BY ALISON FOSTER-GREEN
Growing up, Brandy Baldwin-Bunting spent more time with her feet in the stirrups than on the ground. Like most children of horse trainers, horses have been a constant throughout her life. From Leadline through Amateur, her days have been choreographed to the familiar rhythm of cleaning stalls, picking feet, tacking up, practicing lead changes, zipping into chaps, and the thousand other activities that come along with owning and showing horses.
“I’ve been riding all of my life,” Brandy says. “I went in my first Leadline class when I was just 18 months old. I went around the arena yelling, ‘Daddy, Daddy, look at me. I’m on a horse!’” While she eventually learned not to call out to onlookers while competing, Brandy’s joy of showing never abated. “I loved riding as a kid. My mom was a horse trainer [AQHA Professional Horseman Christa Baldwin], and I especially loved to ride during ALL of her lessons. She would have to ask special permission, for me to join in, and normally the clients didn’t mind. That’s how I learned to ride; I listened during the lessons and tried to do the same things. I would go out to the barn, jump on my pony bareback, and ride all the time.”
When she was about six years old, Brandy got a special pony named Silver Dollar and began riding in earnest. “Silver did everything. I showed him at the 4-H fair, a few open shows, and the World’s largest All Breed Youth Show in all the events I could. We did English, Western, Jumping classes, drove, and even did the speed events.” It was about this time that Brandy started to show more at the Quarter Horse shows. “They didn’t have the small fry or novice events, but I went in my first regular, youth Quarter Horse class when I was six. It was a Youth 13 and Under Showmanship class, and I had a green horse,
but we ended up second out of 16, and I earned my first AQHA points.”