GoHorseShow loves to find out about individuals in our industry, and we decided to ask several trainers, exhibitors, and breeders what was the smartest decision they ever made in the horse industry that effected their lives and business in a positive way. We received some honest and informative answers. Check them out below!
Holly Hover-- I was 11 years old and read anything and everything that had to do with horses. I found an article about John Hoyt and his methods of teaching a horse to change leads. Even at age 11, I knew my lead change ability was lacking and looking back, rather life endangering for me as well as my poor horse! My decision was to beg, plead and otherwise harass my parents to agree to let me make the trip from Colorado to Arizona for what later proved to be one of the best decisions of my life. Not just for the valuable training that I received but for the mentoring that was to come from one of our industries greatest horsemen. He believed in finding something remarkable in each horse. He believed in wet saddle blankets and time in the saddle. He taught me to finish every day with the proper care and feeding of the horse before retiring ourselves. He taught me respect...He continues to be the strong voice I remember through all decisions in my life.
Lori Gordon--The smartest decision for me was designing my business in a way that works successfully for me as well as being fulfilling and enjoyable. It changed my life by moving from an unhappy job in advertising to a job I love with horses. I wanted a strong emphasis on marketing with my training business being successful locally, but able to produce Top Ten Placers and Finalists at the Congress and AQHA World Show. My best decision was getting my AQHA and all of my judges' cards!
Tim Kimura--Smartest decision, dating Tiina Volmer. It's definitely been life changing. It's wonderful coming home from a long trail tour, horse show and or clinic and be greeted at the airport from Tiina, Coco and Gucci. My schedule is hectic, but it's nice to go home and relax, cook, watch ESPN, and be with those three girls. The quality time spent with them is priceless. I appreciate the love and positive energy I get from all of them.
Charlie Cole--Smartest decision I ever made...going into business with Jason Martin. We were both 22 yrs old and each had our own businesses and really weren't even friends. We were quite competitive with each other, but we realized how well we complement each other in our training and riding styles. Jason strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. We trust each other and respect each other's opinion. As much as I hate to hear him tell me, "That doesn't look good or you need to try this on that horse", I know he's being honest and I need to listen. It's a very mutual respect. We have the same appreciation for a good horse and are always looking for the same result, to be the best that we can be.
Missy Thyfault--Upon graduating from the University of Findlay, I had to decide whether to take a job that was located in Ohio or to search for a job closer to Illinois where I grew up. I took the position in Ohio telling myself I would only stay for a couple of years. I started chasing the dream here, and, it led me to the place where I am today. Working for Richard Ekin provided me with the means and opportunity to do what I love. His family gave me the start I needed to prove to myself that I could be successful. It also provided me with the horse power to show at a higher level. I will always be grateful for that chance and I know I was lucky to have had it.
Jerry Erickson--In regards to one of the best decisions I made was a gut reaction the first time I saw Ruler I Am. In March of 1984, I was driving from Wisconsin to Texas--and south of Oklahoma City I was so tired I had to stop. It was around ten at night and I had two horses in the trailer. I pulled into the farm of some people I knew to see if I could put the two horses up for the night. The following morning when I returned they were doing chores and turned two extremely thin horses out of a small pen into the pasture. As I watched the bay gelding trot towards scraps of hay, I just had a feeling that this was it and that I had to have this horse despite his condition. Prior to Ruler I Am, I had a modestly successful career started but after this horse carried me to four World Championships and five Congress Championships, I became a recognized person in the hunter under saddle ring. I owe so much to Ruler I Am, and I am so thankful that I followed up on my first reaction that morning when I first saw him.
Noelle Schmidt--The smartest decision I've made in the horse industry is applying my dealership management business background to my stallion's management and promotion. In doing so, I also live by one of the golden rules taught to me by my father at the dealership...He always said, "Surround yourself with the most professional and the most experienced and knowledgeable people in every business you get involved in, and you will always be successful by learning from them." I try to live by that with the horse business.
Jennifer Thompson--The best decision I ever made in the horse industry was buying a weanling colt from Texas that I saw on a video. He was loping through a pasture with about five other weanlings and to me, he was breathtaking! His name was, The Coosanova. I went on to win the Junior Western Pleasure at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. He put me and my husband on the map nationally as horse trainers. I believe he allowed me to be the first woman to ever win that class. My success with led me to meeting some lifelong friends that have helped me become a better horse trainer and a better person. What a gift!
Cheryl Hawkins--The smartest thing that I decided to do in the horses industry is to become a horse trainer. I love my job; the people and the horses--it becomes your whole life. The horse industry is like one big family; everyone knows everyone; you are always learning new training methods, and, if you have a problem, there is always someone to help you out.
Garth Gooding--The smartest decision I've made in the horse business, was getting out of the halter business and focusing completely on performance horses. I'll always appreciate a great halter horse, and I do miss it at times, but riding has always been my passion. That's not to say anything negative about the halter industry, it was just the right decision at the right time for me.
Debbi Trubee--I guess the smartest thing I've ever done was to pay attention to bloodlines and conformation. We rode horses for McWhirter's for many years and Carol is the ultimate authority on bloodlines. I always listened intently to her discussing family traits and always made it a point to study conformation and how it relates to function of movement. Who knew I'd end up being a breeding farm manager! Those lessons have served me very well in our breeding program.
Julie and Brent Harnish--That is probably buying our stallion, Gentlemen Send Roses. The addition of this stallion to business changed our place in the horse world. While we wanted to breed foals suitable for youth and amateur all around horses, we had no idea that this stallion could become such a popular addition to the breeding market. We knew he had an incredible mother--we had watched her show. We knew he was homozygous, so that reduced the risk of solid babies--but the babies he produces and the clients we have amassed with him has been a tremendous journey. It is a great feeling to sit at the world shows and hear your horse called as the sire and us personally as breeders. That is where we feel we have created a niche in our industry and are truly helping those youth and amateurs. The breeding business is a journey of forever learning and each day creates its own challenges but once you are there the rewards and friendships are incredible.
Jenna Dempze--My best and smartest decision in the horse industry was taking the time with my family to really think about my goals and to define where I wanted to be in the horse industry when choosing a trainer. I found someone that shared in my goals and was where I wanted to be. The program and atmosphere are a good fit for my horses and I.
Ruth Ellen--The smartest decision I ever made was to apply for my AQHA Judge's card. It has enabled me to travel to 20 different countries and to make lifelong friends along the way and around the globe.
Sid Griffith--The best decision I made was to quit drinking in 1988 and remain sober. My business improved significantly as well as my relationships.
Diane Chilton Harper--Buying Radical Rodder for $10,000. Now I own a leading sire with 950 foals.
Kelley Roberts--The smartest decision was to buy our own place. It has given us the stability of being in one place and not having to move from facility to facility. We've been able to build equity in our property, which will be beneficial in our future.
Joni Nelson--Smartest thing was to learn how to do other events, especially trail, rather than just do the western pleasure. It has opened the door for more opportunity for sales, showing and customer base.
Brad Jewett--Smartest decision was letting God take control and guide me in the direction of training all around horses--though I love the reining and hope to be competing in it again someday.
Sheri Robinson-Kern--Best decision is follow your passion in business and in life as well. Obviously I went with horses, and I have determined success is not necessarily measured in dollars but by accomplishments. Believe in yourself and work hard every day.
Stay tuned for the second part of this series when people in the industry discuss the biggest mistake or regret they made involving the horse business and what they learned from it!