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John and Scott Mongeon Horse Care

John and Scott Mongeon know there is no such thing as a sure bet. But for these brothers, their horses were heading in one direction -- the harness track.

That should come as no surprise as they are third generation trainers, drivers and stable owners. Their grandfather, Earl Schraffenberger, was a driver and trainer of trotters. And so too was their dad, John, Sr. So in high school, after years of mucking stalls, grooming and training horses, both boys enrolled in WSWHE BOCES’ Horse Care program.

“We knew were we were headed,” said John. “So we thought why not.”

Under the instruction of teacher Bill Lamb, the then teens honed their already adept skill at handling horses.

“It’s funny,” said John. “Bill was a good teacher and he would use us as tutors, helping the other kids. Sometimes, we felt like free labor. I think what helped us the most was learning how to get along with other people. We met a lot of people.”

The experience, along with 30 years of managing their own Saratoga Springs stables, furthered their family’s prominence in harness racing. Today, the men not only manage their stables but they break and train champions – a job that have brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars for themselves and their owners.

Scott also drives. (John has retired from driving.) Scott is closing in on his 1,800 win at the track – a milestone in the business. Together, they have brought in about $14 million in purses.

And while the Mongeons make a fine living off of racing, they want students to know that it’s an all-consuming lifestyle.

“It’s like being a farmer. It’s seven days a week,” said John. “We don’t have any days off. We are here about 5 a.m. every morning to feed the horses and then we are back here in the evening to prepare for the races.”

Still, for those who enjoy working with animals more than people, the Mongeons would highly recommend racing. And the best way to learn about the available careers is enrolling in Horse Care.

“It’s a good program,” said John. “I think it changes a lot of kids. And once you are hooked, that’s it.

Scott agreed, adding “They learn a lot; not just how to handle a horse, but the business end too.” 

Click here for more information on the Horse Care program.