’72 Grad is Champion Horse Trainer

Posted by Monica Hoel
Joe Shortt, E&H Class of ’72, was recently inducted into the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia’s Hall of Fame.

Joe Shortt was a STEM guy before STEM was cool. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in chemistry with minors in math and physics. And while his career utilized his science background, it was his sideline that has recently garnered him recognition.

A well-known horse-trainer, Joe was was inducted into the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

Through the 1970s he trained a host of champion horses with names like Prince Magic, Drum Chant, Bourbon’s Curiosity, Katy Vanguard and Boomerang. He told the Smyth County News and Messenger that his love of horses took shape while he was still in high school. “As a sophomore in high school I began working during the summer at Nancy Brown’s training stable in Seven Mile Ford. This is what encouraged me to begin a professional training career.”

But he started riding much earlier. “I began riding at about eight years old on my Shetland pony named Nubbins, and showed him for the first time at the Rich Valley Fair the following year.”

Joe worked with horses in Virginia until he moved to Sevierville, Tennessee, with his company, Blue Circle Cement.

  • Joe Shortt at the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia's Hall of Fame
    Joe Shortt at the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia's Hall of Fame
    Smyth County News and Messenger
“I began riding at about eight years old on my Shetland pony named Nubbins…”

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