Love of horses and cows brings Kara Brichacek home

Kara Brichacek has a weakness for animals.

Most at home in the pastures among his cows and horses, Brichacek comes as much as possible to his family farm north of Schuyler, Nebraska. It’s not an easy task as she works full time 70 miles away.

“It’s a good balance for where I’m at in my life right now,” Brichacek said.

Her love for horses pulls her back and forth. Brichacek is employed at Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy (HETRA) northwest of Gretna on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week. Despite the 12-hour workdays, she says it’s “very rewarding.

Brirchacek will talk about her life on and off the farm over the next year as a Progress Reporter producer for the Midwest Messenger. Its reports will appear every two weeks starting this week.

“We work with all ages from two to 85 and all abilities and disabilities,” Brichacek said.

Staying in an apartment in Fremont earlier this week, Brichacek returns home on Wednesday, sometimes leaving enough time to sneak in a ride on one of her beloved horses that night.

Ever since two of her older sisters got her “addicted” to horses, Brichacek has had a passion for horses.

“I’ve always had horses and I never see myself not having horses or not being part of my career.” Brichacek added: “I have two horses and I want more.”

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More comfortable with her horses, Kara Brichacek of Clarkson, Neb. likes to ride his mare Moonshine and his gelding Stormie as much as possible.

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Brichacek rides his horse Stormie to check the cows in the pasture. His mare, Moonshine, is his barrel racing horse. She practices at the Clarkson Arena or at home.

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A graduate of Howells-Dodge Consolidated in 2016, Brichacek attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for two years, then transferred to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She graduated from college in 2020 with a degree in communication studies. Brichacek said the classes intrigued her because the degree combines writing and psychology.

After college, Brichacek moved to Johnstown, Colorado to work as a cow horse trainer. Returning to Nebraska after four months, she began working at HETRA first on a part-time basis, then progressed to a full-time position. Brichacek said she was lucky to be able to work at HETRA and be home on the farm.

The youngest of six children, Brichacek has four older sisters and an older brother. She also has four nieces and five nephews.

The Brichacek family grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa. Most of the alfalfa is baled into large square bales to feed their cows. They also have 10 laying hens.

Brichacek’s father Stan and brother Nick run the farm equipment during planting, harvesting and haymaking. Brichacek fills in whenever possible, doing chores and preparing meals during busy seasons to keep them moving in the fields. She also gives them company in the tractors and combine harvester.

“I especially love spending time with my dad,” Brichacek said.

Additionally, the Brichaceks own 30 pairs of Black Angus cattle and raise their own feeder calves, which they sell at the Columbus Sales Pavilion throughout the year.

“We’ve got quite a few that I’ve tamed,” Brichacek said. “I love cows as much as horses.”

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Kara Brichacek of Clarkson, Neb. loves cows and has tamed “quite a few” over the years.

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Todd is her friendly steer with a weakness for bananas and candy. Another pet is a Brichacek cow tamed in fourth grade. This cow gave him at least seven calves, mostly bulls.

“On the first day of fifth grade, she followed me on the school bus,” Brichacek said.

As much as Brichacek loves animals, she loves her family and friends.

“I appreciate my friendships more and more,” Brichacek said.

Journalist Kristen Sindelar has loved farming all her life, coming from a diverse farm with three generations working side-by-side in northeast Nebraska. Contact her at

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