Aiken real estate agent and lifelong equestrian Barb Gould Uskup grew up competing with the late Bruce Duchossois at horse demonstrates during the Midwest and about the state.
Nowadays, Uskup honors her late good friend as a sponsor of the once-a-year Aiken Charity Horse Exhibit at Bruce’s Discipline, named in honor Duchossois, at 931 Powderhouse Street S.E. Structured by the Aiken Horse Present Park Basis, the Aiken Charity Horse Show I will be May perhaps 3-7, and the Aiken Charity Horse II will be Could 10-14. The occasions are totally free and open to the general public. For much more information, check out aikenhorsepark.org.
Devoted to Duchossois’ memory, the reveals more than the “last few decades have translated into $150,000 dispersed to a range of area and nationwide charities consultant of Bruce’s pledge to maximize community awareness of and aid for the prevention and elimination of the abuse of small children, aged and abused folks and for the prevention of cruelty to animals,” according to the Horse Park’s internet site.
“He was normally a great philanthropist,” Uskup explained of Duchossois, a distinguished member of Aiken’s and the nationwide equine group who purchased the 66 acres now recognised as Bruce’s Subject in 2000. Formerly Ford Conger Discipline, the home was property to the Aiken Steeplechase.
Whilst he by no means observed it thoroughly recognized, Duchossois’ desire “was to nurture the residence into South Carolina’s leading equestrian facility nonetheless maintain its historic character,” in accordance to the Horse Park’s site, in addition to preserving it from residential development.
“His thought was to bring back our very good previous days of horse demonstrates,” Uskup stated. “Horse displays have grow to be virtually like a enterprise, just about like a factory these times. He desired to imagine the aged-fashioned horse present where by you experienced a sensible number of horses. You competed, and at the finish of every working day, there was time to kick back again and have a cocktail with your fellow rivals.
“There was a occasion just about every night or a reception. There was a excellent exhibitors occasion, great entertainment, hospitality, great prizes, excellent trophies. He desired to make it historic and seriously type of a family-oriented horse display relatively than a manufacturing unit.”
Uskup mentioned the Aiken Horse Demonstrate Park Foundation has done a very good occupation of knowing Duchossois’ dream.
“I choose my hat off to the organizers since I consider they’ve finished a good position,” she stated. “They do a good work with hospitality. They do a good work with their sponsors.”
But Uskup, who moved to Aiken about 20 years for the polo, supports all of Aiken’s assorted equestrian functions. She grew to become even additional involved in sponsorships soon after having again into the genuine estate enterprise about 5 decades ago. Right before moving to Aiken, she sold true estate in Chicago, focusing on horse farms.
“I observed this as an option to current market myself and current market my organization,” explained Uskup, whose brand is Find Aiken Households and Farms at FindAikenHomesandFarms.com and is certified by the state of South Carolina by the Carolina Serious Estate Company.
“I assistance all of the horse displays. I assist a whole lot of the 3-day event facilities. I assistance polo clubs. I very a great deal have my hand in a very little little bit of anything horse relevant due to the fact my specialty in serious estate is horse qualities.
“My slogan is: I sell properties and farms to horse persons. That’s my ideal. I’m the horse assets expert and the horse folks specialist. Horse people are their own breed. No matter no matter if we do Western horses, whether we do English horses, no matter whether we do any discipline, we’re all the very same breed. We all like our animals, and our life revolve all-around our horses and the life style. That is what Aiken is superb for: we encourage and support the equestrian way of life.”
Uskup sponsors most of the hunter-jumper exhibits at the Aiken Horse Park. She also does sponsorships for J.P. Godard’s Equs Gatherings, Bob Bell’s corporation and the Split Rock Leaping Tour, which all host gatherings at Bruce’s Subject. She also sponsors other area horse present venues, like Highfields Occasion Heart and Steady Look at.
“The listing goes on and on,” Uskup said. “Supporting the horse athletics is surely a good way to give back again to the neighborhood, but it is also an superb way for me to acquire recognition. I just obtained a cellphone connect with more than the weekend from a youthful man who stated I see your jumps at all the horse exhibits I go to, so when I wanted to converse to somebody about real estate, I named you.”
Offering horse houses is a natural suit for Uskup, who grew up in Illinois. She began driving when she was just 2 a long time old.
“My father put me on a pony named Cookie, who was a tiny Shetland pony who he bought for me for my 2nd birthday,” Uskup reported. “It actually fostered a lifelong passion for horses.”
For numerous decades, Uskup targeted on hunter-jumper horse display competitions and rose to the major of the sport, competing in key Grand Prix and Planet Cup qualifiers.
Following marrying a polo player in the late ‘90s, Uskup embraced polo.
“I jumped from the demonstrate jumping earth to polo and have experienced a excellent time in polo, made wonderful friendships as I did in the exhibit jumping entire world,” she mentioned. “I’ve had some big victories and gained some really, extremely prestigious tournaments.”
Uskup reached results in the two clearly show leaping and polo as an novice, not a specialist.
“I’ve led a genuinely privileged daily life in the equestrian world in each display jumping and in polo. You appear all-around and see all the silver and all these trophies,” she mentioned, referring to trophies that fill the bookcases in her office environment. “They’re a blend of horse present trophies and polo trophies. I’ve been fortunate enough in show leaping to do it myself and in polo to be capable to be portion of a winning staff.
“I was an beginner who had the privilege to have horses that were superior more than enough to compete at these degrees and have quite great coaching and be associated with some truly fantastic folks.”
Antonio Galvan is a single of those people individuals. A native of Colombia, he is a previous 8-intention polo player.
“He helps me with my horses now and has been my teammate for the final 20 years of polo,” Uskup explained. “He, in his heyday, competed in the Queen’s Cup and all kinds of astounding tournaments all above the earth. He actually gained the Queen’s Cup just one calendar year. In simple fact, there’s a photo of him with Queen Elizabeth presenting the trophy. It offers you chills to see it.”
Uskup however plays polo and competes, but she additional her involvement now has develop into “less of a lifestyle and a tiny little bit extra of a interest.”
“Unfortunately my actual estate career doesn’t make it possible for me to dedicate as substantially time to the horses as I’d like, but I test to make a issue to trip nearly each and every working day. And I invest a whole lot of time with my young children,” she explained, referring to the 9 polo ponies in her barn.
And, while she does not compete in demonstrate jumping, Uskup supports her mates who do and compete in other equestrian events.
“I sponsor and go to numerous of the competitions I have buddies in each solitary willpower and I like to go out and check out them compete,” she stated. “With my extensive track record in show leaping, it is really enjoyment to see some of my buddies in eventing and to be equipped to assist them. I keep lively in fairly a lot all of the diverse disciplines just by associations and by folks.”
Uskup said the industry for equine homes “has hardly ever been stronger in Aiken than it has been in the very last 3 a long time.” She reported the market was identical to when she and her previous partner moved to Aiken and virtually no horse houses were being accessible.
“Now, we’re experiencing the very same situation,” she mentioned. “If you’d talked to me five or 6 yrs back, we had an 18-12 months provide of subdivision horse attributes that were being already crafted. Now you simply cannot even uncover them. It is just mad.”
Becoming in a position to perform remotely, a byproduct of the pandemic, and World-wide-web accessibility is bringing a lot of horse lovers to Aiken.
“Many of my clients who go down in this article are definitely psyched since it utilised to be they could come for only two or three weeks to contend or for one match or for a thirty day period or for two horse exhibits or on the weekends,” Uskup explained. “Now, they can actually stay right here and be right here all the time, and they’re delighted for the reason that they can perform from house and get pleasure from the activity they love.”
The moderate wintertime climate, as it has for additional than a century with the unique Winter Colony, also attracts equestrians to Aiken.
“If you have at any time had a horse up north, it’s not pleasurable,” Uskup mentioned. “But, search at today. It is an definitely stunning working day, and still in Chicago, a working day like today would be uncommon in April. Most of the time in Chicago, we didn’t even get to have our initially polo follow until mid-Could or early June. While right here, we’re taking part in tournament polo. In exhibit leaping, you’re trapped in an indoor arena right up until June. It’s just a blessing to have this amazing weather.”
Aiken, with other sights such as Hitchcock Woods and a flourishing arts local community, has turn into an equine melting pot, Uskup explained.
“It doesn’t subject what you do with your horses. We all perform good in the identical sandbox. Which is what I explain to men and women,” Uskup said. “Go to the Willcox on a Tuesday night. You will come across equestrians of every single flavor. Go any place in this town, and you’ll uncover equestrians. We all have the commonality of that creature termed the horse.”
Aiken also provides equestrian pursuits for absolutely everyone: rivals, retirees, semi-retirees, the younger and the not so younger.
“That’s 1 of the factors which is so incredible about Aiken,” Uskup explained. “You can decide on to just be a spectator, or you can opt for to compete or be a portion of any equestrian self-discipline at what ever stage you want. The place else in the entire world can you do that? Nowhere.
“The horse is the great equalizer. I have good friends who are in their teenagers, and I have buddies who are in their 80s. Exactly where else in the world can you do that, and in what other sport do you see that? Maybe golf. You increase younger in Aiken. You really do not grow previous in Aiken.”