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October Horse Person of the Month: Chad Beckon

October 11, 2023

It would be understandable if Chad Beckon lamented what might have been, but the former jockey has always opted for a much different outlook on life.

His career saddle was brief – five and a half years in all – compared to most of his contemporaries, but injuries, including an on-track spill in June 2009 that left him with multiple fractures and cranial bleeding, eventually took their toll and put an end to his time as a jockey.

Highlights were many, including his milestone first win on September 10, 2003, when he guided Lil Personalitee, a dark bay of Personal Flag, to victory at Woodbine.

There would be two Fort Erie riding titles and seven stakes triumphs, one of them coming in the 2008 Deputy Minister Stakes when Beckon piloted longshot Piper in the Glen to victory in the seven-furlong race.

It wasn’t Beckon’s only memorable moment of 2008. He rode Pronger, a horse trained by Woodbine-based Mike De Paulo, for the 73rd running of the Prince of Wales Stakes in mid-July. Beckon and Pronger finished third in the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.

In all, Beckon rode 348 winners.

Whenever he does reflect on his riding career, something he does often, the son of late jockey Dan Beckon does so with fond recollections.

“I have quite a few happy memories. I won the 2006 Puss N Boots at Fort Erie with Smiling Jordan. Then there is that first win with Lil Personalitee and Piper in the Glen in the Deputy Minister. I look back at what I was able to achieve and I’m proud of that. You look at the pictures and it’s nothing but happy memories.”

Chad Beckon (Michael Burns Photo)
Chad Beckon (Michael Burns Photo)

Although he isn’t in winner’s circle photos anymore, Beckon’s focus has been getting as many of them as he can to stand in front of the camera with their proud connections.

“I honestly thought I’d go back into riding, but for health reasons, I wasn’t able to. I had to overcome some things. I ended up working with Bruce Anderson, who helped me out. I started shoeing and I caught an immediate interest in it, the artistry of it and just how important it is to the success of the horse. Riding horses before was a great time in my life, but I still felt that closeness when I began shoeing them. I fell in love with the job and the comfort of being around the horses. I kept on going with it and I ended up in Oklahoma, where I stayed and got certified. I studied the physical makeup of the horse, and what they need from top to bottom. Then I came back to Woodbine, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

And doing it well.

“I shoe all [trainer] Liz Elder’s horses, and I’ve been doing the same for Brandon Greer since 2013. So, I got to shoe the winner of the 2021 Woodbine Mile, Town Cruise, for Brandon. I have others I do it for as well. I love to see them succeed and win. It makes me very happy that I played some part in that. I just couldn’t be away from the sport and the horses. I wanted to find a way to stay part of the industry.”

Chad Beckon shoeing a horse
Chad Beckon shoeing a horse

Along with his farrier work, Beckon is also in the irons again, working horses in the mornings for Elder.

Holding the reins has been a cherished opportunity.

“That’s a great feeling, to have that emotion again, the closeness with the horses. Again, it’s the comfort that they give. I can say that everything is going well.”

It’s a big reason why the smile, the one he seemingly always sported during his riding days, has been back for a while.

“I enjoy the industry and I’m proud of how dedicated people have been through the ups and downs. People go through tough times, but they find a way to keep going forward because they love what they do.”

Just like Chad Beckon.

Chad Beckon
Chad Beckon

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

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