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Young Trainers Ready For New Beginnings

by Kenny Mills
Posted February 15, 2002
The hills of West Virginia, not the first place you think of when someone strikes up a conversation about great Saddle Horses. With the arrival of Matt Shiflet and fiancée Kristen Bagdasarian, opinions may change. Hurricane, WV, an area rich in Appalachia history and full of country charm, is now the home their of Diamond View Farm.

Matthew Shiflet, a third generation horseman and Kristen Bagdasarian, well-known exhibitor, have now ventured out and opened their own training facility. With the opening of Diamond View Farm brings high hopes for these young horse trainers.

"We just love it, couldn't have asked for anything better to get started," said Shiflet when asked what his first impression of the farm was. "We are going to try and do everything, young horses, juveniles, amateurs, everything," said Shiflet when asked what direction he was going to take the new facility.

With both his grandfather, Claude, and father Harrison Shiflet firmly established in Asheboro, NC, how did the youngest Shiflet make his way to West Virginia?

"Well to be honest, we got real lucky, this farm sits right in the center of two great show horse circuits. You have the Kentucky circuit and then the Carolinas are not too far either. I mean what more could you ask for? We are 25 minutes from two major airports and easily accessible from the interstate, I think we are about one mile from the I-64 exit."

"The main barn has 30 stalls, an indoor training facility and lots of room," added Shiflet. "We have about 30 acres here on the property, a hay barn, housing for our help, and a really nice apartment above the barn that Kristen and I live in."

When asked what the move was like and how she liked living about the barn Kristen replied with a resounding, "I love it. The move was difficult and time consuming but the apartment is so nice, they really did a great job when building it."

Shiflet and Bagdasarian are known for showing great horses and this year will be no different. "We have been real lucky so far, we have some good horses here and I have already received some young horses from other customers. Lace Elegant, a real nice walk-trot mare owned by Bev and Stacey Allen, came to us and we are real optimistic about this area and the amount of customers there are. I mean there are several training barns in the area but it seems that there are plenty of customers to support all our business. We also brought some great horses and ponies with us."

Glider's Star, Royal Crest Heavenly Stone, Power Stroke, Caramac's Capital Gain and several young horses made the move to West Virginia with the couple. Shiflet and Glider's Star created quite a stir last year with many wins including the mare stake at Lexington. "I have done a lot of work over the winter just really getting with the mare," said Shiflet. "Last year I never knew really what to expect when I went into the ring. I feel much more confident about her this year and am real excited to get to show her again.

"This is a total team effort all the way. Kristen and I work hand in hand just to get everything done around here. I also have some great help, sometimes we will be here to even or eight o'clock at night and they are right here with me."

Shiflet and Bagdasarian are very appreciative of their family, friends and their employees, Nathan Brachear and Robin Hissom. They have many goals and aspirations for their future. With these goals comes hard word, dedication and commitment. "I know it is not going to be easy in the beginning but we are both really committed to making this business successful," commented Shiflet. "We are so lucky to get the chance to do what we love and have fun at the same time."

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