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  • Written by Allie Layos
  • Category: Profiles

Simply Ali

Ali with her dog Enzo.


"I've taken a number of business calls while hanging on Tigerlee like this,” Ali DeGray said, her right arm flung over the withers of the reigning Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions Memories Of Cabo, as he rested in his stall at the American Royal.

The chestnut gelding and Ali had a nearly undefeated first season together, winning in nine of their ten show ring appearances, from River Ridge to Louisville, and earning another two blues that very week in Kansas City. He was, by all accounts, one of the most celebrated show horses of the year, but to Ali he is only “Sammy,” just as the multi-titled World’s Champion CH Tigerlee is simply “Tiger.”

Fanfare doesn’t mean much to Ali. At 26 years old, she is keenly aware that she comes from a privileged family, one that is able to provide her with horses like Sammy and Tiger, and give her the opportunity to show them at the highest levels, but there is much more to her than her background and show ring record would indicate. She is a woman of substance; fiercely in love with her horses and other animals, hard working, approachable, filled with unlimited appreciation for all her life’s blessings and determined to utilize those blessings to enrich the lives of others.

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  • Written by Allie Layos
  • Category: Profiles

Milo Jones: Always the horses

Milo has a profound respect for all animals.

“You have to make a decision: motocross or horses.”

Ten-year-old Milo Jones had just asked for a new bike, and his mother’s reply made it clear that the bike would come at a cost. As much as he enjoyed motocross, it was not a cost he was willing to pay.

“Then I guess I’m doing horses,” he said, and that was that.

Though a career in horses might have seemed the obvious course for a child as smitten with them as Milo, his path to becoming one of the industry’s leading professionals was far from direct. Yet, with every road he started down, there was something that kept guiding him back. It took him a few years and many travels to realize that thing was true passion.

Milo grew up in Colorado in a family of equestrians, so horses were part of his life from the start. He began accompanying his mother on trail rides at the age of three, and soon started lessons at a local hunter/jumper barn. When he was six years old, his mother took him to visit a barn she had seen advertised in a brochure. That barn turned out to be Martin Cockriel Stables.

Trainer Martin put Milo aboard a nineteen-year-old Saddlebred, and allowed the young boy to ride the horse by himself in a full bridle. Milo was sold, and still remembers the feel of that mare today.

“I never wanted to ride anything else,” Milo said. “There’s no comparison.”

Martin referred Milo to a man named Les Pedicord who also had Saddlebreds in Colorado, and Milo learned the basics of saddle seat under his strict eye.

“He was very ‘old school,’ and he took his time with me,” Milo said.

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  • Written by Allie Layos
  • Category: Profiles

Elisabeth Goth: An authentic passion

Elisabeth spends lots of time in the Kubota at Visser Stables, dragging the ring between horses.When I arrived at Visser Stables that Wednesday afternoon to meet Elisabeth Goth, I was surprised to find her at the wheel of an orange Kubota RTV 500, dragging the indoor. I’m not sure where I expected her to be – socializing with other customers on the sidelines? Giving orders from the doorway? – but this wasn’t even close to what I had envisioned.

“Hop on,” she invited me. “We can talk while I drag.”

She stepped out to let me aboard, and when she did, I saw that she was wearing three-quarter length workout pants. I climbed, mystified, across the seat, settling next to someone’s cell phone and an empty coffee mug, and discovered it felt surprisingly natural to be bouncing along in a Kubota beside a woman I’d watched from afar since childhood. But that’s Elisabeth; she has no interest in putting on airs. Every ounce of her energy is focused on one solitary goal – being the best horsewoman she possibly can, and doing it all with class.

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  • Written by Jane Simmons
  • Category: Profiles

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.

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  • Written by Maureen Jenner
  • Category: Profiles

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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