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Young trainer racks to the roses




By Sadie Fowler

The Racking Celebration proved to be momentous in more than one way for 20-year-old Brandon Ailshie, who not only captured his very first professional racking World Grand Championship, but also proudly made the family a third generation of victors to win this prestigious class. 

“Winning the Racking World Grand Championship meant a lot to me because I know my granddaddy would be proud,” Brandon said. Brandon’s grandfather is the late Kenny Ailshie who won the Racking Celebration 30 years ago aboard Oil Stock. Brandon credits his grandfather with sharing his love and knowledge for the breed with him.

The second generation of Ailshie’s to win this title was Brandon’s uncle Keith Ailshie, who captured the roses back in 2001 aboard The Pushover Ture. Since Kenny’s win 30 years ago, the family has a collective nine world grand championship stake titles under their belt. 

It all started with Kenny, who passed along his love for the racking horse to his grandson many years ago. Brandon started showing when he was just four years old. He won his first walking horse world championship aboard Generator’s Top Dollar in 2008 and the Youth Show Pleasure in 2009.

Brandon says he loves both breeds, but for different reasons. It’d be nearly impossible for him to choose a career highlight, although winning the recent world grand championship ranks pretty high among the 10-plus wins he’s garnered over the years between the two world championship shows.

Brandon said the racking stake victory came as a total surprise. “I was really in shock,” he said. “I didn’t think they’d tie me because I’m so young. It was hard to believe I won among all the older, seasoned trainers in the ring.” He has two memories that really stand out.

“The first is when I won in 2008 (Generator’s Top Dollar),” he said. “That was the day my granddaddy passed away. My whole family went home to plan a funeral and I told them I was going to stay and show some horses. I know that’s what would have made him proud.”

Of course the second highlight came with the roses he earned aboard Helter Skelter in Decatur last weekend. The win was a culmination of years of hard work in an industry he’s grown up in. “I will always have a soft spot in my heart for racking horses because my granddaddy raised me with them and they were his passion and I share that,” he said. “But I also have a passion for walking horses and I want to try and branch out and do my own thing with them as well” 

Regardless of which breed, Brandon’s off to a winning start. 

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