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  • Written by Maureen Jenner
  • Category: Trainer Q & A

Thomas “TJ” Santaferra

How old were you when you acquired your first American Saddlebred and what was its name?

I was seven years old when I acquired my first American Saddlebred.

What or who inspired you to become involved with American Saddlebreds?

On a family vacation, my parents and I went on a trail ride in Lake George. After the ride I asked my parents if I could have a horse of my own. They quickly replied, “No.” Later that year they surprised me with a horse they picked out for me that just happened to be a Saddlebred. The horse they picked out for me was too hot to have at home, so we put her in training at a National Show Horse and Saddlebred farm in Upstate New York, where I also continued my riding lessons.

Who has been your biggest influence and/or mentor within our Saddlebred industry?

In the Saddlebred community the biggest influence to me has been Elaine Gregory. She gave me the big push into pursuing my path in the Saddlebred industry. When I was young (15) she asked me if I would be interested in spending the summer with her to learn to be a horse trainer. I eagerly replied “Of course.” Working with her not only gave me the ability to work with and show a number of nice horses in different divisions and suitabilities, but also opened the door to be a highly sought after catch-rider for the remainder of my juvenile career. She not only taught me the right way to perform daily activities but coached me on how to turn out a show horse and communicate with potential customers. I will always be grateful to Elaine and all that she offered me at such a young age, giving me the foundation to become the horseman and person that I am today.

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  • Written by Maureen Jenner
  • Category: Trainer Q & A

Bob Brison

Bob and Tonya BrisonBob and Tonya Brison

How old were you when you acquired your first American Saddlebred and what was its name?

When I was about nine years old I began showing Elle Dee in equitation and then show pleasure. Lady Sonja, she was a three-gaited mare for the Blacklaws out in Oregon. They retired her to be a broodmare and then gave her to us. She had several nice colts for us.

What or who inspired you to become involved with American Saddlebreds?

I showed ponies out in the Northwest as a kid, and had always admired the Saddlebreds. There were some really good trainers to watch and learn from out there. Trainers like Dal Hope, Joe Biles, Don Deardorff, John Jones and Virgil Helm all had great strings of horses back then.

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