What difference do you see in the horses today from those 10-20 years ago?
The conformation I see in today’s horses is more uniform which enables the horse to do what you want them to do and they have much more ability.
Do you think the reduction in the number of horses being raised will improve or hurt the horse industry?
I think it will improve it because we are taking out of the horse industry the people who raise horses without the objective of being in the horse business. There are no longer people raising 10-15 colts and taking them to a local sale in the fall, those people that were just raising horses like they were raising cattle. There is now more purpose in breeding programs with an objective and outcome in mind, whereas, years ago we had people in the horse business because you could sell a colt for twice as much as you could sell a calf.
What effect do you think the fewer number of young horses will be on the futurity entries and purses?
I don’t think it’s going to make any difference. I think the drop in numbers is coming from the excess breeders in the industry not from breeders who breed for a purpose. The people who enter futurities are in the business of buying a horse to do this regardless of what the situation is.
Do you feel training is now looked at as equally important as the quality of bloodlines in a horse?
I really believe that the training has upped on the scale. I think training is equally or more important, but you also have to buy the right kind of individual that will do the job and invest your money there.
What changes have you seen come about in horsemanship of horse owners?
I see them leaning toward being mentored more and seeking more professional advice. They are not so much doing it on their own, but seeking out help in training and maintaining their horses.
Of the new people getting into horses, what are their general expectations?
People want to win and that’s the bottom line.
What are the most important things a non-pro horse owner can do to improve their skills?
Invest more time in understanding the basics of riding these horses. Any time we have trouble, we have to learn to back up instead of go forward and the only way to back up is to know where the training has come from.
What would you say the most important change should be in the horse industry?
An investment of time and money to let the horses be rode by a qualified trainer first to ensure the horse gets good basics.
Why do you work so hard at being a professional trainer?
I’ve always had a passion for the horse and wanted to create a better horse. I’ve always wanted my next horse to be better than the one I was riding. Not only did I want to produce a good horse but I knew someday that if my kids followed in their dad’s footsteps that I would be the coach and advisor to teach them that they can always improve our horse along with ourselves.