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An Engagement Almost 70 Years in the Making

Filed under: Featured,The Buzz |     

By: Brittany Bevis

It’s often said that everything happens for a reason. Although it’s not always apparent right away, God has a plan. That certainly seems to be the case for Brandon Ames and Katy Monhaut, who were recently engaged while out on a trail ride, in Grandpa’s saddle, and with Grandmother’s ring.

Brandon Ames is a Hereford raising, third-generation farrier who has ridden Cutting horses since he was six years old. Katy Monhaut met Brandon when she sat down next to him in a Chemistry class at Purdue University in 2013. Brandon’s mother, Joan Ames, remembers receiving a text from her son. “Mom, who is Katy Monhaut?”

You see, Brandon and Katy’s grandparents had been best friends since the mid-1950s, so Brandon recognized her last name. Now, Brandon and Katy will be married on December 17, 2022.

“John and Agnus Monhaut and my parents were the kinds of friends you get very few of, if ever,” Joan Ames says. “My Dad used to say, if you were very lucky, you can count true friends on one hand- meaning people come and go in your life, but you really only ever get a few true friends in your lifetime. I would say their friendship started in the mid 1950s. As a family, we often think of the four of them sitting around a table filled to abundance relishing in this union.”

Joan is married to Mike, a farrier and Cutting horse trainer, who has been in the industry for 32 years. Brandon’s grandfather, Al Ames, along with his wife, Ann, introduced many people to the world of Cutting horses from their northwest Indiana farm. Joan says that Al’s greatest joy was watching his son, Mike, and only grandson, Brandon, show horses.

“We’re lifelong horse owners, not big-time names, but we’re lifers in the world of horses,” she says. “Brandon has had success as a non-pro and a youth rider with his biggest wins at the Eastern NCHA Nationals as a finalist and Top Ten finishes at the Congress and a Reserve Championship at the Congress. Brandon is also a member of the NYCHA Hall of Fame.”

The horse that Katy was riding on the trail the day Brandon proposed was Little Wichita Babe, a NCHA earner of $25,000. “Brandon first swung a leg over her in 2007, and she has been his, and only his, ever since. Every horse finds its owner. He was hers. I used to Facetime Brandon at school so he could tell her hello. That mare loves him. Brandon bought a new Cutting horse and knew she was the best horse for Katy to learn more skills on.”

Joan’s mother, and Brandon’s grandmother, Virginia, passed away in April of 2019, leaving behind a diamond solitaire she had worn for nearly 60 years. Katy had always said that she wanted to get engaged at the county fair, but the fair came and went and Brandon hadn’t proposed.

“They ended up going to the Indiana Dunes State Park for a day of trail riding in October,” Joan says. “Katy said he dismounted to find a tree. She was watching when Brandon came back petting on Baby. She said he was fiddling with the horse’s mane and looked up at Katy and just said, ‘You wanna get married?’ Brandon is a low key guy who doesn’t like much of a fuss. On his favorite horse, in his grandpa’s saddle, Katy accepted the ring his ‘Gee’ wore for over 60 years.”

Joan’s parents, John and Virginia Campbell, were married almost 62 years. Virginia passed away in April of 2019 and John shortly after in June. “I recall Mom saying that ring cost Dad about $500. They raised four children in a home that Dad built and, while money was never in abundance, love sure was. We’re all so happy to have Katy wear her ring.”

The day Brandon proposed, Katy was riding in his grandfather’s saddle. Brandon’s beloved grandpa, Elwyn “Al” Ames, left this world in May of 2018. “To say they had a special relationship is just not enough. Al wasn’t raised with horses, but he loved them, and Cutting was his true life passion. He was a salesman that could sell ice to an eskimo. He was a handsome, blue-eyed, well-dressed cowboy. He was my farrier for a navicular youth horse, and I owe him for the life I have. He told his son to give me a call. That was almost 35 years ago.”

Brandon and Katy plan to be married on December 17, 2022 not far from their home. Joan says a dress has been purchased and the plans are underway. “With a holiday time theme of rich cranberry and hunter green, there will be nods to the life we lead with little motifs of horseshoes and bling,” she says. “I know I will be finding a dress that can be worn with boots at the reception. Brandon’s only request for Katy’s dress was that she could dance in it. They are quite the couple on the dance floor with moves they practice in the barn. The wedding will be filled with family and friends we know, as well as those who share our DNA. Their life will start surrounded by a lot of love.”

Joan believes that God has a plan, and the culmination in her family’s story, or rather the next chapter, began the day Brandon sat down next to Katy in that classroom. “Brandon was wary. He’d had his heart broken. She was out of a bad relationship. They found each other. The rest is and will be history. We’re grateful every single time we see the barn lights on that they’re just enjoying the magic of being with horses or working the Herefords.”

Our best wishes to Brandon and Katy on a long and happy life together.

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