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10 Things You Probably Don’t Know about Joe Mizzi


Joe Mizzi is currently the President of the Michigan Paint Horse Club, and he also breeds and raises APHA and AQHA Western Pleasure Horses at his farm, Painted Plantation. While he hasn’t been in the show pen recently, Joe hopes to get back to showing someday soon after his knee replacement surgery later this summer. You can also find Joe interviewing many people in the horse industry on his podcast. Mizzi is well known as an industry leader, and GoHorseShow wanted to find out more about him on a personal level.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

1)  I grew up in a suburb of Detroit – Dearborn, Michigan. It is the home town of Henry Ford, and the only horse I rode as a youth was at a city park in Detroit called Belle Isle. It was one of the ponies going around a walker. I didn’t take up riding until 2002 when I was 46. I’ve taken classes on horse care and horse breeding, taken countless riding lessons, asked my friends and trainers countless questions, and I read anything equine related to make up for the late start. I feed the horses in my barn every morning and night, and I lay my hands on every one every day.

2)  All four of my grandparents immigrated from Malta, and they moved into the Corktown neighborhood in Detroit. They taught themselves to speak English, and they all became naturalized American Citizens.

3)  I took guitar lessons for over a decade. My teacher played guitar for the band, The New Christy Minstrels. I still play today.

4)  I met my wife in the 9th grade, and we went on our first date at 13. We dated on and off throughout high school, and by the time we graduated, we knew it was a lifetime love.  We got married when we were twenty. We had both of our children by the time we were 23, and this year we celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary.

5)  Sports were always a big part of my life. I played football, baseball, basketball, was a high jumper on the track team and a member of the golf team. My favorite sport was and still is baseball. My second favorite is Notre Dame football.

6)  I was the President of The Dearborn Country Club. The club is in Dearborn, MI, and was built by Henry Ford as a retreat for his executives. The course was designed by Donald Ross and the clubhouse built by Albert Kahn. At my best, I was a six handicap and used to compete in many long drive competitions, once hitting a drive 331 yards, which doesn’t sound like much today, but it was with a Tony Pena No. 1 driver, which was a wooden driver. I gave up golf altogether to concentrate on horses in 2003.

7)  My mother died from breast cancer in 1977, and I have been an ardent supporter of the American Cancer Society’s program “Real Men Wear Pink,”  which raises money for research on a cure for breast cancer.

8)  I began working at a young age, stacking returnable bottles at a party store. I have worked for the US Postal Service as a mail sorter, sold stereos, worked for a major department store selling sporting goods, worked in the accounting office of a gas transmission company, was an assistant manager of an electronics store, and I tutored economics in college. Once I graduated from Notre Dame, I worked in the finance staff of one of the divisions of Ford Motor Company, and after five years, I joined Merrill Lynch.

9)  I lead a Wealth Management Advisory team for Merrill Lynch. My father started the practice in 1955. I joined Merrill Lynch in 1983. I now work with my brother and son- in-law along with two other partners, and three client associates. I have no interest in retiring because I love the interaction with my clients and being surrounded by young and smart professionals.

10)  I made every mistake in the book when it comes to showing a horse, but the funniest ride I ever had was on One Sensational Diva (pictured above) at the Tom Powers Futurity. I had recently purchased her from Simons Show Horses, and she was a marvelous mover. My trainer at the time, Mark Katafiasz showed her that year in the 3-year-old Color Class and won.  A few days later, it was my turn to show her in the Amateur 3-year-old class.  Everything was going well, but Bambi, as she is called, began to speed up.  My regular show horse was a mare named Charlies My Daddy, and she was a good horse, but she was dull-sided. If you wanted her to slow down, you had to roll your spur on her side, and she would collect and slow her legs. I tried that on Bambi and had the exact opposite effect. Bambi took off at a gallop. Not a fast lope, not even a hand gallop, she was running like a sorrel overo Seabiscuit around that outdoor arena with about 20 horses. Mark was just shaking his head, and I was so embarrassed. I pulled her up, walked her to the grass next to the judges, and just let her graze on the grass while everyone else went on showing their horses. To this day, the Girls at BSB, who witnessed this spectacle, don’t let me forget that ride. Now, mind you that Bambi went on to have a fabulous career, including multiple futurity wins, two world championships, an NSBA championship, and over 1,200 APHA points. But this was her most memorable ride.

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