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Walking Horse Trainer Salute: Tim Smith



Tim Smith – Shelbyville, Tennessee

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRAINING HORSES PROFESSIONALLY?
22 years

TELL US SOME FAMILY HISTORY OF RAISING AND SHOWING WALKING HORSES.
My dad, Tex Smith, trained horses in the 70’s. When I was young, he got me a pony and I was hooked. We trained some horses at home and I showed in the juvenile classes in Alabama. As I got older, my love for the horses and the breed grew. When I was in high school, we had some outside horses. It wasn’t unusual for me to show in the juvenile class and the stake class on the same night. The rest is kind of history.

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?
There really isn’t once particular horse. I really think that each horse and experience throughout the years has played some sort of roll in shaping who I am as a person and trainer.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG ASPIRING TRAINERS?
Work hard and be honest. Everything else will take care of itself.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN THE PERFECT YEARLING?
I always look for a yearling with a short back, a long neck and of course a good mover.

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?
It is business as usual at my barn. Of course, there are less customer appointments, and several of mine come and watch their horses from their cars, but that’s about all that has changed.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE PAST WORLD GRAND CHAMPION AND WHY?
I Am Jose’ is my favorite. He was special from the beginning and I was blessed to work and sell him to Michael and Casey.

IF THERE WAS ONE AREA OF THE INDUSTRY YOU COULD CHANGE OR RAMP UP, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I really wish we could change the public perception of our performance horse. Our past seems to continue to haunt us. There are still so many things being said about our horse that is simply not true. We have a spectacular animal.

IF YOU WERE NOT AT THE BARN OR A HORSE SHOW, WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING IN YOUR FREE TIME?
If I am not at the barn or a show, which isn’t very often, I am usually cutting grass or spending time with my kids and wife.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TV SHOWS, MOVIES OR NETFLIX FEATURES HAVE YOU BEEN BINGE WATCHING DURING THE PANDEMIC?
I haven’t really binged on anything.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER THUS FAR?
I have been very blessed to work some amazing horses for great people throughout the years. I really take pride in putting amateur and juvenile riders in the winner’s circle and I have enjoyed many wins myself. However, winning Trainer of the Year in 2012 was a highlight. To be voted that honor by the ones you compete against week in and week out is just special.

WHAT WORDS OF WISDOM CAN YOU GIVE TO THE HORSE INDUSTRY ON THE PANDEMIC?
Stay safe and healthy. We are all missing showing, but this will pass and the horses will be ready.

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