A Blast from the Past at the Alltech Games

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We have survived, better yet, we have had the time of our lives at the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games, Kentucky 2010. There have been many highlights and many magic moments. In a way this is the culmination of over 30 years of work in the equine industry. Our headquarters during the Games has been at Spindletop Hall, an oasis across the street from the Kentucky Horse Park, where we began our Alltech Games experience hosting a party for the US Dressage Team. It was at Spindletop during another event where a friend from the past, in a way the person who is responsible for the beginning of my career path with horses.
When I first moved to upstate New York in the late 1970’s one of my many horse related jobs was working at Standardbred sales. The very first sale I did was at Yonkers Raceway with my best friend Judy Cialone. I had never worked with this breed before, and to this day consider the Standardbred to be one of the most noble, sensible and delightful horses America has produced. We cleaned stalls, and groomed the horses preparing them to stand and show to potential buyers. I then went on to be a racetrack groom which brought me to Florida, and led me to meeting Cliff La Tour a photographer who taught me much of what I still do today. I then became a member of the United States Harness Writers Association and was even president on year for the Florida Chapter. But it was always Dressage which I was drawn to. During my Pony Club years I cleaned stables for Dottie Morkis long before she was an Olympian for the United States. So after several years supplementing my income on the track, I set out to cover some of the first Dressage shows ever held in South Florida.

As I walked up the steps of Spindletop Hall for another lovely evening, there was a gentleman standing there who said “Don’t you remember me?” It was Ronnie Gurfein who also went on in his field to achieve success, and is now a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Another friend from the Harness world, Ken Heineken is now director of the United States Holsteiner Association and told Ronnie I may be showing up that night. I couldn’t wait to send this picture to Judy. I knew this was the beginning of what would be a wonderful experience a culmination in many ways of a lifetime living my passion.