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Middleburg:  Celebrating the Horse


About Terry Conway

For the past fifteen years I’ve been a contributing writer to a variety of national & regional magazines, prominent daily news- papers and web sites.  Currently my work appears in Blood Horse magazine, Long Island Boating World magazine, The Hunt magazine, and PA Equestrian as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Delaware County Times, the Montgomery County Newspapers and Newsworks, the website of WHYY-TV (PBS in Philly).  I am a regular contributor to JustLuxe, JustSayGo,  Gallaghers Travels  and SeeTheSouth -- topflight travel websites - and have contributed travel articles to the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association website.

While many of my articles have spotlighted the world of art and special travel destinations, many folks ask, why horse racing? Well, it was America’s first sport. Andrew Jackson kept a stable when he was in the White House (1829-1837). Only four sportswriters have won the Pulitzer Prize and all of them wrote at one time or another about horseracing. It is all about chasing dreams, the fiercest rivalries, the wildest flukes and larger-than-life personalities, equine and human. The stories are personal, often laced with humor. And, unlike most professional athletes when you show up, the horse’s connections are pleased to talk with you.


Bio RanchCreekRide

I have been a regular contributor to The Blood-Horse magazine since 2003, and I have been a racing correspondent to ESPN.com, where I focus on historical racing stories. My work also appears on America’s Best Racing - the website of the Jockey Club, Equidaily.com, and TheRacingBiz.com. I have covered racing for Pennsylvania Equestrian since 2006; wrote a Sunday column on racing for several years for the Chester County (Pa.) daily newspaper; and write about racing and the horse world for The Hunt magazine in the mid-Atlantic region.

I represented clients for nearly a decade in the areas of marketing and publicity such as the Kahunaville restaurant chain, Baldwin’s Book Barn and Thoroughbred Charities of America. In a former life I was the editor, publisher and owner of Life Sports Magazine.

Smarty XmasCard

My wife Jane, our toller retriever Smarty and I live in the historic neighborhood of Wawaset Park in Wilmington, Del. A century ago it was the state fairgrounds, home to a top-tier standardbred racetrack. Today, the grand old track can be visualized on a stroll along a pair of crescent-shaped roads that together circle the inside of the park. A couple of hitching posts still remain and occasionally, a time-worn horse shoe is dug up. Life sure does turn circles.


Photos of Terry, Riding in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, and Smarty on the homepage - by Jane Conway.



Laminitis treatment advances from an unlikely source-- Zippy the Zebra Print E-mail

Thoroughbred Racing Commentary
February 23, 2015

It was the site of the largest military engagement during the Revolutionary War. Today, the lands remain much as they were back then-- rolling open fields, ancient forests, and historic farmhouses with contented horses grazing in lush pastures.zippy1

So it's a bit jarring to spot a zebra-- half the size of a full-sized thoroughbred-- poking his striped head over a fence at Skirmish Hill Farm. Zippy arrived as a foal at Roberta (Bobbi) Odell's Chester County, Pennsylvania property in the fall of 1996. At first his strange scent and his zig-zaggy stripes startled the horses on the farm. Over time they learned to coexist, mostly by ignoring each other.

Recognized as the farm mascot and something of a local celebrity, Zippy developed an abscess of his hoof that made it impossible for him to bear weight on his right hind leg.  The farm manager alerted  the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square. Zippy was referred for lameness by the facility's field service and transported to New Bolton, one of the most sophisticated large animal and equine hospitals in the world.

When Zippy was diagnosed with laminitis, a disease that causes the hard outer part of the hoof to separate from its core, medical treatments were administered but the infection had severely compromised the hoof and it separated from the bone.  After a series of radiographs, the abscess was drained. A poultice was applied and more medications administered. Then Dr. Dean Richardson, chief of large animal surgery, head farrier Patrick Reilly, and Dr. Kim Olsen, an anesthesiologist, met to determine the correct protocol that would eventually enable Zippy to grow an entirely new hoof. It was a long and winding seven month journey that unfolded last year.

Longwood's Tropical Punch Print E-mail

February 13, 2015

Call it orchid fever. Each February Longwood Gardens brings brilliant tropical warmth and color to its four-acre temperature controlled Conservatory with "Orchid Extravaganza," celebrating the divas of the plant world.LG Orchid 1

In a month marked by frigid mornings and leaden grey afternoon skies, spectacular orchids provide a welcome respite from winter. Exotic hybrids in brilliant colors delight the senses-- more than 5,000 blooming orchids cascading over walls and twisting together in a riot of colors. An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 flower fanciers will stroll through the Conservatory to get a peek at the exotic blooms created by Longwood's orchid breeders and suppliers from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and California. Visitors can absorb the sights and scents of the sea of blooms on display daily through March 31.               

Victorian explorers and horticulturists found ways to transport and grow exotic orchids. Orchidaceae are the largest family of flowering plants on earth, and adapted themselves to live on every continent except Antarctica and in almost every conceivable habitat. Mesmerizing and seductive, some live on the ground while others scramble up shrubs, or grow perched on trees or rocks. Lianas grow up forest trees, using its roots for support.

A Voyage to Wyeth's Magical Islands Print E-mail


January 2015

Jamie Wyeth's first major retrospective is on exhibit at Brandywine River Museum of Art through April 5. Displayed in three galleries, it is the most comprehensive survey of Wyeth’s art ever to be assembled. The traveling show presents a full range of Wyeth work, consisting of  111 paintings, works on paper, illustrations, and mixed media assemblages-- collages of three-dimensional items. JWyeth 2

The works depict the landscapes of the Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine, family members, fellow artists and friends such as arts impresario Lincoln Kirstein, pop artist Andy Warhol and superstar dancer Rudolf Nureyev. And there are, of course, many, many paintings of animals and birds. These works provide an in-depth examination of the artist's stylistic evolution and showcase the diversity of an artistic career now in its sixth decade. Wyeth divides his time between homes and studios near Chadds Ford and those on Maine's Monhegan and Southern Islands. Last summer I traveled to the north country to capture the sights and feel of these magical islands.

We're queued up on the docks of the charming village of Port Clyde ready to climb aboard a 65-foot vessel, the Elizabeth Ann.  With the passengers, mail and freight loaded, we steamed out of the harbor past Marshall Point lighthouse and a series of pine and spruce-clad islands before reaching the open sea to ply our way toward Monhegan Island.

Top Equine Surgeon Doubles Up as Top-Rated Wilmington Restaurateur Print E-mail

January 2015

Is there a doctor in the house?  If you are dining at Domaine Hudson there is a good chance you will meet its new proprietor, Dr. Mike Ross.DH 1

Novices to the hospitality industry, Dr. Ross and his wife Beth purchased the popular wine bar and eatery from Tom and Meg Hudson in late 2011. The Rosses have ratcheted up the original owners' culinary tradition and elevated it to one of the best dining experiences in the state.

A man of boundless energy, a typical day for Dr. Ross starts at dawn with a drive from his Chadds Ford home to the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Chester County, one of the largest and most sophisticated equine hospitals in the world.

An internationally renowned equine orthopedic surgeon, Ross dons surgical scrubs and heads to the operating theater where a half-ton horse has been anesthetized, winched into the air and then lowered onto the operating table. Over the next hour or so Ross performs meticulous arthroscopic surgery on the horse's injured leg joint. Afterwards the animal is returned to a padded stall to wake up and begin his recovery.

Among a countless list of Ross' patients is the great thoroughbred DaHoss who won the 1996 Breeders' Cup Mile and then in 1998-- a year after Ross' surgery on DaHoss' hind leg-- came back to again win the  Breeders' Cup Mile which NBC-TV race broadcaster Tom Durkin dubbed "the greatest comeback since Lazarus." Thanks to Ross' skills over 32 years as a surgeon and professor, countless horses have returned to high-level competition or gone on to have productive lives in second careers.

Jamie's World Print E-mail

The Hunt Magazine
Winter 2014

He lives his life and paints his pictures from the vantage point of isolated islands.JWyeth Hunt1

James Browning Wyeth's connection to Monhegan Island-- ten nautical miles off the mid-Maine coast-- dates to the summers of the late 1950s when he first vacationed there with his father Andrew. Inspired by the rocky landscape, rugged cliffs and dramatic ocean vistas, he purchased the cottage and studio of famed artist Rockwell Kent in 1968. Wyeth also owns a more isolated  cottage and studio on Southern Island just off the coast of the picturesque village of Tenants Harbor.  

Point Lookout Farm near Chadds Ford is yet another symbolic Wyeth island.  It is named for the rocky ridge of land that crosses what was once a major Indian trail and commands a sweeping view of the tumbling Brandywine River below. An isolated property, Point Lookout has been a primary location for the artist's portraits of an odd and magical mix of animals that encompass so much of Wyeth’s personality, humor, wit and sense of wonder.

Wyeth's worlds will all be celebrated in "Jamie Wyeth," the first retrospective devoted to his career at the Brandywine Museum of Art on display from January 17 through April 5. The traveling exhibition will present a full range of work, consisting of  111 paintings, works on paper, illustrations, and mixed media assemblages (collages of three-dimensional items).  The artist's works provide an in-depth examination of his stylistic evolution while showcasing the diversity of an artistic output now in its sixth decade.

Finished works will be shown alongside the preparatory drawings and studies. They trace the wide arc of the artist's development from his childhood drawings at age three through various recurring themes inspired by the people, places, and objects that Wyeth knows so well.

It's About Time Print E-mail

The Hunt Magazine
Winter 2014

America's first soldier, George Washington, carried one. Gentlemen stored them in the watch pocket of the vest of their three-piece suits. Ubiquitous until the First World War, locomotive engineers and conductors counted on their timepieces to keep the trains running on time.Watch 4

Travel to the little Susquehanna river town of Columbia, Pa. and you will discover one of the finest collections of pocket watches at the National Watch & Clock Museum. With an entrance evocative of the Acropolis, the museum houses more than 12,500 clocks, watches, timepieces and timekeepers, a third of them on display.

The timepieces range from sundials and a replica of a 5,000-year-old Egyptian pot that measured water dripping at a steady pace to atomic clocks capable of dividing "time" into microscopic parts to Mickey Mouse watches, all housed in its 18,000 square feet space. Visitors learn why time is important and how time shapes our world.

"Humans have never been able to control the weather, the seasons, or the passage of time itself," says Noel Poirier, museum director since 2007. "Measuring time is the closest we’ll get to it. It may be the defining act of civilization. It makes planning and strategy possible. When watches and clocks became affordable for everyday people, it gave them back the control of their daily lives."

The largest such institution in the country, the museum's main focus is on 19th century American timepieces, but it also displays earlier English tall-case clocks, similar to grandfather clocks, and timepieces from Asia and Europe.

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