Like most horseman, Gene Parker took an interest in horses at an early age. He started with a pony before graduating to horses. Gene started at open shows and even rode some racehorses at the local tracks when he was in high school. He kept his horses through college and started showing at the AQHA shows.
After graduating college, success in the show ring put him in the horse business. People started sending Gene horses when they saw the horses that he was training and conditioning.
He credits the Boston Mac son, Macs Limit with putting him on the map as a western pleasure trainer. Together they won the 1979 Reserve World Championship in junior western pleasure. One of his fondest memories of the horse was winning a circuit title over Charles Crawley and Bandito Gold, who won the high-point junior western pleasure title in 1979.
Gene Parker, who has held his AQHA judges card since 1979, has shown western pleasure, western riders, reiners and everything else.
Today, it’s the conformation horses—halter horses—that command most of his attention.
Parker was instrumental in the founding of the World Conformation Horse Association, and he currently serves on the judges and breeders committees of the WCHA. Although his professional interest has changed, he says his diverse show background serves him well with the conformation horses.
Gene Parker makes it a point to continue to pay it forward by sharing advice with the next generation of competitors. Parker’s show background is quite diverse, and like most trainers, he got started with the all-around show horses.
Watching others and showing against the likes of Tommy Manion, John Holt and Doug Carpenter helped him hone his skills.