Bill Norwood

How did you get started into riding horses and then what drew you to your specific discipline?

I started riding when I was 7 because my sister wanted a horse and started riding. From there it quickly built to riding western. I showed all-around horses through my youth years and twenties. I had always wanted to try reining but never really had the opportunity. When I came to the US in 1997 I got a job with Joe Hayes and started to learn about reining. I love the speed and explosiveness of the reining along with the need to control. To have the horses run as fast as we need them to and maintain the level of control, that’s a challenge. I like the challenge to get the best out of each horse.

Have you always lived in California?

I grew up in Australia and moved to the US in 1997 when I was 26. I lived in Texas for 3.5 years, Oregon for 1.5 years and California for 13 years. I am now in the process of moving back to Texas in a week.  

What has been your most memorable win or experience in the show pen?

Definitely 2002 NRHA Futurity. I went into the show with $422 in lifetime earnings. Left the show winning the Limited Open Futurity with 2 more horses in the Limited Finals, 2 horses in the Intermediate Open Futurity Finals and one horse in the Open Futurity Finals. Left the show with over $29,000 in LTE. My original $422 I won the second time I showed a reining horse in a small schooling show in Whitesboro Texas in 1999. I only showed 4 times between then and the 2002 futurity. Whilst I showed a lot of all-around horses growing up nobody knew how little I had shown reiners and I wasn't about to tell them. For me this win told me I could be competitive and make it in the industry.

To whom do you credit your love of the industry?

My Dad. Reining is something I love but my dad got me started in horses and while at times I think it was a big commitment for my parents, they supported me and fueled my love for horses. All the trophies and money put aside this is about the horses.

What is the most important thing that someone planning to enter this career should know?

It’s a lifestyle not a career. If you love what you do you never work a day in your life. It’s a lot of hard work and long days. Very few see the hours, weeks and years of blood sweat and tears that go into making the 4 minutes of glory in the show pen. Because of this don't burn yourself out. Have a life outside of riding.

What is your favorite thing about being a trainer?

The horses. I love the horses. I think Winston Churchill said it best, "There is something about the outside of the horse that is good for the inside of a man."

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