Assistant Trainer Spotlight: Brittany Sega of Thyfault Performance Horses
Brittany Sega currently resides in Shelby, Ohio where she works as an assistant trainer for Missy Thyfault. Her primary responsibilities on a daily basis consist of everything from feeding, saddling, longing/ground work to riding. Usually, Brittany does at least the first 15 to 30 rides on all of the unbroke horses that come to the farm, as well as all the pre-riding groundwork.
Originally from Wadsworth, Ohio, Brittany attended The University of Findlay where she double majored in Western Equestrian Studies and Public Relations. A few years ago, Sega even wrote a few articles for GoHorseShow during an internship. After college, she worked for the National Snaffle Bit Association for eight months until she was ultimately contacted by Missy to come work for her.
“I will always be thankful to Brittany for the time she has put in here,” Missy Thyfault told us. “During the summer of 2015, I had an unexpected surgery and we didn’t have a summer Findlay student lined up. I was pretty worried about taking that time off, but I had no choice. Brittany came and worked for us, and I was especially relieved that she was coming. I knew I could count on her and my other assistant, Maggie Howell, while I was healing.”
Thyfault adds, “I think a great quality about Brittany is that she loves the dogs and horses. I think she treats the animals in my care as if they were her own. She’s very conscientious and has a great work ethic. She’s a team player and steps up to the plate for any task. I have been lucky to have her.”
We sat down and talked to Brittany about her background and plans for the future.
Q: Hi Brittany. Can you tell us how you got involved with horses?
A: I got involved with horses when my grandmother took me to a summer camp with my sister. I was about ten years old at the time. I started showing the 4H/Open Show level around 2007 and by 2009, I was showing the hunt seat all-around classes at the local Quarter Horse level.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about working with horses?
A: I think the thing I love the most about working with and showing horses is developing a goal for each horse and accomplishing that goal in the show pen. It’s a significant accomplishment, I think, to be able to work with a horse to achieve your goals for yourself and that horse.
Q: What has been your most significant accomplishment in the show pen?
A: This may not seem like anything to a lot of people, but by far my favorite accomplishment in the pen is when I was a youth kid at the Congress. I was having major problems with my horse at the time. We didn’t think I was going to be able to show him and get him around the pen without causing a huge issue. But, I got up every night and tried to work through it because I wanted to show. Although the performance wasn’t going to win me that bronze, the horse went in the pen and didn’t give me any issues. All I wanted was to prove I could do it.
Q: Can you tell us some famous horses you have worked with?
A: I’ve been blessed to work with and learn from some fantastic horses over the past year or so including Nearly Chocolate, N A Heartbeat, Consider Him Sheik, Just Good Enough, Moonwalking Willy, The Master Of DeSkys and Im N Outsider.
Q: Who have been your biggest mentors?
A: Missy is a tremendous mentor of mine, of course. It’s such an excellent opportunity to work and learn from someone like her every day. She started as an unknown Findlay graduate and made a name for herself by working hard and never giving up in a very male-dominated industry. Another mentor for me is Stephanie Lynn. I had the opportunity to work alongside her at NSBA, and the amount of knowledge and grace that she carries throughout her job at NSBA and as a horse trainer is astounding. I hope to be half the woman she is in my lifetime.
Q: Any advice you have for young trainers?
A: Keep your head down and work hard. The grunt work isn’t fun, but somebody’s got to do it. This is a physically and emotionally demanding job; one that inevitably gets the best of me every now and again. So, make sure to take care of yourself. Have something outside of horses that also makes you happy, whether that’s reading a book or going for a run. Then, if you had a bad day at the barn, you still have something that can make your day better. I believe that if you don’t have something else, it’s easy to burn yourself out.
Q: How did you come to work for Missy?
A: I originally came to work for Missy between my junior and senior year at Findlay. She needed a summer intern and I had applied for the job. That summer, I worked with both Missy and her old assistant, Maggie Howell, and had a blast. Flash forward to November of 2017 and Maggie had decided to open up her own business and Missy called asking if I would be interested in coming to work for her full time.
Q: What do you like most about working for her?
A: What I like most about working for Missy is how hands-on she is. While she gives me the opportunity to work with her clients’ horses too, she also wants to be riding them and making sure they’re where they are supposed to be. She takes on the full responsibility of making sure her clients’ horses are where they need to be to show, and I think that’s a great trait. She works hard and she wants her clients to do the best they can.
Q: Anything you would like to see changed about the industry?
A: I’d like to see the industry become more inclusive. There are a lot of parts that I think are too exclusive to the top ten percent that can afford more, but I think there needs to be something for the little guy too.