The words that come to mind when I think of our experience with Debbie and Matt Howell are: Talented, honest and straightforward, good hearted folks with great work ethic. I'd go on with: great horseman, dedicated to the horse and owner, really loves winning (with humility) and is a good sport when he doesn't (after he gets through beating himself up).
It was October,2000 at the US Arabian Nationals. My husband, Steve and I had heard one of the mares we had bred and sold was being shown in working cow. Her name was AJ Whippoorwill, a feisty chestnut handful of a mare..like her sire. We got to the arena and saw this long tall cowboy on top of a rather small chestnut mare. My heart and breath stopped. My thought was, this is either going to be amazing or a wreck. "Wired" was my other descriptive thought..and "it's going to take quite a horseman to pull this off". They won the 2000 U.S. National Open Working Cow horse, and yes, it was breath taking! They were 2001 U.S. National Reserve Champion Working Cow horse. This prompted us to put AJ Sundance- a stallion and half-brother to AJ Whippoorwill- in training with Matt. The first U.S. Nationals Sundance was in the Jr. Horse competition. We watched as a calf ran into Sundance's chest and front legs and both horse and rider tumbled. Fortunately both got up shaking it off and neither hurt badly. What we saw was more amazing potential and we sold AJ Sundance shortly after to "Mr.Joe"- a match made in heaven! ( Mr. Joe had owned AJ Whippoorwill aka "Little Red" and she had died from breeding complications.) In 2005, AJ Sundance was the U,S, National Jr. Working Cow Horse Champion. We then put another horse in training with Matt and Debbie....AJ Mighty Tuf. The 2006 U.S. Nationals proved to be quite a Nationals for us (and Mr. Joe--which is its own story that will bring tears to your eyes). AJ Mighty Tuf was the Jr. Working Cow Horse Champion and AJ Sundance was the Jr. Horse Working cowhorse Reserve Champion. we have slowed down as we have been in business since 1983. However, we know Debbie and Matt are going strong and ready to give you a well-trained horse, have a lot of fun, and probably some ribbons and trophies!!
If you are looking for a trainer that is a talented horseman, with great work ethnic and puts the wellbeing of the horse at the top of his list along with a good relationship with the owner and does a wonderful job at winning...then Circle M Bar D Training Center-Matt Howell and his wife Debbie and son Ethan are definitely a place to go!
Cynthia Raman and Steve Montgomery
(Ap'ljac Farms, Inc)