barb waltenberry with jazzy
Barb Waltenberry, pictured with her Bernese Mountain Dog, Jazzy • Photo by Waltenberry

Reining Industry Bands Together for Barb Waltenberry

Reiners have banded together to raise money for Barb Waltenberry, the wife of one of the reining industry’s most well-known photographers.

Waltenberry, whose husband Dick is the official photographer of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), was involved in a serious car accident early in the morning on Sunday, Sept. 15, according to a post made on Dick’s Facebook page Sept. 17. She was returning home to Wisconsin from working the couple’s booth at the High Roller Reining Classic in Las Vegas.

The Waltenberrys received an outpouring of support on social media, and fellow reining industry professional Cheryl Magoteaux Cody of Pro Management Inc. created a GoFundMe account. Two hours after its creation on Sept. 20, the page had generated $3,370 of its $35,000 goal from 30 donors.

“Barb and Dick are NRHA Hall of Fame inductees who have devoted their lives to this industry and to its people,” Cody wrote in the fundraiser description. “Each of us at some time or another has experienced their help or kindness.”

Waltenberry’s left hand and forearm were reportedly “smashed” when her minivan rolled three times after she fell asleep at the wheel. She required extensive surgery and, as of an update Sept. 19, had no feeling in the fingers of her left hand, though she was able to “wiggle” them.

“She was taken to a hospital in Fond du Lac where the doctor wanted to amputate but instead sent her to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee by Life Flight where they operated on her hand from about 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.,” Dick’s online post said. “Then about noon yesterday [Sept. 16] until 5 they operated on her forearm.”

Waltenberry, now 74, raised and occasionally showed halter horses earlier in her career. Now, along with being the face of the photography booth at reining events, her passion is reserved for smaller four-legged companions. She is an avid dog trainer and breeder, with several accomplishments in the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America.To donate to Waltenberry’s recovery, visit the GoFundMe page.