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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Double honor

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dickie and Misti Gardner were thrilled when his induction to the SSHBEA Hall of Fame was announced at the annual banquet.
(Submitted photo)
It shouldn't have come as much of a surprise to local trainer Dickie Gardner when he was inducted into the SSHBEA Hall of Fame at the January banquet. After all, he was also named Trainer of the Year -- the fourth time he's won that acclamation.

What it was for the Bedford County resident, was humbling.

"It's a great honor," said Gardner about his Trainer of the Year win. "There were several people nominated."

Gardner spends his free time with twin daughters Dakoda and Chayanne.
(T-G File Photo by Mary Reeves)
The membership votes on the nominations and this year, Gardner came up tops. Now that, he's familiar with, too. One of the reasons Gardner earned both honors is that his horses have earned hundreds of ribbons in the show ring. At the Fall SSHBEA championship show, his stable had 81 entries -- a record. One of those entries included Generatin' a Trail of Fire, who won the 2010 World Grand Championship Trail Pleasure class.

"He's a great horse," said Gardner.

Double-registered, Generatin' a Trail of Fire has also been shown in Tennessee walking horse shows and Gardner's horses have claimed their fair share of ribbons and trophies at the Trainer's Show, the Spring Fun Show and the Celebration. He only trains flat shod, and his talents extend into sport horse and trail training as well.

"I won the shotgun class at the fall sport horse show," he said.

It hasn't been an easy ride for Gardner. Soon after his wife, Misti, gave birth to their twin daughters, Dakoda and Chayanne, their barn burned, taking 30 horses with it. The communities -- church, county and horse -- rallied around the family and helped them get up and going again.

And they keep going. Gardner isn't wasting any time reflecting on the double honor he received at the banquet this year. With horse show season underway, he doesn't have time to look back -- only forward.

"After January, everything's about the horse shows," he said. "From here on out, there are shows every weekend."

On the rare days he gets off, he spends time with Misti and the girls, and their ponies, Skittles and Peanut. On even rarer days off, when he doesn't have to go to a horse show, buy a horse, train a horse, or even look at a horse, guess what he does.

"I go trail riding," said Gardner, laughing.

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