Shenandoah Downs “Horse for a Day” 2021 winner pursues passion as new trainer

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:59 PM EDT
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MAUERTOWN, Va. (WHSV) - Steve Wetzel’s name was drawn to win a horse for a day at Shenandoah Downs two years ago, and he said since then his life is all about horses.

“It was just a big rush and then getting to meet the horses and seeing their personalities that I was in the cattle business it’s a little little bit different horses got a little different personality than a cow and something there just got me excited and took a leap,” Wetzel said.

Wetzel sold his cattle farm for a horse ranch, Lineweaver Acres. Now, the ranch has a barn full of seven horses ready for race season.

Wetzel got his fair license before the Shenandoah County Fair ended, ready to show people what he could do. He says the road to get here was long but worth it.

“The horse I won with, the trainer who owned the horse, he actually became a trainer for the last two years and helped me and groom me along the way, because without him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at,” Wetzel said.

Now, Wetzel gets to be around horses every day as a career.

“Being with horses every day and jogging them just trying to make them better and looking forward to race day. That’s what it’s all about is putting everything into it. You did your job, the horse did his job and it’s been a whirlwind: this soon to win races already,” Wetzel said.

Wetzel says his wife won the horse for a day drawing the next year. The couple took the purse money and started training horses.

“We also have some broodmares that my wife takes care of so we’re doing a little bit of the breeding program as well so it’s a family deal,” Wetzel said.

The Shenandoah Downs’ Fall race season just started and his team already has victories in their debut.

“I had the two horses winning at the fair, and then we’ve had two horses win this past Saturday so it’s all been it’s all been a whirlwind of excitement,” Wetzel said.

It all started as an interest that has turned into big dreams.

“My dream going forward is to raise some Virginia-bred horses of our own to compete in the Virginia state races,” Wetzel said.

Steve Wetzel said he plans to keep raising horses and to enjoy every moment of it.