Michelle Chapman’s Story
A Passion for Horses
Growing up on a small Nebraska dairy farm taught Michelle that doing what you love may mean hard work but fulfilling your passion is worth it. As a child, Michelle was naturally drawn to horses spending her waking hours riding and happily doing barn chores. Soon, her father and neighboring families were bringing her “project” horses and seeking out training tips. Before she had learned to drive, she knew a career as a horse trainer was ahead. Given her abundant love for horses and the skills she developed through countless hours of practice on her family farm, it is no surprise that she has been training through Chapman Performance Horses, LLC for over 20 years!
Refining Her Craft
In 1997, after graduating high school, Michelle completed a two-year Equine Management and Horse Training program at Laramie County Community College. Through the program, Michelle discovered reining and began competing in NRHA events. She further developed her training methods and showmanship skills by working under industry leaders such as Dwayne Hoelscher, Steve Schwarzenberger, and Mark Guynn. These mentors allowed her the opportunity to learn and refine her craft before becoming head trainer at Chapman Performance Horses, LLC.
Although Michelle is proficient at colt starting and all types of disciplines from western riding to mule hunter under saddle (yes, mule hunter under saddle!), reining remains her competitive focus. She is a multiple time NRHA NAAC champion, reining RMRHA Rookie Professional, RMRHA Limited Open Champion, and high point champion at premier NRHA events such as the Cactus Reining Classic and High Roller Reining Classic. These successes have been the result of humane training methods which find their roots in Natural Horsemanship and patience over pressure.
Additionally, her non pro clients have won major titles, including NRHA NAAC Champion, multiple regional affiliate non pro championships, several Arabian reining horse non pro futurity and derby titles, and class wins, as well as futurity and derby wins, at major shows such as the RMRHA Summer Slide, the High Roller Reining Classic, the Scottsdale Cactus Reining Classic, the Scottsdale Arabian Futurity, the RMRHA Columbine Classic, and the NRHA Regional Affiliate Championships…just to name a few.
Michelle recognizes that horses, just like people, have strengths and weaknesses. She strives to discover and develop a horses strengths and find its best niche, even if that means a bred reiner is better suited as an all round or pleasure horse. Michelle holds the core belief that every horse is meant to do something and that it is part of her job to discover each horse’s potential.
In 1996, Michelle and her best friend, Travis, married and began laying the foundation of what would become Chapman Performance Horses by purchasing Hannahs Poco Lena, NRHA money earner and proven NRHA producer. Since then, they have bred, raised and trained several standouts, including A Boomin Good Time, pictured right with Travis Chapman, after winning the 2016 RMRHA Summer Slide Non Pro L1 Futurity Championship.
Michelle loves what she does which shows in her constant smile and is reflected by the camaraderie among her clients and family. Chapman Performance Horses is located on 9 acres in Eaton, Colorado. Amenities include the show barn with stalls and full tack room, two outdoor arenas of 150’x300′, and 80’x110′, an indoor arena, foaling stalls, as well numerous turn outs and pastures. Michelle and her team use cutting edge technology when it comes to the maintenance and health of the horses, including a new on-site Equivibe. Just as importantly, the Chapman’s live on the ranch, and oversee all aspects of the operation, around the clock.
Michelle and Travis have two daughters, Joslyn, 20, and Jessica 18, who also are both accomplished equestrians in their own right. Both Jessica and Joslyn have enjoyed success in the show pen, while growing up in the family oriented atmosphere of the reining industry.