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Agriculture Today

Henderson trains Miss Izzy Fine to earn world champion title

Henderson trains Miss Izzy Fine to earn world champion title
LARRY WILLIAMS PHOTOGRAPHY Leon Sonnier of Winnie (left) and Ryan Henderson of Stockdale proudly exhibit Miss Izzy Fine during the 2011 World Championship Show of the International Buckskin Horse Association Aug. 6 in Memphis, Tenn. Henderson won the World Champion title in the yearling longe-line class, while Sonnier won Reserve World Champion for “all ages amateur mares halter class.”

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Wilson County News
October 5, 2011
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Training a horse to earn a world championship is an honor that all trainers hope to achieve. Ryan Henderson, 32, of Stockdale achieved this honor in August, training and showing a filly in Memphis, Tenn. Miss Izzy Fine was named the International Buckskin Horse Association’s world champion in the yearling longe-line class.

The filly, also registered with the American Quarter Horse Association, was sired by Mr. Izzy Fine, out of an Impressive bred mare, Henderson said.

Henderson said he acquired the filly in April. She was not previously trained in longe-line, but was halter-broke by Leon Sonnier of Winnie.

Sonnier, Miss Izzy Fine’s owner, had contacted Henderson during the Houston Livestock Show and asked if he would “accept her for training and prepare her for the world shows.”

“The longe line class is judged by the horse’s way of moving at the walk, trot, and lope, each direction on a long line,” Henderson said. “It is also judged by overall conformation. Only one rope is used.”

Henderson said training horses in specific area ranges takes weeks for halter-breaking and longing, while finished-reining requires up to two years, if the trainer is working with an untrained horse.

Miss Izzy Fine’s win in Memphis was the first world championship title for Henderson. He has accumulated a reserve world champion title in the Palomino Association and Top 10 in the Pinto Association, and Top 10 in the American Quarter Horse Association as a youth.

Miss Izzy Fine also earned additional wins in Memphis, when Sonnier exhibited the filly in the “all ages amateur mares halter class.” In this competition, Miss Izzy Fine earned reserve world champion status.

The reserve title “is quite an accomplishment for only a yearling, showing against mares of all ages,” Henderson said.

A life of training

Henderson, 32, can easily say he grew up training horses. He has been accepting horses for training since the age of 13. The son of two horse trainers, Henderson said training horses came naturally to him.

“I developed a love for horses, and training them at a very young age and stuck with it,” Henderson said.

He credits several people who helped him along the way by spending time to help him develop his own program.

“I constantly work to learn something new each day,” Henderson said. “You can never know it all, so there is always something one can pick up.”

Henderson trains horses for all types of disciplines -- halter, longe line, reining, working cow horse, and Western pleasure.

“I take several horses to break throughout the year for all types of disciplines,” Henderson said, “with my main focus on making quiet-broke horses to go on and have a successful career in whatever direction the horse is to go.”

Henderson explains that he trained horses that went on to become barrel horses.

“I break them all the same and teach them all the same basics to be completely broke in the mouth, head, neck, shoulders, ribs, and hind end, so that any type of specialized training may be applied without having to teach the horse anything else new,” Henderson said.

When asked of the timeline involved in training, Henderson explained that “each horse is an individual and learns things at different speeds... .

“It all depends on how well and how solid you want the animal to be,” Henderson said. “To put a timeline on something you’re teaching is kind of difficult to do until you work with the horse a bit.”

Henderson added that even trained horses “require maintenance to stay on top of their game.”

While he won in International Buckskin Horse Association competition, Henderson also is a member of the American Quarter Horse Association, the Palomino Horse Breeders America, the American Buckskin Registry Association, and the Pinto Horse Association of America. He also is a member of the National Snaffle Bit Association, an association that promotes and improves the quality of pleasure horses.

Henderson Ranch, owned and operated by the father-son duo -- Terry and Ryan Henderson -- is located 6 miles north of Stockdale.

For more information, contact Henderson at 512-762-4699 or

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