A Round of Appreciation

Thank you to the horse trainers who make our horse dreams a reality!

The introduction to this sport began with the love for a horse. We were captivated by their beauty and strength. As we gained closer access to the horse, we realized that they were intelligent and kind as well. We watched others ride them and form bonds that were inseparable. When we finally took the plunge into horse ownership, we found guidance from horse trainers. Horse trainers are the translators of these beautiful animals and we, as their clients, are so thankful that they teach us the language that horses speak.

Horse trainers are there for us from the very beginning when we set out to find our four-legged partner. This just might be the most important step on our horse journey. The horse that we are paired up with can change the experience that we have. Finding a horse that is equally yoked to the rider is critical. Deb Shatley is thankful that Michael Weaver was there to offer wisdom when she found her dream horse, QuiteABitLazy. “We tried several and none were suitable.  Forty-five minutes before we needed to leave for the airport Mike finds a horse from Canada. We watch the owner ride this mare and then Mike tells me to get on. I rode her for all of five minutes and the deal was done.  Mike always says you’ll know when it’s the right one and he was so right!” Deb shared. Since that fateful ride, Deb, Mike and “Flo” have won numerous championships and saddles.

Horse trainers are there for all the stages of our lives as well. Acting just as much as a counselor for our souls as they are for the horses. Jennifer Kyle has been a lifelong client of Nancy Renfro, and even though she is now an Amateur, she still looks back fondly on the summers spent as a youth with Nancy. “Getting to spend summers at her house as a kid doing Youth World boot camp, she’d put us all on different horses and we learned SO much. Trying to ride the mini donkeys at her house and getting bucked off. Watching her ride horse after horse and get the best out of them.” As time has passed, Jennifer’s respect for Nancy has only grown. Jennifer recently switched gears and started showing in Jumping events, an event that isn’t always offered at horse shows. Nancy was right there to support her and offered help in every way possible. “We were the only over fences horse at Del Mar one year, so Nancy had to set jumps, trade bridles, and video for me.” Jennifer shared. The effort trainers put into their clients’ dreams is priceless.

Horse trainers are there for all the stages of our horse’s lives as well. Finding a trainer that believes in a young horse is game changer and can really mold the rest of their career. Tara Hayes, a highly decorated all around rider, recently stepped into the Quarter Horse ring with a three-year-old named Black Tie Martini. Her first trainer, Dal Porto, helped to set her up for success on this new journey, imparting these words of wisdom. “She taught me how to be a better horseman, that it isn’t all about beating other riders but being a good teammate! Also, to stay focused on yourself and not compare yourself to other riders, we’re all on a journey and in different places.” Now under the tutelage of Kellie Hinely, she is eager to see what the future holds. “I’d like to thank Kellie for the belief in a young horse and a new rider to her team. She has so much knowledge and expertise, and I feel blessed to have a new coach in my life that has faith in the future!”

Horse trainers are there for us during victories and defeats awarded through competition. Taryn Tadora and her daughter Alyssa are extremely grateful for the time that Nancy Renfro dedicates to her clients while at a show. “We both appreciate Nancy’s dedication to our success. The biggest thing we have learned is to ‘Trust the process.’ We know she has our best interests in mind.” They spoke. That dedication proved fruitful as Alyssa was just crowned the 2022 AQHA Level 1 West Champion Rookie Amateur Hunter Under Saddle. Stacy Dial echoed similar sentiments while thanking her trainer, Liz Place. “Liz is so dedicated to helping us achieve the best rides and can explain why we do thin with the horses, let’s say in the trail pen for example. It really helps.” Stacy was also thankful for the way Liz brings together her barn during a horse show to make every rider feel included and important. “Liz makes my granddaughter Lizzie, who’s 8, fit in at our barn. Most of us are all Select ladies. Lizzie calls the gals at the barn “The Ladies” and we all love that. We do this because it’s fun and she makes it happen!”

To all the horse trainers out there, thank you, for all that you do to help us accomplish our horse show dreams. We would be lost without your guidance, and this journey towards horsemanship would not be near as fun without you in it.

By Lauren Stanley