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Joy Stehney

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34 – September/October, 2022

By Brittany Bevis

Unlike many of her fellow competitors, Joy Stehney is what we like to call an adult-onset equestrian. Although she did have Quarter Horses in her youth, she never set foot in a show pen until later in life.

“At any given time, I had my own horse, and I always loved horses,” Joy says. “But then I had to get out of it and sell my horse when I had to get a real job.”

Her journey into the Halter horse world began, interestingly enough, with the launching of a new business, a barbeque restaurant. “When I met my husband, he wasn’t into horses at all, but he supported me with it,” she says. “When we opened our first barbeque restaurant, I knew I needed to do something with horses. He said I should buy a horse, but I didn’t know what discipline I wanted to do. I took jumping lessons and tried a bunch of different things, but while running a restaurant six days a week from 7am to 11pm, I couldn’t find time to ride. But I could do Halter.”

More on that barbeque restaurant a bit later… In the meantime, Joy did in fact purchase her first Halter horse in 1999 from Jim Bob Long in Missouri. She says, “That first horse was a weanling stud colt,” she says. “We went to a couple of futurities, and I fell in love with that part of it. Showing babies was so much more exciting to me than showing older horses. That’s what got me going.”

For the next five years, Joy sourced horses from Stewart Quarter Horses out of Lawrence, Kansas, which was the home of Playgirls Conclusion, a stallion who would later become the sire of My Intention. It was there that Joy made an important connection with a trainer who would have great influence on her future in the Halter horse industry, Jason Smith.

Click here to read the complete article
34 – September/October, 2022

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