Written by Laura L. Valenti, OFN ContributorFor a semi-retired woman, Linda Shaddy of Grovespring, Mo., in Wright County stays mighty busy on Tri-Mi Stables with her 18 Fox Trotters and 25 miniature dachshunds. The ‘Tri’ in the original name came from the fact that when she founded the business in 1983, she did so with two partners. Today she and her business partner, Janet Cunningham, operate the business that has produced over 50 World Grand Champions at Ava Missouri’s yearly Missouri Fox Trotters Horse Breeders Association (MFTHBA) Show and Celebration.
“I’ve attended every Celebration at Ava since 1968,” Linda shared proudly while seated in her office at Tri-Mi Stables recently. “The best part of the celebrations, of course, is getting to visit with so many people. It is like a huge family reunion. The sad part is at the end each year because you know there are people there you will never see again.”
Linda is a lifelong resident of Grovespring and Shaddy is a name that has been associated with the area for many generations. Even so, she hasn’t always been a homebody as she is also a U.S. Marine. At one time, she worked at the Base stables at Camp Pendleton California and with the U.S. Marine Color Guard, although she was not permitted at the time to ride with them, since women Marines had no dress uniforms with pants at that time. “Today, they do,” she smiled. She still trains horses for others as she has over the years on her 10 acres on the edge of Grovespring.
“I’m a city rancher,” she smiled, “and I rent a little bit of pasture but it’s not a problem since most of my horses are in stalls, corrals or paddocks. Over the years, I’ve dabbled in barrel racing and Appaloosas, Arabians, and Quarter Horses in Western pleasure, trail, reining and timed events. I’ve worked about all the different breeds but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve settled on Fox Trotters.
“I’ve always loved horses. That was something I was supposed to grow out of, except that I never did. When I was little, I’d ride my pony, and then later my Quarter Horse, over to my grandmother’s house. I still have her mother’s, my great-grandmother’s, side saddle. My barn burned down in 2005 and I lost everything in it but fortunately, at the time, that saddle was in the house.”
Linda has a long history behind her, both with her memories of historic Grovespring as well as the growth and modern developments she has witnessed in the horse shows of the 20th and now 21st Century.
“When I started competing, there were no women trainers and certainly no women judges. Wives could ride and even show, if their husbands let them but if the husband didn’t like the idea, then no. Girls couldn’t trail ride because it wasn’t considered ‘nice’ for girls. And women certainly couldn’t stand stallions, because that was not considered appropriate. I was one of the first women judges. I’ve judged several shows but I would never want to judge a celebration in Ava because I want to be able to talk to everyone. People from all over the world come.”
Linda concluded, “These days I love helping the beginners and the amateurs. That’s a lot of fun. I’ve trained other people’s horses for many years and sent horses everywhere, including Israel."
Linda also has a long history yet in front of her with many relatives living into their 90s. With an eye to that future, she has also transitioned in recent years, into a gifted artist, doing pencil, oil and charcoal sketches – portraits of her favorite horses and dogs. Linda Shaddy’s horses and dogs have been a great blessing in her own life, something she has always generously shared in a variety of ways with others all around the world.
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