It only takes one look down the spotless barn aisle, with leather halters and lead chains hung perfectly in alignment, to see that the world of Kent Farrington is an exacting one. Not many people are allowed to take in that particular view down the barn aisle, but on behalf of Rolex, the World’s #5 ranked show jumping rider invited a select group of media to his stables in Wellington, Florida on January 29th for breakfast and a behind the scenes tour of his top operation.
The day kicks off Rolex’s sponsorship of the CSI5* competition at the nearby Winter Equestrian Festival, in which Farrington will be taking part. Just after the morning’s tour ended, he headed straight to the show to prepare for the afternoon’s Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup, Round IV.
Farrington’s home base for five months of each year is this gorgeous home base of palm trees and low slung barn aisles, all of which he designed himself from the ground up. It’s a Shangri-la on two adjacent properties that span 13 acres, a sizeable spread in the highly sought after Palm Beach Point area of Wellington.
Twenty stalls house 20 horses, both Farrington’s top grand prix mounts, and the horses of his students. Two arenas, one smaller and used for gymnastic exercises, one bigger and set for coursework, a grand prix field and galloping track all provide ample room to ride. Farrington, always candid about his program and training process, explained his process for accomplishing the year’s goals, chief among them, capturing The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
“It’s sort of like the Triple Crown of racing, it’s hard to accomplish, but it’s a great goal to achieve,” Farrington says. “If you have a horse like Voyeur, who can compete in a lot of different venues, you can have a chance.”
Voyeur is currently enjoying a long break at home in Wellington; from his stall he can gaze eastward out over the lush grand prix field, and enjoy the morning sun as it rises before he goes on a light hack for the day. Farrington plans to show Voyeur only at the end of the WEF season in order to get him legged up for the spring and summer season, namely, to compete in July’s Aachen CHIO and the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.
Associations with Rolex are a high point for anyone in the sport, whether you’re a rider of Farrington’s stature, or a member of the media graciously invited to enjoy a Rolex-sponsored breakfast at a stunning Wellington farm.
“It’s an honor for me to be named an ambassador to Rolex, it makes me feel like a top professional athlete,” Farrington said. “Rolex has been in equestrian sport for over 50 years, and they’re partners with some of the great riders of our sport, and the great venues of our sport. To be a part of that team is really special to me.”
Not that there’s any question that Farrington wasn’t already one of the sport’s best. As he walks through his barn and passes through to the tackroom, it is clear that being the best includes having the best possible organization, from the people on the team, to the equipment hanging ever so perfectly on the walls.
“I have the stable organized for 20 horses: I have 20 saddles, and 20 places for the horses’ boots, blankets, their show bridle and work bridle depending on what they’re doing each day,” he says of the wood-paneled tack room with interconnected rooms.
“I’ve had some very difficult horses in my career, and some horses that other people didn’t want to ride, so I have a huge collection of bits. I always had a million bridles, and whenever I had a horse I couldn’t ride, I’d always be trying to think of a new way to make him go better or a different bridle to try.”
“I decided I’d have my own tack shop at home, and find every bit that I could and have it organized in a way that I could find it when I need it,” Farrington continues. As he explains this, he’s standing in front of a floor to ceiling wall of bits that hang behind a hidden, paneled door. There’s preparation, and then there’s Kent Farrington.
Before he heads to “work” for the day over at the horse show, Farrington pauses in the stable’s sizeable lounge, where leather couches and a full kitchen look out over a lawn and the arena. Dozens of awards coolers, trophies, ribbons and photos line the walls and fill a hardwood cabinet. Does any one award have special meaning to him above the others, I ask?
“I don’t really think about the trophies on the wall,” Farrington responds. “I’m always looking to the future, so I look more at the empty spaces on the wall (than the trophies), and I try to imagine what I want to fill them with.”
In that statement, Farrington proves just how he is a study in the results of hard work and focus. For every perfect detail, there is another to check up on. For every trophy, there are more that are still beyond reach. For now…
Source: Erin Gilmore/Noelle Floyd.com