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For All of Life’s Ills, Horses Are the Best Medicine: The Journey of Kelsey Tumey

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Kelsey with Dem The Best Brews, “Aspen,” who is by Best Brew At The Bar and out of Moonpie Dreams.

By Delores Kuhlwein

“Horses carry the wisdom of healing in their hearts and offer it to any humans who possess the humility to listen.” -Unknown


First ride back on Lopin Real Purdy, owned by Lola James

Before the 2022 All American Quarter Horse Congress, Trainer Kelsey Tumey of Rockville, Indiana, was involved in a severe motorcycle accident in June, which resulted in breaking her back in three places.

So when it came time to go to Congress in October, Kelsey explains that she elected to stay on the ground and prep horses for clients.  “I didn’t show myself, but I had six horses there with my partner, Jess Haines,” she says.

When she was diagnosed with cervical cancer after the Congress, doctors wasted no time prescribing treatment for what seemed to be an odd twist of fate.  “They actually believe that the motorcycle is what triggered the cancer cells to grow so aggressively because after the wreck, my CT was clean,” Kelsey explains.

Kelsey with her late show mare, Demi In The Dark.  “Aspen” is the mare’s granddaughter.

An intensive surgery and a very severe chemo regimen followed – a total of six rounds.  As of March 22nd, she was on the fourth round of six, with her fifth round March 30th, and round six will be three weeks after that.

However, she reveals she has been surprising the medical staff.  She says, “The chemo nurses are amazed I am up and doing what I do during the treatment.  The horses have definitely been amazing therapy.”

On January 22, 2023, the birth of her filly was a special milestone and a bright spot for her.  “Dem The Best Brews, aka “Aspen,” is by Best Brew At The Bar and out of Moonpie Dreams. She’s a granddaughter of my late great show mare, Demi In The Dark.  Our photo together is pretty special.”

Though she wasn’t in the barn at all immediately after her surgery in November because of how invasive it was, as soon as she was able to get around, she began to visit the barn frequently to see the clients and talk to the horses.  “I talk to the horses a lot when I’m having bad days so it was nice to see them. I breed every year so to see the babies was the best part.”

Kelsey enjoying Disney in the midst of chemo treatments, March 2023

She slowly started to go back to work, though she is being careful.  “I’m riding some of the show horses and even going to visit at the shows,” she explains. “With my immune system compromised I have to be smart about what I do.”

At their facility in Rockville, Indiana, they stand 3 stallions: Gota Machine Gun, An Eligible Bachelor and Kissin The Girls. She also is the owner of Pine Ventures, the dam of Its a Pretty Thing, Sweet Southern Susie and It’s UR Thing.

It’s the horses, she says, that have given her hope and kept her on track to stay focused on her dreams.  “Watching my foals go and be successful is the best feeling I’ve had in the horse industry,” she exclaims.  “I’m just a small town girl with a big dream and I’ll keep chasing it!


We wish you an amazing recovery, Kelsey!  You are well on your way and we will all be cheering you on!

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