TAA Success Stories: First Edition and Shannon Howerton

A success story from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Published
20th Feb 2024
Reading time
4 mins
Shannon Howerton, and her retired thoroughbred First Edition, is making great progress as he transitions into a new career in Eventing.

Alexis Arbaugh, TAA Success Stories: First Edition and Shannon Howerton, Bloodhorse, 20th February 2024. Read article.

Shannon Howerton had been out of the sporthorse competition world for a while and was looking to get back into it. When she decided to get back into the show ring, she did not have a horse and was unsure where to start her search for one. Shannon began talking to the trainers in her area. With no luck of finding any horses to try from her area, it was suggested that she consider adoption instead of purchasing a new horse.

One of the trainers was familiar with Thoroughbred Athletes and decided to research some of the horses they had available. After finding a horse that she thought would work well with Shannon, she shared the videos and pictures of First Edition with Shannon. The first thing that Shannon noticed about his video was that he was small, at 15.2 hands, and a beautiful bay color.

Recognizing that First Edition could be the horse she needed, she traveled to Thoroughbred Athletes in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Upon arrival, Shannon observed one of the organization’s riders take First Edition for a ride, allowing her to gauge the horse’s performance firsthand. His proactive and purposeful demeanor was evident in everything he did, and Shannon noticed this right away. Her ride on First Edition was brief, yet it was enough for her to sense his drive. The trial rider told Shannon a little bit about First Edition and how she thought that he would do anything she asked him to. First Edition had a loyal and kind personality that made you want to stick with him. After some thinking and still a bit tentative to make such a big decision, Shannon decided to give it a try and adopt him.

“Thoroughbred Athletes was so easy and helpful. I would recommend them to anyone wanting to adopt,” Shannon stated about her time with Thoroughbred Athletes.

Even after getting First Edition home, Shannon still was a bit hesitant that they were the right match. She had heard time and time again from friends about “love at first sight” and “you’ll just know” when it comes to your dream horse. Over the last four years, Shannon and First Edition’s connection grew and their bond just continues to grow and get stronger. Because it wasn’t love at first sight, it took a lot of trust and hard work on both sides for their relationship to get to where it is today. After all the work they have done together, she firmly believes that their meeting was destined, recognizing that their relationship has evolved into something truly special.

First Edition always seemed to have this complexity and sensitivity about him that presented a unique challenge in training and making their progression difficult. Despite occasional hurdles in their training, he is doing very well and progressing in their chosen discipline.

First Edition’s athleticism and strong work ethic allows him to tackle any task that is handed to him. Shannon emphasizes that working with him has significantly enhanced her skills and confidence as a rider, attributing her growth to the experiences shared with First Edition. Currently, Shannon and First Edition are actively competing in Beginner Novice and Novice Eventing levels. With their training progressing smoothly, they are gearing up for their first recognized horse trial, aiming to participate in the event if their preparation stays on track.

“I think some people think when you adopt a horse that they aren’t the good ones. So many times I think they are the best ones!!! I have a 2nd one I adopted as well who is a great horse also just haven’t had as much time working on him. I wish more people would realize adopting isn’t settling for less—because you are getting so much more!” 

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