Wood’s wintering in Aiken proves beneficial for his horses

  • Posted: Monday, March 4, 2013 12:34 a.m.

It will be a busy spring for upper level eventer Ryan Wood. The horseman is pointing toward a CCI** late in the spring at Bromont International Equestrian Park in Bromont Quebec, Canada, June 6-9, and will do so with two horses, an off the track Thoroughbred gelding named Frankie and a Warmblood gelding called Fernhill Classic.

Both Frankie and Fernhill Classic are moving up to the intermediate level and will find themselves doing two CCI**s, Bromont and Fair Hill later in the year, providing them with a good base before stepping up to advanced, said Wood.

Frankie is a very good jumper, extremely athletic and careful, excelling on the cross country course and in the stadium jumping arena. However, he’s not the biggest mover on the flat, but is very consistent and rideable.

“Frankie is a 16 hand Thoroughbred that we got from Nicole Quinn in Aiken about three years ago,” said Wood. “We brought him along. He’s just an athlete of a horse. He won a half-million dollars on the racetrack, and retired sound, so we’re giving him a new career, and hoping he can earn the same amount for me.”

Fernhill Classic is a big, extravagant moving horse, said Wood. The Thoroughbred and Warmblood cross was brought out of Ireland, and has been eventing for about two years. The 16.2 hand gelding is a good jumper, great cross country, is super scopey and bold, but a bit green, said Wood.

“He’s going intermediate already,” said Wood. “We just need to establish him as an upper level horse for the rest of the season. He’ll be ready to go advanced this time next year.”

Frankie and Classic will do one more horse trials this spring at Morven Park in Leesburg, Va., March 30-31, said Wood.

“I’ll then go to a CIC** at Fair Hill in April, and then we’ll do two or three more horse trials before Bromont,” said Wood.

The horseman came to the United States in 2008 from Australia, spending his first winter in Ocala, Fla. before going north with upper level eventer Bruce Davidson, and spending eight months with him in Unionville, Pa.

“I got a job working with Phillip Dutton,” said Wood. “I stayed with him for over three years, and I’ve just gone out on my own.”

Wood is based in the winter at the Bridle Creek Equestrian Community at Curran and Margy Simpson’s Victoria Farm.

“It’s named after our favorite Australian beer,” said Wood. “We thought it was a cool name to call the farm.”

The opportunity to train in Aiken has been beneficial for Wood and his horses, and there are a number of advantages to being based in Bridle Creek.

“It’s a huge leg up being down here,” said Wood. “It’s great being next door to the big hitters, Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin, and we’re all sort of working and training together, and it’s a great time to focus on yourself and your horses, and get a good start to the season.”

Wood has a few horses he’ll take to the Pine Top Farm Spring Horse Trials on March 16-17, and will then start the process of moving the horses back north.

“We have 20 horses at the farm, and we’ll have to do it in a couple of sections,” said Wood. “We’ll send a load, get set up back in Pennsylvania, and then send the rest up.”

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