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Assistant Trainer Spotlight: Eli Wolfe of Parrish Quarter Horses

Currently, assistant trainer Eli Wolfe works at Parrish Quarter Horses in Pavo, Georgia. Born and raised in Wellington, Ohio, Eli graduated from Keystone High School in 2021. “My grandmother got me into horses at the age of three. Since then, I haven’t stopped. It is my true passion,” Eli told us.

Wolfe started showing a miniature pony at age six during The Lorain County Fair. Eli proudly told us that he won his showmanship class that year. After that, Wolfe worked his way through 4-H, YEDA, then onto Paints and Quarter Horses.

Currently, Eli is taking online classes through the University of Phoenix where he is working toward obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Business with a Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship certificate. 

GoHorseShow sat down with Wolfe to find out more about his background and future goals.

GHS: Hi Eli! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us more about what you like about horses and showing?
I like the bond that I can create with horses. I like knowing that I can make a horse soft in its movement and get into the thinking side of its mind. I particularly like showing because I get the opportunity to show how I have put all the pieces together. Then, I get to showcase the final product. It’s like showing off your house once it is built, and others can see the work and finished product.


GHS: What have been your favorite accomplishments so far in the show arena?
Eli: There are three accomplishments, in particular, that stand out to me. The first being when I was Reserve Champion in the Level 1 14-18 Hunter Under Saddle class at the AQHA Level 1 East Championship Show in 2019. Next, when I placed third at the NSBA World Championship show in 2020 in The Color Youth Western Riding class. Finally, my biggest accomplishment was being a World Champion at the NSBA World Championship Show in 2021 in The Color Youth Trail class.

GHS: What are some well-known horses you have helped train?
Eli: I wouldn’t say that I have trained any well-known horses at this point. However, I have helped train many local horses near me in Ohio that accomplished many things at the big competitions in Ohio. Certain Valor, Clyde, is the horse that has shaped me as a rider/trainer and made others take notice.

GHS: Who would you say are some of your biggest mentors?
Although there have been many mentors in my life, the ones that have stood out include Dan and Darlene Trein. They were the first major Quarter Horse trainers that guided me towards my accomplishments as a youth. Darlene truly taught me everything I know about horsemanship horses. She showed me the techniques to use and how to implement them. She taught me how to introduce the lead change on green horses in western riding through a technique that has been successful for me. Dan is the first mentor who introduced me to trail, as I had never ridden trail classes before meeting him. He taught me every technique to use on green horses through senior horses. Particularly, he showed me how to use my eye to focus on the spots on the logs. He has also helped develop my training techniques for western riding.

Currently, I am working for the Parrish family. They have taught me everything from starting a yearling who has never been touched up through the western pleasure show horses. In addition, they taught me that I need to ride the horse how the client is going to, not how I ride and still make all the buttons work. They have helped improve the mental focus of my training through the knowledge they share. Also, I would like to mention my Grandma Pam, who has been through the entire journey, teaching me and learning with me.

GHS: What advice do you have for other young trainers?
My best advice would be to find a trainer/program you look up to and want to be a part of. This way, you can choose to strive toward future goals and make your way into the industry. You can’t beat yourself up when some things don’t always work perfectly and think that your way is the only way. There is always more to learn, and you can constantly improve yourself. I believe it will always benefit a young trainer to understand the business aspects of a training operation, rather than only knowing how to handle the horse under you. 

GHS: Tell us about some of your favorite memories from the industry.
I have enjoyed all the people I have met along the way and the memories created with them. I have developed many friendships and bonds in the industry with people that will last forever. I know I can count on them if I should have any questions, and I am genuinely grateful for that.

GHS: How did you come about working for the Parrish crew? What do you like about working for them?
I came about working for the Parrish family at the NSBA show in 2021. I knew that I wanted to pursue working in the western pleasure industry, and I knew that the Parrish crew was one of the best in said industry. Before that, Darlene told Candy that I might be looking for a job in the industry while I took online classes. A few months later, I asked the Parrish family if they would be willing to hire me at the show. They said yes, and here I am. Since I left Ohio in March of 2022, I have worked for them, and I love it. I like working for them because they have shown me how soft they can make a horse. They take their time and do not rush the horses. They have taught me a lot so far, and I look forward to everything they will teach me in the future.

GHS: What is one thing people probably don’t know about you?
People in the horse industry probably don’t know how shy and introverted I once was. However, I have come out of my shell since I started showing horses. The atmosphere at horse shows and in the barns I have trained in made me feel comfortable and broke down those barriers.

GHS: What would you like to see improved in the industry?
Eli: I would like to see the view of the western pleasure industry improve overall. Of course, everyone has a different opinion on the class itself, whether good or bad. However, more opportunities have arisen for other horses and trainers in this industry in the past few years. I want to continue to see this positive change progress in the future.

GHS: What are some of your future goals?
My future goals include winning the AQHA World Show in trail and western pleasure. I also want to graduate from college and have my own successful training operation one day. In addition, I want to work as an Equine Insurance Agent. Finally, I also want to be stress-free about finances someday. I realize these goals will take hard work and time, but I am willing to put hard work into both.

GHS: Thanks, Eli!