Highlander Training Center
Highlander Training Center is a premier thoroughbred training facility known throughout the industry for uncompromising standards in training and caring for our horses and where our owners, suppliers and team members are treated with dignity and respect.
Highlander Training Center rests on 189 acres in Hopkins County near Sulphur Springs, Texas. It is approximately
1-1/4 east of Dallas. Highlander was founded on the core principle of forging champions. The combined 80 years of experience among the Highlander trainers have produced over 300 stakes winners over the past 30 years. Highlander Training Center sits within easy shipping distance of nine major racetracks, and plans to expand its facilities to allow for full equine therapy rehabilitation services in 2020. At Highlander Training Center, we strive to produce winning horses through meticulous horsemanship, carefully balanced nutrition, complete veterinary care, and attention to detail.
Jimmy “Scooter” Dodwell co-founded Highlander Training Center in July of 2017. He immediately began bringing together a skilled team of riders, grooms, and trainers to continue his long history of training winning thoroughbreds.
For 17 years, Scooter worked with his father, Ed, breaking and training thoroughbreds at Diamond D Ranch. When Ed retired, Scooter assumed his duties as head trainer, which he carried out for 13 years before creating Highlander Training Center. Over the past 30 years, Scooter has produced horses who have won over 300 stakes races, including 2009 Horse of the Year, Rachael Alexandra.
About Larry Hirsch
Larry Hirsch, Highlander Training Center’s owner, is a longtime participant in the thoroughbred horse racing industry. Larry understands that effective early care and development of thoroughbreds is essential for horses to realize their full racing potential and remain sound throughout their racing careers. He is dedicated to making Highlander Training Center a premier training facility, which employs the best people in the industry working in the right environment to accomplish that goal. Larry has an extensive business background, including acting as CEO of two public Fortune 500 companies.
About Jeff Hooper
Jeff Hooper’s experience in the horse industry includes nine years as Executive Director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association, three years as Vice President of Administration at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie and 11 years as Executive Director of the National Cutting Horse Association. Hooper comes to HTC after serving as President of Capital H Strategies consulting services for the past seven years.
Contact Jeff at: (817) 992-0609
About Jimmy Dale Dodwell
Jimmy “Scooter” Dodwell co-founded Highlander Training Center in July of 2017. He immediately began constructing a skilled team of riders, grooms, and trainers to continue his long history of training winning thoroughbreds.
For 17 years, Scooter worked with his father, Ed, breaking and training thoroughbreds at Diamond D Ranch. When Ed retired, Scooter assumed his duties as Head Trainer, which he carried out for 13 years before creating Highlander Training Center. Over the past 30 years, Scooter has produced horses who have won over 300 stakes races, including 2009 Horse of the Year, Rachael Alexandra.
Scooter specializes in breaking yearlings and the first two years of training. He has refined his method over the course of three decades of training and experience. Under his leadership, Highlander Training Center is capable of preparing young horses for the track, and forging them into champions.
Contact Scooter at: (903) 450-7153
General Manager & Assistant Trainer
About Jon Newbold
Jon Newbold joined Highlander Training Center at its founding, bringing with him 41 years of industry experience. Over the course of his life, Jon has worked under the tutelage of industry greats such as Larry & Dee Waggoner, Albert Grant, and Jack Harmon, learning to develop horses into stakes winners. As Trainer & Ranch Manager at Highlander Training Center, Jon is responsible for oversight of ranch operations and assisting with the breaking process. Additionally, Jon makes sure to lead every set to the track personally, with the help of his pony horse Turbo.
Jose “Cuco” Mendez
General Manager & Assistant Trainer
About Jose Mendez
Jose “Cuco” Mendez comes to Highlander Training Center with 28 years of training experience. His passion for horses became a career when he began working as a rider for Bobby Barnett in 1993. Cuco rode for Mr. Barnett at New Orleans, Oaklawn, LA Downs, and Lone Star Park for three years. He was then offered the position of assistant trainer for Cary Carter, which he held for 18 years, until Mr. Carter retired. After Mr. Carter’s retirement, Cuco became the head trainer for Royce Roberts. During his two year stay with Mr. Roberts, the horses Cuco trained collected over $516,000 in winnings.
About Dee O'Brien
With racing “in her blood,” Dee’s experience includes working at Weems & Stephens Equine Hospital as well as for Fasig-Tipton and the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Company.
In her role at Highlander Training Center, Dee will head up all office and administrative functions, as well as being involved in client relations and new project initiatives.
"Lalo" Eduardo Perez Rodriguez
What we do
Everything we do at Highlander Training Center revolves around one thing: training. With over 100 years of combined experience, our certified team of trainers have produced over 300 stakes winners in the past 30 years and won multiple awards. We focus exclusively on early-life training, when we have the most influence over the skill and potential of each horse.
Highlander Training Center offers full services for trainees and layups. Our stalls come equipped with automatic waterers, corner feeders, oscillating fans, and rubber matted walls and floors. Each horse is cared for attentively with regular exercise and therapy. We carefully monitor the health of each horse through regular veterinary care, and nightly security checks are done for all horses.