It’s about 1,400 miles from Troy, Maine to Somerville, Tennessee; but, in all actuality, it’s a world away from the tiny midcoastal town to one of the premier Quarter Horse breeding and training farms in the country. Taylor Thayer’s journey from her hometown in Maine to Masterson Farms in the hills of Tennessee is a story of hard work, perseverance, and a little bit of good fortune.
A strong work ethic is the cornerstone of life in most small, rural towns and twenty-one year old Taylor grew up riding any horse or pony that came her way. As word spread that she had the patience and natural ability to work with the sassy ones, her experience grew and inspired in her a dream of forging a career in the horse industry. Her ability to turn ponies with questionable attitudes into polished mounts for children not only gave her invaluable experience; but it paid off financially. She recalls, “When I was a kid, I would buy naughty ponies and sell them within New England as Hunter ponies, which is also how I bought my first car.”
As her experience grew, so did her goal to pursue a career in the horse industry. She says, “Since day one, all I wanted to do is ride horses. I didn’t know until the last few years that I could actually make it somewhat work. In high school, teachers were always asking what my post-secondary plans were. They would deny it, but they didn’t believe this career would work out. Still, they were supportive either way. I wasn’t sure how I would be in the scene, but I was determined to be there. I didn’t come from much, starting on random ponies, often given to me because they were bad. Then, I worked my way through some sale yard horses to see what I could make of them. I met a lot of influential people in my life that led me to where I’m at now. It feels like luck or fate. I’m not very sure which, but I’m just so grateful.”
Taylor got a job at Hemphill’s in North Vassalboro, Maine, one of the busiest and most successful sale barns in the state. Working at Hemphill’s, Taylor had the opportunity to ride a wide variety of horses and ponies. She also brought along her own horse, One Special Version, with the encouragement and support of her mother who shared her passion for horses and supported her goals. Taylor says, “I got started in horses by my mom. A career in horses was definitely her dream first. She sacrificed more than anyone ever should so I could have the best opportunities to follow my dreams. Later, I was riding anything and everything I could get my hands on at the sale barn just looking for something I thought I could form into a show horse.”