Assistant Trainer Spotlight: Houston Huff of Masterson Farms
As the new year rolls around, it rings in many opportunities for trainers and competitors all across the horse industry. The new year has already brought new and exciting things for assistant trainer Houston Huff.
Growing up in Evansville, Indiana, horses have always been a part of Huff’s lifestyle. At the young age of two, Huff showed his very first horse in the lead line class and has quickly made a name for himself ever since.
In November, at the age of 21, Huff made a move from Purcell, Oklahoma to Somerville, Tennessee to work at Masterson Farms, home of leading sires RL Best Of Sudden and CP Surely The Best.
We sat down with Huff to find out about his involvement in the horse industry, plans and his excitement about his new position.
Q: Hi Houston. Can you tell us how you got involved with horses and the quarter horse industry?
A: From the time I was born, I was involved in the horse industry. My grandpa raised and showed horses, as well as both of my parents and my aunt. I showed my first horse in the lead line when I was just two years old. My family was the main contributor to my love for horses. Consequently, the more I was around it and rode, the more I grew to love it.
Q: Who do you look up to the most?
A: I look up to my grandpa the most. I don’t think I have met a single person in my life who had anything wrong to say about him. He made a lasting impression on everyone he ever met and was one of the hardest working men I know to this day. If I can work as hard as he did for as long as he did and put a smile on everyone’s face, I will be doing pretty well.
Q: What are a few of your significant AQHA accomplishments?
A: My most significant accomplishment to date is placing fifth in the heading and fourth in the heeling at the AQHA Youth World Show. I have also had several top five and top ten placings at the Congress in the team roping, reining and ranch riding.
Q: What made you want to become a horse trainer?
A: Growing up around horses as I did, I always had the notion of being a horse trainer in the back of my mind. However, I also knew it was imperative to go to college and get a degree first. After high school, I received a baseball scholarship to the University of Southern Indiana, where I was working towards a degree in Marketing.
While juggling both school and baseball, I was also training about five head of horses at home. I just could not let the horses go. In the fall of 2016, I was offered a job from Gil Galyean, and the rest is history. I am continuing my education online, as it is still imperative to me, and I plan to finish with an Associates Degree in Marketing.
Q: With a roping background, how did you get involved in the western pleasure events?
A: Throughout my life, I’ve ridden and/or shown a wide variety of horses and disciplines. Along with that, I have developed a love and respect for everything that goes into each of those disciplines. I have always been around the western pleasure, but really got involved with it when I began starting colts for other people as a side job through the end of my middle school years and high school.
One thing that the western pleasure allows me to do that I love, is to really get into a horse’s mind from the very beginning and develop a relationship with that animal. So, in the long run, I feel confident that I can ask whatever I want to of it, and he/she will give me 110% in return. A solid foundation is necessary for a horse to be successful in the show pen, but also to have the ability to go on and do other events in addition to the pleasure.
It is a very rewarding feeling seeing horses that I have trained and shown in the western pleasure continue their career with another person in new events. So, really what drove me to train pleasure horses was the challenge that comes along with developing a horse mentally and physically to be a good, solid, broke horse that anyone can show and pursue other events.
Q: What inspired you to work at Masterson Farms?
A: I was very honored to be considered for a job at Masterson Farms. Their quality of horses, as well as the level of professionalism, was something I admired. The opportunity to work for them was one that would build upon the solid foundation that I received at Gil’s and continue to expand my knowledge of the horse industry.
Q: What would you like to see improved in the industry?
A: I would like to see our industry as a whole perceived in a better light. There is good and bad to every discipline, and in every industry – even outside of horses. However, I feel that the negative is often put in the spotlight far more than the positive. I am specifically speaking about the western pleasure industry – a lot has improved, and the quality of horses has increased drastically. As horseman and supporters of the horse industry, it is our job to continue to encourage the positive changes we have made and continue to make and abide by them.
Q: What are you looking forward to in the upcoming show year?
A: I am looking forward to traveling to a few new horse shows, as well as the possibility of showing some of the horses that I have been riding here at the farm.
Q: What are your future goals?
A: As I mentioned before, one of my near future goals is to finish my Associates Degree in Marketing. As for long-term goals, I would like to be successful in the arena. However, my biggest goal is to become an excellent horseman along with being a good, honest person. If I can achieve those two things, I will consider myself successful, and the rest will follow.
Q: Thanks, Houston!
A: You are welcome!
GoHorseShow would like to wish Huff the best of luck in his future endeavors.