By Mark McGee

Janice Fostek calls Marty McFly “the perfect amateur Tennessee Walking Horse”. The road to perfection wasn’t an easy one, but for the past four years they have been a dominating team in the show ring.

This year Janice rode 10-year-old Marty McFly to a unanimous decision of the judges for the Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under World Grand Championship at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, repeating the performance they made in the Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallions World Championship class. It was the fourth year in a row for Janice and Marty McFly to make the spotlight ride.

Marty McFly has been selected as the Performance Horse dedication for the 2022 Year Walking Horses book.

The black stallion and Janice began the year as the unanimous selection as the National Trainers' Show Amateur 15. & Under Stallions Champion. They were both the amateur champions at the Spring Fun Show and the Money Tree Classic.

“We are so appreciative to those who made this selection, those who had a part in the history of Marty and those who have been so supportive of him through the years,” Janice said. “God has blessed us with our show horses, and more importantly, our horse show family.”

While the accolades have been plentiful this year, it has been a bittersweet show season for Janice. This was the first year for her to win top Celebration honors without her husband Joe, who passed away in October of 2021.

“He would always give me a good luck kiss in the warm up ring,” Janice said. “He would always be in a chair on the rail cheering us on. He was always my biggest supporter."


Carrie and Spencer Benedict welcomed Marty McFly into the world at their farm in Glasgow, Kentucky. He is sired by Jose’ Jose’ and out of World Champion Silver On The Line.

“We purchased Silver On The Line as a coming two-year-old and Spencer won a world championship with her at The Celebration,” recalled Carrie. “Her first foal, Drop A Line, is two years older than Marty, who was her second foal.

“She has always been very special. We still have her. She is certainly the favorite around here.”

Carrie and Spencer knew right away they had something out of the ordinary with Marty McFly.

“We always had very high hopes for Marty,” Carrie said. “He was certainly like his mother and brother before him. He has a lot of personality.

“Marty was always into something like his namesake. He would get into places he shouldn’t be in. He was a very curious-natured colt. He is fiery like his mother. She is still a handful at the age of 20, so he comes by it honestly.”

Carrie likes music and movies so the name Marty McFly was an easy choice for her to make.

“I am not one for traditional names,” Carrie said. “His name comes from the movie ‘Back to the Future.’ It has worked out well for him.”

Marty McFly may be from a movie, but the 15.2 hands black stallion is a celebrity in the show ring.

“Neither he or his mother or brother are big horses,” Carrie said. “But, they have a big way of going. He is so high-headed. It is certainly what we have strived for.

“Janice is such a pretty rider the way she sits and carries herself. It has been a good team. They work well together.”


The Benedicts sold half of Marty McFly as a yearling to Chad Adams. Danny Burks started him and he went to Casey and Michael Wright.

One fall day Janice and Joe were visiting Wright Stables. They had horses with the Wrights, but a new young horse caught their attention.

“Casey was riding and breaking a young black colt who was green and frisky,” Janice said. “He looked like something we would be interested in.

“I liked the way he moved. He was real showy. He always had his head and ears up, which is unusual for a colt. He looked like he would have a presence in the show ring and that kind of caught my eye."

The Fosteks asked Wright about the colt. Casey told them he was owned by Carrie and Spencer Benedict.

“Being good friends with the Benedicts and knowing the top prospects which came from their breeding program, we asked Casey to keep us in mind if he felt this colt developed into a potential fit for our string,” Janice said. “In April of 2014, Casey called and said I think he is going to make a nice horse and advised us to purchase him.”

His show ring debut began at the Spring Fun Show as a two-year-old where Marty earned the reserve title. At the Money Tree Classic, Marty was awarded the blue ribbon, and at the Marshall County Horseman’s Association, he tied third. At The Celebration, Casey rode Marty to the Two-Year-Old Stallion Reserve World Championship and finished fourth in the Two-Year-Old World Grand Championship. Marty was honored as the 2014 WHR Readers’ Choice Reserve Two-Year-Old Stallion.

Marty continued to progress under the training of Wright Stables. He began his three-year-old season at the Columbia Spring Jubilee winning the Three-Year-Old Stallion blue ribbon. His next show was Woodbury where he again was named champion unanimously, and he ended the season with a reserve finish at the Alabama Jubilee. 

In his four-year-old season, Marty was reserve at Woodbury and then went on to victory at the Marshall County Horseman’s Association show. In his competition at The Celebration, he tied third in the Four-YearOld Stallions, but returned to the Big Oval one very stormy and rainy night to be crowned the Four-Year-Old World Grand Champion. Marty then finished out the year being named the WHTA Four-Year Old-Stallions Horse of the Year and 2016 WHR Readers’ Choice Four-Year-Old Stallion.


Janice was a multi-world grand champion rider before she and Joe purchased Marty McFly.

In 2002, she won the Owner-Amateur Two-Year-Old Stallions World Grand Championship aboard I’m Willy Wonka. In 2011, she and I’m Pushin N Line walked under the spotlight to earn the Owner-Amateur Three-Year-Old World Grand Championship title. The popular team returned in 2012 to then capture the Owner-Amateur Four-Year-Old World Grand Championship.

Janice had never been in the saddle on Marty McFly while he was at Wright Stables. Joe suggested Janice should ride Marty McFly in amateur classes. When the Fosteks learned good friend Tim Smith had returned to training, they decided to move Marty to him.

“Tim had a long history of exceptional talent and patience in training his horses,” Janice said. “We had horses with Tim for years going back to the days of David Landrum Stables.

“We felt Marty would continue to mature and develop well under Tim. My husband said we had been very successful with Tim. He picked Marty up and the rest is history.”


The first time Janice rode Marty McFly in the show ring was in 2017 at the Spring Fun Show. After two winning performances at the Money Tree Classic and Red Carpet Show of the South, they won the Owner-Amateur FiveOld Stallions World Championship. They returned to tie third in the Owner-Amateur Five-Year-Old World Grand Championship.

“We did well that first year I showed him,” Janice said, “but Marty didn’t click and I didn’t either.”

The following year it was decided to campaign Marty in the amateur 15.2 & under division. The team debuted at the National Trainers’ Show being named the Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallions Reserve Champions. Their next stop was the FAST Spring Showcase where they unanimously claimed the Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallions title.

They went on to the Columbia Spring Jubilee and again were named champions unanimously. At the Christmas In July show they again placed second. At that year’s Celebration in the Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under World Championship Marty was third and tied fourth in the world grand championship. That fall Smith showed Marty in the Open 15.2 & Under Stallions class at the Walking For The Angels show and tied third. Smith knew there was something missing.

“Tim said there is a lot of horse there, but the horse just doesn’t seem to trust me,” Janice said. “He said he didn’t notice that until he showed him. He told me he knew what he needed to do and that was to gain his confidence.

“Tim transitioned him. When we started his six-year-old year he was a different horse and I was a different rider. The horse had confidence in me. That means a lot.”

Marty McFly is still exhibiting the fiery attitude and curiosity that he displayed as a colt.

“He watches everything around him,” Janice said. “He loves to show. But, he also likes to see what people are doing in the boxes. He is just real aware of everything.

“Tim got him to work and still be comfortable. He got him into a really good training gait. He had never seemed comfortable before then when he showed.”


He began the 2019 season in the amateur 15.2 & under stallion division tying reserve at the National Trainers’ Show. That was the last time Marty has been defeated in competition. The team went on to be champions at the Columbia Spring Jubilee and Woodbury Lions Club.

Janice said Tim was confident Marty was ready for the test at The Celebration. He was named Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallions World Champion unanimously and returned to the ring to be crowned Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under World Grand Champion unanimously.

Marty was then named WHTA  Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallion Horse of the Year, the WHR Readers’ Choice Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallion Champion, WHOA National High Point Champion and TWHBEA International High Point First Place. 

Marty and Janice began their 2020 season as champions at the Money Tree Classic as well as the Columbia Spring Jubilee. At that year’s Celebration, Marty was once again named the Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallions World Champion and returned to the ring to be crowned the Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under World Grand Champion. Later in the fall, they were named the National Trainers’ Show Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallions Champion unanimously.

Marty was again named the WHTA Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallion Horse of the Year, the WHR Readers' Choice Champion and also attained the WHOA National High Point Championship. 

The 2021 season proved to be another exciting year for this team. They were the National Trainers’ Show Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallions blue ribbon winners unanimously, were named champions at the Columbia Spring Jubilee in the pouring rain, topped the Amateur 15.2 & Under competition at the Money Tree Classic unanimously, and once again earned the Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallions World Championship and Owner-Amateur 15.2 & Under World Grand Championship unanimously.

Marty closed out the year again being named the WHTA Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallion of the Year, the WHR Readers’ Choice Amateur 15.2 & Under Stallion Champion, as well as the TWHBEA Amateur 15.2 & Under Champion in Region 7. 

Smith doesn’t have a magical explanation for the transition of Marty McFly into an amateur sensation.

“I just stayed with him and worked him and tried real hard,” Smith said. “He did it on his own. He is smart and I think that was part of the problem. He was smarter than we were.

“He has it all. He just didn’t know how to use it. It is all there now. I just spent a lot of time with him. That is all I did. It has got to be his way. He is not going to do what he doesn’t want to do.

“I just wanted to get him as easy as I could to ride. Janice is a great rider so I don’t have to try too hard.”

Smith loves everything about Marty McFly, especially his big motor.

“His motor is what stands out,” Smith said. “You better hang on when you get on him.

“He is great up front and has a great behind. He shakes his head. He is the whole package. When he comes in the ring that is what the judges see. He is just flashy. Whenever you see him, you know it is him. I wish I had 10 more like him,” said Smith.


Fostek was born, raised and still lives in Roanoke, Virginia. Her parents had a farm in a little community where everyone had horses.

“My parents, Lavon and Harry Webb, always liked to trail ride,” said Janice. “Then they started having horse shows close to where we lived.

“All of the kids wanted to go to the horse shows, so our parents took us. My parents got really interested in the walking horses because of the smooth gait. The other children, two of them became professional saddlehorse trainers, got into saddle horses.”

Janice rode, cleaned and bathed her horse in the backyard.

“We would come home and then get ready to do it again the next weekend,” Janice said. “We lived on a farm, but my Dad was not a farmer. We raised cattle and then he got interested in miniature horses. I always enjoyed horses so when they talked about buying me a walking horse in my midteens it was exciting."

Progressing to world grand championship status wasn’t on her mind back then. Each time she rides Marty McFly she remembers all the work everyone has done to get him to the upper echelon of the breed.

“Every one of the titles is special,” Janice said. “I think knowing the background of Marty and the intense interest Tim took into developing him into an amateur horse makes it really, really special.

“Every class is a new challenge. You never know how the horse is going to react He is a horse that is willing to show, wants to show and wants to do his best. It has been an amazing adventure with this horse. I am blessed.”