Phone: (540) 974-5772
Location: Middleburg, VA
I love horses, I love training them. As a trainer, I work to figure out what horses want, need and enjoy in life--how they want or don’t want be trained. I like happy horses. Most horses like to be outside, and most of mine live out as much as is comfortable for them; they eat, relax and enjoy each other’s company and I have multiple paddocks to make this possible. They spend most of the day inside for training and care. I have a fabulous staff committed to the success and well-being of my horses, and my riders are able to ride or school my hurdle and timber horses. I hunt any of the horses that are game to participate, I find hunting with the Aiken Hounds a nice day out for the horses during the winter.
My Experience and Background
Growing up in Oregon left me little choice in my riding career, especially coming from a family who had never been involved with horses in any way. I started riding when I was 12 and competed in 3-day eventing as a kid and eventually moved to Unionville, PA, to work with Bruce Davidson. Through the years I made my way down to Middleburg, VA, all the while galloping racehorses for different flat and jump trainers as I was competing in eventing. I usually had off-the-track racehorses that I evented, so have always been involved in teaching horses from the flat track how to jump and go across terrain. I had several advanced level event horses and won the Rolex 3-day event at the Kentucky Horse Park. While I was galloping horses for Dorothy “Dot” Smithwick, all of a sudden I learned she had entered me in the Ladies Timber race at the Casonova Hunt Point to Point. I was immediately hooked on timber racing. At the same time, eventing was changing to a format that was less friendly for the fitness and durability of thoroughbreds. So, I decided to quit eventing and commit to steeplechase full time. Because of my evening background, all of my horses are very well schooled and have the ability to do proper flatwork, jump gymnastics and jump show courses. I find it very important for soundness and training for the horses to become almost ambidextrous in their training, especially after galloping left handed around a track their entire lives. I give thanks to my many NSA and flat trainer friends who have helped educate my training practices through the years. I’ve had extremely supportive owners and some wonderful horses.
Thanks to supportive owners, I’ve had a number of nice horses. Oakwood Farm’s Country Cousin won the Zeke Ferguson Stake (GIII), the National Cup Novice Stakes and was placed in several other graded stakes. Stonelea Stable’s Balance the Budget is a multiple stakes winner (Carolina Cup, Zeke Ferguson (GII), Budweiser Imperial Cup (GIII). Greg Ryan’s Dynatonia won the Marcellus Frost (GIII). Mike Smith’s Le Chevalier won the New Jersey Hunt Cup. Oakwood Farm’s Kensington Court is a Saratoga allowance winner and stakes placed. Bon Nouvel Chasers’ Menacing Dennis was the 2017 3YO Champion, winning the Gladstone Stakes at Far Hills. Oakwood Farm’s Virginia Minstrel and Chuck Akre’s Sporty are both stakes placed. I’m most proud of winning some nice races with relatively inexpensive horses like Country Cousin, Balance the Budget, Kensington Court and others. I’m also proud that so many of our horses find third careers as foxhunters and event prospects.