Erin Taormino moved from Canada to Texas to pursue a career in the all around circuit. After meeting and working for Ron Ralls, she was introduced to cow horses. She fell in love with the sport and never looked back. She went on to work for Todd Bergen for five years and then went out on her own with her husband, Anthony, at the end of 2015. She said working for Bergen taught her a lot from training horses, to running a business.
Taomino was also featured in MJ Isakson’s cow horse documentary Down The Fence. Isakson, the director, wanted to feature a trainer starting out and Taormino fit the profile.
Taormino has numerous top 10 placings at major events. In 2021 she won the NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Derby and NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Two Rein Spectacular, NSHA Open Hackamore Champion. In 2020 she was the NRCHA Tres Osos Derby Int. Open Champion, SRCHA Pre Futurity Open Futurity Champion, SRCHA Pre Futurity Int. Open Futurity Champion, NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Int. Open Futurity Reserve Champion and NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Hackamore Champion. In 2015 she was NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Reserve Champion.
What is your training philosophy?
“I feel like every year it evolves and changes. I never stop learning… Train each horse as an individual. Let them show me what I need to do. None of them are cookie cutters… I try not to get stuck in [thinking] this is what each horse has to do this is what each horse has to be like… Some horses will not fit me and I like to get them all broke and trained for who they are, not who I think they should be…”
How do you treat them individually and still adhere to the time pressures of aged events?
“If I keep that philosophy. [For the fragile ones] if they let me step on the gas one day and let me push them a little harder. If I feel like I went too far, I have to go back a little bit and trust my process. Trusting that it’s ok to back off for a second and when they allow me to, and push them forward again. Because I can go down the fence and make big fence turns on one horse, this next horse might not be able to handle it and I have to trust that process that if I keep presenting this to them they’ll catch on and catch up…by slowing down I actually get ahead on [the fragile] ones…
“I feel like there is a relatively easy fix for every problem but every horse is different and diagnosing how that horse thinks is [the hard part]… You have to train each horse’s mind for what it is.”
What have you learned or adjusted in your program in the past year?
“Being confident in what works for me. I have had to dig deep and figure out what works for me and it might not be the same as what everyone else is doing and I have to be ok with that and have confidence in that. It’s my program and it’s how I train a horse and having the confidence and knowing what I do works for me, that’s my program.”
What inspires you?
“There are very hard times and someone may wonder why we do this…What makes me crave to come to the barn and crave to do this, I love training and I love feeling the progression of a young horse. I love it when my futurity horses go on to become derby horses and you can feel them become confident and consistent. And that I know when I need them, they’ll be there… What I love is when I feel something start clicking with a horse or group of horses, I can’t wait to see what the next day brings. I love it when I figure something out that makes all three events mesh.”