Two horses and six horsemen were inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame at the annual year-end award dinner, held in Haverford, Pa., on May 29.
The horses were Super Flash, owned by Mrs. Sylvester Johnson, and All The Gold, owned by Billie Steffee.
Mrs. Sylvester Johnson rode Super Flash in the amateur-owner division while Hall of Fame member Charlie Weaver paired up with him to become a dominant force in the regular working hunters division in the '70s, winning numerous championships at all the indoor shows as well as Keswick (Va.), Upperville (Va.), Warrenton (Va.), Traders Point (Ind.) and Devon (Pa.).
All The Gold was a Hanoverian stallion (Gepard—Wedda, Wettstreit) who won numerous championships in the regular working hunters from Arizona to Florida for Craighead Farm. He retired to the breeding shed in 1993, and his get went on to win more than $300,000 in the International Hunter Futurity and International Jumper Futurity.
“I don’t think it gets any better than this,” said Steffee. “He was such a special horse, both when showing and breeding, and to have had such an elite group select your horse to be part of the history of the show hunter world, there is no way to describe it. It's the biggest honor somebody could bestow on a horse you thought so much of."
Horsemen Andy and Jane Ebelhare, Hap Hansen, Louise Serio, Don Stewart and Carol Thompson were also inducted into the NSHHF. Choices are nominated and voted on by supporters of the NSHHF.
The Ebelhares lived in South Florida for more than 30 years and helped encourage and develop the equestrian community in Wellington. They were an essential element in the birth and growth of the Winter Equestrian Festival. In addition to training horses, Jane worked for WEF in one capacity or another for years, while Andy managed the South Florida Fair Horse Complex.
In the last 20 years Hap Hansen has won more than 100 grand prix classes and more than $2 million in prize money. But this legendary horseman from California has also ridden and trained many great hunters such as Tightrope, Classic, Call Me Back, Greenback Dollar, Sir Caletto, Superman, Partner, Best Of Luck, Enchanted and Roxana.
Louise Serio has been a key player in the horse show industry not only as a rider and trainer, but also as an ambassador and visionary. She co-founded the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation and the World Championship Hunter Rider Awards. She’s ridden horses to championships at every major show, been the Chronicle’s 1992 Show Hunter Horseman of the Year, captained the WCHR World Cup Team Hunter Challenge in Las Vegas in 2007 and demonstrated hunters at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Renowned trainer Don Stewart has three USEF Medal Finals winners to his credit, four ASPCA Maclay winners and two USEF Pony Medal Finals winners. As a rider, he was Leading Rider at Devon in 1992, the National in 1993 and 1995, and he was the first rider to win the Chronicle Hunter Horseman of the Year two times. He is the chairman of the USHJA Junior Hunter Task Force.
Although Carol Thompson is best known for her jumper accolades, riding for the U.S. Equestrian Team from 1963 to 1973, she also showed the outstanding junior hunter, The Kitten, to championships at Devon and on the indoor circuit. She bred and trained national champions River Pilot, Better Than Most, Ariel, Follow Me and West Street. As an amateur she rode top working and conformation hunters in the amateur classes for Mrs. Eleanora Sears and Mrs. A.C. Randolph.
People are eligible for nomination after at least 15 years of participation in the show hunter industry. Horses are eligible for nomination after they have been retired or deceased for five years.
In addition to the inductees, the NSHHF gave out numerous “best of the year” annual awards, which included:
Horse Show: Alltech National Horse Show (Ky.)
Hunter Derby: Devon (Pa.)
Rider: Jennifer Alfano
Owner: Glen Senk
Horse: Jersey Boy
High Performance Horse: Jersey Boy
Green Conformation Horse: Cold Harbor, owned by Betsee Parker
Junior Horse: Way Cool, owned by Betsee Parker
First Year Green Horse: Dedication, owned by Fashion Farm
Second Year Green Horse: Good Humor, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Wheeler
Amateur-Owner Hunter Horse: Rock Steady, owned by Katie Robinson