The Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team has a reputation of winning multiple national and reserve national championship titles, but the new head coach wants more for his students than winning in the show pen.
“I want my students to be the most sought after students in the industry.”Justin Stanton
Justin Stanton, a native of Slaton, Texas, was excited and surprised when the previous head coach approached him about becoming the new head coach for the Ranch Horse Team.
“I was really surprised,” Stanton said. “It just kind of came out of nowhere for me. Chance was the first one to talk to me about it and after it, all kind of sank in. I was, of course, super excited. I have such a passion for this team because it did so much for me and my family. I know what it can do for so many other students and just something about that just gets me fired up. This team holds a special place in my heart, and I want it to be successful.”
Being a qualified candidate for the position of head coach, Stanton runs his own horse training operation, Stanton Performance Horses, and was the prior assistant coach and a member of the Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team.
“We had two national championships that I was part of on the team,” Stanton said. “I won a reserve national championship and then my last year I was high point individual, won the nonpro division and that’s pretty much my show career for the team. At the time I was also training outside horses and I had about 10 horses in training that I showed on my own as well.”
Stanton knows the pride that comes from wearing the double T logo and has high expectations out of current and potential future team members.
“With the reputation that the ranch horse team has there is a level of pride that you have while on this team,” Stanton said. “There are so many things that we do that requires a great attitude, a great work ethic, and a love for this team. A desire to make it better for the future kids to come on this team is huge that I look for in prospective team members.”
Stanton is looking to the future for the next big thing to help grow the program. He said he wants to focus not only on winning in the show pen but also helping his students prepare for life after college and being successful in the industry.
“We’ve gotten pretty good at winning,” Stanton said. “One thing that I really want to focus on is preparing these students for the industry. I want the ranch horse team to be the most elite program that all of the top professionals in the industry call and ask, ‘Who’s graduating this year?’ That’s more important than winning to me. Winning is, of course, important, but I want my students to be the most sought after students in the industry because they have that much more experience.”
Stanton said he does not want a lack of experience to keep his students from not getting a job after they graduate but instead wants them to gain as much experience that they can while being on the team.
“To me, especially in the horse world, and really any industry, the experience you get out of school is important,” Stanton said. “But what does every facility, or place that you’re trying to apply to say? ‘You need more experience.’ I don’t want that to be a problem with my students. I want my students to have more experience than any other student coming out of similar programs.”