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Carter Cox’s Success Comes Through Doing Hard Work His Way

The Cox family during Carter’s recent induction into
the KY State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame

by Ann Bullard

“He’s a quiet simple man, who knows exactly what he likes ….” With apologies to those who penned similar words for My Fair Lady, that description fits Carter Cox of Woodstock Farm in
Danville, Ky. For 24 years, Carter and his wife, Karen, have been raising American Saddlebred foals and bringing along top youngsters for themselves and long-time clients.

To say they have been successful would be an understatement. Having started CH A Sweet Treat for Dr. Simon Fredricks would be enough to put many trainers’ names in the record book. Cox brought along ‘Sweetie’ and her entire family, along with horses such as CH Harlem’s Diamond Jim for Joan Hamilton, CH Biras Creek, Boutonniere, Coming Out, CH French Silk Stockings, Starmaker’s Delight … and many others too numerous to mention.

The grandson of a Knoxville, Tenn., attorney, Cox didn’t set out to be a horse trainer. His grandfather kept ponies and ‘using horses’ for him to ride around the family farm. But when he saw his first Saddlebred with a set tail and wearing a show bridle, he was hooked.

“I was enamored with it from the git-go,” Cox said of that occasion more than 53 years ago. “I started in the business working with Harold and Katherine Sherrill in Knoxville and then with David Neil at Blythewood [in Cleveland, Tenn.].”

At the same time, he was attending classes at the University of Tennessee. As Cox put it, “I was in and out of undergraduate work.”

A call from the late Temple Stephenson brought Cox to Atlanta to work for the late Jolie Richardson at Broadlands Farm. That led to a summons from the late Hall of Fame trainer Garland Bradshaw.

“Dave Clark had taken a job in Virginia and Mr. Bradshaw needed an assistant trainer,” Cox recalled. “Temple recommended me to him. I came up here and interviewed for the job in 1959.

When Cox first moved to Kentucky, he called it “the beginning of the private stable era. Danville was a center of activity. Mr. Bradshaw was going big. Mr. Ike Lanier had Grasslands Farm. Edwin Gamble owned Happy Valley Farm and George Gwinn was there also. Mr. [Ray] Thurman’s family had Kalarama but they weren’t doing much with horses. Tommy Biederman’s father [Max] had High Point Farm in Springfield, where Starheart Stonewall stood. There was not much around Simpsonville. I remember when someone moved out there, one said, ‘Where’s Simpsonville?’.”

“People showed horses to show the product of their farm,” Cox explained. “I had been up here once or twice before Lady Carrigan won her first world’s championship. I saw Wing [Commander] when he showed the last time. I thought I was going to Mecca when I came to Kentucky. It was every horseman’s dream.”

Cox calls Bradshaw, “The greatest mentor; I really admired him. When I was there, Lady [Carrigan] was in the last of her years. Sunshine Carol and Garrymore were still here. I began to learn more things about horses.”

Uncle Sam called Cox into the Army and he served a short stint in Korea. When he was discharged, he wasn’t certain what he wanted to do and reenrolled for the fall quarter at the University of Tennessee.

“Mr. Bradshaw called again. I dropped everything and came here,” he said. “I was here when he had his first barn fire where he lost Captain Denmark, several horses for the late Mrs. [Judson] Large and the late Dan Mize and some of the first Valley View Supremes.”

What memories he has of those Kentucky days. Many were with Mr. Bradshaw.

“Seeing Lady Carrigan for the first time and the night she won the stake. . . I can remember how Mr. Bradshaw rode her to the end of the ring. She was hot with steam coming off her neck and her veins popped out. He held the reins in one hand and the mare looked like she was going over the rail. . . watching the Lemon Drop Kid when he showed with Jay Utz. . . seeing Tashi Ling beat [Broadland’s] Patrician Lady,” he paused, reflecting on those days.

Cox married and moved to the West Coast. Going back to school became a priority. He completed his undergraduate degree and worked as a research assistant at the University of Arizona while completing a master’s in agricultural economics with a major in resource economics. He had finished course work for a doctorate when a phone call led him back into his life’s work.

“Jolie Richardson called and I went back to work for them in Danville,” he said, explaining his responsibilities focused on mares and colts.

“I was at a party for Yorktown during Louisville when I ran into Bud Kinney. He wanted to know if I wanted to work for a lady named Cynthia Woods. Mr. Bradshaw said she was a very wealthy woman who wanted nice horses. We loaded up and headed to the West Coast.”

While Carter Cox was growing up and focusing on the Saddlebred world, Karen Zable was doing the same in San Diego, Calif. In 1951, her father, Walter Zable, founded a ‘small’ electronics business in a local storefront. Within 20 years, the company had established itself as an international leader in such areas as aerial photo mapping and survey systems, high-accuracy positioning systems for the petroleum and offshore construction industry and its geodetic SECOR satellite surveying system, introduced long before the advent of GPS technology.

While her father was busy growing his business, his only daughter entered the world of competitive swimming. Karen explained, “I used to be a Junior Olympic swimmer and diver. After my coach married and moved to Hawaii, there was a lull in that activity.”

Karen’s father wasn’t ‘into’ horses, but her mother had always loved them. Betty Zable had ridden in Central Park when growing up in New York City.

“She was at a cocktail party and mentioned to someone she would like to buy me a horse,” Karen said. “He asked if we were interested in showing. When Mother told him it was just for enjoyment, he told her, ‘There is a fellow about 20 miles down the road who does that.’ ” Danny Daniels also had Saddle Horses.

“It worked out,” she said. “Danny was wonderful and very good at what he did. He got me thinking like a horse. A year later, there I was with my first show horse, Ace’s Genius. I was pretty successful with her, winning all over California. Then we bred her and she produced some babies for me. I learned I really enjoyed the breeding end of it.”

Karen attended a small liberal arts school, United States International University, in San Diego, where she majored “in men and the beach. It was right on the beach at a surfing spot,” she recalled. “I attended three years but couldn’t find my passion in college. Then I went to work in the public relations department for my father’s company. That was very interesting work.”

By the time Karen went to work for Cubic Corporation, it was deeply involved with the Department of Defense. The Top Gun program, based on Cubic technology, became one of her projects.

“I would go to the Scripps Miramar Air Range where F-16 and F-17 pilots went out on trials to practice top gun fighting. I was there with the fellows on the ground while they did the instruction. The Air Force range at White Sands has pods Cubic put out. They send a signal to pods on the planes,” she explained. “In the old days, an instructor would sit behind a pilot to teach him. Now the instructor could be on the ground, watch on a video screen and teach the pilot how to dog fight.”

While working with such programs was interesting, they still weren’t Karen’s passion. That was horses. One of the youngsters she raised was CH Red Hot, who was foaled in 1972.

“My trainer had retired. I was in my 20s – and typical of someone that age, I thought perhaps I should get out of the [horse] business. Then someone told me about Carter Cox, who was in Sacramento, Calif. They said he really was good with young horses. I had four or five colts at the time and decided to send them to him to sell. I would try to keep working for Cubic.

“We were really good friends for many years,” Karen said, explaining their relationship. “He was a good friend to me through my divorce.”

Karen’s horses were in Sacramento and she still considered getting out of the horse business. Then Cox took a trip to look at colts back East.

“When he got back, I asked about the best horse he saw on the trip. He told me about a two-year-old stud colt at the Ruxers. It probably was the best colt he’d ever seen.

“I don’t know what got me interested. We took a trip back East to Ruxers. Sultan’s Starmaker got me back in the business again,” Karen said. “It was full circle for me to buy a stud and try to do that end of the breeding. He has been very successful for us.”

Eventually, Cox moved from Sacramento to the San Ynez Valley. Sonny Cannon had died and his farm was sold. Cox built a successful business there. Grace Arnold and her mother, Mary McLellan Williams, were among those clients. They still have horses with Cox today.

Karen explained their move to Kentucky. “We really wanted to stay in California, but land was so expensive. In the back of my mind, I knew Carter’s heart still was in Kentucky. I told him I thought he should move back there, that he would have some success. Most of his customers agreed.

“When we got together to move, Carter had only a saddle and bridle left from his divorce,” Karen recalled. “Cynthia Wood was getting out of the business and contacted him. She called him about equipment. He only had $5,000 and she had the top of the line. She was so gracious to Carter it was unbelievable.”

“Cynthia offered us seven vehicles, a tack room, tack trunks, 21 bridles, saddles and she essentially gave it to me,” Carter said. “She sent her crew from Santa Barbara the first time we showed with her equipment to get us situated. She was very generous and helpful. I still have the old, big-wheeled buggy Diamond Lil used to pull.”

“When we moved to Kentucky, we rented a yellow U-Haul and filled it full of Cynthia’s and our equipment. Bill Walsh came and got the show horses. We leased Fritz Jordan’s former barn in Versailles and stayed there a couple of years,” Karen said.

Karen and her husband-to-be came to Kentucky in the early 1980s. The big farms, such as Dodge Stables, created horses off their breeding program.

“We moved shortly after Karen bought Sultan’s Starmaker,” her husband said, adding, “She has been a stalwart supporter and mainstay. Buying Starmaker was invaluable in our getting young horses to work. It launched things again in Kentucky.

“I always liked farming and agriculture – the retail end of the horse business,” Cox said. “I thought the mark of a good horseman was to be able to make his horses, show them and go on to the next crop. That still is principally what I do.”

Karen and Cox fit right into the Kentucky scene. In October 1983, they were married before a small group of friends at Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Ky.

“I didn’t set out to marry a horse trainer. I fell in love with and married a man who happened to be a horse trainer,” Karen said.

A little over a year later, their daughter Leslie was born. Eighteen months afterward, Betty followed. Meanwhile, Carter and Karen had decided to try to find a farm of their own. In the 1980s, the Thoroughbred industry was strong. Lexington prices were California prices.

“We could find a house with no barn, or a barn with no house,” Karen said.

Cox picked up the story. “Kenny Carson’s sister-in-law, who trained for George Gwinn, called and said the Garland Bradshaw farm was for sale. It was the same farm where I apprenticed when I worked for Mr. Bradshaw. I couldn’t believe it but came over immediately. I was able to get the farm with the help of my father-in-law. When we were closing on the house, I realized that this is the very house I sat in when I talked with Mr. Bradshaw about coming to work for him. Now we own the farm and 154-acres.”

Compared with many in Kentucky, Woodstock Farm is a relatively small training operation. There are no lessons, few owners who ride and show. As the Coxes envisioned, it is a place for young horses, a place where clients’ dreams come true.

“People don’t realize Carter never had the luxury of people buying him a top horse,” Karen said. “He has always had to sell his top stock, those that were world’s champions at two, three and four.”

Cox explained his philosophy where the horse business is concerned. “I always liked the breeding end of it, raising horses. I’m trying to emulate Mr. Bradshaw’s operation: show what you raised. That was before the time of people’s buying finished horses. Our customers have broodmares here. We try to get the youngsters shown, sold and go on to the next season. There always have been a lot of downs and ups. It’s been quite a ride. What I’m most proud of is the fact that we’ve raised the horses we’ve shown for customers such as Ella Mae Butterfield [breeder of The Lemon Drop Kid], Patty Dozier, Simon and Rhoda Fredricks, Walter Patrick, Bill Phelps, Mary Williams and John Wrather.

If you want to know about a person, ask his friends. If you want to learn about a horse trainer, ask his clients and his peers. Those who have worked with Cox in the industry gave him one of the highest honors a trainer can have: induction into the Kentucky State Fair Hall of Fame. As for his clients…

Mary McLellan Williams has been a Cox customer for only about 10 years. However, she first knew him during his California days.

“I met Carter when he was working with Bud Kinney at Cynthia Wood’s,” Williams said. “After I went to college in 1956, I didn’t show in California for a long time. I came back with Chat Nichols, Tom Moore and Dick Boettcher. I was reunited with Carter when I bought Rejoice from him as a two-year-old. She won a world’s championship [the ASHA National Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Futurity] and the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic with Carter. He then sent her out to Dick for me to show.”

Williams kept her horses on the West Coast, at least until the mares finished their show careers. About 10 years ago, she sent two of her champions, the Courageous Admiral daughters CH Button Bright and CH Courageous Flower, to Cox. CH Starmaker’s Bouquet is the best-known of Courageous Flower’s offspring. Crossed with Merchant Prince and Sultan’s Starmaker, Button Bright has produced CH Boutonniere and CH Cajin Martini.

The Button Bright family continues to produce. Sugar Pine, by CF First Night Out and out of Button Bright, won the Junior Fine Harness Mares World’s Championship last year with Cox on the lines. Williams’ daughter, Grace Arnold, showed her to good ribbons in the Amateur Fine Harness division this year. She has a weanling filly, Sugar Clone, by Sir William Robert, on the ground. Bet Your Buttons won the ASHA Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure Sweepstakes in 2002 before being retired to the broodmare band. She is the dam of the Buttoned Down, winner of the ASR Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited Sweepstakes at the 2006 All American Horse Classic.

As for the future … “I hope as long as I can stagger back and forth across the country, we will continue our wonderful, wonderful relationship,” the Seattle, Wash., resident said. “We always have such a great time together. We are in the business because we all love it so. It’s nice to be associated with people you can trust and you can feel like are your friends.”

When you look at the Woodstock client list, it’s interesting to find three Texans who made their way to Cox. Patricia Dozier and John Wrather moved after Dale Milligan’s death. Dr. Simon and Rhoda Fredricks also have experienced continuing success under Cox’s direction.

Dozier, of Houston, Texas, has been a client for more than 20 years. After Milligan’s death, she sent her horses to Tom Moore and Nelson Green. After Green’s heart attack, she sent Spanish Santana, purchased as a weanling from the late James P. Verdin, to Cox.

“I was really impressed with the way he handles young horses,” Dozier said. “One of my favorite memories is Spanish Santana winning at Rock Creek and the ASHA Three-Year-Old Futurity at Freedom Hall. Carter, Walter Patrick and I sat in the dining room at the Executive West trying to figure out what to ask for her. We all had a little too much to drink and the price kept getting higher and higher …”

After having several other performance horses with Green, Dozier returned to the Coxes’ Woodstock Farm. One of the mares she brought was the Longview Supreme daughter, Belle Supreme.

“Her daughter, CH French Silk Stockings, is another very special horse,” Dozier said. “We have two full sisters.”

She spoke of her relationship with her trainer and friends. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a cross word, that I’ve ever been upset with him or him with me. It’s so wonderful dealing with a man of such integrity. You can take Carter’s word to the bank. You can always count on him to tell you straight, to be totally honest with you. Sometimes I don’t like that, but I trust him so much that I know he’s right.

“My relationship with Karen always has been equally as warm. She’s been very kind to me. We’ve shared a lot because my daughters rode.

“Another thing you can say about them: they probably are some of the finest parents I’ve known. Both their girls are living proof of that. They’re lovely and bright and I think always have done Karen and Carter great credit. We’ve always had a great time together.”

Houstonians Rhoda and Simon Fredricks are lavish with their praise for both Carter and Karen Cox. “He’s talented, an honorable trainer who never will lie to you or do anything deceitful. Carter never will tell you anything he does not believe to be true,” Rhoda Fredricks said. “He’s entitled to an error in judgment but never willingly will tell you anything untrue. If you ask his opinion, you can rely on it.”

“When we decided to become exclusively breeders, we wanted to make a trainer change to someone who had particular expertise with bringing along young stock,” Dr. Fredricks said. “Carter had the reputation of starting horses and putting a good mouth on them. We were aware of him in the show ring and of his reputation for integrity.

“I called Carter and said ‘I’m going to make a change in my barn. I would like to move to you and for you to train my horses.’ His immediate response was, ‘You have a wonderful trainer. I do not know what transpired to cause this change, you ought to reconsider it.’

“I said I was going to make the change today and would like it to be to you. He said, ‘under those circumstances, come on.’ That’s the kind of guy he is; gentleman that he is, he tried to dissuade me.”

What successes they have had! The first horse Cox sold for the Fredricks was the Denmark’s Radiant Society daughter, CH Rejoice, the second of the mare’s Merchant Prince offspring. Simbara’s Samba Jamba and CH A Sweet Treat followed.


“When we became customers, the first foal we were expecting was Sweetie,” Fredricks said. “We decided on her name after she was foaled. Carter is a big dessert person. We were at a Louisville restaurant when he asked about dessert. They told us it came from a bakery called Sweet Treat.”

Fredricks says Cox “loves to dress nicely, but conservatively. We introduced him to Charvet ties and every year at Lexington we give him one to wear when he shows our horses. This year, we had our youngest [eight-year-old] granddaughter at Lexington. She handed him a box of ties. He thanked her graciously and later wrote her, thanking her for presenting him a tie. A busy man like that’s taking time to write a note to an eight-year-old child tells you the type of man he is.”

Simbara’s Cara Mia holds a special place in the Fredricks’ hearts. She was foaled the same year their first grandchild, Mia, was born.

“Carter told me he was going to bring her to Louisville as a yearling,” Fredricks recalled. “She was entered but he didn’t plan to show her. However, Carter took her in the ring and won the ASHA Futurity of Kentucky. It was the first and only time we won that futurity.

“I acknowledge and accept his opinion. He has so much more experience with these horses than I have. He thinks I do a lot of erudite investigation and research and allows me to lean on his experience.

“I also feel it’s unfair to ever to saddle a trainer with a breeding he doesn’t really want to train. That’s an unfair obligation. There are certain horses we’ve agreed not to breed to. What we’re trying to raise is show horses that think right and will train.”

Not that there haven’t been some heated discussions. None were more so than when both sat on boards together.

“Some of my early memories of Carter concern arguing with him at national meetings. He is a man with a great deal of passion for things he believes in,” Fredricks explained. “He had some very strong feelings about low-backed horses. He felt it was a true deformity. I was on the board of the ASHA and ultimately became vice president. From time to time, we would have a vigorous discussion with differences of opinion, he from the floor and I from the podium. We never lost respect for each other, for the other’s intellectual capacity or the honesty of the other’s opinion.”

In their 16 years of association, Fredricks says he only had one momentary bad argument with Cox. “I became harsh and he responded in kind. Within five minutes, I walked away, circled around and told him I shouldn’t have said what I said. I’m sorry. There are a lot of emotions in a breeding operation – a lot of hopes and dreams and egos of people that get involved.”

If Fredricks has one regret about his association with Cox, it is his own decision to geld The Great Gaspar, a full brother to Rejoice and Sweet Treat.

“He was 18 months old. When I came to look over our stock and looked at him, I said he was too little to be a stud. We sold him to Stonecroft. He grew and was undefeated for two years. I’m doing a mea culpa over cutting this magnificently-bred horse.

“Fortunately, that wonderful mare had one more foal, a full brother, Simbara’s Living Legend. He’s one of the biggest horses she ever produced and is very, very talented. He will stand at stud with Carter next year.”

John Wrather is the third of the Texans who has transferred his breeding operations to Danville. Like Dozier, he became associated with Cox after Milligan’s death. He and Carter have been acquainted since Cox rode horses for Dixie Lily Stables in Miami for a year. Wrather has been a customer since 1989.

“I had a very nice mare, Done With Mirrors, that got hurt. We bred her to Carter’s stud. That baby was Coming Out.”

Coming Out won the ASHA Futurity of Kentucky Yearling Championship in 1992 and tied reserve at Lexington in Two-Year-Old Fine Harness with Cox on the lines. After placing reserve at Louisville as a junior horse, he won the ASHA Four-Year-Old Fine Harness Sweepstakes, the junior stake and Fine Harness Grand Championship at the American Royal before being sold to Sam and Janet Kellett’s Alde-Farm in Georgia.

Wrather spoke of the Woodstock Farm atmosphere. “Everybody likes raising babies and everyone gets along. Carter gets the horses out as two-year-olds and sells most of them. Everyone has a good time.”

While Cox brought Wrather into the breeding business, his is the most limited scale operation. He replaced Coming Out’s dam with Elanwood’s Diamonds And Rubies, an offspring of Ravishing Ruby that his daughter, Michelle (Sissy) Wrather, rode to a world’s championship.

“She is 18 and spitting out a foal every year. Tres Tres Jolie is the last full sister to Coming Out. She has a yearling by The Mac Attack and a nice weanling by Attaché’s Royal Assets.”

Showing their horses obviously is one of the Wrathers’ best memories. Carter’s being able to take a young one out of the field and in six months have it in the show ring is impressive.

“A lot of people can’t do that,” Wrather said. “He can start one in November and have it showing in May. Until I started with Carter, I never even thought about showing two-year-olds. He gets them ready and says, ‘Let’s go show them and see what we’ve got.’”

Carter Cox, the man, is admired as much as is the trainer. Wrather calls him, “Very entertaining and easy to talk to. He and Karen both are serious, but a lot of fun to be around. They’re down to earth and easy to talk to.”

Wrather says he and Cox have never had any disagreement over anything. “He always is thinking about how to make the horses do more and be better. He still considers you the owner, you have the final say. If he tells you something, you can take it to the bank. He never tries to blow things up bigger than they are. If a horse is good, he’ll tell you. If not, he’ll say, ‘We might need to do something a little different.’ He’s just as honest as the day is long.”

While most of the public focuses on Carter Cox, those who know them best credit Karen with playing a big role in the farm’s success.

“Karen is very knowledgeable,” Wrather said. “She has been around forever and has a really good eye. He’ll have a young horse and not be too sure of something. He’ll come get her to watch it work. He listens to her opinion.”

Karen likes to take a back seat. While she does all the bookwork, a knee injury keeps her from riding.

“I support Carter and help with the customer end of the business. He asks my opinion. We confer, sometimes he takes it and sometimes he doesn’t. This is his thing. I did it because I loved it. I didn’t have to make a career of it.

“I want Carter to be out front. It’s his living. I’m a little bit of the older generation. I wanted to have a family, to be a mother. The young part of raising the girls was easy. Finding a career, the right man is hard. You can direct when they’re younger. Now you let them have their wings and fly – but you’re still their mother.”

Leslie and Betty seem to be everything their parents could have wished for. Both have had successful careers with show horses. Leslie is best known for her championship drives with the junior exhibitor roadster pony Reedann’s Old Spice. The team amassed nine world’s championships during their career.

After both Leslie and Betty joined the DeLovely crew, CH Callaway’s Capitol Reporter became Leslie’s mount. They won the Junior Exhibitor 15-17 Five-Gaited title at Lexington in 2002, and followed that with a reserve in the 16-17 year-old age group and the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 14-17 World’s Championship.

“You can’t teach your own child,” Cox said simply of sending his daughters to train with the Shivelys. “We wanted them to go to the best.”

Betty’s equitation career simply was exceptional. Lillian Shively coached her to three consecutive world’s championships for Kentucky Riders 13 and Under. At 15, she won the Kentucky State Fair Senior Equitation Championship. That same year, she won both the UPHA Challenge Cup National Championship and Saddle Seat Medal Finals as well as the Good Hands Finals. She was the seventh rider to win the Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation.

Riding is important to the girls. What matters more is the ladies they have become.

“We wanted the girls to keep horses in the proper perspective,” Cox said. “Education is the premier thing for them to pursue. This is an adjunct to the rest of their lives. Karen and I have made it our lives but that isn’t necessarily what we wanted for them. If they want to come back to it, fine.”

Karen calls Leslie “the quiet warrior in our family. She is very quiet, strong, sensitive and caring and never toots her own horn. She spent part of the summer in Argentina to study Spanish. Last year, she went to Paris to study French. I think she threw in ‘study’ to keep us happy.”

Argentina was fun,” the senior at Southern Methodist University said. “I’m not sure where all this is going yet. I’m working on that with my parents. I came back to school to look for an internship with some firm in Dallas. I’m still young. It’s hard to pick the exact direction in which I want to go. I figure if I can read and write – well, there’s a good start.”

At least for the present, she has put riding on hold. “I’m working on school. I just got back from traveling and I have to focus on school,” she said.

Betty began her sophomore year at Princeton shortly after Louisville. She spent the summer in China as part of a Princeton program to teach English to Chinese students.

“That probably was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had,” the more outspoken of the Cox sisters said. “I went with 11 other Princeton students. My assignment was in a rural area, teaching students 13 to 25 years of age. My team had those with the least knowledge of English.

“These students gave themselves English names. One girl called herself ‘Baby.’ She got to talking about sports, one of the few things in which they had an English vocabulary. She played badminton; I had never played but she came up with an illustration of how to do it. I tried. After the shuttlecock got caught in a tree, I threw a shoe to get it down. That shoe got stuck, so did my other one. We spent 20 minutes trying to negotiate in English how to get the birdie and my shoes out of the tree,” Betty said, laughing at the memory.

Karen helped her drive to New Jersey after Louisville. Betty is considering an East Asian studies major, and is taking Chinese language and Chinese history. Serving as secretary of the Girls Club Lacrosse Team and other studies keep her busy.

The China visit was the first of a two-year program so it’s unlikely Betty will be in the show ring most of next summer. Still, she is far from giving up riding.

“I hope to get back in the ring every time Dad has a horse he wants to put me on,” she said. “I’ve been really lucky Mom and Dad have been able to provide horses for me because it’s his business. In the future, I have to figure out how to do this on my own.”

Cox assessed the differences in the times he grew up in and those in which his daughters live.

“When I was a boy, it was a big deal to go from
Knoxville to Lexington. They go all over the world.”

Despite all the accolades, Cox remains that quiet, simple man.

“We still raise our own hay and colts,” he said. “We basically aren’t an amateur barn, although Grace Arnold has shown some horses with us. Our approach is not so much the show ring, but business. The show ring helps get a horse sold.

“Ours is a commercial operation. If we don’t sell, it doesn’t make much difference what color the ribbon is.”

A quiet, simple man, who knows exactly what he likes: his horses, a well maintained farm and a stable that looks nice at shows. But topping that list of likes are his wife, his daughters and his friends.

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