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Walking Horse Trainer Salute: Crystal Deputy



Crystal Deputy – Shelbyville, Tennessee 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRAINING HORSES PROFESSIONALLY?
I have been training professionally for the past seven years.

TELL US SOME FAMILY HISTORY OF RAISING AND SHOWING WALKING HORSES.
I got my first horse when I was nine and she was a TWH mare named Top Man’s Souvenir aka “Ariel”. We bred her and raised several foals, one of which my family still has today. I spent a lot of time riding and showing with Robert and Karen Airey and their daughter Jamie Gardner. They are the ones who taught me how to ride walking horses. We showed up on the Virginia circuit in Lexington, Bridgewater, Broadway, and Tazewell, just to name a few. But, my highlight each year was to come to Shelbyville to the Celebration!

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?
I remember I was out riding this mare one day, that finally after lots of hours and wet saddle pads started putting it all together. I remember thinking, I hope she does that again tomorrow. She did and she went on to win more blue ribbons that year than she did in her whole career. Her name was Oops
That’s Me! But there have been a lot of young horses that have taught me things like be patient and instead of getting mad or frustrated, try again tomorrow.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG ASPIRING TRAINERS?
There will always be high and lows, but always be proud of yourself and just keep working hard. Watch and learn from as many people as possible. You always take something away from others.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN THE PERFECT YEARLING?
Swing, good conformation and pretty.

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’s definitely put me in a funk because I’ve spent all winter working so hard on young ones and learning new things. I was just excited to show but I know we are all in the same boat. We have had some customers come by appointment but most can’t travel so we are all just waiting!

IF THERE WAS ONE AREA OF THE INDUSTRY YOU COULD CHANGE OR RAMP UP, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I think there is a lot of gossip that goes on about people that isn’t true. Therefore we all need to do a better job of supporting each other and lifting each other up, rather than talking negatively and bringing
people down.

IF YOU WERE NOT AT THE BARN OR A HORSE SHOW, WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING IN YOUR FREE TIME?
By the water somewhere!!! I love being by the pool or lake hanging out with friends. And I love going to visit my family in Virginia every chance I get.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TV SHOWS, MOVIES OR NETFLIX FEATURES HAVE YOU BEEN BINGE WATCHING DURING THE PANDEMIC?
I have been obsessed with How To Get Away With Murder. I have watched six seasons while quarantined. Also, I love American Idol, The Voice and of course I watched The Tiger King.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER THUS FAR?
In 2014 I was named SSHBEA Trainer of the Year and in 2016, under the direction of Dickie Gardner Stables, I trained my first horse, Jose’s Valentine to a world championship and was name the first ever WHTA Assistant Trainer of the Year in the pleasure division. 

WHAT WORDS OF WISDOM CAN YOU GIVE TO THE HORSE INDUSTRY ON THE PANDEMIC?
Wash your hands!!  Be smart. If you are sick, stay home!

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