(Written by Lauren Locke, a reporter for Gazette Newspapers, Great Lakes Printing. Story originally published April 26, 2019).
PIERPONT – With a high score of 65 points, a completion of the course in 4 minutes and 55 seconds, along with her first champion ribbon on Friday, April 12, to accompany the feat, Pierpont resident and professional horse trainer Brenda Hanson left Columbus proudly offering her and her horse Ace as winner of the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition this year.(From April 26 edition).
According to Hanson, she has been working with seven-year-old Ace for four years now and spent countless hours training him for this year’s competition. “I feel that Ace showed the best that he ever has this year and I had the best ride on him that I have ever had,” said Hanson regarding the award. “I couldn’t have asked for a better horse to help me with my goals.” In regards to her prior experience with horses, Hanson said her experience includes many years of riding and working with them since childhood, along with training for other people since she was about 14.
Additionally, Hanson said she has a bachelor’s degree in equine business management from the University of Findlay and has been training professionally since 2013 which she now makes a living doing, along with buying, selling and raising horses. “I always knew I wanted to be a horse trainer,” said Hanson. “I’ve had other jobs, but I just kept coming back to the horse training. If you don’t truly enjoy horses and the work that comes along with it, you won’t make it long in this business. The best part about training horses is that you have to earn everything you get. You can’t buy success, you have to earn it; and believe me, the horses will make you earn it. In turn, it will make you a stronger, wiser person if you’re tough enough to stick with it.”
As far as some of the benefits in working with horses, Hanson said they include a wide variety of skills as she feels they rely on people for everything. “They are like 1,000-pound toddlers,” said Hanson. “It is my job to make sure they get a good education to help them with their future. Horses teach us responsibility, hard work, dedication and above all that, life isn’t always fair. You have to learn to take what you are given and make the best of it. Ace was not an expensive or fancy horse. There were many days that I wanted to quit, thought he would never be good enough to win, or that I wouldn’t be able to win. But year after year, we tried again and this year he beat out some super tough competition to be this year’s Versatile Horse and Rider Champion. If you never give up, there is always a chance you may come out on top.”
In addition to winning this award, Hanson has also won two reserve champion titles and many top five titles with Ace in the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition of the past, along with other feats. “Ace also took first place in the Horse and Rider Challenge at the Great Geauga Fair in the fall of 2018,” said Hanson. “Ace has won well over $10,000 in earnings in various obstacle competitions and ranch horse shows. He is a great example of a versatile horse. In the summer of 2018, I also won a colt starting competition called the Appalachian Trainer Faceoff, where my rescue horse was trained for 100 days, competed in a two-day competition and won all three of the classes. She was then auctioned off for an unbelievable $8,000 adoption fee.”
Hanson plans to continue competing, as well as will be defending her title in this year by returning to the Appalachian Trainer Faceoff rescue horse competition.
Pictured: Professional Horse Trainer Brenda Hanson rides with her horse Ace before being announced as the Versatile Horse and Rider Champion several weeks ago in Columbus.