~OUR HEAD HONCHO~
Linda Davidson Gonzalez, owner/trainer of The Phoenix, was raised on a 1,000 acre ranch in southwestern Nebraska surrounded by top-notch Thoroughbred horses and Angus cattle. She was put on a horse before she could even walk.
She rode bareback in the morning before school to check and see if any new calves were born, and after school, she would saddle up again, tag the newest baby calves, perhaps break a colt, and most often ride until the sun went down. Every summer was spent beside her father, Wayne, a well respected horseman of his time, and while under his watchful eye, she learned everything about horses from bandages to beddings, from conditioning to creating a champion.
For one year she attended Colby Community College in Kansas for Equine Breeding and Management, and then transferred to Lamar Community College in Colorado where she graduated at the top of her class with an Associate Science Degree in Equine Training and Management.
From there she immediantly began training top-notch stake level racehorses. She had four horses rated in the top 200 horses in the nation on the Experimental Handicap, with her top producing mare making just short of $700,000. She had a horse run 4th in the $450,000 Arlington Washington Lassie and even got to run her favorite horse, Crystal Pleat, before the Queen of England in the Queen's Handicap at The Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky.
Shortly after her daughter, Brianna, was born in 1997, she moved one of her racing stables to Columbus, Ohio at Beulah Park. From Beulah she was able to run horses at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia, Hoosier Park in Indiana, Keeneland and Churchill in Kentucky and Thistle Downs, Beulah and River Downs in Ohio. One day she saw another riding instructor at a local teaching stable answer an adult student's question that a forelock was a "pom pom". It was then that she decided she wanted to give back to the horse what they had given to her and her family, and she felt she could most effectively accomplish this important task by teaching others the way of the horse.
So Linda moved to New Richmond and started her own stable. She decided to use all of her experience teaching riding to others, and is one of the few trainers tested and certified as an equestrian instructor.