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Leading By Example
By Sue Winslow
Arturo Maestas has been turning out high quality all-around and futurity champions at Maestas Show Horses since 2000. His amateur and select riders are consistently in the ribbons in AQHA, APHA, ApHC, and NSBA competition. Working out of the picturesque CSC Ranch in Pilot Point, Texas, located less than an hour from Forth Worth, he trains manages, markets, and sells some of the finest horses in the industry, and his ability to match the right client with the right horse is well-known. He keeps his client roster to a limited number, which allows for undivided, individual attention, and he has built a strong professional team to offer his clients dedicated concierge support.
Former student Jesse Jones joined Maestas as a professional in 2013 after training with him since 2009. He brings a solid resume including producing AQHA Congress Champion, Multiple ApHC World and Reserve World Champions, and National and Reserve National Champions, and Numerous NSBA Champions. He also earned the 2015 ApHC World Champion titles in Senior Western Riding, Junior Trail, Junior Hunter Under Saddle, and Senior Hunter Under Saddle. “I feel very fortunate, as a young upcoming trainer, to get to work with fantastic clients and horses,” Jesse says. “The clients are very gracious and always a blast to coach. As far as future goals go, I would like to keep pushing myself, my clients, and my horses to be the best they can be with hard work and dedication.”
Scottsdale, Arizona native Courtney Cruse rounds out the professional staff at Maestas Show Horses. Showing in ApHC, she earned multiple World titles before turning pro to coach Fresno State University’s equestrian team, where she led them to the United Conference Championship. Together, these seasoned professionals bring a wide breadth of knowledge to the table and work diligently with their clients to ensure success. The team at Maestas Show Horses helps clients find a suitable futurity or all-around prospect, and they work with riders of any level to help them excel in the show pen.
This level of success comes only with hard work, dedication, and a laser-like focus on achievement, with Maestas leading through example. Growing up in northern California, a young Maestas took lessons at a local barn before moving on to Hunter-Jumper competition and eventually to AQHA and APHA horses and the all around circuit.
As he was moving up the ranks, he spent hours along the rail watching trainers and soaking up knowledge. When asked if he had a special mentor or trainer along the way who made an impact on him, he responds that there are entirely too many to mention. He says, “I’m a very visual person, so I’ve spent lots of time watching and learning.”
Maestas was drawn to futurity horses and all-around competition because of his desire to bring out the best in each animal, taking a long view with each prospect. He chooses them carefully and then starts them correctly to ensure a long, healthy, and successful career. He explains, “I’ve always loved young horses. I think what drew me to the all-around horses was the fact that I liked the idea of my young horses going on to do other things with success. I really enjoy making my own all-around horses and taking them from start to finish. It’s really rewarding for me to see a young horse that we’ve trained go on to show for many years and be successful.”
Maestas has specific requirements for the horses he chooses as futurity prospects. He describes the form-to-function methodology that has helped him consistently turn out winners that are not only superb athletes, but have jaw-dropping appeal over the rail as well. Maestas says, “I’m very picky when it comes to buying a futurity prospect. I really look for conformation, mind, movement, and I love a pretty horse on top of all that.”
He is equally selective with his clients, keeping his list to a reasonable number that allows for individual attention. While Maestas still gets a thrill out of competition, the success of his clients and their horses means more to him than any individual honor. He says, “To be honest, I don’t have a favorite win of my own. All the wins that I have won and that my clients have won are very special to me. At the beginning of the year, I sit down and set goals for each horse and client. When they reach those goals and win, it means all of the hard work has paid off, and that makes each one special. I’ve had several APHA World Champions, ApHC World and National Champions, NSBA World Champions, and AQHA Congress Champions, and each one has been memorable.”
• Kayln Epperson and Endless Sensation – APHA World Champion Novice Amateur Trail
• Jessica Knox and Called Me Collect – ApHC National Champion Novice Amateur Western Pleasure
• Katie Shepherd and Play It Again Hunter – NSBA World Champion Non-Pro Color Hunter Under Saddle Maturity and ApHC Youth World Champion Hunter Under Saddle
• Katie Shepherd and Hez Too EZ – ApHC Youth World Champion Hunt Seat Equitation and ApHC Youth Reserve World Champion Showmanship
• Shannon Mahoney and Zippos Blueeyedaward – ApHC Youth World Champion Novice Hunt Seat Equitation and ApHC Youth World Champion Saddle Seat Pleasure
• Rose Lindsey and Mark It Blue – ApHC National Champion and Reserve Youth World Champion Hunter In Hand Mares
• Megan Wagner and HandsOffMyArtifacts – Five-time ApHC World and National Champion Amateur Hunter Under Saddle
• Megan Wagner and Invaluable – ApHC World Champion Amateur Hunt Seat Equitation and Showmanship
• Lacee Keller and Strong Principles – ApHC National and Reserve National Champion Amateur Bareback Horsemanship, Western Riding, and Horsemanship
• Lacee Keller and Hez Puttin on The Ritz – ApHC World Champion Amateur Hunter Under Saddle
• Jennie Shrout and Ima Jaks Artifacts – ApHC World Champion Amateur Saddle Seat Pleasure and Equitation
• Lauree Adair and Strip Poker Chip – Multiple top 10’s at the ApHC Nation-als and World Show
Maestas readily admits that the consistency of excellence in his client roster doesn’t just happen. He stresses the importance of mental, emotional, and physical simpatico between the horse and rider as a building block for success. He explains the importance of the in-dividual approach in his program. “I think the MOST important thing I do is find the right horse for each person. After sitting down with each client and talking about what their goals are, I then start the search. That can take a long time, but I won’t just buy anything. I think it’s important to find what each individual needs. Sometimes, I buy a young horse and work with that horse to develop it into the appropriate horse for that individual’s needs,” he says.
Maestas believes strongly that happy, well-prepared horses and confident riders make successful competitors. When Megan Wagner won three titles in a row at the Appaloosa World Show. She complimented her trainer’s ability to keep her horse happy and willing even under the stress of a multi-day, highly competitive event. He explains his approach to the mental side of the training equation, for both his riders and their horses, “I always try to keep my horses happy. I never keep them peaked and ready to go to the World Shows every day because I think that will make them an-gry. We turn our horses out a lot, which I think keeps their minds fresh. I also buy horses that I know are capable to do the job that we need them to do. As far as the ri-ders go, I try to have them pre-pared for each class. That way the stress stays low, but we are a stickler about practice.”
Maestas’ strong work ethic and dedication to his clients and show mounts leaves little time for life outside of the horse industry. When he’s not working with his clients and their horses, or is on the road at shows, he is a sought-after clinician. “I offer clinics all over the world to help riders gain more knowledge about Trail, Horsemanship, Equitation, Showmanship, Western Riding, and Hunter Under Saddle.”
In a career that becomes a lifestyle, Maestas still has the same enthusiasm for horses and competition that he did when he was growing up. He describes his motivation, “It’s not easy sometimes, especially since we show multiple breeds, which can be tiring and stressful at times. But I have the best partner in Jesse Jones who shows a lot of our horses in the open division, and we have the best assistant in Courtney Cruse. I couldn’t do any of this without them. The love of horses and dedication to my clients is what keeps me going.”
This accomplished professional balances his life with time spent with friends and family, but he’s always on the lookout for the next exciting futurity prospect.
For more information on sales of top futurity prospects and finished show mounts, training, coaching, and upcoming clinics, visit Maestas Show Horses on Facebook or at www.maestasshowhorses.com.