By Jan Westmark
Accomplished trainer Tom Wright grew up in Malibu, California, and began riding at age 4 when his parents thought it would be a great hobby for him. Tom soon got a pony for $100 that they kept in the side yard. His riding career flourished as he got older and at the age of 21 he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and opened Uphill Farm, Inc, which is now based in Wellington, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee. In 2018 Tom received the Old Springhouse Trophy for his support and lifetime commitment to the sport. The award was unanimously voted by the board of the USHJA. “This was clearly a high point in my career,” Tom said. “This award stands for a lot of hard work over 40 years in the American hunter jumper industry. I was especially humbled that it was awarded to me by a panel of my peers!”
What is your favorite thing about being a trainer?
Bringing along a great talent, either horse or rider. It’s especially fulfilling to see them recognize their true potential. Over time I have realized that this generally requires less training and more guiding them in the right direction. Less is more is usually the case.
Any favorite horse experiences over the years?
We work so hard on winning so I suppose both wins in the Derby Finals would qualify. I really enjoyed helping Martha Ingram achieve her goal of winning the A/O Challenge at Capital Challenge and consequently the year-end high score this year. A special moment will always be when Clara Lindner won dual Hunter Spectaculars — on Strapless as an amateur and High Hearts at the age of 12.
Have you had a funny horse moment that still makes you laugh?
One particular time, Joe Darby was showing The Guppy at WIHS and the horse stopped and he fell off. While The Guppy was still running around, Joey just walked out of the ring, left The Guppy and told the ringmaster that he could have him! That, or any time spent with Don Stewart!
What do you like about being part of the horse world?
I love the horses, firstly. Otherwise, I would say the close camaraderie horse people have with one another.
If you weren’t involved with the horse world, what career do you think you would have picked?
If you had a week off, what would you do?
Go to Key West, Florida
Who inspires you?
People who live their life with passion and purpose. But if I had to name people in the business, George Morris, Joe Fargis, Kenny Wheeler and Linda Hough come to mind. They are true believers in the classic training style and quality of their horses.
What talents do you feel you have?
I think I’m hyper-intuitive by nature and a bit over-sensitive. This actually works well for my business, whether training horses or coaching people.
Do you have a personal motto or catch phrase?
“Keep it simple” and “Less is more”
What’s your favorite item of clothing to wear?
A Brioni suit or a great jean jacket
What three items can usually be found in your refrigerator?
Unsweetened iced tea, Durkee’s dressing, Plugra butter
What’s your favorite meal?
Caesar salad, spaghetti Bolognese with a French baguette
What would be the best gift in the world?
A healthy life and great friends
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
What’s something everyone should try at least once?
Either trying escargot or cuddling with your best dog
How would you like people to remember you?
That I lived my life with passion, kindness and integrity