

“The beginning reason for the blog was to keep my family informed of my life, but it has evolved into a more interesting purpose, which is to share ranch life with the world,” noted Zeller. “Where our ranch is located is some of the prettiest land on this great Earth of ours. I think a great photo can tell a story and being able to include great photos with blog posts is an awesome way to further communicate agriculture life, as well as sell our horses.”

Although she considers herself a horseman and rancher before her other talents of photographer, jewelry designer and blogger, Zeller’s diverse skills have evolved into one sweet deal.

“I would say blogging is just something I do for fun, and if I can make a little money at it, then great!” explained Zeller. “I just started taking photographs for people last summer, with my first three jobs being senior photos. I love taking photographs, almost as much as I love riding. Almost. Primarily, I mainly work here on the ranch, starting colts, riding saddle horses, moving cows, helping with the calving and making breeding decisions.”

Zeller estimates she spends about three hours each day working online. She maintains her blog, as well as the ranch Web site, Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can find her information at thesouthdakotacowgirl.com, the ranch site can be found at http://thedxranch.com. The rest of her day is spent working with horses and cattle.

She also writes for a few different blogs, “Kindred Cowgirl” and “The Corner Stall.” In addition to being in the process of trademarking, “The South Dakota Cowgirl,” Zeller is also working on a coffee table photography book, which will be titled, “Year in the Life of The South Dakota Cowgirl,” which she anticipates will be done in the spring of 2012.

Whether it’s training horses, making jewelry, taking photos, cooking or enjoying ranch life, Zeller is a jack of all trades – a city girl born country and an undeniably talented woman with a true passion for agriculture.


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