Two Local Equestrians Inducted Into Hall Of Fame
Local equestrians Joey Darby and Joan Walsh Hogan will be inducted into the national Show Hunter Hall of Fame Tuesday, joining the ranks of other Southern Pines equestrians who have preceded them Ginnie Moss, Dave Kelly, Daniel Lenehan and Patricia Heuckeroth.
Proving the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, Joan Walsh Hogan, daughter of the late Mickey Walsh (a member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame and the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame), is now a legend in her own right. Hogan rode some of the top hunters in the nation to championships at major horse shows like Devon and Madison Square Garden in the 1950s. Hogan took top hunter championships with horses like Pike's Peak, Sidonia and Glider for owner Eleonora "Eleo" Sears of Boston. Sears was the captain of the American Women's Squash team and one of the first women to ride astride.
"She had a string of great horses," said Hogan. "After Dad retired (from show jumping to train race horses) in 1952, I went to ride for Eleo."
The Walsh family swept the honors at the 1952 Devon horse show. Mickey Walsh won the open jumper division, (sister) Kathleen, an amateur rider, won the conformation hunter division and Hogan (then Walsh) won the working hunter division aboard Bright Light.
In fact, Hogan started riding at age 7 because of her sister, Kathleen. "Kathleen was very good," said Hogan. "I decided that if I was going to get any attention (in a family of seven), I better start riding."
Hogan would gallop horses at Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Saratoga in the mornings and ride hunters in the afternoon. After the Walshes moved to Southern Pines, Hogan rode in the Stoneybrook Steeplechase until it was sanctioned. Back in those days, women were not allowed to ride in sanctioned races. Hogan had plenty of horses to school for her father, who had 100 horses on the farm at the time.
Eddie Hogan, Joan's husband of 52 years, says that Mickey Walsh used to tell his daughter "That horse can handle anything" and "she would believe him and stay out of the horse's way."
The Hogans will be joined at the awards ceremony by their three children and some of their nine grandchildren.
"Gosh, it feels good." (To be voted into the Show Hunter Hall of Fame) "At least I can brag to my grandchildren. They will be able to say 'Nana really did do all those things.'"
Sheila Walsh McCollum, Hogan's sister, said "We're very excited. Joanie well deserves it. She was a great rider and worked very hard at being the best. She believed in winning."
Joey Darby, a rider, trainer and respected judge provided the following statement: "I moved to Southern Pines in 1969, an area rich in horsemen and horsewomen, to establish a horse business. The area provided an atmosphere like no other for young people who were interested in horses. Horse people like Mrs. Ginnie Moss and Dave Kelley were great mentors. I am proud to follow them into the Show Hunter Hall of Fame while representing Southern Pines.
The other 2009 inductees are Bernie Traurig, Eve D. Fout and Diane Poteat Hobby.
Three horses are also nominated. They are Whadyasay, Just For Fun and Sombrero. They join, among others, some of the horses who began and continued their careers with Southern Pines connections. -- Showdown, Lyric, Lansonette, and Royal Reveler.
The Show Hunter Hall of Fame was established in 1995 to honor excellence by providing recognition and appreciation for the achievements of the horsemen and horses that have made the sport of show hunters so rich in history. To be eligible for induction a person must have participated in the show hunter industry for a minimum of 15 years, and distinguished himself or herself by the nature of his or her contributions or achievements. Ballots are voted on by the general public, not by the Show Hunter Hall of Fame committee.
Jimmy Lee, Chairman of Board of Directors for the Show Hunter Hall of Fame said, "We're very pleased to have Joey Darby and Joan Walsh Hogan join our Hall of Fame. They are great riders and trainers."
The inductees will be honored at an awards dinner Tuesday at The Merion Cricket Club in Haverford, Pa..
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