Freehold, NJ --- Dan Daley is giving new meaning to the term “All Around Horseman.”
Daley, 54, competes as a trainer/driver at Pompano Park in Florida and is also prepping nine young horses for the New York Sire Stakes circuit at the South Florida Training Center. In the afternoons, he’s pointing for a debut on the showjumping circuit.
|photo courtesy of Ann-Mari Daley|
|Dan Daley and Danny Boy practice their showjumping.|
“A friend of mine gave me a big warm blood,” says Daley. “I don’t know what his real breeding is, but he jumps pretty good and he’s 11 years old. His name is Danny Boy. It’s something to do in the afternoon -- to play.”
Daley, who has more than 1,000 driving wins and $11.2 million in purse earnings, has been riding most of his life. He may have ridden more miles than he’s trained.
“I never took lessons or anything, but I used to ride a lot when I was young,” he says. “I rode from New York to California when I was 17 as part of the Great American Horse race.
“That was the year of the Bicentennial; we rode from New York to California. That was fun, a good way to see the country.”
Daley started the trip with two horses; he rode one and towed one until one went lame in Ohio. Then he alternated between running and riding for the duration.
“I had a pair of appaloosas; we finished in the middle of the pack. I rode bareback quite a bit; I was a good rider then.”
Daley has his eye on amateur classes for riders over age 50 in south Florida late in 2013 and early 2014. He’s taken the first lessons of his life recently.
“There are things I don’t know about it, but I’m improving,” he says.
He’s taken some lessons and Danny Boy is getting some schooling from former Grand Prix rider Dan Kelly.
Daley has also progressed from jumping homemade jumps at his stable to ones made by his brother-in-law.
“My wife (Ann-Mari) got a little mad because I was making my own jumps. I had a trailer jump where I used the fender of the trailer on one side and a barrel on the other. Then I was jumping the sawhorses along the shed row.”
Danny Boy the horse will need surgery this summer and then Daley will point him toward competition late this year. He expects to ship him north with the racehorse stable.
“He has a paralyzed flapper and needs throat surgery,” says Daley. “I’m going to get it done this summer and then get him fit and be ready in the fall when we come down here next year for the (showjumping) classes.”
Daley is also a recently licensed Racing Under Saddle rider and hopes to compete in those races this year.
Not content with three equine pursuits, he is trying to rejoin a fourth. He is hoping to add to his existing one polo horse, so that he can resume playing polo, as well.
“You have to have so many horses to play polo,” says Daley. “I’d like to have two, because I need to do this a few times a week to get better at polo. Can you tell my wife about that?” he said with a laugh.