Skip to content

Pleasure Trainer of the Year: Joe Lester




(Editor's Note: the following speech was read by Mark Farrar, Saturday evening, September 1, at the Celebration.)

Joe Lester was born and raised in Wartburg, Tennessee, where he began riding horses as soon as he was able to hold himself up in the saddle.

Recognizing an immediate ardor for horsemanship, his parents, April and Joe Lester and grandmother Rita Duncan supported Joe’s participation in as many 4-H programs as possible throughout his childhood. Over the years he has participated in a variety of disciplines, from halter, model, equitation and showmanship to flat-shod, padded and speed racking. As a teenager in 2007, he earned his first world championship with the National Racking Horse Association on Parade’s Rebel.

At the age of 18, Joe won the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitor’s Association National Futurity with Name That Tune, a horse he started under saddle and performed all of the training on himself. Three years later, I’m AK-47 became the first horse he trained to earn a Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration world championship. In 2015, at age 23, he rode Little Toy Gunn to his first personal world championship a few nights before Machete became the first Joe Lester trained Celebration world grand champion.

In 2016, he got to make his first personal Celebration world grand championship spotlight ride on La Patrona and the momentum has only built since then. To date, at the young age of only 26 years old, Joe Lester Stables has amassed 31 world championships and 9 world grand championships. He is the head trainer of Joe Lester Stables, where he enjoys working along his best friend and assistant trainer Bailey Momb. 

In addition to being one of the hardest working equine professionals one could ever meet, Joe has an exceptional eye for talent, a keen business sense and a charismatic personality. To know him is to appreciate all he has to offer to the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and admire the success he has garnered through a lifetime of dedication to his craft.

More Stories

  • Latest Issue 3 1 31

    Read More
  • Walking In The Smokies stall deadline approaching

    The Walking In The Smokies Horse Show, scheduled for April 8-10, 2021, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is preparing for their first annual show and would like to send a reminder to anyone needing stalls that the deadline is March 15. Please contact Lexi Stinnett at 828-550-8520 to reserve stalls on the show grounds. Read More
  • Trainers' Show announces judges

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association National Trainers’ Show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. March 18-20, 2021. Judges for the three-day event will be Wayne Dean, Newton Parks and Johnny Puckett. Read More
  • USDA prepares for 2021 show season

    The USDA recently conducted their virtual HIO training course for the 2021 show season. The USDA and industry recently received the final report from the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and some of the recommendations in that report are communicated in the new processes the USDA will implement in 2021... Read More
  • WHOA hosts virtual awards ceremony

    On Saturday. February 20th, the Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) held their National High Point awards for 2020 on their WHOA Facebook page with winners who chose to be zooming in to accept their awards... Read More
  • WHOA to host virtual awards ceremony on February 20

    The Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) will recognize their award winners from the 2020 show season during a virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, February 20, 2021. The show will be broadcast live on WHOA’s Facebook page beginning at 6 pm central time. Read More
  • FAST Spring Showcase announces judging panel

    The FAST Spring Showcase is pleased to announce that John Fikes, Newton Parks and Sam Sorrell will judge this years’ two-day event. The show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. April 16-17, 2021... Read More
  • Obituary – Kimberly Woods

    Kimberly Lynn Woods, age 47 departed this life on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky... Read More
  • WHAA annual barn party rescheduled due to inclement weather

    There will be a lot of great items to auction as well as breeding fees to some of the top stallions in the industry and training fees for many of the top trainers. Everyone is encouraged to bring your young horses to preview for the upcoming show season. Read More
  • Birth Announcement – William Jackson Bauer

    Dr. & Mrs. Will  Bauer of Gainesville, Georgia welcomed their first child, William Jackson Bauer, on December 4, 2020. Jack weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces at birth... Read More