Archive: Lifetime Achievement 2008-2014
2014 Sally Ike and Leo Conroy
Sally’s resume includes successfully riding in and organizing events from the pony level all the way up to the Olympic Games. And it’s intense motivation, organization, and horsemanship that have taken her there. Lifetime friends will attest to these traits from the time she was a young pony rider, through her success aboard 1967 eventing horse of the year, and ’68 Olympic alternate Evening Mail. Those characteristics have also earned her posts as USEF director of Show Jumping, US team coordinator at Olympic and World games, and now USEF managing director of licensed officials and education. Through all of this experience she also brings major benefit to us the members, with programs like Emerging Athletes, and the U25 jumpers. Both of which demonstrate her belief in a developing rider program to ensure future international success.
A student of traditional horsemanship, including great care and great turnout, Leo drew on a youth spent riding to create his successful “Leo Conroy Stables” in Colt’s Neck, NJ. It was home to some great mounts such as Overdressed, Calling Card, and Peterbilt Special. He has also championed great riders, such as Holly Orlando, who will cite Leo as one of the most supportive, intelligent, and funny men she’s ever known, and instrumental in her career.
On the administrative side of the sport, Leo served as one of our most respected judges, Co-manager of The National Horse Show, president of the National Hunter / Jumper Council, Executive Director at The AHSA, and more recently Chairman of USEF Zone 2. Leo was well known as a devoted family man and the amount of friends he had clearly reflect a life well lived, and a man well respected.
2013 Betty Oare and Steve Stephens
One of the Grand Ladies of the sport in Virginia and beyond, Mrs. Betty Oare grew up in the hills of North Carolina, where the fields and trails of Tryon were her horseback playground. At times, she’d ride bareback when the saddle she and her brother Bucky shared wasn’t available. But along with him, Betty was steeped in Fox-hunting, Show hunters, and Jumpers by her Father J. Arthur Reynolds. Even so, she wouldn’t attend her first ‘A’ show until she was a teenager. Later on, she’d meet her husband Earnest M. Oare, and move to Warrenton, VA, where she’d eventually resume Amateur status when she wanted to raise a family. She’s lived in Warrenton, and been one of the country’s top Amateurs ever since. Her wins include championships at all of the major US shows, horse of the year honors, sportsmanship awards, and a USEF Pegasus Medal of honor. She’s also been enshrined in both the National Show Hunter, and Virginia Horse Shows Association Halls of Fame. In addition she’s Large ‘R’ Hunter judge, is a member of several horse show committees, and serves on the USEF National hunter, USHJA Breeding, USHJA Amateur, and Open Task Force Committees. What’s more, throughout her life, she’s remained active in her church, and community, and made a point of demonstrating that to her two sons. Betty comes from an old fashioned equestrian background of old-school hunt caps / Wool riding breeches and bareback riding. She continues to fox-hunt and show and continues to take the sport forward through her involvement. A true Lifetime Horsewoman, who’s experience, personality, and influence, will be felt for years to come.
Steve Stephens, of Palmetto, Florida is perhaps most recognized for his course designs at the 2008 Olympic Games, last year’s Derby finals, and numerous prestigious Grand Prix like the American Gold Cup, Invitational, and AGA Championships, Steve’s roots in the sport go much deeper than course design. His Grand Prix Victories have come in many of the same events he now designs, along with numerous others. He’s earned Nations Cup wins with the team throughout Europe, and North America, and sure enough that International experience was put to good use in two World Cup Finals, Nations Cup events in Aachen, and of course at 2008 – Beijing. His time in the hunter ring was also called upon when asked to design what Steve considers to be an Olympic level event, in the International Derby Finals. And that hunter riding experience, though maybe not as well-known was equally impressive, in particular aboard the Hall of Fame mount Touch the Sun, who Steve rode unbeaten in the early seventies through the course of 101 straight Green and Regular Working classes. Several opportunities were presented to Steve by Mr. Eugene R Misch, for whom this award is named, such as management of the Winter Equestrian Festival with the use of his imaginative, colorful, and well-constructed jumps, created by Steve’s renowned company Stephens Equestrian Designs. Steve chose to learn his craft from the best, such as Bert Denemethy, and Dr. Arno Gego, and though already licensed and respected, earned certification from the Aachen School of Design in 2004. His studies and handiwork have earned him multiple credits such as the 1981 & ’82 American Course Designer Award, and a similar title offered in 2011 by the USHJA.
2012 Pam Baker and Arthur Hawkins
Early in life Pam Baker immersed herself in learning and teaching horsemanship at the highest levels, she was a devout student of the forward seat style of riding –influenced greatly by Captain Vladmir S. Littauer and Clayton Bailey. As a teenager, Pam and brother Jimmy Cantwell ran their own lesson program in Virginia with 300 weekly students and 50 regular boarders. Throughout her career Pam has guided many students to championships at major equestrian events, including Devon, Harrisburg, Upperville, Washington International and The National Horse Show.
Pam is passionate in the belief that her clientele can be more than just riders, "they should strive for excellence in horsemanship as well." she said. As a trainer Pam’s philosophy is that "winning is a natural by-product of both good riding and good horsemanship." Starting with the basics, Pam has helped people develop strong communications with their horse, which she feels gives them a more empathetic relationship with their partner when competing. It’s not just through teaching that Pam has shaped the equestrian community- she has served as board member, advisor, and officer for numerous regional and national organizations. She’s been awarded several honors including: VHSA Horseperson of the Year 1989 and was inducted into the VHSA Hall of Fame 2002.
Arthur Hawkins is known for setting the standard of how to judge top hunters. Artie, as he’s best known, was born the youngest of five kids into a family of riders in Batavia, NY. His father was a notable rider-trainer in the hunter field and proprietor of Shannon Stables during the 1930’s and 40s. While his siblings did a fair amount of showing, Artie wasn’t as comfortable in the arena and spent many an event carefully watching the competitions. In 1965 Artie’s father decided to retire from Shannon Stables in order to focus his energies on judging and stewarding – Artie stepped up and took over. After six years of running dual businesses Artie came to understand his true calling was in judging show hunters. While Artie admits that change is not an easy thing for him, giving up the businesses to pursue a new avenue of the horse industry led to Artie being one of the most sought after judges in the country within a few years.
There is no doubt that Artie’s most noted legacy to the horse show world will be the creation of the open numerical judging system. Now used as the standard in recording judge’s scores throughout the show industry, it was designed with Artie’s own practical knowledge and experience. He once explained, "When you sit and watch 45 and more in a class without an accurate set of cards, it all falls apart two-three hours later when it’s time to pin. It’s truly the only thing that helps you separate the horses for the pin, especially now-a-days holding two to four cards at a time."
2011 Diana Dodge and Georgine Winslett
Diana Dodge has worked during her life to answer the question, Where are our American-bred horses? As owner of Nokomis Farm, she has spent half a century breeding exceptional horses here in the United States. In 1969, she purchased Sir Thomson, who became the foundation stallion in her breeding program. Sir Thomson won top accolades at many shows, including the Pennsylvania National, Washington International, the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden and Upperville.
Diana won her first hunter breeding championship with Frosty Beau and went on to breed or own such notable horses as Tavistock, Nob Hill, Solomon, Northern Lights, Blue Run, St. Nicholas, P.I., Jardhu and Winston. She was the breeder of the USEF/Sallie B. Wheeler Hunter Breeding National Championship Overall Grand Champion in 2004 and 2007 and of the Overall Reserve Grand Champion in 2005.
A member of the USHJA Hunter Breeding Task Force, Dodge stated in a 2007 interview with Equestrian Magazine, on the importance of horsemanship in breeding, "I don't want to discourage anyone, but care is one of the biggest things. If you don't care for them, then you have nothing. Educate yourself, learn horsemanship, and then follow your instincts. I think people are losing out by not learning horsemanship, by riding something with someone else’s training."
The care in breeding that Diana has exhibited was acknowledged in 2004, when Dodge received the USEF’s Ellen Scripps Davis Breeders’ Award and again in 2006, when she was inducted into the Virginia Horse Shows Association Hall of Fame. Diana has given a lifetime of service to the horses and to our sport.
Georgine Winslett, also known as Gegi, has certainly made her mark on our sport. She began riding at
12 and, as an adult. She began teaching–working for Jane Marshall Dillon and later teaching riding at
George Washington University, Rock Creek Stable and Pegasus Stable.
Gegi served as the executive secretary for the Washington International Horse Show from 1965 to 1972,
and in 1973, at the invitation of Gene Mische, she joined Stadium Jumping in the same capacity. While
at Stadium Jumping, she served as the show secretary for several of Gene’s competitions, including the
American Invitational, the Winter Equestrian Festival, Lake Placid and the Cleveland National, and worked
closely with him to create innovative procedures for entry processes-many of which changed the way horse
show offices operate today.
Today, Gegi manages several competitions and show series as the owner of The Winslett Advantage and
produces several schooling shows under the TWA Horse Show banner. She holds R judges
licenses for Hunters, Jumpers and Hunter Seat Equitation.
Over the years, she has served on numerous committees for the American Horse Shows Association,
the USEF and the USHJA, including USHJA’s Competition Management Committee and
B/C/Local Task Force, as well as AHSA’s Pony Hunter and Jumper Committee; she was also co-chair of AHSA's
Show Management Committee, Show Ratings Committee and Color Breeds Committee.
She also represented the hunter/jumper industry as a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
Horse Industry Advisory Committee and the American Horse Council’s Horse Show Advisory Committee and as chair of the
United States Pony Clubs’ Show Jumping Committee. Over the years, she has served the horse
industry as a whole by serving more than 15 associations, councils, clubs and organizations.
2010 Danny Robertshaw and Col. John Russell
Rider, trainer, clinician, judge and volunteer, Danny Robertshaw has dedicated his life to our sport. As a
competitor, he has the distinction of being the only rider to win championships in the Regular Working
Hunters at Devon, Harrisburg, Washington, Madison Square Garden and The Royal Winter Fair in the
same year. Because of his talent, The Chronicle of the Horse awarded him the title of Show Hunter
Horseman of the Year in 1989.
As a top hunter trainer, he has trained more than 30 champions at Devon and indoors. In 2001, Danny was
named one of the American Horse Shows Association’s Equestrians of Honor, honoring him with the
Emerson Burr Trophy.
As a clinician, Danny continues to share his knowledge. He has conducted clinics throughout the country,
and in 2008, he was a clinician for the USHJA’s Trainer’s Symposium at Sweet Briar College.
As a judge, Danny has officiated at the most prestigious competitions in the country, including Devon,
Washington International, Madison Square Garden and the Maclay Finals, and he was on the judging panel of
the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals for both 2009 and 2010.
As a volunteer, Danny has always given graciously of his time. Serving on several committees within the
USHJA and USEF, Danny is ready to assist whenever and where ever he may be needed. In 2008, the
USHJA honored his commitment with a President’s Distinguished Service Award.
Col. John Russell is one of the living legends for our sport. He joined the Army in 1943 and served in
World War II in Africa, Italy and Germany and was wounded in Cassino. During his service, he was
highly decorated, receiving the Soldier’s Medal, the Purple Heart, the African Defense Medal, five campaign
Stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the European Defense Medal and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.
John coached the Equestrian Team in Northern Italy in 1946 and 1947. As the leading rider
of Northern Italy in 1947, he was the first American to win the Prize of Nations in Milan, Italy.
In 1948, he was assigned to Ft. Riley, KA, where he became an instructor of advanced horsemanship
and was a member of the last Olympic team manned by the United States Calvary. In 1952, after placing
first in the Olympic Trials at Ft. Riley, he was a member of the first United States Equestrian Team that
included civilian riders. Aboard Democrat, along with Bill Steinkraus riding Hollandia and Arthur McCashin
on Miss Budweiser, he won a team bronze medal in jumping at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.
In 1956, John was put in charge of the United States Modern Pentathlon Training Center at
Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He has since coached six Olympic competitions as chef d'equipe for the U.S.
Modern Pentathlon team.
Since his retirement from civil service, John’s main focus has been the Russell Equestrian
Center, in San Antonio, Texas, a stable for hunters, jumpers, combined training and dressage.
In 2000, the AHSA honored John with the Pegasus Medal of Honor. The following year, he
was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.
2009 Larry Langer and Joe Fargis
A respected FEI official and competition manager, Larry Langer serves the USHJA as a member of the
board of directors, Jumper Council, Zone 10 Jumper Committee, Show Managers Committee, Planning
Committee and Western Region Jumper Committee. Langer has been a strong supporter of the USHJA and
its mission since its inception and has made incredible contributions to the advancement of our sport
and our organization.
Larry is the president and CEO of Langer Equestrian Group, one of the top horse show management companies
in the country. Larry also developed the Colorado Summer Circuit at the Colorado Horse Park. He and his
management team have served as the competition management for the North American Junior Young Rider
Championships three different times, most recently in 2008, at the Colorado venue.
Highlights of Langer’s career include managing the 1992 Show Jumping World Cup Finals in Del Mar,
CA, and serving as the show jumping competition manager for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA.
Olympian Joe Fargis has represented the United States for more than 40 years and continues to compete
today. Joe first represented the U.S. in 1970 in Lucerne, Switzerland, where he rode Bonte II on the U.S.’s
winning Nations Cup team. Over the years, he was part of winning teams at many of the world’s most significant
horse shows, including Aachen, Washington, New York, Calgary, Rome and Cannes. Joe is perhaps most famous for
his double gold medal wins at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games aboard Touch of Class. In 1988, at the Olympic
Games in Seoul, Korea, he rode Mill Pearl and helped the U.S. win the team silver medal.
Joe continues to successfully compete in grand prix around the country, winning at events, including the
American Gold Cup in Devon, PA; the USET Wellington Cup; the Ox Ridge Grand Prix; the Grand Prix of Tampa;
the Hampton Classic Grand Prix; and the I Love New York Grand Prix in Lake Placid. In addition to his
contributions to the sport in the ring, Joe gives back by serving on the USHJA Horse Welfare Committee
and teaching clinics around the country.
2008 Beth Miner and Alvin Topping
In its inaugural year, the USHJA Lifetime Achievement Award was created to recognize members
whose involvement in the sport and the USHJA itself has benefited the industry.
On December 10, Beth Miner and Alvin Topping were honored with the prestigious
award at the 2008 Evening of Equestrians Dinner during the USHJA Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN.
Beth and Alvin have illustrious histories with the USHJA and took
prominent roles in its founding. For their involvement in the industry as equestrians
and their roles in founding the organization, USHJA president Bill Moroney selected
them to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Beth, of Hugo, MN, is the USHJA's secretary and sits on its board of directors as well as the
USHJA Foundation's Board of Directors. She also serves on the Zone 6 Hunter Committee and USHJA Capital
Campaign Committee and takes an active role on several USEF committees.
"It's been a part of my blood forever, and I love it," Beth said about the hunter/jumper industry.
As a child, she grew up foxhunting and later became a horse show mom before showing in the Adult
Amateur and Amateur Owner classes herself. Always interested in the governance side of the sport,
Beth served on the Minnesota Hunter Jumper Association board for 10 years and spent two years as the chair.
Alvin, of Sagaponack, NY, serves as the USHJA's treasurer and sits on the board of directors of both the
USHJA and the USHJA Foundation. He's also a member of the USHJA Pony Hunter Task Force, Capital Campaign
Committee and Finance Committee and sits on several USEF committees.
Alvin operated Swan Creek Farm in New York where he taught hunters and won at major horse shows
with his ponies. "What I instilled in kids as students and what they grew to accomplish-not only
in the horse business, but their accomplishments in school and what they turned into as young
adults-was the most satisfactory thing for me as a trainer," Alvin said.
When the USHJA was named the national affiliate of the USEF five years ago, both Beth and Alvin
were instrumental in the Association's success. "Having the opportunity to be a part of the driving
force to establish the USHJA as the representative of the hunter/jumper world has been unbelievable,"
Beth said. "I'm so proud of the young organization and how responsive members are to it."
Both award recipients were presented with the Eugene R. Mische Perpetual
Trophy. Mische, the trophy's namesake, was a 2001 inductee of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame and continues to be instrumental in the growth of the industry.