Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Kylie Hogue, a lifelong Brandon resident, has been working as a horse trainer at Strong River Equine in Brandon since 2020. The facility offers consignment horse sales and horse boarding in addition to training. Bryan Jones, warehouse manager of the Rankin County Co-op agricultural center, owns the facility.
Hogue has been working with horses since she first learned to ride at age 7, when she and her older brother Logan both went to a horse camp called Horse Haven in Jackson.
"I remember that at first I only told my parents I wanted to go because my brother was going and if he was doing it I wanted to do it too," Hogue says. "My brother eventually stopped some time after I started but I kept going. I'd been bitten by the bug, as people who work with horses call it, and you usually end up becoming a horse person after that."
In 2009, when she was 9 years old, Hogue began taking lessons from Don Martin, a horse trainer who owns Martin Farms in Brandon. She got her first horse, Snorty, from Martin in 2013. Hogue still owns Snorty and five other horses today, most of them rescue horses from around the state who had suffered abuse or injury from previous owners and required rehabilitation.
Hogue began giving riding lessons at Martin Farms when she was 14 and began competing in horse shows with Snorty around the same time. She started out doing shows with a local 4-H group, which is a youth development and mentoring organization that teaches children about livestock care and other activities. She won her first title in 2018 competing in working hunter class shows, which center around jumping courses.
Today, Hogue is in charge of most of the riding classes at Strong River Equine and works with roughly 30 students per week. She is currently balancing her work and attending college at Mississippi State University, where she is majoring in history. Hogue drives down from Starkville after her classes each week to give lessons. Her coworker, Nicole McCardle, teaches lessons during the week while Hogue is in Starkville.
"I know that history may seem like the opposite of what I do in my daily life, but I've always loved the subject because there is so much rich history here where I live and it's affected me living here," Hogue says. "I want to be able to preserve that history and all of our historic buildings. My ultimate goal is to be able to become a teacher or college professor while still holding on to my work with my horses on top of it."
In addition to her work with Strong River Equine, Hogue worked for the Mississippi Agricultural Museum in 2019, helping to catalogue historical artifacts and taking care of the animals the museum keeps on its premises. She was also vice president of Junior Auxiliary of Madison County Crown Club, a service group for high-school girls that provides outreach programs and organizes closet cleanout donation drives, canned food drives and school supply drives for children. Her mother and grandmother were both members of the organization when they were in high school, Hogue says.
"Horses will always be part of my life and I always want to be able to teach and work with them," Hogue says. "My future hope for my riding work is going to be pursuing a PATH certification, which will let me offer horse therapy and riding lessons for children with special needs. We're currently doing similar work at Strong River with the RideABILITY Therapeutic Riding Center in Brandon, and I feel like my heart is most strongly in that kind of work."
For more information on Strong River Equine, visit the business’ Facebook page.