By Nina Fedrizzi
People tend to think about the work of life most of the time; a slow march of days and weeks that, if you are lucky, eventually results in success. In fact, however, it is like the beating of important moments: glorious victories, unexpected disasters, and perhaps even a few minutes of fear thrown at him. Taken together, these contrasting paint particles form a complete picture of the human story.
Today, Robin Greenwood is one of the world’s most respected pony coaches. His business now, a seven-table warehouse and customer store in Grand Central Ponies in Southern Pines, NC is exactly what he wants to be. “I always carry a few of my ponies with me to show them and write them down with the kids I ride with,” she says.
But before the famous ponies and great victories, Greenwood received his own education at a horse show.
An unforgettable moment he rode into the First Green Hunter Hunting Stock on his horse, Twentieth Century Limited. The venue was the Washington International Horse Show; it was the year 1975. “I remember, to this day, standing at the gate, and there were trees and rows everywhere,” said Greenwood, then in his early 20’s. “You didn’t even see the escape. It was like a scary forest full of goblins and barrels. I just held on tight and walked away. ”
He should not have climbed into the paid category at first. His coach, Ronnie Mutch of Nimrod Farm, had been campaigning for “Florida” in the First Year of Farming season up to that point. But Mutch, who was known for his competitiveness, decided that his church in Washington was not going well. Although he and Twentieth Century Limited, who were unbeaten at the time, had found out the scam, they ended up in fourth place in their first class by phone, putting up what disappointed Muchch.
“When Ronnie came out of the ring, he took off the jacket he had just made for his mother, slammed it on the floor, and said, ‘I’ll never wear this coat again – it’s unfortunate! ‘”Said Greenwood. But he hasn’t finished yet. “In the Stake section, Ronnie decided to let the judges know how he felt. So he put me on a horse. ”
While there is a terrific lesson and class list that includes favorites Bernie Traurig and Royal Blue and Rodney Jenkins and Lost His Sock, Greenwood won Stake; the round calls for prominence in his riding career. “I’m sure the judges were like, ‘Oh, Ronnie sent us a message,'” Greenwood said. “‘ Let’s send him again! ’”
Greenwood & Twentieth Century Limited at the 1976 National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden. Photo courtesy of Robin Greenwood
Robin Greenwood. Photo by Allie Conrad
At the age of 13, continuing to educate himself, Greenwood volunteered to take over the stall-cleaning jobs on a $ 500 horse he rode to a local stable in Cape Cod, MA. A few years later, when the kraal went up for sale, he and his 21-year-old friend in the kraal took over the management of the 20 store itself. Her father, who made her daughter happy as a budding entrepreneur, paid $ 500 for the first month so that Robin and his friend could go on business together.
While far from achieving it, experience has given Greenwood a set of skills that he will call several times in the years to come: bathing, cutting, and tying horses, and finally, driving a trailer. He started attending moderate shows in the Boston area, where he said, “he would stand three times when he jumped first – or fall. It was one of two.”
With the help of her mother, the aspiring rider bought her first sensitive horse at the Olympic Games for Jimmy Day in Canada. When the sender arrived a few weeks later, he gave Thoroughbred, also known as Talisman, a warning. “He said,” Be careful, this is the craziest horse I’ve ever had! “Said Greenwood. Studies have shown that it is accurate, and not long ago, when some friends of the horse show promised to introduce him to Ronnie Mutch, Greenwood jumped at the chance.
“I needed help. My mother, who loved horses so much, and worked hard, was very determined, ”said Greenwood, who started a four-hour drive to Nimrod Farm in Weston, Connecticut every week. The walk, with the doors open, will change his approach to the game.
“Ronnie was a wonderful teacher, and he was especially good at talented children in particular. When I arrived, I was a little worried, ”said Greenwood, who, despite many years of work experience, was only allowed to enter the Maiden, Novice, and Limit Equitation competitions. Years later, Mutch told him that, at Nimrod, they would make fun of his hutzpah. “I was able to drive a trailer, a body clip, and knit horses, but I couldn’t ride them,” he says.
Greenwood and students of the Pony Finals in 1989. Photo courtesy of Robin Greenwood
In the 1970’s, Greenwood was about to make a name for himself in the New York Railways. The first of these was Jessica Fleischmann’s Grand Central, a horse that would be Greenwood’s business name. Even today, the trainer is adamant when he talks about the Little Perfection with a big heart, which he often calls “little magic.”
“Grand Central may have been 15.3 years old taking thumbs up. He had difficulty keeping weight and had bumps in his shop, ”said Greenwood. But from the time he was bought, he was almost undefeated in the Green Hunters category for the second year in a year, ending up second in the country.
“I showed him to the amateur players, and some days were good, and some days weren’t, but the horse didn’t care. He was always the same. I still remember how his canter felt, ”he said.
During the 1974 show, Greenwood had rode with Mutch for six years, but he was still fighting for his confidence. “I was not a passenger who thought I could just get in and do it,” he said. Grand Central helped change that perception, especially after he and the demise won the Amateur Champion in Devon. It was only one of a series of victories that would have put the couple nationally. Unfortunately, their time together was short-lived.