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At the heart of the Setting Sun program is our trainer, Joe Reser. Joe, as his clients will confirm, is a passionate and goal driven trainer. From a young age Joe Reser had his sights set high. Someday, he would be a National Champion and travel down the rail in his victory pass with the roses draped across his horse.


Reser became that person a few years ago at the age of 29, riding the popular, Ima Rock Star. "Rocky" as they call the grey gelding was the first horse bred, born and raised on his farm, Setting Sun Training Center in Wakarusa, Indiana. Rocky has now earned at least 15 National Championships.


When I was a kid, I would go to Louisville and sit in the nosebleeds for the (U.S. Nationals) finals. I remember watching riders like Gordon Potts, Stanley White Jr. and Bobby Hart riding with the roses blanketed on their horses. It always gave me goose bumps draped across their horses. I told myself, ‘I want to be that person someday’, recalls Reser, just following his wining ride on Ima Rock Star+/ (Poco Van Star AQHA x Rocky Rhoda II), owned by Drew and Greg Oshanick in the Half-Arabian Western Pleasure Championshop at the 2009 U.S. Nationals.




Reser's quest began when his mother followed her love for them and bought their first horses when he was about 5. Reser coined him and his family back then as "weekend warriors," traveling to various 4-H and open shows. (His former 4-H leaders attended this year's U.S. Nationals to support him. They too have horses in training with him now.) After about five years as a professional trainer, Reser had been showing horses at local and regional shows and was always on the hunt for good horses. He was working hard to get his foot in the door. It swung wide open in October 2002 when his hard work culminated with a unanimous championship with Ima Rock Star in HA/AA Western Pleasure Junior Horse. "It was everything I had dreamed of when I was a kid. Of course, that moment went too fast," Reser says. Since that national championship, Reser always strives to train his best so he can experience multiple moments.


Reser said that his wife, Michele, has been his "rock" during his journey. "He has grown a lot in this industry," Michele reflects. "He started out as a nobody and is now one of the top Western trainers. He's the best in my book."