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Walking Horse Trainer Salute: Leighanne Tibbs



Leighanne Tibbs – Petersburg, Tennessee

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRAINING HORSES PROFESSIONALLY?
I have been on a horse as long as I can remember, and started training professionally since 2010.

TELL US SOME FAMILY HISTORY OF RAISING AND SHOWING WALKING HORSES.
I was not raised showing and riding Tennessee Walking Horses, but I rode Quarter Horses and Appaloosas. I participated in different disciplines from barrel racing to western pleasure, cutting, and reining horses, to team penning and sorting on the weekends. I started riding and learning how to ride Walking Horses and Spotted Saddle horses when I met my husband, Mike Tibbs, in 2005.

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?
We started our breeding program roughly in 2009. By 2015 I was able to start one of our most talented offspring out of our breeding stallion, I’m All Jacked Up. Without A Warning is my horse of a lifetime sired by WGC I’m All Jacked Up and out of a direct Gen’s Major General-Stride’s Touch Of Pride mare, bred by Mr. Tom Moon of Franklin, Tennessee. He is as natural of a spotted walking horse as I’ve ever started from keg shoes to a lite-shod shoe. He’s won a reserve world championship at the National Walking Celebration and countless world and world grand championships at both NSSHA and SSHBEA. He resides here on our farm, trail ridden often and shown when we get the wild hair to do so.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG ASPIRING TRAINERS?
Pay attention to everything someone is trying to teach you. Never take for granted the knowledge you can learn from others. Every day I still learn something new!

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN THE PERFECT YEARLING?
I look for good conformation, one that’s neck sits up and out of its shoulders correctly and hinge walks behind. A natural walking, moving horse in the pasture, rather than one you have to wear down on a lunge line to move correctly. However, I’d much rather see one trot and fall down into a gait than swing pace at liberty.

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?
We are still working every day, from putting miles on the young horses, to preparing horses for the show ring when we finally do get to show. Clients are still coming out to see horses, and horses are still selling every day!

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE PAST WORLD GRAND CHAMPION AND WHY?
I’ve always been a fan of The Golden Sovereign. His color, gait and beautiful eyes has always gotten my attention from the rail. He’s now in his 20’s and still continuing putting different riders in the winner’s circle every show season.

IF THERE WAS ONE AREA OF THE INDUSTRY YOU COULD CHANGE OR RAMP UP, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I have always said that trainers need to start supporting other trainers in order for our industry to grow. There’s always a lot of controversy and jealousy between good horse trainers, trying to outdo each other rather than pat them on the back and build them up! Let’s be happy for one another and lift everyone up in their success!

IF YOU WERE NOT AT THE BARN OR A HORSE SHOW, WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING IN YOUR FREE TIME?
I stay super busy trying to keep my four-year-old twin boys busy. Other than barn time, we enjoy playing with the puppies we raise and have for sale, along with trips to the playground and the pond to fish.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TV SHOWS, MOVIES OR NETFLIX FEATURES HAVE YOU BEEN BINGE WATCHING DURING THE PANDEMIC?
I’m not much on watching TV. We have been watching the local news more often, but a lot of our free time is on Facebook, marketing or looking for something from horses, trucks, trailers and tack to trade on.

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