Where There Is A Will, There Is A Way
Erin Taormino is a talented woman. She is also fierce, hard-working and doing a fantastic job being a new mother. You might have heard of her name from the popular Netflix documentary, Down the Fence. In the film, you can watch Erin and her husband, Anthony, during their first year with their own business. Before we get into that, let’s go back a few years.
Taormino grew up showing 4-H, open circuits and eventually the AQHA all-around events. She was a dedicated youth and rode hard until her final year at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress. She sold her youth horse and packed up for Texas.
“I moved to Texas when I was 19,” Taormino said. “I went to work for some people there in the all-around. That didn’t really work, but I wasn’t ready to move back home yet. I loved Texas. I went to work for Dell Bell, who is a cutter. I worked for him briefly then moved to Ron Ralls in the cow horse. That was kind of my first experience working with cow horses. I worked for him about four and a half years. I met Anthony, my husband, when I worked for Ron. We moved to Idaho briefly for a year to Blackheart Ranch, and then we started working for Todd Bergen. We worked for him for about five years. That almost brings us to date. We were at Gardiner Quarter Horses for a year and a half and then made the decision to go out on our own. Working for Todd was probably one of the best things I ever did for myself and my career. I learned a lot and owe a lot to him and Ron both. Ron got me when I knew nothing and taught me the foundation of what I needed to know to carry on.”
The decision to be on their own has been stressful, but very rewarding for Taormino. The actual process of starting out was full of long hours and hard work.
“This is our second year, so we started in 2016,” Taormino said. “In a lot of ways, it really is challenging and it’s a struggle because you’re trying to create a name for yourself. You want to keep good stock in the barn to go down the road. You keep yourself in the public eye in a very positive way. You want to prove to yourself and to customers that you deserve to be there. You have to sell yourself to them that this is why they need to bring horses to you. It’s very stressful, but people can see when you work hard. It shows through in your horses. You may not always be in the winner’s circle, but if your horses are broke and trained and you continually do your job, people can see that. This industry is very tough. You have to compete against some amazing guys and horses out there.”
Female trainers are the minority in the equine industry. It’s not necessarily always a bad thing. Taormino has learned and adjusted accordingly. She believes respect is vital in being equal.
“When you work hard and do your job, then you earn respect from guys in the industry,” Taormino said. “I have said it before and will continue to say it, I don’t feel like I’m treated any differently. If you work hard and do things right and attempt to do things on the right path as much as possible, you earn people’s respect. The only difference right now is that after having the baby I’ve had to take a step back. Being a woman in the industry, I couldn’t do it without my husband and Kayla, the gal that works for us. They are great. You have to have a big support staff, especially in a situation like mine. They are picking up the slack for me, while I have to just take a little bit of time off. You figure out a way to make it work. It’s going to be a lot harder now than it was before for me, now that I am a mom. Where there is a will, there is a way. I already have a sitter lined up for the baby. We will just have to juggle things a little different, but it will work out and be good. I’m excited.”
Taormino was the 2016 Reserve Open Champion at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. This is an amazing accomplishment and is her biggest in the show pen so far. The journey to that moment took a lot of bravery and overcoming many obstacles.
“For me the biggest challenge I have had to face is overcoming my fear of failure,
Taormino said. “I had to learn it’s okay if you don’t succeed every time like you think you should in your mind. I’m really hard on myself and probably more so than anybody from the outside is. I set really high standards for myself and I have this bar that I always want to reach. If I don’t reach it I’m disappointed. The biggest struggle for me has been calming down, taking a step back and looking from the outside in. I had to realize that nobody will think less of me if I don’t succeed exactly to the bar I set for myself. It’s ok to set goals, but every time you don’t reach them don’t be crushed. Grow from it, re-evaluate and head on to the next horse show or whatever it may be.”
Having a film crew follow her around 24/7 was a completely new experience for Taormino. It was crazy and intimidating, but the publicity from the movie made it all worth it. She was ecstatic to be a part of a movie showing everyone how great the cow horse industry is.
“I can’t lie the whole video process I wasn’t super fond of because it was a little intimidating and stressful,” Taormino said. “It was really hard. I was happy when that year was over, but the movie ended up being amazing and I was thrilled to be a part of it. I’m incredibly thankful to be involved in that for our cow horse industry. I think more than anything it has opened up and really given what we do a whole new meaning to those who had no idea what the cow horse industry was.”
Taormino met Matt and Amanda Kimes through friends at the 2015 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. She was ready to join the team at their initial meeting and is thrilled to be a part of the team. The Alex and Francesca are Taormino’s top jeans. She wears them just about every day and loves how comfortable they are.
“I had worn a couple pairs of Kimes before I met them,” Taormino said. “They were pretty new to me. We had a meeting and a great conversation. I loved them from the start and I have been hooked on them since. I have two favorites and I can’t decide between them. It depends on the day. I’m an Alex and Francesca fan all day long. I have a closet full of them. They are my go-to jeans. I show in them, and heck I wore them up until three days before I had my baby."
Taormino recently became a mother to a beautiful baby boy named Westley Anthony Taormino. The family is doing great and we couldn’t be prouder of everyone at Taormino Performance Horses. We want to congratulate Erin and Anthony and wish them the best of luck this year! Be sure to check out their site below!
~ Courtney Hall, Photos courtesy of Erin Taormino