Tapeta Footings Inc. was established in 2005 by Michael Dickinson the Champion Thoroughbred Racehorse Trainer. The Tapeta surface was designed for the Thoroughbred racehorse. Michael had witnessed the unfavourable effects that training on Dirt was having on the Thoroughbred Racehorse in North America and wanted a kinder surface to train his horses on. The first version of Tapeta was designed and laid at Tapeta Farm in 1997. Since then, Racetracks and Training Centers around the world have chosen the Tapeta surface as their preferred Racehorse training and racing surface.
Over the last decade, Tapeta Footings Inc. has engaged in a substantial research and development programme aimed at improving the performance and safety of the Tapeta surface. The current version of Tapeta is Tapeta 10. Each new version of Tapeta offers improvements over the previous version.
With Offices in North America and the United Kingdom, Tapeta Footings Inc. is one of the world’s leading surfaces for racing and training. Our extensive after sales service is second to none.
MICHAEL W. DICKINSON (President)
Michael was born in England where he was Champion Amateur Steeplechase Jockey and Champion Jump Trainer on three occasions. He began Training in the United States in 1987 at the Fairhill Training Center in Maryland before relocating to his purpose built Tapeta Farm Training Center in Maryland in 1996.
In addition to his record-breaking achievements in the UK, Michael has won over 80 Stakes races in the USA and Canada, including 8 Grade 1s.
Prior to creating Tapeta, Michael spent time at Ballydoyle in Ireland with the great Trainer Vincent O’Brien where he learned extensively about surfaces. Michael’s knowledge of surfaces was further enhanced by Geoffrey Davison from Cambridge Soil Surfaces, a pioneer in turf husbandry and drainage. Michael’s experience training Steeplechase racehorses in the UK was also important in the development of Tapeta. The 3 Training Centers that Michael has built at Harewood (UK), Manton (UK) and Tapeta Farm (USA), were also important factors in the creation of Tapeta.
Michael is perhaps best known in the UK for training the first 5 horses home in Jump racing’s biggest race in 1983, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and for winning the Breeders Cup Mile in 1996 and 1998 with the fragile Da Hoss, who retired to the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park. Further information on Michael is available on www.michaelwdickinson.com
Michael is also in the Guinness Book of World Records four times, including holding the world record for most winners in one day – 12, and was elected to the Steeplechasing Hall of Fame.
JOAN WAKEFIELD (Vice President)
Joan has spent a lifetime with horses and comes from a horse family. Like her sister, Joan was a successful show jumping rider in the UK, winning at The Royal Show and Hickstead. As Assistant Trainer and key Exercise Rider to her husband Michael Dickinson for 15 years, Joan has been integral to the success of 80 Stakes winners.
As Vice President and Co-Owner of Tapeta Footings Inc. Joan has been involved with the development of the synthetic Tapeta surface since the beginning.
MIGUEL PIEDRA (Quality Control & Maintenance Supervisor)
Miguel, a bilingual native of Mexico and accomplished horseman, was barn foreman for 20 years for Michael Dickinson. Miguel has worked with the Tapeta surface and track every day and in all weather conditions since Tapeta was created.
Since 2008, Miguel has worked exclusively for Tapeta Footings Inc. During that time Miguel has visited the Tapeta tracks all over the world overseeing the installation and maintenance of the tracks.