During the 2014 Thoroughbred Horse Racing season at Emerald Downs in Auburn, WA Paul Roggenkamp, LEAD with COURAGE, met Jeff Metz, the leading Trainer at Emerald Downs for the past two seasons. At their first meeting, it became evident that they both shared not only a love of horses and the athletic competition of training and preparing the equine athletes for racing competition, but also the passion of leadership and team building as a part of the responsibility of trainers at the track. Their interaction carried over into the 2015 season and continues to this day.
Race horse trainers are not only skilled at preparing the horses to compete, but must also be leaders of their teams consisting of: assistant trainers; grooms who care for, feed and prepare the horses daily; exercise riders who ride and guide the horses in preparation for racing; the jockeys who actually ride the horses in the races; owners who have hired the trainer to prepare and race the horses; veterinarians; farriers(horse-shoers); pony persons; and any number of other people involved in the operation of the racing industry. These people must work together efficiently and productively to produce the desired result of winning races with healthy, happy horses. Teamwork and enthusiasm must be a daily part of all that people bring to their jobs in order to achieve the goals of the team.
Jeff and Paul meet and discuss on a regular basis the importance of balance and consistency in interpersonal relationships with the team as well as in life and the other aspects of the business; incentives, inspirational and emotional connections necessary to produce winning horses. The two have become friends as a result of their professional interests and mutual passions.
Following one Thursday evening dinner at Paul’s farm, Jeff Metz raced horses in six races on Friday and won each one…a fete which had not been accomplished before at Emerald Downs. Jokingly, they decided that Thursday evening dinners should probably be scheduled every week of the racing season to continue that level of performance. In the 2015 season Jeff Metz Racing achieved a record tying 66 wins and a third consecutive Leading Trainer Title. The Metz Team is back in action shooting for another trainer title for the 2016 season at Emerald Downs beginning with a horse running in post position number 1 in the first race on opening day.