The Aiken Horse - Five Henry Stables


The Aiken Horse - Five Henry Stables
Volume 11 • Number 5
April-May 2016
Five Henry Stable
Jumping into the Horse Business
by Pam Gleason, photography by Gary Knoll
the property that would be Five Henry, formerly a polo farm, and
n April 14 and 15, 2016, McLain Ward, the two-time Olympic
started converting it into a jumper stable. He also learned as much as he
Gold Medalist, will come to Five Henry Stable in Aiken to conduct
could about all aspects of the horse world, by reading, asking questions
a showjumping clinic. McLain, who at 40 has been at the top of the
and consulting with top horsemen, including Scott Keach, a member
game for many years, rarely gives clinics, and getting him to come to
of the Australian showjumping team who is based in Florida over the
Aiken is something of a coup, especially in 2016, an Olympic year.
winter. Through Scott and other connections, Hugh became acquainted
“We were looking for someone to give a clinic,” says Jane McDonald,
with horse professionals in Europe. In his first year in business, he
who owns Jane McDonald Training and Sales. Jane’s husband, Cameron
has made a number of overseas trips and imported about half a dozen
Mac Leod, is the manager and trainer at Five Henry, and Jane herself
horses. Three are currently in Wellington where they are in training with
used to work for McLain Ward. “Someone suggested that I call McLain,
Scott Keach and Kurt Martin (an event rider), while the rest are at Five
and so I did, and he said okay,” she explains simply.
Henry. There, they are trained and conditioned by Cameron Mac Leod,
The two-day clinic is for 24 riders, and it sold out almost immediately
who competes in showjumping and eventing. One horse, imported
after it was announced, even with the relatively steep $1000 rider’s fee.
from Ireland, spent the winter eventing under Jane McDonald and
But perhaps this is not surprising: being able to learn from a horseman
shows promise in that discipline.
of Ward’s caliber is a rare opportunity indeed.
Hugh is a student of
The McLain Ward clinic is the first
and has developed
public event put on by Five Henry
a keen eye for a horse with
Stable, which was established in March
potential in the show ring,
2015. Five Henry is located just off
which complements his highly
Route 302 in the middle of the polo and
developed skills as a businessman
eventing corridor east of Aiken. It has
and entrepreneur. Although
a large arena with professional Martin
Hugh’s intention was always to
Collins footing, a set of show-ready
select horses suitable for amateur
jumps, and a grass derby field complete
riders, at least one of the jumpers
with schooling and competition banks.
he picked out has Grand Prix
Set on about 20 acres, the facility
potential and is remaining in
includes an attractive, breezy stable and
training with Scott Keach to
ample turnout for the horses that live
continue his development.
Buying and selling horses can
These horses are a small collection of
be a tricky proposition, and Hugh
well-started as well as seasoned jumpers
recognizes that. “I was and am very
and eventing horses imported from
Above and left: Cameron Mac Leod with Aagaardens El Capitan (Chief ), a
humble about the horse business,”
Europe. Hugh Lynch, who owns Five
6-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, currently for sale at Five Henry.
says. “I think it will make you that
Henry, selected them specifically for
way pretty quick if you aren’t. I’ve got an analytical background and
amateur riders, and imported them to sell on the American market.
I have taken a methodical approach to learning. I know there are no
Hugh, who lives in Charlotte, N.C. with his family, is a fairly recent
guarantees, but I try to mitigate the risk with thorough vetting, proper
convert to the horse business. His career has included many years
care and putting the horses in the right place for them.”
of working at Bank of America, followed by successful ventures in
“We’re not trying to be big,” Hugh continues. “Our goal is to find
real estate and other businesses. His wife Stephanie is the co-owner
good horses that we like, with the idea that someone else will like them
of an investment firm that manages money for college endowments
too. The first thing I always ask myself when I am looking at horses is
and foundations. As Hugh explains it, he got into horses through his
what would I let my daughter ride? For an amateur horse, you want all
daughter, Avery, a 14-year-old eighth grader who rides at Fairytale
the scope, but you also have to ask yourself is he careful, does he have a
Farms in Charlotte.
good mind? Reputation is very important to us, and we hope always to
“She started riding and showing when she was 8, and she got very
stay on the high road and to do things right.”
serious about it,” says Hugh. “So I got interested in it, too. I got very
Cameron Mac Leod will be competing Five Henry horses in the
interested in the horse side of things, and pretty soon I began to think
classes at Tryon, N.C. this spring before coming back home for
about starting a business.”
the Aiken Spring Classic at Highfields and the Aiken Charity Horse
Although Hugh did not have in-depth experience in the horse show
Show at Bruce’s Field. Meanwhile, Avery Lynch is doing well on the
world before, he did grow up on a farm in western Virginia where his
hunter circuit in Charlotte and will be going to Devon in May. The
family raised beef cattle. He had ridden Quarter Horses when he was
Lynch family seems to be on an upward path in the horse world.
young, and he was comfortable being on a farm and in the country. He
And the name Five Henry? Where does that come from?
and Stephanie discovered Aiken a few years ago when Avery started
“Five Henry Street was the address of a house I lived in when I was in
coming down to show at Highfields.
in Virginia,” say Hugh. “College is a special time. I lived there
“We love Aiken,” says Hugh. “It’s a charming town and there is such a
with six really good friends; we have a reunion every five years, and we’re
robust horse community here, we thought it was a good place to set up
always remembering Five Henry Street and all the things that went on
shop.” Hugh says he was particularly impressed by the fact that there are
there. So when I was looking for a name, that is what I thought of.”
so many different competitive opportunities in Aiken that it is possible
to put a lot of show miles on a horse very quickly. “We love Highfields,
For more information about Five Henry Stable or for information about
and we’re very excited about the new shows at Bruce’s Field. Now that I
auditing the McLain Ward clinic on April 14-15, visit the website www.
see how strong the eventing world is here, I am interested in that, too.”
After making the decision to base his business in Aiken, Hugh found
The Aiken Horse April-May 2016
April-May 2016
The Aiken Horse