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."
(T-G File Photo by Mary Reeves)
"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.