"I love the feeling, the rush and the understanding you get when you connect to one of these animals," Anthony states about what he loves about being a horse trainer. Photo © Hollie Byers

One-on-One with Horse Trainer Anthony Montes

Trainer, Anthony Montes currently lives in the heart of horse country, also known as Pilot Point, Texas. In 2013, Montes became a partner with Bruce Vickery of Vickery Performance Horses where they specialize in all-around events and developing the all-around horse and rider. Anthony enjoys training and showing many different events, but says his favorites are the western riding and trail.

GoHorseShow sat down with the California native to find out more about his background, and how he got involved with showing horses.

Q: Hi Anthony! Can you tell us where you are from and how you got involved with horses?
A: I am from Orange County, California. Although everyone sees Orange County as entirely urban, I am actually from a small town known as Trabuco Canyon located in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. There was only one way in, and one way out in this small horse enthused community, where everyone who lived there knew everyone. My family has always had horses. From a very young age, my mom and grandmother made it a point to enroll me in lessons which gave me the bug that caused me to only want to eat, sleep and breathe horses. When I was a teenager, I did whatever I could to be with horses. I would clean local Jumping trainers stalls after school for jumping and dressage lessons, as well as helping out at an abused children horse riding therapy center.

Q: How did you start showing horses?
A: I started showing when I was a young teenager in Gymkahnnas and barrel races. Later, I got my first show horse from Nancy Riggs, who took me under her wing and got me to the show pen where we started at local open shows. It was hard for my mom to take me because she was a single mother “Super Mom” raising five kids on her own. So, Nancy did what she could for me. She would pick me up from school, and we would go ride. Later, Nancy took me over to Judy Bonham’s place who then took me under her wing. I went to my first AQHA show with Judy Bonham and finished out my youth career with her. I worked for Judy Bonham for five years.

Q: What do you love about showing horses?
A: I love the feeling, the rush and the understanding you get when you connect to one of these animals. The hard work and emotion that goes into it are also rewarding when it all pays off.

Q: What are some of your favorite wins in the industry?
A: Some of my favorite accomplishments would have to be winning two world titles at the NSBA World Show and being reserve in two others, winning the Level 2 Sr Western Riding at the AQHA World Show, and winning two reserve world titles at the APHA World Show. What is equally rewarding is helping customers win World and Congress Championships. I am very blessed to be able to work with such talented horses and people.

Q: What are some of the more notable horses you have trained?
A: I have been very fortunate to be able to show and train some great horses. Some would have to be Signature Absolute, Absolute Best Asset, Shes A Lopin Machine, Ona Good Cowboy, Leaguers Finale, Strawberri Wine, Cutelicious, Good For The Ladys, Blazeless and Suddens Leadin Lady. I feel very blessed to even be listing these horses.

Q: Who are some of your mentors?
A: There are a lot of people who have mentored me from when I was a youth to now. They have given me a lot of knowledge and time to help mold me. I can’t thank them enough for what they have given me. Some would have to be Judy Bonham, Bruce Vickery, Bob Kail, Gary and Kelley Roberts, Karen Graham, Ashley Dunbar-Clock, Nancy Renfro, Kerri McKay, Charlie Cole and Scott Neuman.

Q: What advice do you have for young trainers?
A: The best advice I could give is it takes years, and we are always learning and evolving no matter how much you think you know. Always put your head down and work harder.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories from showing?
A: Nothing can take the place of being a youth kid in this industry and all the friendships you make.

Q: How did you meet Bruce and become partners?
A: Bruce and I met at the Scottsdale Classic In Arizona when I had walked up to him to ask for some advice with a horse. It wasn’t until later in 2013 that I felt it was time to follow a dream of mine and move to Texas to join Vickery Performance Horses. After working there for two years, Bruce felt like we made a great team and our training methods complemented each other, so we partnered up.

Q: Why do you think you have been successful so far?
A: I feel like I have been successful because of hard work, dedication and taking the advice of my mentors.

Q: What would you like to see improved in the industry?
A: I feel like there are many positives in our industry, but I would love to see the industry continue to expand its leveling system to include more members. I’d love to see the youth program grow as well. The memories I have of my youth years were so great, and I hope that more youth can experience that.

Q: What are some of your future goals?
A: My future goals would include becoming more involved with AQHA and NSBA, to continue to coach people and help them achieve their goals, be the best exhibitor I can be and be a mentor to young people starting into this industry.