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Fall 2008


At work
See how Mechanicsville man
nailed his dream job
Page 10

Horse sitter
Who’ll watch
the farm?
Page 11

Industry snapshot
Guess how many
horses Virginia
has now?
Page 8
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THE POSTFor Horse Lovers in Virginia

Vol. 1 Fall 2008 No. 1

The Post is a publication of Media General Operations Inc.

Douglas A. Forshey
(804) 649-6998

Joan Hughes
(804) 512-4373
Send your editorial comments and story ideas to Joan.

Skip Rowland
Staff Photographer
(804) 512-2402

Contributing Writers
Andrea Heid
Joan Hughes
Roshun Povaiah
Aubrey Simpson
Toms Varghese
Saheem Wani

Advertising Sales
Pam Sanders
Sales Manager
(804) 380-8011

The Post will be published quarterly in 2009 by Media General Operations, Inc., 333
East Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23219. The magazine is distributed free of charge in
central and western Virginia. This publication is copyright 2008 Media General Opera-
tions, Inc. All editorial materials are fully protected and may not be reproduced in any
manner without our written consent. Questions regarding the content should be directed
to the publisher.

The Post is published in partnership with the Virginia Horse Industry Board. For more
information about the Virginia horse industry or the VHIB, visit

On the cover: In this July, 2007 Richmond Times-Dispatch

photo, Dreaming of Anna checks out her surroundings at
Colonial Downs in New Kent County while waiting to compete
in the Virginia Oaks. She won the race. (Photo by Bruce

Media General is a multimedia company operating leading newspapers, television sta-

tions and online enterprises primarily in the Southeastern United States. The company’s
publishing assets include three metropolitan newspapers, The Tampa Tribune, Richmond
Times-Dispatch, and Winston-Salem Journal; 22 daily community newspapers in Virginia,
North Carolina, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina; and more than 150 weekly news-
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SP Newsprint Company, a manufacturer of recycled newsprint.

This special section was produced by Mindworks Global Media

Services, the leading provider of editorial support services
to newspapers and magazines worldwide. Web site:  www. Contact Donna Anastasio at donna.

reetings to everyone attend- is pleased to return to the Extravaganza and Post informative and educational. The VHIB
ing the 2008 Virginia Equine continues to work for you — a member of is supporting this publication and is working
Extravaganza. On behalf of the Virginia’s vast equine industry. Supported by with Media General to have similar editions
Virginia Horse Industry Board, I funding from Coggins Test fees and equine produced and distributed with major newspa-
hope your weekend here is both entertaining feed checkoff monies, the VHIB is committed pers throughout the state in 2009.
and educational. Enjoy the beautiful exhibi- to the education and promotion of the indus- The goal is to provide more information on
tions, learn from the experienced clinicians try in the commonwealth. Since 1995, when the industry — and the people in the industry
and seminar leaders, browse the vendors as it was first created, the board has awarded — and to encourage both adults and young
you look for tack and care innovations for more than $1 million in grants — reinvesting people to join and support Virginia’s equine
you and your horses, and network with other these monies back into Virginia’s $1.6 billion industry.
members of the industry. equine industry.
The Virginia Horse Industry Board (VHIB) We hope you find this first edition of The

owners are
passionate about

their horses

With some 215,000 horses and more than
41,000 horse operations, Virginia boasts a
diversity of breeds and disciplines. Virginia
also has a long-standing relationship with
horses — with the first horses arriving in
1610 — and that tradition continues. Owners
enjoy their horses whether trail riding, work-
ing in the dressage ring, helping their child
with the first pony, awaiting the birth of foals,
or numerous other equine activities. Virginia
owners are passionate about their horses. No
matter how many new technologies evolve,
or how quickly things change, one thing will
not — Virginia Is for Horse Lovers.
Enjoy the show and stop by the Virginia
Horse Industry Board booth (No. 215-217)
in Richmond Hall. Let us hear your opinion
about The Post or visit our
Web site,

Andrea Heid
Program Manager
Virginia Horse Industry Board

Virginia Horse Industry Board Program Manager Andrea Heid shows off her horse Poquita, a purebred Andalusian mare.

Warrenton man’s world now revolves
around more than just horses
By Roshun Povaiah Now he’s executive director of the Virginia Thor-
oughbred Association and chairman of the Virginia

Horse Industry Board.
eet Glenn Petty. At 51, he’s done vir- Petty grew up on a horse farm in Fauquier County
tually everything there is to do with and got into horses around age 6. “My father was in
horses except, he said, ride them pro- the Army serving at the Pentagon. We had a couple
fessionally. of broodmares and a few racehorses on our farm. We
“We rode as kids in horse shows, but did horse shows, 4-H, a little fox-hunting. We did
that was probably it. My sister was a much better all the work from mending the fences to cutting the
rider,” Petty said. grass.
See page 6

Glenn Petty shares a moment with

Merry Legs. Petty is Virginia Thorough-
bred Association executive director and
Virginia Horse Industry Board chairman.

From page 5

“I got a lot of experience from the ground up,” for the Maryland Jockey Club which owns Laurel Petty got into fatherhood late, adopting both his
Petty said. and Pimlico. children from Russia with wife Amy, Fauquier
However, it wasn’t until Petty finished college Though the horse industry has its fundraising Health marketing director. He said he now has very
with a degree in journalism that he happened on a challenges, Petty said it remains somewhat insulated little time for horses, as he’s busy with his children’s
career in horses. He used to announce horse shows from the current economic crisis. football, baseball, soccer, gymnastics, school and
in the summer around Fauquier and Loudoun coun- “I think one of the won- other activities.
ties. He would also take pictures and compile show derful things about the PEOPLE WILL Petty says renowned
results for the local community newspapers. This horse business is that peo- Virginia horseman Noel
landed him a job as horse sports editor for the Fau- ple will spend money on SPEND MONEY ON Twyman gave him the best
quier Times-Democrat. the horse before they feed horse advice he’s ever re-
“It was the perfect job. I knew the business and themselves. It’s amazing THE HORSE ceived: “One time at a year-
I knew journalism. I made something like $6,000 a how passionate horse peo- ling sale, he told me to look
year or something crazy back in 1980,” Petty said. ple are. If we get stuck in a BEFORE THEY FEED at a horse from the feet up
But it didn’t last too long.
After about 90 days, he walked into the office of
three or four year period, it
will take a pretty good bite
THEMSELVES so as not to be influenced by
a pretty top line or a fancy
Ernest Oare. The well-known horseman was looking out of the industry,” Petty pedigree. He was absolutely
for an executive director for the VTA in Warrenton, said. “It gives me another good reason for not buying right,” Petty said.
where Petty was (and still is) living. He got the job. a pony for my daughter anytime soon,” he laughed. Over the years, Petty has owned racehorses, syndi-
Now he’s on his third stint as the organization’s In fact, it’s Petty’s 9-year-old daughter, Anna Ga- cated them and participated in various partnerships.
executive director, this latest beginning in 2001. lina, who’s the rider in the family, taking lessons to Petty said at one time, he and some associates owned
In between, he’s started a horse insurance agency, complement her gymnastics. Her 6-year-old brother, and managed about $12 million in horses.
worked as a bloodstock agent, managed racing, William Anatoly (called Toly), isn’t interested in “At one point I was in it up to my eyeballs. It’s
broodmare and stallion share syndicates and worked horses yet. something I learned in the [19]80s. Misery loves

Amy, Toly, Anna Galina (on Merry Legs,

the horse she is learning to ride on), and
Glenn Petty.

company and it’s great to celebrate when you win so Challenges facing the horse industry
I’m an advocate of owning horses in partnerships,”
Petty said. Throughout Glenn Petty’s career with horses “There are 5.3 million people in Maryland,
His most memorable moment in horseracing was the challenges have remained much the same. who wager $400 million a year on Thorough-
when Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973. “It’s “The interesting thing about the horse in- bred racing. This gives their breeders’ group
a John Kennedy, space shuttle, 9/11 moment. You dustry in Virginia is that the recreational horse 1 percent of that money which is $4 million to
can never forget that,” Petty said. industry is growing extremely well. But the spend on breeding programs. In Virginia, we
A career highlight was opening day at Colonial business component of it is shrinking for a va- have 7.5 million people who bet $120 million
Downs in September 1997. “I was speechless, and riety of reasons. One of the biggest is competi- a year on racing, giving us just $1.2 million to
that’s saying something. I had been working every tion from other states,” Petty said. spend on the program,” Petty said.
day for three months to help get it open and it was Neighboring states like Maryland, West One problem is that there are just nine
very gratifying,” Petty said. He was working for the Virginia and Pennsylvania offer greater incen- satellite wagering facilities, and none north of
Maryland Jockey Club and “everybody did every- tives to breeders. Those respective states pay Richmond, for racing in Virginia compared to
thing in the last three weeks.” generous bonuses when horses bred in their more than 2,000 outlets for the state lottery,
It’s his passion for horses that keeps Petty at the states win. The key challenge, he said, is finding Petty said.
VTA for the third time. “At the end of the day, it’s resources to raise more money for the Virginia “The horse-racing industry is a funny mar-
probably just the horses that keep me going. It’s Breeders Fund. riage of agriculture, animal husbandry and
the horses and the fact that I always want them to Finding resources is a common problem gambling. And it is the gambling that pays for
here,” Petty said. throughout Virginia’s horse industry, accord- the agriculture and the animal husbandry. In
ing to Petty. “There’s a lot of money spent on Virginia, we have had some issues getting our
The Post welcomes feedback and story ideas. To contact us, e-mail the horses but not a lot of money spent on the arms around the gambling part of it,” Petty or call Joan Hughes at (804) 512-4373.
advocacy portion,” he said. said.
Contact Glenn Petty at or (540) 347-4313.
industry snapshot 8 FALL 2008

2006 Equine Survey Report By Toms Varghese

shows them at 215,000
he equine industry plays a bigger role in
Virginia’s economy than people may real-
ize. Key to understanding the industry’s
significance is the 2006 Virginia Equine
Survey Report.
The survey report reveals that in 2006, 15,600
horses were sold in Virginia, generating $107.3 mil-
lion. These sales place horses as Virginia’s sixth larg-
est agricultural commodity based on cash receipts.
There were 41,000 equine operations throughout
the commonwealth in 2006, up 41 percent from 2001
(year of the last survey), and their value on Nov. 1,
2006 was $1.65 billion, up 13 percent from June 1,
2001, according to the report.
The Virginia Horse Industry Board, responsible
for promotion and economic development of Virgin-
ia’s horse industry, helped fund the survey. It was
conducted by the Virginia Field Office of the Na-
tional Agricultural Statistics Service.
Based on the survey results, Virginia Horse In-
dustry Board Program Manager Andrea Heid said
the board plans to explore new ways to promote
Virginia’s horse industry and to continue to spear-
head its growth.
She said the growth of the industry since the
first survey in 2001 is the most striking feature
of the new report. “We went from 170,000 hors-
es to 215,000 in five years. That’s a growth of
26 percent,” she said.
David Mueller, deputy director of the Vir-
ginia Field Office of the National Agricul-
tural Statistics Service, said the report will
be used by the state and local govern-
ments to make decisions that affect the
equine industry.
Those wanting to learn more about the Virginia equine
industry may find the report useful as
may equine associations. operations spent
Mueller said businesses that provide sup-
plies and services to the equine sector will also find $783 million in 2006
the survey very helpful.
Heid believes the survey will be used by all seg- caring for horses
ments of the horse industry: “The individual busi-
ness owner who’s thinking about expanding his “We constructed a list of horse owners that lived in
business, a farmer who is growing hay for horses Virginia. Since we know that a list is never complete,
gets to know there are good buyers for his hay in we also surveyed some 360 land areas in the state for
the industry and horse owners may find it helpful in horse owners who were not on our list. We calculat-
working with their local government.” ed the expansions from both sources to arrive at our
However, conducting the survey was not easy. estimate. Horses accounted for by people on our list
FALL 2008 9 industry snapshot


plus horses owned by people not on our list as found “It would be ideal to have it [the survey] done on a
in the area equals total horses,” Mueller said. yearly or every two-year basis. But there’s an awful
One notable finding of the survey was that spend- lot of work involved, lots of data has to be gathered
ing on equine activities increased from 2001. Vir- getting people’s names and addresses. It has to be
ginia equine operations spent $783 million during checked, interpreted by the statistical service and the For a copy of the survey report:
2006 caring for horses, compared to $505 million real bottom-line is the cost. It is too cost-prohibi-
during 2001. The most money went toward feed and tive unless we get a corporate sponsor. We are really
bedding at $99.6 million. Equipment purchases were grateful that we now have the support of the Gen- Visit the Virginia Horse Industry Board Web
at $92 million, followed by labor expenses at $74 eral Assembly in getting this done every five years,” site at or download it via www.
million, capital improvements at $72.6 and equine Heid said.
purchases at $63.6 million. Expenses covering up- Publications/Equine/index.asp.
keep-related items accounted for 77 percent of all The Post welcomes feedback and story ideas. To contact us, e-mail Or call the Virginia Field Office of the National
expenses, according to the survey. or call Joan Hughes at (804) 512-4373. Agricultural Statistics Service at (804) 771-2493.
The next equine survey is scheduled to be con- To contact Andrea Heid at the Virginia Horse Industry Board call
ducted in 2011 with the results expected in 2013. (804) 786-5842 or visit
AT WORK 10 FALL 2008


Mechanicsville man has always known he was going to be a farrier
By Saheem Wani

his own business. From racehorses and rodeo horses
is life is all about hands and feet; far- to trail horses, Dodd can shoe them all. His fees gen-
rier hands shaping and trimming horses’ erally range from around $110 per horse.
hoofs. Farriery, from the word ferrum or Dodd divides his time between work, his farm, his
iron, is an ancient art, and farrier Chat 22 horses (mostly quarter horses and some paints)
Dodd is an artist of iron. and his family (wife Roxanne, who trail rides, and
The 28-year-old Mechanicsville resident’s job pri- daughters ages 11 and 16 months). “Though it’s
marily consists of trimming a horse’s hoofs, balanc- sometimes hard to balance the personal and profes-
ing the foot at a correct angle from the ground, and sional fronts, the feeling that someone is waiting for
finally shoeing the hoofs. you at home is awe-
It also includes dealing FARRIER CHAT DODD some,” Dodd said.
with injured or diseased Dodd’s job has its
hoofs. IS AN ARTIST OF IRON. highs and lows. He re-
“Many people have a called the time he shod
tough time selecting their FROM RODEO HORSES a horse expected to go
career, but luckily for me, to the Olympics when
I always knew I had to be-
TO RACEHORSES, HE it had an accident and
come a farrier. Ever since
I’ve known myself, I’ve
CAN SHOE THEM ALL died. “These are life’s
ways of teaching you
known horses,” he said. wisdom. There’s joy
After graduating high school, Dodd attended Ken- when people love your work; in fact, word-of-mouth
tucky Horseshoeing School and then worked as an has worked as the best advertisement for me. And
apprentice in Virginia for four years. “For anyone as- there is a dream of doing what I am doing, 20 years
piring to become a farrier, both are necessary. While from now, and loving it as much then as now.”
school teaches you everything from basic horseshoe-
ing techniques to the advanced anatomy of equine
limbs and veterinary science, working as an appren-
The Post welcomes feedback and story ideas. To contact us, e-mail
tice gives you field experience, which you need be- or call Joan Hughes at (804) 512-4373.
fore you can start your own business.” To contact Chat Dodd call (804) 677-9651.
In farriery, experience plays as important a role as learning
After completing his apprenticeship, Dodd started techniques and equine anatomy at the horseshoeing school.
FALL 2008 11 horse sitter

Powhatan woman can step in

when you want to step out
By Saheem Wani

he best horses are mothered into glory.
They are broken over time and need con-
stant care. Or else, thousands of dollars
and dreams could go to waste. So when
they want or need to get away, horse own-
ers worry who they can get to take care of their ani-
This can affect vacations and other outings.
But people like Paula Almond offer hope.
A year ago, the 36-year-old Powhatan resident
started Horse & Hound. Owner of three horses and
11 dogs, Almond believes in “treating thy horse as
thou wouldst treat thyself.”
“Love for horses is a prerequisite for this profes-
sion. This and your experience in handling various
types of horses are the criteria that determine your
horse-sitting worth. Unlike farriery or other horse-
related pursuits, there is no formal training or certi-
fied course for horse-sitting,” Almond said. With the help of her daughter Erin, Paula Almond leads Smooch (from left), Slinger and Whiskey on her farm in
Almond started thinking about working in the Powhatan. Below: Paula Almond and Slinger.
horse industry when she was 28.
Tips on working with a horse sitter
“I would accompany my elder daughter when she
started riding at 6. I had some experience in dealing
LOVE FOR HORSES IS Set up a consultation.
with horses but this was different. Just being there A PREREQUISITE FOR Provide instructions in writing.
made me realize how much I wanted to be there Be prepared to provide contact and
for good. My transformation from a passive [horse] THE PROFESSION OF veterinarian information.
lover to an active participant in the equine Provide extra keys to the house and
world had begun.” A HORSE SITTER “triple-check” that they work.
The gap between hors- Check in with the horse sitter periodi-
ing around and starting cally when you are away.
a business later closed. figure out who would take care of my horses. They Before leaving make sure there are am-
“My family had are large animals so people tend to get intimidated. ple supplies of hay, feed and shavings and
planned a vacation In such cases, one prefers a professional. After a ha- other materials needed to do the work.
and I had a terri- rassing search stretching over several days, I was
ble time trying to unable to find any. I found that I wasn’t the lone suf-
ferer; many horse owners were in a similar fix. sistible.”
“Naturally, the idea of starting a horse-sitting Almond’s fees vary according to a client’s needs.
business emerged,” she said. When her children The basic fee is $23 per visit for feeding two horses.
were in school and after contemplating a return That increases for extra horses or additional services
to a previous office job, she “realized the idea such as brushing and grooming or cleaning stalls.
and scope of a horse sitter.” “I stick to Powhatan and its surrounding counties
“Most of my friends envy me. They are ani- which include Chesterfield, Amelia, Goochland and
mal lovers stuck in 9-to-6 jobs. Some, in- Cumberland,” Almond said.
cluding my daughter, plan to become Almond has support from her husband as she jug-
horse sitters. It is easy to start your own gles home, children (ages 14, 10 and 4) and horses.
business. All you have to do is apply He “shares half my chores. He takes care of the kids
for a license [a business license from when I’m away. Without my family rooting for me all
the county] and get insured [for liabil- the time, I could not have come this far,” she said.
ity and accidents]. You don’t even need The Post welcomes feedback and story ideas. To contact us, e-mail
to be bonded. It is the appeal of being or call Joan Hughes at (804) 512-4373.
around horses and getting paid for it at the To contact Paula Almond call (804) 403-3463 or (804) 837-3517 or
same time that makes horse-sitting irre- e-mail her at
horse radio 12 FALL 2008


For many years, Sam Huff and Carol By Toms Varghese fine job getting knowledge and information out of

Holden have been talking horse to people interested in Thoroughbreds.”
arol Holden couldn’t help laughing as she The “Trackside” audience is “anybody that’s inter-
Northern Virginia-area radio listeners recalled the first episode of “Trackside” ested in horses,” Huff said.
back in April 1988. Holden comes from a family that was in the horse
“I had done television interviews [but] business and she developed her love of horses early
I had never done radio work before. in life. Huff is from a coal-mining family. He is a
This was a little station in West Virginia. Someone Pro Football Hall of Fame member who later became
bumped on the leg of a table and the microphone and interested in the horse industry.
all our notes were falling over. [Our guest] was the Huff came up with idea for “Trackside,” Holden
only person with radio experience and he just kept said. “We put on the West Virginia Breeders Clas-
talking while we all tried to keep the show going.” sics, which is a showcase for West Virginia horses.
Twenty years later, Holden and co-host Sam Huff Through Sam’s contact in radio and television in
are still going strong with the hour long show on Washington, Channel 9 came out to [cover] the first
Thoroughbreds. “We’re glad we could keep going year we did the Breeders Classics in 1987. They
with it,” Holden said. “It’s been great to have so interviewed me, and Sam saw the interview and
many top people from the industry coming for our thought that I handled it very well. My whole life
interviews, to see the industry progress and to do a revolves around horses and he came up with the idea
FALL 2008 13 horse radio


Nobody knows
more about
horses than Carol
Holden... She has a
great memory FOR

that if I talked about horses all the time, I might as

well get paid to do it.”
Holden and Huff started “Trackside” radio from a
small studio in Charles Town, W.Va. They also did
the show for a couple of years from Warrenton. This
continued until they got their own studio, Middleburg
Broadcasting Network, in Middleburg in 1995. all info on the Internet. If there is a major happening To hear ‘Trackside’
“Having our own studio, our own engineer and our I try to keep up with it.
own equipment has been a great thing as we didn’t “Sam and I are also involved in the industry. Like The listening area for “Trackside” and “Track-
have to deal with the idiosyncrasies of small private we said, we do the West Virginia Breeders Classics side Daily,” a two-minute show Carol Holden
stations,” Holden said. and we also breed and race horses. So we have a lot hosts Monday through Friday, is Northern Vir-
“Trackside” isn’t just about handicapping races. of personal contacts also.” ginia, the eastern panhandle of West Virginia
The show provides coverage on local, national and “Nobody knows more about horses than Carol (Charles Town, Martinsburg, Berkeley Springs)
international racing events, Holden said. “The ma- Holden,” Huff said. “She can tell you the first one and up into Maryland, Holden said.
jority of the programs about racing are about handi- that stepped off the boat from Europe. She is amaz- Listen to “Trackside” Saturdays on the
capping. We deal with industry issues and the people ing. She has a great memory for horses. I’ve never following stations:
[involved] and what is happening in the world of seen anybody like her.” WTFX-AM 610 (Winchester): 7-8 a.m.
racing.” Running a show for 20 years can have its chal- WAGE-AM 1200 (Leesburg): 7:05-8 a.m.
Holden has been to Dubai to cover the Dubai World lenges, including maintaining listener interest. WEPM-AM 1340 (Martinsburg, W.Va.):
Cup and has done shows from England, France and “We try to have different guests and topics,” Hold- 6:05-7 a.m.
Ireland. (The international shows she does live by en said. “We cover issues such as medication and WRNR-AM 740 (Martinsburg, W.Va.): 7:05-8 a.m.
phone.) “We’re trying to cover the entire racing in- safety, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and For audio downloads of current and recent “Trackside” and
dustry,” Holden said. new careers for horses.” The show also gives infor- “Trackside Daily” programs visit
A lot of preparation goes into every show. Holden mation about trainers running horses in major races.
said she tries to keep in tune with the major happen- “Trackside” has a casual approach that Holden The Post welcomes feedback and story ideas. To contact us, e-mail
ings in the industry. said comes naturally. “It’s something like sitting at or call Joan Hughes at (804) 512-4373.
“I do a lot of reading. I go through Thoroughbred the kitchen table [and chatting]. It just kind of hap- Contact Carol Holden or Sam Huff via e-mail at wvbcmbn@verizon.
Daily News every day and Daily Racing Form and pened. Just kind of the way we are normally.” net or call (540) 687-8000.


Goochland County trainer brings experience and diversity to the show ring Johnson explains what makes a
trainer successful:
By Aubrey Simpson the Devon Horse Show in Pennsylvania with Secret Good horses and good customers: “I mainly

Courtesy of EquuSSource Blade in 1994. That horse, and others, have won con- work with show hunters, show-in-hand horses,
s one of the few African-American train- sistently for Johnson. and train ponies. People know I have good
ers on the horse show circuit, Junior Over the last couple of years, Johnson’s abilities horses. You have to know what to look for.
Johnson has been a pioneer in bringing have garnered him quite a reputation and numer- There’s no such thing as a perfect horse, but
diversity into the ring. ous impressive wins. For example, in 2006 alone, at you want them to be as perfect as they can be.
“I’ve been working with horses all my various shows, the horses he handled received Best “Boarding and training horses from all
life, basically ever since I was big enough to work Young Horse titles 13 times and reserve Best Young around the country, I get some top quality
with them. My dad worked with horses and that’s Horse titles 11 times. At the Devon Horse Show and horses. If it weren’t for the quality of the hors-
how I first got inter- at the Keswick Horse es, I wouldn’t be where I am today. This is an
ested. You could say This is a very Show, horses he han- expensive sport; you have to have good cus-
that it’s part of our dled won Best Yearling tomers and backers. I’ve been lucky to have
family tradition. My competitive awards. Then he won great customers from all over the country.
son DJ, 25, competes the Pennsylvania Horse
as well as teaches les- sport, but I like Breeders Association
“Once you have good customers you have
to find strong contenders if you want to be
sons. He’s really good
and doing very well.
a challenge. Yearling Futurity and
was Leading Handler at
successful. You look for horses with good
dispositions. Then they need to show good
A grandson is com- the International Hunter movement and good coordination; you can
ing along and getting into horses like DJ did,” said Futurity Eastern Regional competition in Warrenton see it in the build of the horse or pony. Horses
Johnson, 56. and at the Sallie B. Wheeler East Coast Champion- and ponies are pretty much the same, the only
When asked if his wife, Jackie, or his daughter ship, also in Warrenton. In addition, Johnson was difference being their size.”
Tonya compete, the Goochland County resident Leading Handler at the International Hunter Futurity Time and patience: “The second thing a
laughed. “No, neither of them ride. I guess it’s a fam- Finals in Kentucky. trainer needs is to be patient and willing to
ily tradition that just interests the men.” Many more honors have followed. take the time to work with the horse or pony.
Starting in the mid-1970s, Johnson worked “This is a very competitive sport, When you first enter a horse into the ring
and trained with but I like a challenge. You have they get real quiet. They’re afraid. You can’t
Kenneth Wheeler to pay your dues and eventually just go in there and expect them to perform.
for 10 years at Cis- horse people and the judges get The main thing I do is to put them on a longe
mont Manor Farm to know you and the quality of line and teach them to walk, trot and canter. I
in Charlottesville. your work. When I first started groom them and work with them so that they
“I worked with back in the [19]90s, I was the get comfortable being in the public. You get
the best, Kenneth only African-American trainer them used to being around people, get them
Wheeler. He’s on the circuit. At first it was a used to people handling them all the time. You
the person to tough row, but people are com- handle them a lot and they work better.”
learn from. I re- ing around. Today, there are two
ally respect him of us, plus a couple of jumpers,
and he gives me a and more African-Americans
lot of respect. I stood are becoming interested in the
back and watched him sport. Things have really changed
and I learned a lot. But, I through the years and I hope that
tell you what, he’s tough to compete I have helped to make it easier for
against.” minorities to make their mark in the
There is no denying how much John- sport I love.”
son has achieved as a trainer and han-
dler. His career really started in the The Post welcomes feedback and story ideas. To
early 1990s while working for the for- contact us, e-mail
mer Amber Lake Farm in Manakin or call Joan Hughes at (804) 512-4373. To contact
Sabot. He won his first class ever at Junior Johnson call (804) 901-7234.
FALL 2008 15 Profile

Richmonder Mary Ann Kean

has been dispensing advice on
horse insurance for 20-plus years
By Joan Hughes

ou could call Mary Ann Kean a “Dear
Abby” of horse insurance.
As director of mortality underwriting for
the Glen Allen-based Markel Insurance
Co., Kean said potential and existing
clients call her for advice associated with such
matters as buying a horse, the birth of a horse and

“All the different horse people have common
concerns and problems,” said Kean, a licensed
property and casualty agent and a Markel employee
for more than 20 years. As director of mortality

underwriting, Kean is in charge of the mortality
programs Markel offers.
People need equine insurance “to protect
themselves in the event of a loss – the same reason
you buy any kind of insurance,” Kean said.
A big misconception, and the big difference
between health insurance for people and horses,
Kean said, is that people think horses are covered
for pre-existing conditions when they are generally
only covered the first time there is a problem, such as traveling to horse events, which she said she does 12 “It will package your mortality and your medical
founder, West Nile Virus or EPM (equine protozoal to 15 times a year for Markel, a specialty insurance and your liability” for a one-horse owner, Kean said.
myeloencephalitis). provider. “It’s for horses up to $30,000 in value and there are
Kean also plays the role of a “Dear Abby” to a large “We service our clients. We prospect new a lot of those out there.”
group of equine specialist agents out in the field. “By business,” Kean said. The Standard All Risk Mortality & Theft program,
providing resources, backup, supporting services, The contact with the different types of horse people which has an online application, tends to be for more
etc., we [Markel’s Agriculture Department] enable and the different types of events are what Kean said expensive horses and/or those with a pre-existing
these specialists to focus their time and energy by she enjoys most about her job. condition, according to Kean.
being out with horse owners at the horse shows and But, if one wants to do business with Markel via
The Post welcomes feedback and story ideas. To contact us, e-mail
events. the Internet, that’s also an option. or call Joan Hughes at (804) 512-4373.
“These specialists are well-known horse experts “We’re the only company I know of where you Contact Mary Ann Kean at (800) 446-7925, ext. 1667 or mkean@
in all breeds and disciplines and are the foundation can get immediate mortality coverage online,” Kean Visit Markel’s Web site at
of our program and service to horse owners,” Kean said.
said. The Hassle Free Mortality program “will package Hassle Free Mortality program
When Kean is not dispensing advice she’s it all together for you.”
It costs an average of 3.5 percent of the
value of a horse for mortality insurance (a
client must have this to get medical/surgical
More on Mary Ann Kean coverage). This program is for horses up to
$30,000 in value. There is a minimum mortal-
Philosophy: “You need to enjoy the opportu- of the Deep Run Horse Show [in Manakin Sab-
ity premium of $200 for horses with a value
nities given to you and be grateful for them.” ot] for more than 30 years and managing it for of less than $6,000.
What people would be surprised to learn: “I more than 20 years. To be involved with that For medical/surgical coverage there is a flat
don’t like to travel but I do it all the time.” part of Virginia’s horse history.” (Kean said the set premium (as opposed to a percentage of
Career highlights: “The time I flew from the Deep Run Horse Show is probably more than the value of the horse) of $319.
States to England with three horses. They 50 years old and the Deep Run Hunt Club was Liability coverage with a $1 million limit
were horses we insured and they were going established more than 100 years ago.) is $85. So, insurance for a year for a horse
to England for training.” Best horse advice ever received: “Stop when valued at $10,000 would cost $754 ($350
Another career highlight: “Probably being part you’ve made progress.” mortality plus $319 medical/surgical plus $85