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2018 Greatmats National Horse Trainer of the Year Contest

Vote for the horse trainer you think should be named the 2018 Greatmats National Horse Trainer of the Year!

Voting runs Nov. 15-29, 2018

333 Ranch

American Equine Scenting Association

Bertrand Training Stables

Bill Thomas Performance Horses

CW Horsemanship

Chelsie Natural Horsemanship

Costa Nova Farm

Diamond Bar Z

Diamond in the Rough Horsemanship and Training

Drifter's Hearts of Hope

Enchanted Equine Adventures LLC

Fox Mask Basic Horsemanship

Haven Horse ranch

Helton's Horsemanship

Joyner Arabians

No Company just an extremely satisfied and happy client

Rackettown Mustangs

Seven Oaks Farm

Sundsbak Performance Horses

Up North Stables

333 Ranch

10/26/18

Pride, Louisiana

I would like to nominate my trainer and dear friend, Susan Morris. Susan’s 333 Ranch is located in Pride, Louisiana. When Susan dedicated her life to horses, it was horses who ended up saving her. Susan has been a lifelong horseman. She has shown and trained in everything from reining and cutting to working cow horse, english, trail, and extreme cowboy competitions. But her greatest accomplishment came from the lowest point in her life. In 2007 Susan suffered a tragic loss, the death of her 15 year old son, Rhett. It was God’s grace and a very special horse who helped her heal through that dark time. While she was still mourning, God spoke to her and encouraged her to go to a particular horse, a crippled black stallion called Cajun. Cajun had been put out to pasture for a career ending stifle injury. Susan didn’t know why she was called to this horse, but she began working with the stallion. The broken pair slowly but surely began to heal one another. Cajun showed her that all things are possible through God. Cajun and Susan went on to accomplish amazing things, including two world championship titles with the Extreme Cowboy Association, and a barn full of talented offspring. Susan is the most spiritual and inspirational woman I have ever met. Her God-given talent with horses is incredible to watch. She once told me she doesn’t carry business cards because she believes God will put those who need her in her path. In fact, that’s how I met her, and how she came to help my personal horse with his struggles, so I’m a believer. She has touched my life. Her life’s mission is to do God’s will, to help horses, and to ultimately help people. She wants to make a difference in this world, and she does. She strives to improve communication between the horse and rider. The picture is of Susan and the late Cajun.
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American Equine Scenting Association

10-30-18

Argyle, MN

"All true horsemen are still learning, it’s just that some are on different levels than others.” This quote has been a driving force for my favorite trainer, even as he trains horses and riders to this day. I would like to nominate Terry Nowacki for his work with the American Equine Scenting Association. For over 20 years Terry has been utilizing horses for public service with his Air Scent Detection horses, and with Mounted Search and Rescue. He broke out from other trainers when he rediscovered the “Lost Art” of a horse’s keen sense of smell. With this knowledge, Terry developed a program that trains horses to air scent for missing humans. Horses are trained to follow airborne scent to its source, which could be a missing person, narcotics, hunting, or for fun! He has been able to work and connect at his clinics with Mounted Search and Rescue groups and natural horse enthusiasts across the United States and into Canada, by helping them to better understand how their horses are communicating. Equine scent detection is natural horsemanship in its purest form, where horses are able to act completely on their own in an open environment to achieve the ending goal. Equine scent detection is dependent on the use of equine sign language which enable the rider to better understand their horse and is able to form a true partnership with their horse. Terry has written two books, “The Air Scenting Horse,” and “equine Sign Language and Communication Journal.” Over the years, Terry continues to expand on his knowledge of the equine world in other disciplines to help others to become an all-around horseback rider. To sum up the air scenting horse, “While riding a scent detection horse, you will have the best seat in the house to witness an instinctive phenomena from your horse that most people never before thought possible!"
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Bertrand Training Stables

9/9/18

Crowley, LA

Ms. Rachel Bertrand is an amazing trainer and I would like to nominate her for the trainer of the year award!

Ms. Rachel's service is a step above the rest, she loves and treats every horse that enters her program as her own. I honestly didn’t expect to make a lifelong friend by sending my horse to a trainer but thats exactly what you get when you entrust her with your horse. During training she remained in constant contact with me to update me on progress and to schedule visits and rides, even after training was complete she would always take time out of her day to call and check on how things were going once the horse was back home. There were multiple times I had questions and would call Ms. Rachel and she was always available to talk and offer advice or riding tips. She has been training and riding horses her whole life and is one of, if not the most knowledgable person I know in the industry and I have recommended her to many friends. She is a one woman show; she rides, feeds, bathes, trims, and mucks stalls for multiple horses every single day every day of the year. I honestly believe she deserves this award and I hope you offer her the opportunity to be one of the trainers with a chance to win the award.

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Bill Thomas Performance Horses

8/31/2018

Saginaw, MI

Bill Thomas on my horse Lilly, he had her for a month. She was not a easy horse to handle before he got her. Now we ride trails, roads and in the arena. It was very tiring to get anything out of her, would not trot or canter and stubborn. After 30 minutes of riding her she would stop and not budge. I have a very perfect horse thanks to him.
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CW Horsemanship

June 23, 2018

Hillsborough, NC

Carley Wheelis of CW Horsemanship specializes in gentling and training BLM mustangs and problem horses. Giving each horse a second chance and owners a better understanding of horsemanship. Natural Horsemanship techniques are used only, with tons of liberty work done!
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Chelsie Natural Horsemanship

10-31-18

Holbrook, AZ

Admittedly, I know very little to nothing about the proper terms used in the training, trimming or riding of an equine, so I sincerely hope that doesn't take away from nomination. I am nominating Chelsie Kallestad because of her outstanding way with equines. I own two gelded donkeys and met Mrs. Chelsie and her husband Bruce almost two years ago. My guys were lawn ornaments before they came to me, and it took over a year to cross paths with this awesome couple. It was amazing to watch them rope, calm and trim the donkeys. Chelsie was constantly watching the donkeys actions/reactions to what was going on and was very aware when either one would become to stressed and would need to take a break. Chelsie uses the mind set that one should learn to read their horse, not force your horse to succumb to your demands. She trains everything from wild horses/donkeys to the seasoned ridden horse/donkey, in all area's from desensitizing to loading. Chelsie offers clinics throughout the year in different locations around N. Arizona, and also provides training services at her ranch. Attached is a picture during a trimming session with my donkeys. Chelsie is ALWAYS concerned for the welfare of my guys and I'm very honored to have this woman and her husband be my farrier team. She is amazing!!!
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Costa Nova Farm

Sept 2018

Summers End Show Ocala Florida

I want to nominate Tom Johnson of Costa Nova Farm, Pierson Florida.

Tom is such an amazing person. 2 years ago, I adopted my American Saddlebred, “Ro and Me’s Gypsy Moon from Saving Grace for Equines. He was saved from a kill lot. I am a school teacher and my husband is a Police Sergeant, so honestly I could never afford a Saddlebred that would be nice enough to show at rated shows.

Well Moon ended up being registered after we did DNA testing, and he is a very very nice horse. I met Tom at a show 2 years ago and was so excited that he had moved into the county that I lived in. Tom is a National level morgan trainer, who was nice enough to take me under his wing!

Tom is such a compassionate and understanding trainer! He can be tough, but he is one of the best instructors that I have ever ridden under! He is amazing with children and I have watched him work with his grandchildren, who he got custody of, without knowing this was going to happen! He has made their lives so much better! He has such a kind way of working with children and helping them to learn respect and responsibility.

Tom has helped me in many ways. He doesn’t mind that I keep my horse at home and that he helps me put the finishing touches. He lets me bring Moon over when I need to. He helps me out by letting me groom for him, to help offset the cost of my show fees! He is funny and kind and I consider him a friend now, not just my trainer.

Tom Johnson has helped me be able to show at shows that I never though that I would be able to. Because of his help, my rescued free Saddlebred is competing against the #2 Western Saddlebred in the world, and is hanging in right behind him. I am forever grateful for the help that Tom Johnson has given me and the friendship that we have created.

Tom leading my horse "Ro and Me’s Gypsy Moon," into the Championship Class.

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Diamond Bar Z

09/2017

Coos Bay, Oregon

This is Jan Lindsay (left blue shirt) with one of her students (right white shirt) We would like to nominate Jan Lindsay from Diamond Bar Z in Coos Bay, Oregon, for 2018 Greatmats National Horse Trainer of the Year. There are many reasons we believe Jan qualifies for this honor. The reasons include her training abilities, her compassion for the animals, and professionalism for the sport. She makes a difference in the lives of her clients, animals and community through the virtues of service, integrity and quality. I wouldn't be riding or have the horse of my dreams without Jan. Jan is the owner and trainer at a local stables. Jan has the ability to train those new to the sport as well as advanced students. She has the skill set to make each learning session focus on safety and help the student and the horse build confidence. Her classes are exciting and students arrive from all around the area, some driving more than two hours, to have lessons from her several times a week. She has the horse's best interest in mind. She teaches students to use the least amount of intervention to achieve the best outcome. When you put the techniques together is looks effortless and like an art. She teaches how to improve balance while using many different techniques. Clients have Jan check out a horse before they purchase to make sound decisions on temperament and soundness and provide her professional opinion before they purchase. Jan's compassion is evident in many ways. Jan recently saved a starving horse named Reo. He is now happy and very loved. She speaks up to owners and caretakers when she identifies any safety or health concerns. She provides horse owners with evidence based practice on how to provide adequate nutrition to all the different types of ages of the horses. She speaks up if someone is not a boarder but used the arena and they are too forceful or evident they need assistance. She does this in a way of learning and not being intimidating to others so they are able to listen. She is a strong advocate for the Horse, she is their voice. Jan helps in the community by providing training clinics at other barns as well as free ones at her barn so that others can have a chance to learn. She provided judging for local youth clinics and competitions. She volunteered her horse expertise to a local robotics team in which the kids earned a trip to state competition. Jan’s history includes a horse clinic for troubled youths in a large inner city so they could have the opportunity to learn about themselves as they learn about horses. She also allows access to the local equestrian high school teams to train at her facility. Jan's evidence of helping her clients with training, care and maintenance of the horse, as well as steps in purchasing the right horse, make her an excellent candidate for this nomination. She has an outstanding community involvement and has touched the youth in our area. Jan is an asset to the equestrian community and a true leader.
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Diamond in the Rough Horsemanship and Training

3-31-18

Fort Lupton, Colorado

Without a doubt, Tina Wright of Diamond in the Rough Horsemanship and Training exemplifies the qualities to be named Greatmats National Horse Trainer of the Year for 2018. As a Navy Veteran, Tina knows what it means to serve. In fact, she is so dedicated to serving her client’s herd (currently 20 horses) that she chooses to live on the property where the horses live, in a tiny home without indoor plumbing, just so that she can be there to immediately address any of the horses needs. She also serves her community by supporting a nonprofit called Happiness Through Horses which helps connect struggling youth to the healing power of horses. Tina donates her time and training to this program and it’s horses and kids using the same high standards that she gives her paying clients. Tina runs every aspect of her training program with honesty and integrity. She is often the last resort trainer, receiving horses who been through several other trainers without success. Starting slow and working with the horse at their pace, Tina gets to know the horse 1:1 and prefers not to focus on any previous issues, instead she just wants to see what they know. When it comes time for difficult conversations or decisions, clients can always count on Tina to be frank and fair – she will share every detail of what she has learned about a horse, and what is needed for that horse’s success to help an owner determine the next course. It is often said that quality can be measured by repeat customers, and that is definitely the case with Tina. Nearly all of her clients are repeat or referrals. She puts her clients and their horses’ needs before her own and works from dawn until dusk year round each day training, feeding and caring for each of the horses. There is never a time a horse’s pen stays dirty or footing is questionable, because Tina is always a step ahead. She herself provides full care for each horse in her training program, learning more about a horse and his needs by watching them eat, observing their sleep and simply sharing her life with the horse in every aspect. Tina’s efforts to obtain and share this deeper information, zeroing in on each horse’s individual needs allow her to provide not only training for the horse but a better quality of life both at her facility and once it’s time to go home.
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Drifter's Hearts of Hope

10-9-18

Franktown, CO

Please accept this nomination of Ben Grogan for National Horse Trainer of the Year. Grogan recently trained a horse named Enchantress to compete in the Equine Comeback Challenge in March. Enchantress was on a path to be slaughtered because she had medical issues that her breeders determined weren't worth the investment to treat. But a the president of a nonprofit rescue group call Drifter's Hearts of Hope saw something special in Enchantress and decided to change her path. She has since captured the hearts of her caregivers who recruited Grogan to train her. After less than three months of training, Grogan and 4-year-old Enchantress placed fourth at the Equine Comeback Challenge - a competition for horses that have never been ridden.
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Enchanted Equine Adventures LLC

10/9/18

Albuquerque, NM

Kendra Loring uses her horses to benefit not only herself, but as a therapeutic tool to help those around her. Whether they are dealing with anxiety, MS, Down Syndrome or ADD, horse can help and Kendra gives them the opportunity to do so. She has helped first responders, veterans and amputees deal with different issues and offers classes to teach others how to help in the process. Please consider Kendra Loring, owner of Enchanted Equine Adventures, for National Horse Trainer of the Year.
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Fox Mask Basic Horsemanship

03/12/18

Chandler, AZ

Tammy Smith. I chose Tammy because of her patience. She also helps riders and horses learn from each other and become successful in rind for fun and competitively. This was after a horse show. The team is showing the success and the result of this if our trainer’s teaching
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Haven Horse ranch

10/23/18

Saint Augustine, FL

Lacey Salvatore (pictured left) operates a non-profit in Florida and trains rescued horses to become therapeutic riding horses for children and adults with special needs.
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Helton's Horsemanship

August 31, 2016

McDowell Saddle and Bridle Club, McDowell NC

This was right before Mandy Helton got her certificate to teach horses and people how a relationship with a horse and rider should be. That is also when her career took off. Since then she has solved endless problems for horse and rider. She supports the idea of round pen join up and for me, personally, as one of her students, I can say, because of Mandy and her ability in the round pen, has changed my relationship with my horse. Now she does lessons with me and helps me improve in ways I never thought I could get too.
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Joyner Arabians

10/23/18

Canutillo, Texas

I’m nominating John M. Joyner, Jr. for National Horse Trainer of the Year because he truly personifies this award’s criteria of high-level service, integrity and quality. I came to know him when I was looking for a trainer for my horse, Max. I had restarted riding at 58 on an 18-year-old former racehorse who had a long string of owners and had never found a discipline he truly excelled in. JJ worked with both of us and today, Max is a totally different horse. If someone had told me six months ago that the judge at our first dressage schooling show would describe us as a "beautifully presented team," I would have laughed. JJ helped me develop a level of communication with Max that has calmed him down and made him a very responsive horse. He is a joy to ride now and has a forever home with me. I've worked with a lot of trainers over the years and am really impressed with JJ’s ability to tailor his training methods to a system that worked for an elderly rider and a horse who was pretty skittish from past bad training experiences.

Service and Integrity

JJ served in the U.S. Army and continues to support active duty and retired military service members and their families with discounted board and services. The tradition of military service is multi-generational in his family: his father is a WWII veteran and his son is currently serving in the military. When the Los Compadres Therapeutic Horsemanship group needed a new home, he gave them reduced board and dedicated arena space at his stables. JJ and his wife, Dani, also feed the group's horses twice per day, which minimizes the volunteer time required for horse maintenance activities. JJ serves on the University of Texas-El Paso’s Institutional Biosafety/Recombinant DNA Committee and is a member of the American Business Clubs, a civic organization focused on improving mobility options for physically challenged individuals of all ages. He is also a member of Six Guns and Shady Ladies, a historical re-enactment group that shares stories of the old West with schools, civic groups and historical preservation societies.

Quality

To help ensure a high caliber of local competition options in our area, JJ organized the All Breed dmDickason Invitational of the Southwest Horse Show. It is now in its 6th year and has become a strong regional show, attracting riders from several states.

JJ’s Arabian breeding and training track record has been stellar. His horses have won over 25 national top ten awards in various activities including: National Championship 2-year-old Arabian Sport Horse Filly National Championship Arabian Sport Stallion, Sport Horse in Hand Dressage Type Arabian Sport Yearling Filly Reserve National Champion Reserve National Champion All-Age Mare Amateur to Handle 3 Reserve National Championships in Driving 2 Reserve National Championships in Hand.

What impresses me most about JJ is that he has accomplished enough to limit his activities to clients who compete professionally, yet he continues to share his expertise with riders of all skill levels in a very down-to-earth, relatable way. I consider him a good friend as well as a trainer.

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No Company just an extremely satisfied and happy client

June 10 2018

Overview Equestrian Center, Belvidere NJ

Pete Corby took my 15 year old buckskin, who was not ridden in over 2 years, and made him rideable again in 4 months. A horse everyone told me to get rid of. A horse that would buck off the best of them. Then Pete took the time to train me on how to ride him. Pete wanted both my horse (Tuff) as well as me, to be safe. I'm still learning, but I'm confident that with Pete as our trainer we will continue to make great strides.
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Rackettown Mustangs

10-31-18

Toombs County, GA

Please accept the nomination of Sandra Williamson from Rackettown Mustangs. I love what Sandra does to give horses chances at better lives as she trains wild mustangs and finds them homes. Earlier this year she rescued several abandoned and abused horses she had previously had in for training. She rehabilitated the horses even though some of them were already to far gone to save. Even though re-homing horses is her business, she put the needs of these horses ahead of her own and provided them a place where they can spend the rest of their lives if the perfect home doesn't come along. It takes someone with a big heart to put that kind of effort and expense into someone or something without expecting anything in return.
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Seven Oaks Farm

6/19/2015

Hamilton, Ohio

Lisa Moad is the founder of Seven Oaks Farm Miniature Therapy Horses, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in Cincinnati, OH. She has grown her program to visit over 75 assisted living facilities in her area, partnered with police departments to foster communication with community members, and created - with the help of local teachers, principals and police officer - VALOR VIP, a character building program presented to elementary students teaching kindness and respect while incorporating horses for students to feel like a Very Important Person. After many years of service to her community, she has made a name for herself in the area. Requests were coming that couldn’t be fulfilled, so she decided to expand her vision for excellent in miniature therapy work. She developed a very high standardization for training and handling that helps all fellow miniature therapy horse handlers and teams bring joy and happiness to all with the utmost professionalism. She is always welcome to share her knowledge of horses & love for serving others. She is the PERFECT candidate for horse trainer of the year!
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Sundsbak Performance Horses

July, 2016

Hazen, ND

I would like to nominate my trainer Rylan Sundsbak for trainer of the year. Rylan is a true horseman, he can read a horse and a rider and know their abilities. He always devotes 100% of his knowledge into teaching the horse and rider, no matter what level of training or horse breed. Whether it be AQHA, Appaloosa or APHA Rylan gives us his all. A client can come to take basic lessons to get to know their horse or come for lessons with their show horse in hopes to make it to the world show. Rylan always helps you to create a sense of confidence that you can achieve anything if you give it 100%. For that, I know all of the clients at SPH are very appreciative and grateful and we cannot wait to see what the future holds!
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Up North Stables

06/15/2014

Derby Vermont

This is a picture of my trainer, Claire Silver, fixing the stirrups of a youth rider during a lesson. I believe that she should be named horse trainer of the year because she has had such a large impact on her students and clients. She has given the students not only information and skills about horseback riding but also to life in general. She has taught many skills about letting your personality show to interacting with other people. She has had shy students come out of their shells, students that avoid people working with other. She has help clients not only with their horses and their children’s lessons, she has created a connection that is like no other. She is a person that has worked with many different kinds of horses and trains horses that are safe and consistent. She shows us the many different sides of horses. She has shown her students the gymkhana side of the horse world, the mounted archery part, and may many more. She is ready to work to help find what students want to do after they have completed school. She is always there if you need someone to talk to. It is for these reasons that I believe that Claire Silver should be named horse trainer of the year.
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Want to honor a horse trainer for his/her outstanding achievements, unique style, humanitarian or animal rights efforts, etc.? Then nominate him/her for the 4th Annual National Horse Trainer of the Year Award, sponsored by Greatmats. The award, part of Greatmats National Award Series, is designed to recognize Horse Trainers who have made a difference in the lives of their clients, animals and community through the virtues of service, integrity and quality.

Learn more about Greatmats National Award Series.

How to Nominate

To nominate the trainer for this award, visit https://www.greatmats.com/2018-greatmats-national-horse-trainer-of-the-year.php or email the following information to brett@greatmats.com before Nov. 1, 2018. Nominators will not be identified.

  1. Trainer's Name
  2. Name and location of the training facility (Must be located in the USA)
  3. A brief description of why you are nominating this trainer, including how he/she meets the criteria of high-level service, integrity and quality
  4. A photo and/or video of the trainer

How the winner is chosen:

  1. Voting will take place at https://www.greatmats.com/2018-greatmats-national-horse-trainer-of-the-year.php from Nov. 15 through Nov. 29, 2018. The two horse trainers with the most votes will be named finalists.
  2. Greatmats will judge the two finalists to determine the winner based on:
  3. Demonstration of Service
  4. Demonstration of Integrity
  5. Demonstration of Quality

Grand Prize

  1. $250 in Greatmats Products (or $150 Cash Option) for the training facility
  2. Trainer/training facility profile to be released with the announcement of the winner on Dec. 14, 2018.
  3. National Horse Trainer of the Year Certificate

More than 4,500 votes have been cast in the first three years of the contest, which is part of Greatmats' Annual National Award Series. The Greatmats National Award Series is designed to recognize instructors, trainers and coaches, who have made a positive impact in their communities and the lives of their students/clients.

Voting Instructions:

Visit https://www.greatmats.com/2018-greatmats-national-horse-trainer-of-the-year.php during the voting period to vote for this year's National Horse Trainer of the Year. Click the vote button next to the photo of the Horse Trainer you'd like to win. Feel free to share the ballot with friends and family and encourage them to vote. The two horse trainers with the most votes will be named finalists. From that point, Greatmats will choose the winner (scroll down to see prizes) based on demonstration of service, integrity and quality.

Greatmats is a national horse stall, stable and trailer flooring leader based in Milltown, Wisconsin, since 1999. Identified as one of the top 3,000 fastest growing companies in the USA three times since 2008, Greatmats gives back to its local community by donating 5% of its annual profits to local non-profit organizations. It also supports green initiatives through the use of solar energy at its Wisconsin headquarters and by offering a large variety of products made from recycled and renewable resources.

View all of Greatmats' horse stall mats at http://www.greatmats.com/horse-stall-mats.php.

All media submissions, including text, photos and videos become property of Greatmats.

Read about past winners of the award:

2016 National Horse Trainer of the Year Jessica Montezuma

2017 National Horse Trainer of the Year Kelly Murphy-Alley