Skip to content

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!

More Stories

  • **Updated Horse Show Schedule

    The Walking Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse shows... Read More
  • Notice WHTA Members

    The 2020 WHTA Nominating Committee is composed of Brad Beard (Chairman), Jessica Hlebak and Russ Thompson. Anyone wishing his or her name be added as a candidate will need to notify the WHTA office or a member of the Nominating Committee no later than November 9, 2019 his or her intent to run for an officer or directorship... Read More
  • Updated venue for Saturday meeting

    The Walking Horse Trainers' Association's open meeting Saturday at 1:00PM has been moved to the main area of Calsonic Arena. The move is to allow for social distancing and the WHTA strongly encourages everyone to wear a mask at the meeting. Read More
  • Equine Obituary – Gen's Lady Topaz

    Gen’s Lady Topaz was humanely laid to rest on October 24th, 2020, just one week shy of her 27th birthday. She was one of only a handful of direct Pride’s Generator mares left. Gen's Lady Topaz was the matriarch of Rushing Creek Walker’s breeding program for many years and the ambassador to any visitors. Read More
  • Walking For The Angels revises class schedule

    The Walking For The Angels Horse Show, scheduled for Saturday, November 14, has added several classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • FAST Showcase revises class schedule

    The FAST Showcase, scheduled for Friday, November 13, has added three classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • WHTA to host open meeting October 31st

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association will host an open meeting on Saturday October 31st at 1:00PM at the Hall of Fame in Calsonic Arena. The meeting will be to present details on the proposed legislative amendments and have questions from industry participants answered.  Read More
  • Obituary – John Peels

    Mr. John Luther Peels, age 84, of Shelbyville, passed away Sunday, October 25, 2020, at his home under the loving care and comfort of his family and Willow Brook Hospice... Read More
  • Online entry system available for Celebration Fall Classic

    The Celebration has opened its online entry system for the Celebration Fall Classic, scheduled for November 5-7, in Calsonic Arena. The system will be available for entry from October 26–October 30... Read More
  • Latest Issue 10 26 20

    Read More