Interviews by Abigail Boatwright

Leslie Willis
The main thing is don’t give up. Sometimes when things are going really wrong, don’t give up, because God has a bigger plan down the road. I actually have four horses I rehabilitated this summer with torn suspensories, which takes six to 12 months to heal. Six weeks ago I broke my foot. We think, gosh, I can’t take anymore, then it seems like something else happens and something else happens. I told someone, there’s nothing I can do about it—I’ve got to live with this broke foot. I could ride a few horses, but it made me slow down and quit riding 15 head of horses a day, and I picked six. That’s the six I focused on, and I think because I am only riding half what I am used to riding, it’s been better for me.

Just because things are going wrong, don’t give up. It’s been a rough year for me. It’s just been one of those years where it didn’t quite go like I wanted it to go, but it all worked out in the end. In December [of 2016] we will start with the new 3-year-old, and I’m excited about next year. I hope my goals and plans to be in the same order, but the main thing is don’t give up.

BertThompson AQHACongress BHNEDITORIALBert Thompson and Shez Truly Old Times set the arena record of 14.402 in the Sweepstakes finals at the 2016 All-American Quarter Horse Congress. Photo by Shane Rux Photography.Bert Thompson
Preparedness, preparation, work hard. Anytime you work hard for a goal, it turns out good in the end.

Larken Jones
Some advice for other riders is to never give up. You have to keep working hard and pushing yourself to be the best you can be. You should never compare your times to someone else, you should just focus on improving your own time each show. It takes time and patience to form a bond with your horse, but once you have that bond you will succeed even more because you will have trust. Think of your next goal, whether it’s improving a turn or improving your time and work on it until it’s achieved. Never give up—you can do anything you set your mind to.

Brandon Cullins
Ride good horses. Get the best horse you can with what you can do.

Abigail Boatwright is an award-winning journalist based out of Texas. Email comments on this article to [email protected].


Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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