Horses are in the blood of twenty-nine-year-old Cody Conover. This champion grew up on his parents’ ranch, Conover Quarter Horses, in Anthon, Iowa. Together with his parents, Kelly and Traci, and his brother Drew, he showed the family’s horses on weekends throughout the greater Iowa region. Conover racked up show miles and titles starting in Leadline before moving on to a pony named Roani, and then on to Quarter Horses.
As a young horseman, Conover competed in 4-H competitions before graduating to larger venues including the Iowa State Fair, the Iowa Futurity, and the Silver Classic in Lincoln, Iowa. He recalls, “We were on the road just about every weekend around northwest Iowa going to shows. They were big, competitive horse shows and we always had a lot of fun. As a kid starting out, I’d show anything from the Halter to the Showmanship, Western Pleasure, and Horsemanship. I enjoyed all of it.”
Conover started his show career competing and winning on his family’s home-bred and -trained Quarter Horses and Paints. As a young horseman working with his family’s stock, he thrived on figuring out each horse and maximizing its potential.
He recalls, “I’ve always loved horses since I was a little kid. Even when I was in middle school and high school, I couldn’t wait for school and sports to be over so I could get back out to the horse barn. I just couldn’t get enough of the horse barn. At that time, we had about twenty-five horses at home and we raised about five or six horses each year by our stallion, An Elite Scotch. We usually sell most of them as yearlings but my Dad and I would also break out the two-year-olds to sell. My Dad taught me a lot about the basics and how to safely start a two-year-old. We usually have a couple of Paints, but it’s mostly Quarter Horses for us. My parents had full-time jobs, and we all shared the chores in the barn, but I just loved it.” He laughs and continues by saying, “Looking back, I don’t know how we did it all with jobs, school, sports and twenty-five horses, but we did and it really was fun.”