Originally from Ohio, Phillip has made his home in Lexington, Oklahoma, after finding his calling in life as a farrier. He frequented Pennsylvania to shoe horses for a reiner. That got his foot in the door.
“I started shoeing reining horses in 1991. I have been coming to the NRHA Futurity and NRHA Derby for the last 26 years. I’ve never missed one. The main reason I have always wanted to be here is because all my customers are here, they count on me.”
The 52-year-old moved south specifically to be closer to his reining clients. “To me every horse you sit on should have the reining horse base, it’s simple as that. I grew up breaking my ranch horses in the same fashion as reiners. I actually specialized in drafts prior to getting into reiners. I realized they [reiners] were my kind of horse. I gave all my draft horse customers a six-month notice and quit them all so I could ride strictly reiners.”
Ironically, any of Phillips bodily injuries can’t be attributed to his day job. He was a bull rider in the 80s and is looking to try something a little different in the bovine sector.
“I want to raise a few longhorns, the real wide ones not the short curled up ones. I would like to break them to ride and train at least one to rein and enter the freestyle at the Futurity. I think it would be really cool. It’ll be a few years down the road since I have to raise them first.”