Cooper Dean, age 18 hails from Fayette, Alabama, where his love for horses began at the very young age of 3 under his mother’s watchful coaching, who is also a trainer. Cooper’s love for riding led to opportunities of catch riding in his pony years for great trainers like Mindy Darst, Gary Young, and many others. In 2014, Cooper was offered an opportunity to be a working student at Aaron Vales, Thinks Like A Horse Farm in Ocala Florida at age 14.
As a pony rider, he was ranked as high as 1st place in the HIS Equitation standings and then began showing pony jumpers where he and a very special pony “American Hero” won two Gold Medals at the 2013 National Pony Jumper Championships. Cooper and Hero Won were part of the Team Gold Medal for Zone 4 and then also took home the 2013 Individual Gold Medal.
Soon after Pony Finals he began for Aaron Vale during the Hits Circuit and found his second home working at Thinks Like A Horse Farm. Cooper is a straight A homeschooled student balancing working/riding 8-10 horses a day. Cooper jumps at any opportunity when asked to ride a horse and is always looking forward to the next catch ride.
Grace Krueger and Gladiator " Tonto" are proud sponsors of Southern Equestrian. Tonto is graces 7 year old imported Irish sport horse pinto who's personality is almost as big as his jump. Grace and Tonto have competed together now for a year and half and have been taking on the high child adult jumpers on the A/AA circuit this season coming home with ribbons in large classes! Tonto and grace ended 8th in zone 4 and second in state for the low child adult jumpers last season. And this season their team hopes to succeed in the highs as much as they did in the lows and look forward to moving up to the low junior amateurs.