- Category: Profiles
- Written by Jane Simmons
Michael Beasom: Texas horse trainer
From March through December year after year, Beasom Stable “exhibits each month at horse shows from Texas to Tennessee, including the Lexington Junior League and the World’s Championship Horse Shows,” stable owner Michael Beasom told me.
“The average number of horses we take to a show is ten. We have a 15-horse van that I operate myself for each trip,” the third generation horseman said. Beasom Stable is located in Boerne, Texas, a suburb of San Antonio.
Michael’s riding started before he even started grade school.
“I began taking riding lessons at age five from my grandmother. My mom drove me to my grandfather’s place — Elton Cates Stable — which was about an hour each way every Saturday for the lessons. Prior to that, I would spend weekends with my grandparents where I followed my grandfather around like his shadow.”
Riding in horse shows began a year later when Michael was six years old.
“At first, I showed in Academy classes and then walk-and-trot equitation. My first horse was named Elle Dee that I showed in Equitation, and then in Show Pleasure, until she passed away at the age of 24. I won the 1988 Show Pleasure Championship at the Texas State Fair show with her when I was nine years old. There were 17 entries in the class,” he noted.
“Just before my 10th birthday, my grandparents found my first gaited horse named The Champagne Express. I showed him for over three years.”
Once Michael began showing in performance classes, he “was asked to catch-ride for many trainers at the shows.”
In the summers, “I travelled with my grandparents to many of the larger shows. Through the years, I continued to spend as much time as I could with my trainer grandfather at his stable learning from him,” Michael told me in our late May interview.
“My grandfather was Saddlebred trainer Elton Cates. He passed in 1993 when I was two months from my 14th birthday.” Michael was born in August 1979 in Lubbock, Texas, where his father was a professor and doing wildlife research. When Michael was two months old, the family had moved to San Antonio.
His grandmother, Beulah Cates, “carried on the training duties after her husband’s passing until she broke her femur while working a horse. It was during her recovery that I moved to the farm and took over the training duties when I wasn’t in school.”
At the time of his grandfather’s passing, Michael was a student in the Medina Valley school system in San Antonio. When he took over the head trainer duties at age 15, he switched to the Boerne High School, where he was graduated in May 1998.
His older brother, Andrew Beasom, “never was interested in horses although he worked for our grandparents’ stable as a teenager. Andrew is a custom home builder in the Texas Hill Country town of Sisterdale. He is married to Candace and they have three children: Corey, Cody, and Colby.”
When Michael was 16, he and Andrew experienced “the sudden passing of our father, Samuel Beasom, in August 1995.” At that time, their father was a Wildlife Biologist on the King Ranch in south Texas.
Their horsewoman mother, Judy Cates Jordan, “continues to show in the Western Division under the banner of our family stable. My mother is Controller for Texican Natural Gas Co. in Houston, Texas. She lives near our family farm here in Boerne.”
Just months after his father’s death, Michael experienced another loss. In December 1995, “I was in a tractor accident that broke my jaw and caused facial paralysis that I still have to this day.”
After the doctors assessed the dent in his head from the post-hole digger that smashed into the back of his head, they set about to carefully lift his skull off his brain.
“The doctors said it would be a year before I would be able to ride again. Two months later, I was back working full time,” Michael said.
Because “I was unable to apprentice under anyone besides my grandfather, I observed trainers I admired through the years at the horse shows. Every chance, I would be at ringside watching the professionals — like your father Art Simmons. I also have relied upon various mentors in the horse business for help.”
One horseman mentor who Michael acknowledged in a November 2014 Saddle & Bridle article was my brother Jim Simmons of Mexico, Missouri.
“Besides my grandfather, Jimmy Simmons, has been a great influence and strong mentor for me in this business,” Michael told Maureen Jenner in her Trainer Q&A article on him in Saddle & Bridle Magazine.
Michael shared with me how my brother Jim came into his life.
“When I first met Jim, he was one of the first to give me the time of day about looking at horses. Horseman David McCoy introduced us. Jimmy has helped me so much. I’ve bought a fair number of horses from Jim. Whenever I have questions, he always takes the time to help me with my questions and then he follows-up. Jim’s a great person.”
Michael also judges.
“I am a USEF certified “r” judge for the Saddlebred, Saddle Seat Equitation, and Roadster Divisions and a USEF certified “R” judge for the Hackney and Harness Pony Divisions.”
In 2013, he was “a judge at the Bonnie Blue National in Lexington, Virginia, in May, and at the Longview Charity Horse Show in Kansas City, Missouri, in June.”
In “July of last year, I judged at the Blue Ridge Classic in Asheville, North Carolina.”
Michael judged the Southern Saddlebred Spring Fling in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in April of this year.
He told me that he “had a fun time in Murfreesboro. They had a good horse show with some really good classes at a very nice facility. If no one has been to that horse show before, they should consider going.”
Later this year, he is “scheduled to judge at the September 2015 Eastern States Exposition Horse Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts.”
In the spring of 2014, “I took over full ownership of my grandfather’s 42-stall stable as my own. I had owned 25% of the farm since my grandfather’s death because my mother had given me her share. Finally, last year, I was able to buy the whole place.”
His first decision was to name his stable. “I picked the name Victory Lane Farm. However, this name was already taken. So, I settled on Beasom Stable.”
In the months since, “I have remodeled and upgraded the facility to hopefully last for another 40 years.”
Some of Michael’s renovations to the family stable include “brand new four-rail fencing, sturdy shelters in the paddocks, and state-of-the-art hay feeders. A new sand/dressage arena was constructed near the existing riding ring and 1/4-mile track. Other new features that aren’t as obvious are a new roof on the main barn, mats installed in each stall, lockers constructed for better organization of tack, and last but not least, new storage spaces tucked throughout the facility.”
In our late May interview, Michael told me that he offers “boarding of all breeds of horses, starting at $350 a month.”
A boarded horse at Beasom Stable enjoys a 12x12-foot matted stall that is cleaned and bedded daily. Each stall has a hay bin, an automatic waterer, and an automatic fly spray system. Each horse is fed and hayed twice daily, and is turned-out daily for exercise. When bathed, a horse is taken to the barn’s hot/cold wash rack.
When the Beasom Stable horses go to the many shows each year, Michael said he uses “a check list” to assure the packing preparation process runs smoothly.
“We use three stalls in our horse trailer at a show just for our tack and equipment. For most of the shows on our calendar, we can take our own feed and hay — with the exception of the shows that require overnight layovers and those that last over four days. For these shows, we bring only our own feed and then purchase hay at the show grounds,” Michael explained.
At the shows, “decorating the stalls is done by myself and my wife Megan. This includes hanging the drapes, installing lighting, fans, hospitality areas, and any landscaping to beautify the space. We create a comfortable dressing room for the riders to utilize throughout the duration of the show. Only two of the shows on our schedule offer the bunting — Louisville and Kansas City,” he noted.
Michael and Megan married in February 2007 in St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Boerne, “after dating for seven years. She works beside me every day. When we first started dating, I had a hard time finding help, so she was thrown into the mix early on. We have no children, just three dogs: pugs, Dusty and Peanut, and a blue heeler named Dixie. Megan grew up riding ranch horses occasionally but does not come from a horsey background.”
Michael said, “Megan and our assistant Ricky ‘Slim’ Richardson oversees the maintenance and organization of the training equipment. They pack before each show which usually entails unloading all of the trunks off the trailer and reorganizing after each show.”
Slim Richardson, “has vast experience that includes tenures with Tom Moore, Donna Moore, Merrill Murray, Don Judd, Ruth Gimpel, and Randy Cates. He joined us in October of 2013.”
As for his stable’s customers and their accommodations at the shows, Michael said “most of the riders make their own reservations, but we are happy to take care of this for any riders that ask us to. In most cases, the horse show management sets up the block of rooms. Since we tend to keep the same schedule of shows each year, the host hotels tend to also stay the same as well.”
As for his staff, “we currently have four grooms on staff for our 20 horses in training. They also help care for five lesson horses and 30 boarded horses. Chief Groom, Francisco Hernandez, has been with us for over 16 years.”
Hazel-eyed, 5’ 10” tall, brown haired Michael trains “an average of 15 head. I offer lessons of instruction each week for my customers at the stable. At shows, I prepare each rider and horse properly for their classes.”
The training horses “range from colts that need breaking to finished show horses ready for the next horse show,” he said.
“Our training program includes Saddlebreds, Roadsters, and Hackney ponies. The lessons consist of those for beginner riders, training clients, driving students, and detailed equitation pattern work and instruction.”
Michael’s client base includes “many wonderful families that have been customers for as long as 26 years. Three families in particular are second generation customers at our stable — Jack and Dianne Pool, Bill and Jo Anna Been, and Catherine Street.”
Beasom Stable “does not stand a stallion at this time. We do assist with boarding stallions for owners during breeding seasons. I also have broodmares raising their colts. I invest in young horses that need training in order to be marketed for sale.”
Michael is Chair of the United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA) Chapter 6/7.
“Our Chapter covers nearly 500,000 square miles within five states but we have a very strong Chapter and have a very competitive show circuit. I am excited about the opportunity of being the Chair.”
He and Megan’s trip to the 2015 UPHA convention in Savannah, Georgia, “was wonderful and we had plenty of down time to explore the beautiful city. As Chair this season, I attended two board meetings, and the USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) clinic for my continuing education.”
He said “the goals for the Chapter for the next two years include consolidating our charter clubs into one main club and also growing the associate membership list so the riders and owners have a voice alongside the trainers,” Michael said.
Michael said he wants “to help promote riding programs across the country, and to be able to help improve the Saddlebred Horse industry. Being around horses all my life, I have realized it can be a lifelong hobby and passion no matter what your age.”
Michael’s professional affiliations include: the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA), the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA), the American Road Horse & Pony Association, the American Hackney Horse Society, the Texas American Saddlebred Horse Association, and the San Antonio Saddle Horse Association.
On the Cates side of his family tree, Michael shared with me this run down on those “extended family members” in the horse industry:
“Uncle Jimmy Cates is my mother’s brother who trained for many years before retiring and transitioning to the wholesale nursery business; my cousin Paul Cates, Jimmy’s son, is a current Saddlebred horse trainer in Austin, Texas, which is about 90 miles from our farm, and Craig and Bo Cates are Paul’s children who are young trainers and instructors.”
Michael told me some of his “well-known winning horses include: Southern Times, Coco Cool, Peridise Danse, Simply The Top, The Twelfth Night, Sky Bravo, Spek, Memories Dark Admiral, In Or Out, Open First, Jazzman’s Jaguar, WC Out Of Hand, Cheetin’ Lady, Stonecroft All That Jazz, and WC CH Stocco, Jack And Coke, Mountainview’s Good Day Sunshine, and Keaton.”
He added: “I want to continue to have a successful quality show string at all times.”
Michael told me how proud he was of his Stable’s accomplishments at the August 2014 World’s Championship Horse Show in Louisville. “We took eight head — which is the highest number yet for us — and we had a record six of our horses qualify for their championships.”
Michael believes “the American Saddlebred’s intelligence is unmatched compared to other breeds. They are very trainable and are the most exciting horses to ride.”
Michael also told me how pleased he is with his stable’s showing at the April 30 - May 3, Big D Charity Horse show: “We took 10 horses to the Big D show and eight of them won first place. Seven of the 10 horses won their championships and two were reserve champions. Two of our horses, Stonecroft All That Jazz, owned by the Beens, and Late Last Night, owned by my mother Judy, earned their CH status Saturday night with their wins in the Country Pleasure Championship and Western Pleasure Championships, respectively.”
He trains his horses “to bring out as much potential as I can find in them so they can be as successful as possible. Learning about each horse can take time and I enjoy finding that potential.”
He also likes teaching people. “I work to teach riders to be as comfortable as they can on a horse, and how to feel a horse and have a partnership with the horse.”
Horses, Michael summarized, “teach many valuable lessons that apply in all aspects of life.”