Chris Tallman Fout loves horses so much she thinks she might have been one in a past life. Tallman Fout is the wife of top harness racing driver and Winbak Farm's Maryland-based trainer, Jeff Fout.
But her obsession with the equine beast goes further back than the winter of 1988 when she met her husband while training in Florida.
In fact the 46-year-old was born into a harness racing family.
Her father Tom Tallman and grandfather PJ were quality horseman while her late Uncle Jim was also an accomplished driver.
“Sadly we never saw the best of Uncle Jim. He was killed in an airplane accident while travelling privately back from the Meadowlands to his Pennsylvania farm.
“We are definitely a harness racing family alright. Even though I out-rode, I have jogged and trained standardbreds since I was about seven,” Tallman Fout told Harnesslink.
In New Zealand terms out-riding is similar to the clerk of the course at harness meetings.
Tallman Fout has always loved riding horses and thanks to her family upbringing and husband she has been able to combine the two.
Although Tallman Fout has never reined a winner she has been responsible for more than a few of her husband’s 4,522 ($22.2m) career wins.
“We married in 1990 and I have been everything from groom to barn manager when David (son) came along he went to the barn with me daily although he didn’t have the same passion for horses as what I did, he’s now 21 and a US Marine. “All I’ve ever wanted to do was be with horses. I loved being Jeff’s right hand gal. We have had some great times and great horses like former 2-Year-old world record holder, Dawn Q.” Chesapeake City (Maryland) based Tallman Fout said.
As well as a lifetime working with standardbreds the Scranton (Pennsylvania) native has also been out-riding since graduating in the early 1980s. In fact she was a professional outrider but gave it up fulltime when she had her son.
She has out-rode at Rosecroft, Scioto Downs, Lebanon Raceway, Hazel Park, and at the 2008 Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fair Grounds in Ohio.
Tallman Fout said she respects people in the harness racing industry because she grew up in a family who spent long hours tending to horses.
“It was the same when I got married. There is racing every night of the week. I know the horsemen and women work hard because I’ve been a part of it, early mornings and late nights.
“But I wouldn’t have it any other way. None of my siblings are like me. I was the only one to get the horse gene,” Tallman Fout said. If Tallman Fout could have had her life over she would have changed just one thing. “I would have had more riding horses,” she said.