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  • Writer's pictureCatie Staszak

Rider Profile: Young Horse Lessons Extend Beyond the Saddle for Andrew More

Andrew More & Off We Go. Photo ©tbird/Kady Dane Photography


Langley, BC —It’s not unusual for a professional in the equestrian industry to have a side hustle.


Andrew More has taken that to the next level. The well-established Calgary-based professional has two full-time jobs.


Not only does he run Iron Stone Farms alongside his wife Erin Taylor More, but he’s also (hardly an also-ran) the manager of the Spruce Meadows Horse Program—a program of 35 horses, four full-time riders (Brian Morton, Alexander Grayton, Hope Enders, and Isis Landsbergen), a stable manager (Prudence Hagenimana), and a team of dedicated grooms.

Soft-spoken and purposeful with his word choices, a most-humble More is quick to credit the team around him—and especially his wife—for making what he does possible. But given his background, it’s evident that he boasts a skillset that makes him uniquely suited for both roles.


Even before he was a professional, he was working with young horses.


“Mike [Crooks] was the first person to teach me about starting young horses, from groundwork to riding, developing, [and] competing,” More says. “I was very fortunate to have someone provide me the opportunity to do that and someone who was very good at that.”


More’s first job in the equine industry was a working student position with Mike Crooks, a longtime west coast trainer whose family is still very much entrenched in the sport. Mike’s daughter Lauren Crooks-Brennan and son Sean Crooks are successful professionals, and their Crooks Show Jumping has supported the Young Horse Showcase series at Thunderbird Show Park for the last several years.


Fittingly, More brought two 5-year-olds to tbird’s Spring Festival for the young horse classes, coming away with a win in the Crooks Show Jumping 5-Year-Old Showcase jump-off class aboard Spruce Meadows’ Off We Go.


“Really what I learned from Mike, I would describe as the fundamentals—the sound basics of starting and working with young horses,” More describes. “In that context, I use those things every time I’m riding. A lot of them don’t apply simply to young horses, but to all horses. It’s been sound advice that has served me well over the years.”


During More’s time with Crooks, the barn received young homebreds from Mike’s mother, the late Phyllis Crooks. Over time, he came to learn that recognizing talent in a young horse is the easier part of the job. The proving ground comes in the form of character.


“I think when you’re looking at young horses, it’s often easier to identify talent at an early age, and character is more difficult to assess. It’s something that maybe develops overtime or becomes more evident over time,” More shares. “Both of these 5-year-olds [that I have with me at the Spring Festival] I believe show quite a bit of promise in the sport, but it’s a long way from the beginning to the top.”


More stayed in Mike’s program for three years before moving to Calgary in 2000 and stepping out on his own. He knew Thunderbird Show Park long before that though, competing as a junior rider at the old facility before it moved to its current location in 1999.

He now brings a large and varied contingent of Spruce Meadows and Iron Stone horses and riders to the venue, with young horses nearly always sprinkled in.


“It’s been certainly the last several years we’ve been participating with 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds,” he says. “I think when you have young horses, it’s always exciting to have the opportunity to compete and develop them in young horse classes.


“These types of events allow [young] horses to develop in a way that is most appropriate at their age and for their stage of development, where they are competing against their peers and over courses that are designed for them specifically,” he adds.


Despite the many tasks on his to-do list, More is a man far from burnout. He is continually energized by the talent—and the support teams—that surround him on a daily basis and emphasizes that he’s just one individual in two highly skilled villages.


“I get the rare opportunity to be around a lot of top riders throughout the year, and I’m always struck by the fact that nobody gets where they are on their own,” More reflects.


“They always have a team supporting them—grooms, sponsors, mentors, assistants…In our sport, we focus on the rider in the ring on the horse, but the reality is, there’s so much support behind the scenes to make that happen.”


He’s certainly among that specialized group.

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