Dan Walling, who conditions the "old school" way, is the new farm manager at the Palmetto Thoroughbred Training Center.Dan Walling first came to South Carolina in 1988 and worked for Webb Carroll in St. Matthews. "I met my wife (in South Carolina), and I asked her father if I could take her back up north, and that's what I did. So we went back up North to Delaware Park and we spent the next two or three years coming back down," said Walling, who has worked at the Shiloh Church Road-based facility for about a month. "I worked for Webb for two more seasons, and then I came to Aiken where I went to work for Greentree."He credits Jerry Norwood, who was a trainer in western Pennsylvania, for having a profound influence on his life and his career. Norwood took the young Walling to a number of racetracks where he had the opportunity to learn about the Thoroughbred racing industry from the ground up. "He gave me a good start and provided me with something to maintain my focus," said Walling. "He'd do a lot of little mentoring things. He showed you how to be a man. He was just a good old American cowboy kind of a guy."Walling worked for a number of outstanding horsemen while in Aiken, including Hall of Fame conditioner Mack Miller, Danny Furr, Buddy Raines, Al Darlington, Bruce Duchossoisa and Gustav Schickedanz at Longleaf Plantation for five years. "Buddy Raines was like Jerry (Norwood); he'd share his horse information with you," said Walling. "He'd tell you what that horse was thinking and why it acted that way. Thoroughbred racing has been very good to me. It was a great experience working for Gus. Gus is a good leader, role model and a good guy to take points from and to learn how things are supposed to be done."Walling has a wide breadth of knowledge and a wealth of experience when it comes to the Thoroughbred industry, said Doris Tummillo, owner of the Palmetto Thoroughbred Training Center. "I think he's a wonderful horseman; he trains horses the correct way," said Tummillo. "He does it at the horses' pace. He trains a horse to be a leader and not a follower."When conditioning a horse, Walling trains a horse based on its ability. He takes his time so they'll have a solid foundation, said Tummillo. Walling places an emphasis on ground work, so the horses will be well-mannered and well-behaved to go to the racetrack. The horses will be ready to run when they get to the track, said Tummillo, who said Walling is a quality horseman who pays great attention to detail. "He wants to give the horses a solid foundation so that they'll have a successful career," said Tummillo. "He's thinking about their life after the racetrack, so the horses will be able to go on and have a second career. Dan does a lot of the work with the horses in the stall. Our goal is to get the horses three weeks away from a race when they go to a racetrack."Contact Ben Baugh at email@example.com.
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