Meet Up-and-Coming Trainer Renee Leggett
GoHorseShow sat down with up-and coming trainer Renee Leggett of Edmond, Oklahoma to find out more about how she got involved with horses. We enjoy introducing new trainers to our readers and finding out more about people in our industry who may still be under the radar or on the verge of making a name for themselves.
Q: Hi Renee! Thanks so much for sitting down with us. Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
A: I joke that I was born in a saddle–my mom was a trainer, so I was put on a horse at a very young age and I haven’t left it yet. I’m 27 and was born and raised in a small town near Joplin, Missouri called Oronogo, and then moved to Edmond, Oklahoma eight years ago to spread my wings. I grew up showing on the AQHA circuit in all-around events and my mom was my trainer, supporter and taxi. I started in the western and showmanship/halter events and have expanded to doing hunt seat and fences as well. I have found being a trainer can sometimes be a stressful position, but I wouldn’t change it or my amazing clients for anything.
Q: Where are you located and can you tell me more about your training operation?
A: I have a beautiful place in Edmond that I am so lucky to work out of. I started TopNotch Performance Horses and live on sight and run the operation with my boyfriend of three years, Christopher Tidwell. Our facility is 40 beautiful acres with several barns, large pastures and turnouts all with shelters, outdoor arena, indoor round pen and a fun friendly atmosphere. I specialize in the all around events and enjoy helping youth and amateur clients achieve their goals. We have an amazing group of lesson horses to help beginners to advance riders in English or western as well as a few top show horses available for lease.
Q: Who are some of your mentors in the industry?
A: Obviously my mom, Debbie Leggett would be one of them, she has taught me so much about understanding the horse and running a successful business. I’ve also been fortunate enough to get help from Jerry Erickson and Lynn Palm. I really look up to them for their achievements and knowledge.
Q: I heard your father recently passed away from Leukemia–can you tell me about him and how he was influential in your life and profession?
A: He was my greatest hero. He always kept the best attitude in life and when he got bad news, he would find something positive and not let it get him down. He fought until the end and I really admire his strength and courage through his battle. The greatest asset that my dad taught me was always have a positive outlook in life and it’s much easier to make friends in life rather than enemies. A smile or laugh will go a long way with people and you will find me most times with a smile.
Q: Tell me about your success at the Novice West Championships?
A: We had such an amazing Novice Championships. I took four clients to Las Vegas and we ended up winning nine trophies–each of the horses we took won either a championship or reserve championship. Allison Allen and RSVP Coats and Tails were Youth Reserve Champions in working hunter and hunter hack, fourth in equitation over fences; Emily Cooper and Slow Lopin Chariie were Youth Champion in the hunter hack, Reserve Champ equitation over fences, third in working hunter; Erin Gordon and An Indian Breeze were Youth Champion in working hunter and equitation over fences, third in hunter hack, and 14-18 all around English horse, and finally, Lisa Manlove and Sweet Chip of Mine were Amateur Reserve Champion in working hunter and fourth in hunter hack
Q: Can you tell us about your past accomplishments in the show arena and educational background?
A: As a youth, I earned numerous all-around awards with my horse, Frostys Special Tee. Being a trainer’s daughter, I had to be self sufficient at young age, but it taught me a lot of responsibility as well as learning how to multi-task and developing an eye for perfection. I received a bachelors degree from Oklahoma State University in Animal Science.
Q: Can you tell us other horses you have worked with that we may know?
A: I’ve been fortunate to be on some great horses through the years as well as own a few. Obviously my youth mount will always have the special place in my heart. I’ve worked with Frostys Special Tee, Mission Incredible, Mr Classic Example, MM Dressed in Silk and Treasured Detail. I am excited for next year because we have some great prospects coming up.
Q: What are your future goals?
A: My future goals would be for my clients to succeed to the best of their abilities. I would love to win a few world titles along the way just like anyone else, and as anyone in the industry knows, it just takes that special horse. I would hope that TopNotch will keep growing and we all improve each year and show, you never quit learning. My hope is that the babies in the pasture grow up to be talented horses, and I will also be a person people would look to for buying a prospect.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: I really appreciate this opportunity to let readers get to know me and my program and I would encourage anyone that has any questions to please get in touch.
Q: Thanks so much for talking to us and good luck!
A: You’re welcome and thank you!
Photos © KC Montgomery