Wilmington, Ohio – This week’s Wilmington Sunday Spotlight shines on Kelly Arani (USA) and Kevin Gallagher (IRL) of Marigot Bay Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. The decorated athletes work side by side at Marigot Bay with their string of talented horses. The duo brought a group of super stars to World Equestrian Center – Wilmington ranging from their top grand prix horses to their promising young mounts. We caught up with Arani and Gallegher in between rings to learn more about their impressive resumes and their business operation.
WEC: Tell us about your background and your operation at Marigot Bay Farm.
Kelly: Marigot Bay Farm was started in 2004, with my family, and we used to run the business with my mom, my aunt and Kaitlin Campbell. Since then, I have trained with Shane Sweetnam for the last seven or eight years and got tons and tons of mileage with him. I started the jumpers just before going to him and credit him for where I am now! So, it felt like a good time since I had gotten all of that valuable experience and we had done the business and run the family business before that. So, it felt like a good time to get that much more experience doing it on my own.
Kevin and I met in Wellington in 2022. I was back and forth to Europe a lot and then, this past summer, I went there for six months and train with Laura Kraut and Nick Skelton. Again, that was an unbelievable experience to take me to that next level and to be able to do it on our own. I learned a bit more about being hands-on and being a part of everything. This summer, we decided that it was time to do it together! We both had all the experiences we wanted, so we came home and started it up!
Kevin: I spent five years working for Ballypatrick Stables with Greg Broderick. We have had unbelievable success, especially over the last couple of years. I jumped up to a CSI5* grand prix and I was on a winning Nations Cup team at the final in Poland. I just thought it was time to start the business ourselves and do a little bit more training and have some nice sales horses. It was really a great time for us to get started.
WEC: How has your experience been at WEC – Wilmington for you and your horses?
Kelly: It’s been amazing. We brought two jumpers, the mare that I jumped and an eight-year-old that Kevin started jumping just this summer. We brought a few hunters of my moms and my sisters to keep them going which has been fun because we haven’t done much of that! So, we’re figuring it out. We were home and we weren’t really going to show much until Florida, and Kevin came to help Jill and Trevor Gaffney and loved it here. We said we might as well come jump! It is only two hours from home and we’ve absolutely loved it.
The horses have gone really well. The facilities are absolutely amazing. It is just so user friendly and a good experience. You are out here from six in the morning to eight o’clock at night and you’re happy doing it! Everyone is really friendly from the spectators to the exhibitors. It is nice to have people helping you out in the barn and in the ring.
WEC: Tell us about the horses that you jumped in the $75,000 Grand Prix.
Kelly: I’m jumping Mardinie (Spartacus x Wardinie VDL), an 11-year-old mare that I bought from Shane in January. I bought her and I did two shows in the US and took her to Europe. So, I spent the beginning of the summer getting to know her and I think now it’s really clicked. She jumped double clear in the welcome both weeks. I had the time to win the grand prix last week and had a rail. The partnership is really coming together, and it’s been nice having Kevin to see her from afar and now be able to help me with her in person. She’s such a good mare and she tries her heart out every time I go in, so it’s exciting to come here and get some results.
Kevin: My horse is Procyon SCF (Big Star x La Belle SCF). I jumped him as a young horse and Chris Pratt jumped him at the start of this summer. He came to Europe for a couple of months so it’s good to have him over in the US now! He was double clear, and he was six than the welcome! So, we are hopeful for some more good results with him.
WEC: What are your plans going into 2024?
Kelly: We’ll stay home for the month of November which will be nice, and the horses can have a nice break at home. We will head to Florida after the holidays, and we want to get settled down there. We really want to be able to find a few young horses to campaign there and sell. Then eventually, a few people for Kevin to train as well. He is really good at teaching, so we want to start with some clients!
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Results can be found at wec.net.
All horse show images are provided by Winslow Photography and can be purchased onsite at WEC – Wilmington or online through their website.