Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Julie Wilson

Honored June, 2018

Julie S. Wilson


Julie Wilson represents the good in the world.  She shows us that what one individual does can have a profound, lasting, and positive impact on others.

During 37 years as a biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory Julie co-authored books and scientific articles on a ground-breaking oil shale study and human DNA experiments.When she was a facility manager in the Life Sciences Division, Julie integrated safety into all aspects of work. UNM used Julie’s expertise as a consultant when they were developing their biology facility. Julie mentored many students and judged numerous public school science fairs.

Julie Wilson is a living legend and an iconic horsewoman. She embodies the western way of life and has donated her time keeping the spirit and culture of New Mexico traditions of horses and horsemanship alive and thriving. Her knowledge of horses is vast, including show horses, rodeo horses, roping and cutting horses.  Besides being a cowgirl and barrel racer, she has successfully competed in western dressage, jumping and English events in horse shows. For Julie, it has always been about how you can improve your horsemanship and become a partner with your horse—it’s always been about learning and improving and enjoying horses.

Julie’s involvement in all things horses extends to dedicated time and leadership roles in local, state wide and national associations.

It is said Julie’s mission in life is to improve the lives of horses and horse people—in the most gracious, humble manner possible. Julie truly “speaks horse”  valuing each and every animal for itself; patient and kind she always finds a way to communicate no matter what the temperament. Julie has taken in rescued horses and finds them good homes--she possesses an uncanny ability to match a horse with a rider that would be a good fit.  She has owned over 100 horses.

Julie has helped youngsters reach their dreams. Countless hours are spent coaching and mentoring in and out of the arena—helping find, train horses and prepare for competitions; young women have won Rodeo Queen contests under Julie’s competent tutelage. Julie thinks nothing of hauling kids and their horses to shows, rodeos, clinics and pageants or paying a vet bill. She gives clinics for 4_H clubs. She gives, gives, gives and does not expect or accept payment for her time.

Compassion is one of her best assets, for people as well as horses. Through her teaching horsemanship, Julie  changes lives. People learn sportsmanship, trust, confidence, the importance of being responsible for another living being. One admirer wrote, “If it weren’t for this amazing woman supporting me in my love for horses, I would not have become a veterinarian.” With her enthusiasm, compassion, sense of humor, strong ethics, considerable spirit, and boundless energy she is an superb role model. Slight in stature, but huge in spirit, she embraces every minute of every day on this earth.



Story by Nancy Dahl

Photo © 2018 by Genevieve Russell