Weigel family raises top 10 horses
Tom, John, and Tomâ€™s son, Brian, Weigel, of rural Bryant have a lot to be proud of. Earlier this summer they competed in the Hoosier Palomino Show in New Castle, judging for the best in Indiana and their horses won Grand Champion (Mandy) and Reserve Grand Champion (Belle).
Then, the week of the July 31 they went to Tulsa, Oklahoma to show their two Palomino horses at the World Championship Horse Show. They knew they had raised great horses, but they didnâ€™t know just how great they truly were. Their two horses â€œMandy by Misterâ€ and â€œBelleâ€ were awarded eighth (Belle) and fifth (Mandy) in the world.
They got started showing horses around 20 years ago after Tom Weigel sold their cattle after 15 years of milking and bought a few riding horses. They transformed their heifer barn into a horse stable and Weigel gradually began to buy show horses and he and his family are now hooked. Brian is the showman for the horses and has learned from countless years in 4-H showing cattle.
â€œBrian is really an excellent showman, we are always so proud of how well he does during competitions,â€ said Tom. Tom and his brother John (JP) are the care takers, cleaners, and overall instructors while at a competition.
All the men would agree that if they arenâ€™t inside the house they are always out in the barn tending to the horses.
â€œWe give them baths about every other day, groom them every day, train them every day, and let them run around the arena every day,â€ said Tom and John.
â€œWe even paint their hooves, clip their eyelashes, shave their whiskers, and braid their tail so they are in tip-top shape for a competition,â€ says Tom. â€œMy wife Pat wakes up at 4 a.m. before a competition and bands and braids the horses so they are ready to go for the day.â€
â€œWe only keep our two show horses here, the rest of our horses are at Brianâ€™s house,â€ Tom continued.
â€œThe horses are judged on confirmation, voice commands, and overall appearance.â€
They are very particular about the kind of horses they breed. They donâ€™t have a stallion so all of their breeding is done artificially from all over the nation from elite studs.
â€œOur breeder is Dr. Charlie Hartzell and he always does such a great job for us,â€ they said.
â€œWe always try to make colts due at or around January 1 that way they are the perfect age when it comes time to show them,â€ said Tom. â€œIn fact, we have one due this upcoming January.â€
â€œI think the most rewarding part of raising the horses is to be around them and watching them grow and become better. Itâ€™s a very rewarding hobby,â€ says John.
Itâ€™s very important to plan well in advance for the competition. The Weigels start planning in February or March and apply for all the competitions. To participate in the World Championship there are lots of fees among other things
â€œThe fee for entering Mandy was $200 with an additional $200 in stable costs and $300 for Belle and $200 stable costs,â€ Tom said.
â€œWe also put them on electrolytes and lots of vitamins so they are in the best health,â€ says Tom.
This is a true family activity and these three men get to spend a lot of time together.
â€œMy favorite part is getting to spend lots of quality time together. When you are out on the road and at competitions there isnâ€™t anything else to do than to talk to each other and I am so thankful and blessed to get to spend so much time with my son and brother,â€ said Tom. â€œThe rest of our family is very supportive as well and they try to make as many competitions as possible.
â€œWe get along great, we make all our decisions as a team and we agree 99 percent of the time. Arguing or disagreements has never been a problem for us regardless of how often we are around each other,â€ said Tom
â€œThis isnâ€™t the end of our horse competitions,â€ John added.
â€œGetting in the top 10 in the world was my Bucket List but now my new goal is to get number one in the world,â€ said Tom. â€œI hope that even after my brother and I retire our family we keep the tradition going and my granddaughters and son will keep competing.
â€œFor now, weâ€™re preparing for another show at New Castle coming up and our fall competitions.â€
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