When the fox hunters gather for their annual schedule this fall and winter at Traders Point Hunt Club near Zionsville, it is unlikely there will be many riders standing 6-foot-6 and weighing over 320 pounds. But there will be at least one.
It is also improbable that there will be many former first round National Football League draft selections charging up and down the trail at Traders Point Hunt Club during this fox hunting season.
But there will be at least one.
And, finally, it is very doubtful that there will be many Traders Point Hunt Club fox hunting participants that have a Super Bowl ring locked in a safety box.
But, again, there will be at least one.
Indeed, you could say that personable Eric Moore is not your stereotypical equestrian sports competitor. His resume is filled with remarkable victories on the football field in the NFL, and noteworthy achievements in the business world as the owner of several McDonald’s franchises. But when it comes to piling up personal accomplishments, Moore proudly recalls his horse jumping, trail riding and fox hunting skills at Traders Point Hunt Club and other Indiana horse riding courses. “I absolutely love it,” said Moore from his office in Oaklandon. “It is all about relaxation. You have to be energetic to do it, but it is an opportunity to get away from everything else. It is a great stress reliever. It is a joy to ride.”
And it is an avenue for the 48-year-old Moore to maintain physical and mental conditioning. His riding schedule of three days a week starts at sunrise when and he and the horses (Rolex and Ferrari) begin their riding regiment. “If I could, I would go out riding every day,” noted Moore, who rides each horse for about 30 minutes during a day’s ride. “You can get together with other people and go out riding. You go out with the hounds, go through the woods and do the jumps. You feel great when you can jump all the jumps.
“It is a workout. It is a great feeling when you are done. I am sweating down to my navel. It reminds me of playing football.”
Playing football was the main course for the first portion of Moore’s life. After playing football in Berkely, Missouri, Moore joined Bill Mallory’s Hoosiers in Bloomington. He started three years at right tackle for Indiana and was drafted at the No. 10 slot by the New York Giants in the 1988 NFL Draft.
His first professional coach was the iconic Bill Parcells. “Bill knew what he wanted in a team and you were a piece of his puzzle in achieving success,” remembered Moore. “I learned a lot from that experience with him. To be successful in business, you need pieces of the puzzle.”
The Giants, Parcells and Moore captured Super Bowl XXV in 1991, defeating
Buffalo, 20-19. Two years later, Moore was acquired by the Cincinnati Bengals. His career ended in 1995 after stops with Cleveland and Miami. “It was in July and I called the coach and said I was retiring,” Moore said. “Football was a great experience. If I could have, I would have played until I was 50. Football provided me with so many opportunities, including traveling in the off-season to Germany and other parts of Europe to go to military bases. It provided me with so many opportunities.”
Football was replaced by McDonald’s. Moore and his wife, Indianapolis native Vanessa, are among the largest franchise owners in central Indiana. Vanessa oversees operational components of the ownership tandem. In 2012, Moore was honored by McDonald’s as winner of the Black History Makers of Today. The award is presented to persons who are “extremely involved in the community” and have obtained outstanding professional achievement. “McDonald’s has been a joy since Day One,” said Moore. “The people are the ones who make it fun. You are able to work with them and someday put them in management positions. They are your pieces of your puzzle.”
Another portion of the puzzle for the Moore team has been raising four children. The eldest is a sophomore-to-be at the University of Indianapolis. Daughter Erica is a potential all-state basketball player at Mt. Vernon High School, and younger sons Bryce (basketball) and Brandon (football) play sports at Park Tudor. “Everyone needs to compete in something,” said Moore. “If it is sports, then that is great. But it can be dancing or playing checkers too. You need to do something that you have passion to compete in and play with a team. Competing develops us as a person.”
And Moore delights in his new personal passion, riding his horses. Vanessa, who traveled as a youngster to her uncle’s farm in Tennessee to ride horses, introduced the former football player to horses and riding. “The horses touch your soul,” said Vanessa, whose horse, Hollywood, is 23 and is “very special” to his soul mate. “Hollywood doesn’t jump that much now. He is strictly for fun.”
Meanwhile, Moore has become hooked on a new hobby. Besides riding recreationally with Vanessa, Moore has grown fond of riding in the hunt at the Traders Point Hunt Club and filling his horse trailer with three horses and traveling to nearby jumping sites in Indiana.
He admits that he may not be ready for an event championship, but that does not discount the thrill of riding. “There are no bad days of horse riding,” said Moore. “If you fall, you get up.”
This included his first attempt at fox hunting at Traders Point Club last year. The riders and their four-legged teammates are not chasing live foxes. Instead the fields have been laced with scent of a fox to lead the hounds, horses and riders. “I was green, green,” said Moore. “I tried to stay away from the trees.”
But, alas, Moore’s horse went sideways near a tree and the 6-foot-6, 325-pound Moore barreled into the tree. By being the first competitor sidelined, Moore was crowned “King” of the hunt. Moore, fortunately, suffered no serious injuries. “My ego got hurt,” he admitted.
But Moore has massaged the ego and will return for fox hunting this fall. After all, football players have gotten knocked down too.