We Ask The Industry: What’s Something You’ve Done that You’re Fairly Certain None of Your Horse Friends Have Done?
From writing a number one song to trekking up to see mountain gorillas in Uganda, there is a multitude of unknown facts we may not know about our fellow equestrians. GoHorseShow has always loved featuring fascinating individuals in our industry. We’ve done other articles about things equestrians in the industry love and hate as well as a series featuring facts you may not know about a person.
In this WATI article, we decided to delve further into this topic and ask several trainers, breeders and exhibitors about something that makes them unique compared to all of their horse show friends.
Charlie Cole – I was on the Family Feud way back in 1996 with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and aunt. We won, and I did the speed round for big money. They are very strict about cheating, the host stands next to you, and you look out into the audience, you cannot look at your family, it’s so intense! The host asked the first question, “name an occupation held mostly by men,” and my mind raced, and I said, “ pass!” I went on to get a high score on the next four questions, and when it came back to the first question, I said “ bus driver “! Thankfully my brother in law said “ cop,” and we did win big money. CLICK HERE to view a clip from the show.
Jaida Dreyer – Reflecting on my years in Nashville as both a songwriter and an artist, it’s hard to narrow down the unique moments I’ve experienced as a direct result of my career. My non-horse show life is very different than the one I live at horse shows, and I love being able to talk about those adventures and share them with my horse show family. I’d have to say, being invited to perform as a frequent guest at the Grand Ole Opry, touring with one of my heroes, Merle Haggard (on one of his last tours before he passed away), writing the multi-week song #1, Home Alone Tonight” for Luke Bryan & Karen Fairchild (also nominated for an ACM and CMA) and most recently, being crowned the inaugural winner of USA Network’s new singing competition show, ‘Real Country’ (with Shania Twain, Travis Tritt and Jake Owen). I’m proud of these particular highlights in my life’s timeline and feel they’re a rarity even in Nashville, especially being a woman. I hope to inspire other horse-crazy little girls with my story and my roots within the horse industry.
Jenna Tolson – My husband and I are both avid sports fans, both college and professional. When not with horses or on the road working, we spend the Fall going to college football games. We’ve gone to the Big 12 Basketball Tournament every year we have been together and go to Vegas for the first round of March Madness every year too. Just in the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to get to go to both a World Series (Kansas City Royals in 2015) and a Stanley Cup Finals (Vegas Golden Knights in 2018). As far as professional sports go, we follow the Royals, Kansas City Chiefs, and consider the Golden Knights to be our “hometown” hockey team since we’re in Vegas more than about anywhere else. I thought the Chiefs were going to make the Super Bowl last year, but they just can’t get past those Patriots yet! My husband ended up going to the Super Bowl anyway, but I’m not a fan of big crowds, so I’m holding out to watch Patrick Mahomes play in one soon.
Ali Hubbell – I was an All American Swimmer in College. I rode horses through high school and swam. When recruitment time came around, most equestrian programs were IHSA, and I wasn’t particularly interested. So, I swam in college instead. However, I brought my horses to college so I could still ride/show.
Debbi Trubee – One of my first jobs was driving a school bus when I was out of high school. I can remember to this day one hill I would drive down and all the kids would do the wave screaming like they were on a roller coaster. I was just a sub driver, but it paid pretty well.
Taylor Kungle – I think something that I’m fairly confident none of my horse friends have done is studied as many unique and sometimes odd religious practices and traditions as I have. While I was pursuing my degree in Religious Studies, I was required to take some very interesting classes on cults and paganism, and all sorts of other different things. One year I was lucky enough to attend the American Academy of Religions yearly conference as a student guest and was completely randomly placed in a lengthy conference on modern witchcraft- led by a witch. It was a wild few hours, but I will say I learned a lot. She was a nice witch. (laughs)
Emma Brown – I am fairly certain that not many of my horse friends can say they were high school cheer captain. I cheered from Kindergarten until my senior year of high school, and I loved it. It helped make me even more outgoing and pushed me to be a leader.
Jan Shepherd Pittman – I traveled with the team of World Champion Boxer and Olympic Bronze medalist Evander Holyfield. My friend’s husband was Evander’s attorney. Once in Atlantic City at a fight, a well-dressed man sitting next to me introduced himself as Donald Trump. I remember he had on a gorgeous cashmere coat and was snacking on M&Ms. I also one time had lunch with Saudi Prince Faisal. So, I guess sitting with the President and having lunch with a Prince is a little different.
Laurel Champlin – I scuba dived on a Japanese Zero in Palau which is in the Micronesian Islands. My late husband was trying to recover a sunken Japanese Zero fighter plane off the shores of Palau. He purchased the coordinates, and we dove all over it taking pictures. It was a lot of fun and a great experience.
Amy Groefsema – When I was in college in the 1990s, there was a show on MTV hosted by Jenny McCarthy called “Singled Out.” My sorority was invited to participate in the taping of several episodes. There were about 10 of us that went. I ended up being one of the girls “picked” for the date on one of the episodes. We never went on that “date,” but I still have the bowling ball I won from it.
Lauren Stanley – I enjoy writing and have recently begun dabbling in the self-publishing realm. I have published a few different smaller books, but I’m most excited for a children’s book about Rooster that will hopefully be coming out soon.
Shelby Ratliff – One of my best friend’s mother is married to Randy Travis, so one summer while I was in high school he asked if we wanted to come to meet up with them while he was on tour. We flew into Georgia and went on tour with him for about two weeks. I got to meet a lot of great artists, and we had a quick stop in Nashville so that Randy could show us all the iconic locations. That was cool.
Kip Riley – Earlier in my career I was a lobbyist on friend’s hill in Washington D.C…that alone is something I’m sure most of my horse show friends have not experienced. One morning, Senator Orrin Hatch came to our office and invited us to tour the dome of the Capitol Building. Only senators can offer the invite and less than one percent of the population get the opportunity. It was amazing. I felt as though I was viewing the Sistine Chapel ceiling up close.
Kathy Tobin – My husband and I took a rowboat out to a rock in the middle of Iguacu Falls in Brazil/Argentina which are taller and wider than Niagara Falls. The rower was the size of a jockey, and he was rowing a big wooden rowboat with a very rapid current close to the edge of the falls, with myself and my husband who made two of the rower size-wise. He took Jerry to the next rock in the middle of the river. I bailed at the first rock where Jerry inches to the edge of the rock overlooking the falls when the man next to Jerry pointed down and back. Jerry was on a ledge hanging about five feet over the edge of the water with nothing but air and falls under him. What were we thinking?
Lana Markway – I did fall off in leadline at the world show when I was 18 months old. It was back when you had to trot. I didn’t have enough hair to pin my hat on, so it flew off and spooked the horse.
Amy Mackie Smith – I was once a backup dancer for Ke$ha on the Jimmy Fallon Show. Sort of. In 2010, Kevin, our oldest Andrew, and his girlfriend at the time, were in New York City. We thought it’d be fun to get tickets for the Jimmy Fallon Show. Ke$ha was the musical guest, singing Tik Tok. While we were waiting to get tickets, a guy came down the line asking who would like to be on stage behind Ke$ha, but they had to be willing to “dance around and have fun.” Of course, we were down for that. You can find it on YouTube still. It was a fun night.
Rebecca Bunting – I ran a sub 5:50 minute in the mile in High School. I’m a high school record holder in the mile. I broke the school record in the mile and qualified for state on that run….yea, I’m a select…and no one knows that I was fast and that’s my deceased dad yelling “go Rebecca go”….and it’s what I channel every time I go into the ring.
Madison Nierenstein – I was a competitive drag racer throughout high school and ended up winning the year-end title which entailed winning the most races throughout the entire year. I was one of two women out of hundreds of men. I still occasionally race, but not as much since I moved from California. My dad did it in high school, so he thought it would be a cool tradition.
Gina Maekawa – The first day of freshmen year in college, I knocked on the connecting door to meet our suite mates in our dorm. Randy Jackson from American Idol answered and greeted me with “Hi, I’m your new suitemate.” Of course, he was joking, but it was hilarious, and a day I’ll never forget.
Ruth Ellen – In 2007, we went to Uganda and Rwanda to trek after mountain gorillas. Up to that point and since then, it was the most physical trip I’ve ever done. There’s a reason they’re called MOUNTAIN gorillas. On any given day, we never trekked less than five hours to find our assigned gorilla family. We scrambled and clawed our way through dense jungle, going straight up and sometimes straight down on our bottoms until we made our first sighting. But then, the next allotted hour with them was nothing less than magical. And now, 12 years later, I’ll be going back to Rwanda to do it again in August. I’m not any younger, so I’m not sure what I thought when I decided to give it another go.
Tim Kimura – My claim to fame is driving back to my friend’s house around midnight during the first round of the NFR. I thought the water on the river look like a road and drove my friend’s yellow Jeep down a boat launch and splashed into the river on a cold rainy Friday, December night near Folsom, LA. I drowned the Jeep and got lost in a scary neighborhood until dawn the next morning nearly freezing myself to death because I was too afraid to knock on anyone’s door soaking wet. I used one of my lifelines that night.
Danielle Long – When I was young, I used to travel and compete in downhill ski racing along with horses for a brief moment. There came a time when I couldn’t do both, so I chose to continue competing with horses.
Julian Harris – I played the cello for a long time when I was a kid. I played for about six years. I loved the way it sounded. It’s a very emotional instrument. It had always resonated with me because you would hear it in any dramatic battle score or musical ballad. It was an instrument used in all the Argentine tango music I listened to growing up.
Tali Terlizzi – I’ve been on a couple of Reality TV shows on Bravo network. John and I are very close friends with the Manzo family; we have been on Real Housewives of New Jersey behind the scenes at parties, and he was on Manzo’d With Children as well.
Johne Dobbs – I was tired of looking out my porch where no grass would grow…lots of shade. This spring, I dug it all up and created a garden with a pebble path. I love my porch early in the morning as I have my first coffee and get to look out at this.
What have you done that you are relatively sure your horse show friends haven’t done? Let us know in the comments section of this article or share it on our Facebook page.