GoHorseShow.com in partnership with SmartPak are pleased to continue the highly popular column, GoSmart with Charlie and Jason. Team SmartPak riders, Charlie Cole and Jason Martin have achieved success beyond compare. Since founding Highpoint Performance Horses in 1992, they have trained over 100 World Champions and 200 Congress Champions.
Exclusive to GoHorseShow.com, GoSmart with Charlie and Jason will give you access to Charlie and Jason and the secrets to their success like never before. Their next GoSmart column deals with how they maximize their time and ability when preparing for the Congress.
With an amazing total of 40 horses going to the Congress, we asked Martin and Cole how they keep everything organized and under control with multiple horses and clients to get ready to show. The trainers quickly sum it up by saying that everyone who works at Highpoint has a particular job and that they are all able to maximize their time and ability because they know exactly what their role is within the organization.
"Charlie and I look at our positions at Highpoint as more like presidents of a company,” Martin says. “Through the years, we have learned how to delegate particular jobs to the right people in our operation. We also don't like to micromanage, and we hire high quality people who are self motivators and also are able to show and do well on a national level."
Many training operations tend to bring less help to the Congress because of cost. Highpoint’s philosophy is to hire enough people, and the right people, to keep everything running smoothly.
"It is all about how you approach it with your clients," says Martin. "Even if a trainer is just bringing a few horses--I think a client wouldn’t be upset if they had to pay an extra $200 to hire extra help to make sure they are prepared adequately for the largest show of the year."
AQHA judge, Jeff Mellott, has watched the Highpoint program for many years from the middle of the arena. Recently, he observed their program from the client’s perspective and was extremely impressed. Under the supervision of Highpoint, his daughter, Kaylee Mellott, won the 2012 AQHYA Reserve World Championship in the western riding. We asked Mellott to explain, from his own observations, why he thinks they are so successful.
"They do things such as fly home from the shows because their time is better spent riding the horses at their farm or working on improving some other aspect of their program," says Mellott. "They have more time to return calls, talk to new clients, develop prospects and prepare the horses for the major events instead of having to worry about all the details."
Cole continues, "At Highpoint, everyone has a job. Jason does the billing and the riding, while, I mainly do the riding and deal with the clients. Adam Wainscott takes care of the pleasure futurity horses; Beth Case does the hunt seat horses and the western riding; Brad Ost shows some of the western riding and trail horses and helps prepare some of our horses, while Margaux Tucker focuses on the equitation and showmanship and is the barn manager. She is also in charge of packing the trailer. We also have Fidel Sanchez and Greg Johnson who help get the horses in the pen by riding, ponying and lunging the horses."
There is also one more person who Martin cites as one of the most important people at Highpoint. "Our secretary/breeding manager, Christi Christensen, is our go to person and really is the glue that holds everything together. When we are away at a show, Christi is keeping everything going at home. Our program would have trouble running without her," Jason says.
Mellott believes that another key to their success is that, “They have a
great ability to create a positive atmosphere around their stalls. They
also have a belief that every horse in every class is going to do well.
This attitude rubs off on all of their clients."
Cole and Martin go on to stress that Fidel and Greg are instrumental in helping their program work like a well-oiled machine. "They get the horses in the pen when they are fresh so we can work on other things instead of getting worn out and exhausted by riding all day," Cole says. "Horses only need to be trained on for a short period of time, and that only needs to be done after they have been worked down and are ready to pay attention."
One key element to Cole and Martin's success at the Congress is being able to get enough sleep. Surrounding themselves with quality help allows them to do so.
"Olympic athletes aren't going to stay up all night and then expect to be on their A game when they have to compete--that is the philosophy we take. We want to be well rested and be on our A game when we have to show-so having extra behind the scenes people are invaluable and worth every penny."
Mellott continues, "They are great with the kids and they truly enjoy what they do. Charlie and Jason always try to accentuate the positive parts of their clients and horses and play down their weaknesses. They do what is best for their clients and their program by working together as a team and riding the horses that fit each of them the best. They work together for the benefit of the program not themselves, that is a few of the multitude of reasons they have become so successful."