By Mark McGee

Machete is synonymous with a knife – slashing his competition in the show ring!

The winner’s circle is a second home for the 10-year-old big, bay gelding.

For the fourth year in a row, Machete was honored as Trail Pleasure Horse of the Year by the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association. The honor put an exclamation point on an amazing season for Machete, owned and ridden by Susan Coleman under the tutelage of trainer Hannah Myatt.

This season alone, Coleman and Machete won both the Owner-Amateur Western Trail Pleasure World Championship and the Owner-Amateur Trail Pleasure World Grand Championship at The Celebration. In his career, Machete has a total of four world grand championships, four world championships and a total of 49 trips to the winner’s circle.

Earlier in the 2022 season, Coleman and Machete earned five blues with wins at the National Trainers’ Show, the Spring Extravaganza and Christmas In July.

“The judges see his magnificent back end and his stride,” Coleman said. “He is like a padded horse when you ride him. He just pushes and pulls and strides. He strides like no other. It is an amazing feeling.” Coleman knew from the first time she rode Machete that they were destined for great things in the show ring.

“I am just thrilled to death to have him,” Coleman said. “He is a phenomenal athlete.”

Coleman explains that riding a flat shod horse is a bigger challenge than a padded walking horse. “With a padded horse you can make some adjustments, but as a rider on a flat shod horse all you have is your hands, seat and the horse’s mouth. You take it a step further western horse over the age of five because you
have to ride with one hand. It is quite the challenge. You really have to learn and trust your horse when you are riding with no contact in the bridle.”

Machete not only is dominant because he stands 17 hands high, but because of his animation in the ring. “He has more locomotion than most pleasure horses,” Coleman said. “For him it all fits together. He has the talent. He has the look. All eyes are on us in the ring. I don’t want to sound like I am bragging, but we are the one to beat. Machete stands out in a crowd. He is just an amazing package.”

The riders in western pleasure classes often have as much or more glitz than their horses. Coleman loves dressing up for the classes and has a closet full of sparkling riding apparel. “Hannah and I get together to talk about what I am going to wear,” Coleman said. “She always tries to match the color of the saddle pad with the colors I have on. Everything is shinier in western classes.”


Myatt remembers three days distinctly – the day she became co-owner of Machete, the day he was sold and the day he returned to Myatt Manor in Alvaton, Kentucky, near Bowling Green. After working Machete for a few months, Myatt sold the horse to Kyle Bush, one of Joe Lester’s customers. Lester was working at Finish Line Farm in Unionville, Tennessee, with Rodney Dick and Coleman.

“It was just an offer we couldn’t refuse,” Myatt said. “I probably would have kept him, but I had a silent partner, and we just couldn’t turn the money down we were offered.”

The first year in the show ring for Machete was 2015. Bush guided him to the Owner-Amateur Novice Western Trail Pleasure World Championship and the Owner-Amateur Novice Trail Pleasure World Grand Championship at The Celebration under the direction of Lester.

In October of 2015, Rodney Dick and JoAnn Dowell bought Machete to campaignin the trail pleasure division. Rodney gave his half interest in the gelding to Coleman as a Christmas present. In what she called “an exchange in horsepower” Coleman gave Rodney a new tractor.

Later on, Coleman also bought out Dowell to take complete ownership of Machete. Since day one, Rodney has been Machete’s biggest fan and supporter. He never misses a show that Machete and Coleman make and is always on the rail cheering them on.

Coleman and Rodney eventually gave Myatt a big present as well, ending a three year separation from Machete for her. In the first week of October of 2018, Coleman and Rodney decided it would be advantageous to move Machete to Myatt’s barn.“For me he was always the horse that got away,” Myatt said. “I knew I had to have him back again someday. I always dreamed about having him back.

“Luck was on my side the day Rodney and Susan called me to ask me to take Machete back. I will never forget that day. It was a great day.” Coleman stressed that placing Machete under Myatt’s training was the key to elevating the gelding’s show ring success.

Machete and Coleman had a momentous 2022, but the team had been making memories and ramping up their resume’ for several years. In 2019, after placing third in the Owner-Amateur Western Trail Pleasure class, Coleman and Machete won the Owner-Amateur Trail Pleasure World Grand Championship. In 2020, they tied first for the Owner-Amateur Western Trail Pleasure World Championship and were reserve in the Owner-Amateur Trail Pleasure World Grand Championship. In 2021, they captured both the Owner-Amateur Western Trail Pleasure World Championship and the Owner-Amateur Trail Pleasure World Grand Championship.

Myatt has not been surprised at the way Machete has dominated in the show ring. Originally named Jose’s Machete, he was sired by Jose’ Jose’ and out of Tarheel’s Sparkle Plenty, coming from the breeding program of Master Breeder Bob Rollins. “I have had over 130 world and world grand championships in my name as a trainer,” Myatt said. “But, he is by far one of the top two horses I have ever had, no doubt.

“I hear it from people all of the time, that Machete is their favorite horse of all time. I have heard that from a lot of trainers who say there is no better horse in trail pleasure than Machete. He has a lot of fans. He is a spectacular animal.”

Myatt knows Machete’s larger than life appearance when he enters the ring immediately attracts the interest of judges, as well as fans. “He rarely gets second,” Myatt said. “I think he has been second twice in the last three years.

“You have to have a great horse that really sticks out, and that is Machete. He has that presence. That push and pull timing sets him apart from other horses.” Coleman also knows everything about Machete and can deal with anything unexpected. Machete senses Coleman’s confidence and responds to it.

As a rider of a western pleasure horse, you have to be able to feel your horse and make adjustments as needed,” Coleman said. “I have been very blessed with having that feel. I have had it since I was a kid.”


Myatt visited Tommy Loid’s barn to watch Machete being ridden by Tommy Loid, Jr. She was looking for a field trial horse for one of her customers and she decided to take a look at the then two-and-half year-old gelding. The plans to make Machete a field trial horse quickly changed with Myatt buying the horse for herself.

“Machete took two strides between pacing and racking,” Myatt said. “When I saw those two strides I knew I had to have him. We knew from the get-go he was going to be a great horse. He has a very unique way of going. We call it push and pull. He has a really cool push and pull type of timing that sets him apart from a lot of horses. It is something I saw in him as a baby.”

Myatt stresses timing is the key for any successful Tennessee Walking Horse. “He has everything that makes a great walking horse,” Myatt said. “He has a big back end and a nice front end. But, he has it all together because he pushes off his back end and pulls the ground with his front end. 

It is really unique timing. It is the type of timing that is extremely hard to train. He just does it naturally. He has been unique from day one because of that push and pull timing.”

Myatt describes a great western pleasure horse as one that goes relaxed in the bridle with a loose rein. Machete fits that bill 100%. “You want them to be able to do their gaits on their own without manipulating them with the bridle,” Myatt said. “You don’t want their head up high like an English pleasure horse. You want their heads to be a little bit lower. But they are still show horses, so you don’t want their heads too low.”


Riders and their horses often form a bond that is beyond description. In the case of Machete, it is a three way bond between the horse, the rider and the trainer. “The three of us mesh perfectly,” Coleman said.

“It was a challenge with Machete at first,” said Myatt. “He is such a magnificent animal. But, he had a lot of critics. They said his reins were too tight. He was doing too much. I really had to work hard to have him the way people wanted him to be.”

Machete made all of the adjustments necessary, which was no surprise to either Coleman or Myatt.

“A lot of it is his temperament,” Myatt said. “He is one of the sweetest, gentle giants I have ever messed with. He is huge. He is one of the biggest horses I have ever worked with. He is massive.”

“Susan understands my training,” continued Myatt. “She listens to what I say, and she does it. Machete, with his timing, has fallen into my program.”

Coleman is crazy about Machete, but she is also one of Myatt’s biggest fans. “Hannah is just a jewel,” Coleman said. “She really is. She wants everything on her end to be perfect, where on my end I want it to be perfect. The expectation is to be flawless. There are so many horses in a class that look so much alike. One tiny flaw can beat you.”

Myatt’s relationship with Machete has grown through the years as the result of hours of hard work and dedication. “We have hit it off big time,” Myatt said. “Why I think Machete and I get along so well is because I train my horses on a looser rein. If you get in his face at all he loses the timing that he has. You have to throw the reins away and just leave him alone. I just stay out of his way.”

It is a matter of trust between trainers, riders and horses. That type of connection takes time. Machete also has a fondness for the ladies, which makes Coleman and Myatt the perfect choices to team up with him. “He loves women,” Myatt said. “He is definitely a woman’s horse.” Machete has a deep trust for Myatt. And, when Coleman talks, Machete listens.

“When he hears my voice, he will step across Hannah to get to me,” Coleman said. “He perks his head up when he hears me because I bring him treats. Machete has a great personality.”

Coleman and Machete will always be a team to be reckoned with in western pleasure classes. “I can’t say enough about how much fun I have riding him and how much I love Machete,” Coleman said. “Magnificent is the only word I have to describe him.”