Keep your eye on Randy Mitchell as he’s coaching clients in the show pen and you can easily tell if they are having a good ride.
If he adjusts his ball cap and it gets lower on his head…things are not going well.
It’s an inside joke,” Mitchell said. “That’s what I love about my clients….they know how to have fun.”
While Mitchell’s main goal is to match the right horse with the perfect rider no matter what the level of competition. he said his favorite part of the job is watching someone ride and do well with a horse he trained.
“It means I have done my job and it gives me great satisfaction,” Mitchell said.
Unlike many of his colleagues, Mitchell wasn’t born into a family of horse trainers. In fact, growing up in Cabot, Pennsylvania, Mitchell dreamed of riding dirt bikes. His sister, on the other hand, wanted horses.
“Needless to say,” he explained, “my sister won.”
Mitchell started off barrel racing and he and all his siblings were involved in the 4-H program. But he also loved all types of sports. As a youngster Mitchell played hockey. As a teen his interest grew to include baseball and in high school he played football.
Following his graduation from high school Mitchell attended Pennsylvania State University where he continued to play baseball but also got involved in the horse program, living and working in the school’s barn. It was there he gained valuable knowledge and experience working for Ward Studebaker which would guide his profession for years to come. After completing a degree in Agricultural Business Management, Mitchell moved to South Carolina to apprentice for Walter Smith and learn about the horse show world.
“I was hooked,” he said. “THIS is what I wanted to do with my life. After working and showing with him for a few years, I decided to come back to Pennsylvania to start my own business.”
In 1991 the young trainer started Randy Mitchell Quarter Horses in Freeport, Pennsylvania.
“I loved the challenge of training horses and had the opportunity to come back home to Pennsylvania to help others and to put my new skills to work,” he said. “I knew it would be a rough road starting my own business but it was one I was willing to take.”
As his business grew, Mitchell moved a few times to allow for growth before settling in 2000 at his current facility, a 20-stall barn situated on 10 acres. It includes spacious indoor and outdoor riding pens, a six-horse walker, heated office, tack room, wash rack and numerous other amenities. That same year Randy married Darcy Anthony. They are the parents of two children: a son, Cole, 13; and a daughter, Allison, 9.
“When we had children, I wanted them to know they didn’t have to ride horses just because we do,” he said. “I wanted them to choose what they wanted to do.”
For Cole that passion is sports and school. He plays hockey at a high level and wants to be an engineer.
For Allison, it’s riding and showing horses. In 2015, she won the Walk-Trot at the Tom Powers Futurity and placed ninth at her first Quarter Horse Congress riding Good Miss Hanna.
“This was special because this mare was the very first horse my wife and I purchased together back in 1999,” Mitchell said. “To watch “Hanna” teach my daughter how to ride and show was priceless.
Mitchell’s specializes in the preparation of Western Pleasure, Western Riding and all-around events. He also prepares a few Hunter Under Saddle prospects for clients.
“When breaking young horses, I instill different elements of training so later in life they can be turned into successful all around horses,” Mitchell said. “I just don’t train horses for the rail – I train horses to prepare them for their future.”
For additional information on Randy Mitchell Quarter Horses visit www.randymitchellqh.com or you can reach him on Facebook or by calling (724) 295-4666.