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A Kentucky Trainer On The Rise



 

by Renee Isaacs
 
Hard working, honest and laid back. This is how most people would describe Terry Sims. With over 30 years of saddle time, this trainer from Lexington, Ky., has made a lasting impression upon many individuals.
            Like so many others, as a young trainer on the rise, Sims acquired much of his support and guidance from his family.
Sims grew up with horses and was inspired by his grandparents, Arlie and Effie Sims of Walltown, Ky., and Mr. and Mrs. Buck Austin of Dunnville, Ky. Effie is now 80 years old and still enjoys hearing about his grandson’s accomplishments. There was always a horse around somewhere, while Sims was growing up. Pleasure horses were always around at his grandpa’s farm and Sims’s father, Charles Sims, owned and showed walking horses for many years. Others who influenced Sims were Donna Galloway and her parents, Don and Louise Cooper, who were long time friends and supporters. The late Don Cooper was largely involved in Sims’s life, as well as the Central Kentucky Riding For Hope program. Cooper’s efforts in the walking horse industry resulted in many others taking a role in the program and in CKRH becoming the benefactor of at least three major walking horse shows. Sims agrees that the strength to be successful comes from family and friends.
Sims’s first memory of a horse was when he was only six years old. At this young age, he made his debut in the show ring at the Morehead State University Spring Horse Show in the 11 and under division aboard a horse named Charlie. He captured a fourth place tie that night and two weeks later he found himself riding to the winner’s circle at Wilmore, Ky. Sims then began showing every weekend.
He felt he was a grown adult at the early age of 11, when he led his friend, Brad Galloway, into the show ring on their pony Butterscotch.
Sims went to high school at Lafayette in Lexington where he played baseball and wrestling for the Lafayette Generals. He loved to play baseball and once thought that he would be a professional baseball player, but his love for horses conquered all.
Sims had his first real taste of success when Donna Galloway and Don and Louise Cooper purchased Dark Shadow M. Sims and his father trained and showed the talented pony to 17 blues in the walking pony division. In 1981, Sims and Dark Shadow M were the KWHA and the WHOA high point winners and also won the Tri-State Award.
In the early 80s Sims began showing The Painted Dragon, a horse that was owned by Donna Galloway. He showed all around Central Kentucky, including at the Kentucky Celebration, which at this time was held in Lawrenceburg, Ky., and the Juvenile Auxiliary show.
“The team won many shows including a reserve tie at the Internationals and they were great together,” said Galloway.
          At the age of 18, Sims went out on his own to train horses for other owners. He first found himself training for Jimmy Lynn at Mr. Tutt’s in Lexington, Ky. It seemed that he was taking six to 10 horses every weekend to a show. Lynn asked Sims if he would mind moving up to Owenton to his farm to train. Sims agreed and successfully trained horses there for four to five years.
            Sims met the love of his life, Shannon Steinmetz, in 1985 and they were married in 1989 in Louisville, Ky. Shannon is the daughter of Bob and Lana Steinmetz, who are avid supporters of Sims.
Sims was 23 when he moved back home to Lexington to join his dad again. About five years came and went, still having a feeling to find something larger in the industry. Sims was accepted to work for Allen Calloway in Shelbyville, Tenn. Even though, Calloway was very knowledgeable and fun to work for, Sims became homesick for his family.
            Gaining a family, Sims felt that he should work a full time job and train horses on the side. Sims’s father, Charles Sims asked his son to take over the reins, and that’s what he did. He started training at his old barn in Lexington and acquired many customers over a period of six years. The most exciting moment that Sims remembers is while he was on his own he put Shaker’s Bogie in at the National Celebration and had a customer win three world championships with him in the ladies division. During this time frame, people such as Stacey Fletcher, Danny Terry, Cliff Vice, Ronnie Sexton and the Steinmetz family became friends and long time customers with Sims.
Throughout his career as a horseman, he has shown and liked many horses, but Sims says his favorite world champion is He’s Puttin’ On The Ritz. One of Sims’s goals for his career is to ride under the spotlight to collect top honors at the National Celebration.
After making many friendships throughout the walking horse industry, he decided he would go to Danny Hughes to work in Russell Springs, Ky., and still train his own horses on the side. Sims drove from Lexington to Russell Springs every day for three years. Some of the horses he trained while there include Gen All The Way, I’m The Intimidator, Spirit Of Mystery, Smooth Skies and Color Me Crazy.
Sims said, “If you want to work and learn while making friends, J & H is the place to be. I learned more from Danny than anyone. The best advice that I have ever received came from Danny which was “Don’t be afraid to change it, but don’t forget what you had before you changed it.’”
Sims then moved back home because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
            In 2003, Sims rented Norman Osbourne’s barn in Lexington and filled it with horses. He had many customers and things were starting to feel comfortable when a great opportunity arose for him. In September of 2005, a “knock at the door” came for Sims. Terry and Georgia Lunsford ask him to come to their farm, Greystone Farm, in Nicholasville, Ky., to work. Both families agreed that it would be nice and convenient for everyone.
Terry and Georgia Lunsford purchased Greystone Farm in the early 80s. Georgia and Terry both grew up with horses. Georgia showed Saddlebreds and Terry showed walking horses. They would show together on the same night. The Lunsfords’ children, Terry Logan and Andrea, are both very active in the show ring and have been since an early age. These two individuals have earned many high point wins, as well as wins at the Kentucky Celebration, Ashville, N.C., and others for more than 20 years. They enjoy showing under the direction of Sims. Three horses that are in training with him are ones that he trained while at J & H Stables.  They include, I’m The Intimidator who is owned by the Vice family of Carlisle, Ky., Color Me Crazy, who is owned by Ronnie Sexton of Carlisle, and Smooth Skies, who is owned by the Steinmetz family of Louisville and Nicholasville, Ky.
Sims feels best about his work when he starts a colt and then he finishes it out with top honors, as he did in 2006 with All Cash On Demand. Sims started the Cash colt and took him to the Celebration for Mark and Mona Vice. They sold the colt after qualifying him for the two-year-old division and he was exhibited by Brenda Bramlett, who directed him to the Two-Year-Old Reserve World Grand Championship.
Sims has now been married 18 years and resides in Nicholasville, Ky., with his wife, Shannon, and their two children, Nicholas and Shelby. Nicholas is 15 years old and enjoys working around the barn. He also maintains a 4.0 grade point average in school. Shelby is nine years old and rode her first mount at the age of two. Nicholas and Shelby showed their first horse, Foxy, in the lead line class. Foxy was four years old when they purchased her; she is now 28 years old and is still in the family’s pasture.
            Sims’s dream is to watch one of his children win at the Celebration. In 2007, Shelby will show Smooth Skies in the 11 and under division and Nicholas will cheer her on from the sidelines.
In Sims’s spare time, he likes to go deer hunting and bowling. The Sims family also enjoys going to their vacation home on Lake Cumberland in the summer to relax.
Terry Sims is thankful for the many opportunities that he has been given and feels that he has accomplished a great deal.
Sims now has 36 horses in training at Terry Sims Stables at Greystone Farm and couldn’t be more eager to be as involved in the walking horse industry as he already is. His ambition is to be successful and to contribute to the horse industry as much as he can and he is not far from doing so.

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