For decades, Louise “WeeZee” Miner was the spunky woman who greeted riders and passed out the ribbons in her flamboyant Crayola-colored outfits and flowing chiffon headscarves at the Minnesota State Fair Horse Show and countless equine events across the state.
“She was the diva of the horse show ring,” longtime friend Alice Lear said. “She described herself as a little bit Hollywood, a little bit quality trash.”
Miner, who friends say was fiercely private, died July 15 at her longtime home in Bloomington at an undisclosed age after an undisclosed illness.
“WeeZee is ageless,” Miner once told a reporter.
Aside from being an accomplished rider and horse trainer, Miner was a prolific self-taught writer, artist and seamstress who was able to navigate the intensity of a dusty show ring even though she was legally blind.
Miner’s love for animals, especially horses, started early. She grew up in Superior, Wis., not far from a horse barn. “And she went out there as soon as she could walk,” said her sister, Gloria Kervina.
For most of her life she lived independently in Bloomington, most recently with her lap dogs, who often were in a stroller that Miner pushed around the neighborhood.
In the early 1970s Miner had her own horse, a Morgan, but devoted most of her time to other people and their horses. She was seldom paid, and she loved most breeds and riding styles.
“She had no preference for style as long as it was a horse,” said Lear, who frequently took road trips to horse farms with Miner, including a Saddlebred farm in Kentucky that became one her favorites.
Miner never drove and relied on her many friends to ferry her to the shows, but she often donated her hand-painted pillows, plates, paintings and intricately costumed dolls for auctions that helped raise money for the many organizations about which she was passionate.
“She was a very giving person,” Kervina said. “She never had a lot, but anything she had she was willing to share.”
Kervina said that Miner had a natural talent that emerged when she was just a little girl. She painted and drew pictures using just about every medium available to her, and she spent countless hours at the sewing machine making many of the outfits she wore in the ring, including a dress stitched together with prize ribbons donated by riders.
At the horse shows she was always at the ready with “courage bears” that went to riders who were afraid and “comfort bears” for those who fell off their horses.
“She was one singular sensation in so many ways,” said Pam Keeler, a longtime friend and fellow equestrian who met WeeZee at the Tanbark Cavalcade of Roses Horse Show. “I was always in awe and wonder of her and always said, ‘WeeZee, you’re legally blind but you have the ability to see the world around you in vivid color.’ ”
Services have been held. Miner was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Edna; and her brother Dick. In addition to her sister, she’s survived by her brother George and her nephews and nieces.