(first appeared in the February 2017 issue of The Equiery)
When The Equiery’s managing editor sat down with McDonough School junior Daisy Fenwick to talk about her many 2016 equestrian accomplishments, the young rider was looking very professional, having just gotten back from her morning job working for steeplechase trainer Cyril Murphy at champion owner Irv Naylor’s Maryland farm in Reisterstown, which happens to be just across the street from the Fenwick’s farm. Over the course of the next hour, Daisy answered questions about the various awards she won in 2016 and the horses that she won these awards with. She talked about growing up in a racing and foxhunting family. And as the conversation unfolded, it was clear that this 16-year-old is a professional in the making and in many ways already possesses the qualities of an experienced horsewoman.
Jonathan Kiser Memorial Scholarship
Maryland Steeplechase Association
Q. How did you get started racing?
A. I was watching my friends race ponies and thought it looked super cool. I had done some leadline races when I was really little, and then did the medium and large ponies.
Q. What is it like having a whole family who races and foxhunts?
A. It is really fun to go foxhunting with my whole family. My brother Tommy and I ride together often. Now that he is getting older, he can ride some of my horses too, so we help each other a lot. My mom [Amy] chips in and rides for me if I have too much homework, which is really nice. It’s cool to be able to go out on a ride all together on snow days and such. And winning Foxhall in 2015 as a family with my dad [Peter] and brother was really special!
Q. Tell us a little about the horse you raced in 2016, My Lord.
A. He is my dad’s foxhunter and the first time I raced him was at the Grand National in 2015. That race is named after my grandfather and my dad is on the board. We finished second but won it the next year, which was really neat. In 2016 we won all our races.
Q. Did you race any horses last season other than My Lord?
A. I started working for Cyril Murphy as soon as I was old enough, cooling out horses and such. Eventually I got to start galloping for him and this year he let me ride Ebanour at Shawan in a flat race. That was very special and I feel really honored that they let me race him.
Q. Did you have any idea that you might win the Kiser Scholarship?
A. No! I had no clue! And even when they started giving the speech about who won, I still didn’t think it was me. I always thought the kids who won that award were so cool and really looked up to them. It is very exciting to have won it, too.
Q. What was it like to work with Todd Wyatt through the scholarship?
A. I got to work with him for a week and it was cool to get on the different type of horses he has in all the different levels of training. I even got to work Prime Prospector over timber.
Q. What are your goals for 2017?
A. I’m not sure if racing is what I want to do full time but I do want to race a bunch this year. I will be working mornings at the Naylor’s while Cyril and Rawnaq go overseas. That is really exciting and I was able to work it out with my school to miss first period so I can gallop and work before classes. I feel really lucky that they are giving me this opportunity. They could have chosen anyone else but picked me!
Q. What advice would you give to other kids coming up through the pony racing ranks who might be looking up to you now?
A. I’ve been really lucky to have really nice horses and think that being a good sport is much more important than winning. You need to have a good attitude and work hard.
Laura Pickett Excellence in Horsemanship Award
Washington International Regional Horse Show
Q. How did you get into the horse show world?
A. I did leadline at some local shows and then did some of the medium pony classes with Julie Wright. I wasn’t always very good on the flat but typically won the jumping classes so as I got older, I started to just do jumpers. We got a pony from Mark Beecher named Loughnatousa Squire that I got to show at Devon and Pony Finals and the last two winters I’ve gone down to Ocala or Wellington and leased horses to do the lows and highs and now train with Miranda Scott who is great and understands my time constraints.
Q. Has riding at WIHS been a goal of yours?
A. Well, I’ve always been dying to show at WIHS! And I don’t really always have the time to show enough to qualify so I go to the regional show just hoping I might actually win and get to show at Washington, too. It hasn’t happened yet but I keep trying!
Q. What horse did you ride at the WIHS Regional show?
A. B’Wareofthedark is my mom’s foxhunter. He is a really nice off-the-track Thoroughbred that we brought along ourselves. He’s nice for a foxhunter but doesn’t have that fancy hunter movement. It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped and in our first course we were eliminated about halfway around and then I couldn’t get him over the first fence in our second course!
Q. Why do you think you were selected as the Laura Pickett award winner?
A. I think I stood out because I didn’t get upset when my horse stopped. Plus I do my own work. We don’t have a team of grooms or anything like that.
Q. Will you be doing more jumpers this year?
A. The jumper shows don’t always fit into our schedule so I will probably do more racing instead.
Junior Thoroughbred Makeover Trainer
Retired Racehorse Project
Q. How did you select a horse for the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium?
A. At first I was going to take Decoy Daddy, who Cyril trained. That would have been super cool since he was nominated for an Eclipse Award and has won so much. We had him and another possible Makeover horse out together and Decoy got hurt just two months before the Makeover. I thought I wouldn’t be able to go at all but then Joe Davies said he had a horse he wanted to sell that I could try. That was Peace Party.
Q. Tell us about Peace Party.
A. He’s really big and really slow. I didn’t get to ride him a lot before we left for Kentucky and that worried me a little but he was so great when we got there. Really well behaved and I was super happy with him. Because we didn’t have a lot of time to get him ready, Kentucky ended up being his first show ever! I had entered Decoy in the 3’ jumpers class and the foxhunter class so that is what Peace Party went in. Erica Gardner helped me a lot getting him ready and was able to come with us, thank goodness! She helped me school him right up to the day we left. It was a true team effort!
Q. How did the Makeover go?
A. I was a little worried about the 3’ fences but he is so big that 3’ ended up being a good choice for him. For the field hunters, he hacked beautifully. In the mock hunt he reared a little at the start but was good. The fences were smaller, too. In the individual part, he didn’t want to go through the water, even though he did it great in the group. That knocked us down a bit.
Q. What was it like being a junior trainer at the competition?
A. It was kind of intimidating to be a junior in the show jumping ring and there were very few junior foxhunting trainers. There was a lot of pressure overall but it really didn’t matter what your age was. Sometimes juniors beat the pros and other times the amateurs won. It really was an even playing field, which was cool.
Q. Would you do the Makeover again?
A. Yep! We are already planning on going and my brother Tommy might take a horse, too. We have two horses right now who are eligible. We probably will do the jumpers and foxhunters again.
Daisy and Peace Party ended up ranked 32nd out of 61 entries in show jumping and 14th out of 26 entries in the field hunters. She was the fifth highest placed junior trainer in show jumping and second highest junior trainer in field hunters.
©The Equiery 2017