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Walking Horse Trainer Salute: Joe Lester



Joe Lester – Shelbyville, Tennessee

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRAINING HORSES PROFESSIONALLY?
7 Years

TELL US SOME FAMILY HISTORY OF RAISING AND SHOWING WALKING HORSES.
I’ve been fortunate and have always had the support of my family. When I was growing up, I showed racking horses and saddlebreds until I eventually found the Tennessee Walking Horse!

OF ALL THE HORSES YOU HAVE TRAINED, OPEN AND AMATEUR, DO YOU HAVE A HORSE YOU FEEL MADE YOU INTO THE TRAINER YOU ARE TODAY? WHAT HORSE WAS THAT AND WHY DO FEEL THAT WAY?
Shake N Bake definitely taught me a lot of things including patience. Then Allison Smart helped me find I’m AK-47. AK-47 was a project that taught me a lot and took me to my first world championship as a trainer!! I think each horse teaches us something and the special horses make us who we are!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG ASPIRING TRAINERS?
I would tell them to experience as many things as you can. Learn as many different styles as you can. Then take a little bit of what works for you from every situation and create your own style!

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN THE PERFECT YEARLING?
Who doesn’t love a good José? I like a good back leg, just enough slip and a willing attitude. All the talent in the world is irrelevant if you don’t have a horse that wants to do it!!

HOW ARE YOU MANAGING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK? IS YOUR BARN ON LOCKDOWN? ARE YOU STILL HOLDING YOUR REGULAR CLIENT APPOINTMENTS? HOW HAS THIS AFFECTED YOUR TRAINING?
I’m in denial... we are still hosting clients by appointment and working. We are patiently waiting on a horse show and ready to be back to normal!

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE PAST WORLD GRAND CHAMPION AND WHY?
My favorite is Out On Parole. For some reason, he has always stuck in my head. He went on to be a good producer and a good broodmare sire!

IF THERE WAS ONE AREA OF THE INDUSTRY YOU COULD CHANGE OR RAMP UP, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would love to see people be more positive and more supportive. We all love the same horse! Don’t try to limit or penalize talented horses or talented people. I would love to see people promote those talented horses because we have bred for better, stronger, and more talented animals!

IF YOU WERE NOT AT THE BARN OR A HORSE SHOW, WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING IN YOUR FREE TIME?
Sitting at La Riviera with chips, salsa, and a margarita, at the gym, mowing at home, or relaxing by the pool.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TV SHOWS, MOVIES OR NETFLIX FEATURES HAVE YOU BEEN BINGE WATCHING DURING THE PANDEMIC?
All American, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER THUS FAR?
Winning the 2018 WHTA Pleasure Trainer of the Year was a huge accomplishment, but my career as a whole has been a blast!! Working alongside Bailey Momb and Crystal Deputy while getting to do what we love everyday would have to be the highlight!

WHAT WORDS OF WISDOM CAN YOU GIVE TO THE HORSE INDUSTRY ON THE PANDEMIC?
Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and be patient! We will be back to showing soon!

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