On May 27 in Haverford, Pa., five horsemen and two horses joined the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual awards ceremony. Supporters of the Hall of Fame chose the nominees and voted on them.
Horses Chantilly, owned by Eileen Beckman, and War Dress, owned by A.C. Randolph, were inducted. Horsemen Diana Dodge, Brian Flynn, Walter “Jimmy” Lee, Milton “Junie” Kulp and Frank Hawkins also joined the NSHHF.
Bred by Robert Coles in Keswick, Va., and owned and trained by Hall of Famer Eileen Beckman of Otteridge Farm, Chantilly is the first pony to ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Chantilly began her long career with Beckman’s daughter, Laura, and went on to carry riders such as Karen Quinn, Sindy Paul and Patricia Gowl to championships at top horse shows such as Devon (Pa.), Upperville (Va.) and the Warrenton Pony Show (Va.).
War Dress (The Hammer–War Garb, War Party), bred by Mrs. A.C. Randolph, began showing in 1971 in the green divisions with Charlie Weaver aboard and dominated top shows, including the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden (N.Y.). War Dress then went on to collect American Horse Show Association junior hunter championships in 1972, 1973 and 1975 with riders Nancy Baroody and Pamela Rush. Beginning in 1972, she won two consecutive American Horse Show Association Horse of the Year titles.
“War Dress was a magnificent Thoroughbred, and not because of individual reasons, but for the combination of them,” said Baroody in her Hall of Fame induction speech. “Her temperament was all business, and if you did right by her she gave every bit of her heart to a performance.”
Born in London to American parents, Dodge learned to ride in Windsor Great Park as a young child. She then moved to the United States with her parents and joined the equestrian program at Smith College (Mass.). She then began her 40-year career as a top breeder in the United States. Through her Nokomis Farm in Montpelier Station, Va., Dodge bred and showed top hunters for the breeding and performance divisions. In 1969, she purchased Sir Thomson (Tompion–Lady Good Bye, Bimelech), who became the foundation horse in her breeding program. Throughout the 1970s, Thomson dominated the working hunter ring with Noel Twyman and David Kelley, winning championships at Devon, Royal Winter Fair (Ontario), National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden, Washington International and Pennsylvania National.
Throughout his 48-year career, Lee has owned and trained many AHSA high score award winners in the green and regular working and performance divisions out of his Belcort Farm in Keswick, Va. As an R-rated judge, he’s both presided over top horse shows and hosted judging and riding clinics throughout North America. Lee has given back to the equestrian community throughout his career, serving on various U.S. Equestrian Federation and U.S. Hunter Jumper Association committees. He also served as vice-chairman of the International Horsemen’s Advisory Committee and president of the Virginia Horse Shows Association.
At his All Around Farm in Gwynedd Valley, Pa., Kulp got many top riders started in the show ring, including Terry Rudd, Marvin Van Rapoport, Wendy Hendricks, Roddy Wanamaker, Cynthia Weiner and Sindy Paul. Kulp found his niche training top ponies and horses, including Now Always, Wee Kan, Brenton Reef, Hot Shot Kid and Chantilly.
Raised on a farm in Medfield, Mass., Flynn has been involved with horse shows since he was 5. Throughout the 1980s, he trained and rode many horses to major championships across the United States and Canada. During that time, he also served as chairman of the AHSA Hunter Committee. As a judge, he has officiated at shows such as Pennsylvania National, Washington International and the ASPCA Maclay Finals. Flynn also manages top horse shows, including St. Clement’s Saratoga (N.Y.).
Part of a family judging legacy, Hawkins presided over major competitions across the country, becoming a well-respected official in his own right. Along with his successful judging career, he also trained horses out of his Shannon Stables in Bedford, N.Y. Hawkins served as president of the Professional Horsemen’s Association of America, Inc. beginning in 1949. He then handed his Shannon Stables over to his son, Arthur “Artie” Hawkins, in 1965 so he could focus on judging and stewarding.
Additional best of the year awards included:
Horse show: Alltech National Horse Show (Ky.)
Hunter derby: USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals (Ky.)
Overall horse and junior hunter: Inclusive, owned by Betsee Parker
Overall owner: Betsee Parker
Amateur-owner hunter: Absolut, owned by Tracy Scheriff-Muser
First year green hunter: Gramercy Park, owned by Lynn Rice
Second year green hunter: Dedication, owned by Fashion Farm
Green conformation hunter: Crown Royal, owned by Carolyn de Van
Regular conformation hunter: Cold Harbor, owned by Betsee Parker
High performance hunter: Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms