It started as a mother and daughter’s love for horses and quickly blossomed into a family passion for the Tennessee Walking Horse. From the very beginning, Jo Ann and Sue Ann Dowell have been the best of friends, and their mother-daughter relationship has only grown stronger through their enjoyment of horses.

Jo Ann did not ride much as a child, although she has always admired horses from afar. Later when she married her husband, Glen, they usually kept a pony or two around for the family to play with. When Sue Ann was born, her parents immediately noted that their love of horses had been passed on to her. When Sue Ann was seven, Jo Ann took her to a walking horse farm in East Canton, Ohio to start riding lessons. Jo Ann rode strictly for fun and pleasure with no intentions of appearing in the show ring. She left that to her daughter.

Sue Ann began to show when she was only nine years old. Her first show was at an all breed show, where she rode Lady Blaze to a third place finish in the Juvenile Canter class. Her first blue came at age 11 at a show in Beaverfalls, Pa. Eventually, her trainer decided to take the family to the Celebration. The Dowells immediately fell in love with the atmosphere of a world championship horse show. Upon returning home, Glen decided that if they were going to do this, they were going to do it right.

They eventually moved their horses to Billy and Tim Gray who trained at Sand Creek Farm at the time. Over the years, they have worked with some of the top trainers in the business to create some of the most memorable teams. Jack Hodge, Winky Groover, Rodney Dick, Jeff Givens and Chad Williams are some of the trainers who helped the Dowells achieve their dreams.

One of their most memorable moments occurred in 1995 when the family purchased the three-year-old stallion Trip My Trigger. Under the direction of Tim and Billy Gray, they bought Trigger at the Fayetteville Horse Show and showed him that night. Sue Ann teamed up with Trigger and in their first show together captured the blue. Fayetteville was only the start of many more blues to come. In the same year, Sue Ann and Trigger claimed the Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallion World Championship, earning the family’s first world title. They continued to dominate the Tennessee and Southeast show circuits, and in 1998 carried the roses under the Celebration spotlight in the Amateur Specialty World Grand Championship.

After Trigger’s retirement to the breeding shed, the family’s next purchase for Sue Ann was another stallion, Mighty Maxx. They paired up to make a formidable duo in 2000 and 2001, collecting numerous top titles from around the Southeast. Mighty Maxx was also retired to join Trigger in the breeding shed and increased the size of the Dowells’ growing breeding program. Heat Of The Moment and Prowler’s Princess are two others who earned world championships for the family and are now resident broodmares. Steel Connection was added later after his world championship win.

Proving the strength and faith the family has in their breeding program is the handsome palomino, Trigger Treat. Shown mostly in the model division by Jeff Givens, Trigger Treat earned a reserve world championship in 2008 in an otherwise undefeated season. Trigger also produced Trigger On The Prowl, who has served as Sue Ann’s son, Chandler’s, mount in the trail and country pleasure divisions in years past.

The current headliner for the family is the crowd favorite, The Indy 500. While not a product of their breeding, Indy was purchased in 2007 and has continued the family’s great success in the show ring. In their first year together, Sue Ann and Indy captured the Four-Year-Old Amateur Stallion World Championship and returned in 2008 to carry home the Adult Pony Stallion World Championship and Adult Pony World Grand Championship to finish out a near flawless year.

The list of horses the Dowells have taken to the winner’s circle is endless. Pushin For A Heart Attack, Steel Connection, Incredible, He’s Majestic, Mighty Maxx A Million, A Sugar Daddy, I’m Billy Gray, Steel The Moment and Oh Maybe Baby are just a few bred and/or developed under the family’s ownership.

While blue ribbons and garlands of roses are nice to wear, the family’s true love lies within the horses and the
friends they have made over the course of their 20 years in the business. Jo Ann enjoys nothing more than to relax at a show with some of her horse friends and watch her daughter ride a youngster they have bred. The Dowells keep horses, above all else, a family affair. It is for their dedication to each other, to the breed and to the betterment of the industry that The Year In Walking Horses has dedicated its owners section to Jo Ann and Sue Ann Dowell.