Cooling Out With ... Diane Snow
Diane Snow, who owns the Portland-based Gallops Saddlery, is the mother of top-ranked junior event rider Lizzie Snow, a recent O’Neal School graduate. Diane splits her time between Portland and Southern Pines.
Q: Did you grow up with horses?
A: My dad played polo, but I started riding when I was 11 at La Jolla Farms in San Diego.
Q: Talk about your first horse.
A: We moved to Newport, R.I. — my dad was a Navy pilot — and I started taking lessons there. My instructor sold me a 4-year-old, off-the-track thoroughbred named Dundee.
Q: When did you start competing?
A: I’d done little schooling shows in San Diego and Rhode Island, but when we moved to Portland, Ore., I started doing Pony Club. I was riding other people’s horses and started eventing. The eventing scene was pretty light in Oregon in the late 1970s, but we’d drive down to the Pebble Beach Horse Trials and show there.
Q: What was the highest level you evented?
A: My horse, Brooks, was entered at intermediate, but the event was cancelled because of fires, so we never officially did it. Brooks is 26 now and retired at a great place in Oregon.
Q: Thoroughbred or warmblood?
A: Thoroughbred ... with a nice brain.
Q: When did you start Gallops?
A: I started the company when Lizzie was six months old. There was a small tack store in town, and the owner was retiring and wanted to sell it. I didn’t want to buy that tack store, and I didn’t want to go back to my job — I was working at city hall. So my partner and I opened our own tack store.
Q: What made you (and Lizzie) move to Southern Pines?
A: Rachel Jurgens (a Southern Pines event rider) and John Williams. Rachel was Lizzie’s mentor in Oregon, and she had ridden in clinics with John at Rachel’s farm. Lizzie came out here in 2007 and was supposed to stay for six months. Here we are three years later. She really wanted to stay and go to school here, and as far as eventing, in Oregon there’s no place to hack and you’re in an indoor arena most of the time. Eventing’s her passion, and my husband (Dan) and I figured, well, we created the situation. And it’s a good thing Dan likes golf.
Q: Are you a “show horse mom?”
A: I have resigned myself to the fact that I am now a horse show mom. It took me a long time to come to grips with the fact that I’m not competing anymore. A few years ago, I was the one doing the hardcore competing, and Lizzie was just along for the ride on her pony, Peter Pan. I had to change my way of thinking, which was totally fine ... and good timing. I love going to shows with Lizzie and grooming her horses. I love it.
Q: How many horses do you have in Southern Pines?
A: Four, Joey (Joe Cool, Lizzie’s retired event horse), Pop Star (Lizzie’s current upper level horse, a 13-year-old thoroughbred gelding), and two young event horses, both thoroughbreds — Franklin Square (7) and Enzo (5).
Q: If you could own any horse in history, it would be...
A: Pop Star! I admire all the big-name horses, and I’m sure someone would answer “Secretariat” or “Man O’War.” But I’m just happy with every single horse we’ve had.
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