Can an ostrich
find social acceptance at a horse show? I wouldn't have thought so, but last
month in Tulsa I found I was wrong. Not only were there racing ostriches but
racing camels as well, and they combined with some 500 horses and ponies to
make the Tulsa charity show one of the liveliest of the year. Its tempo was as
fast-paced as the ostriches, and those birds really can travel—as the show's
president, Ted Bodley, discovered. Bodley wasspilled from sulky to tanbark
while driving a hot ostrich, but he was unhurt and undismayed. He likes a horse
show to be lively. "Even I get sick and tired of looking at nothing but
horses for five days," Bodley said. "The spectators like a
this rather drastic change are the two women who manage the event, Mrs. W. G.
Lackey (called Katsie, a contraction of Katherine) and her assistant, Mrs.
Howard (Mary Lou) Funderburgh. One of their aims, in their own words, is to
"lose the society-page stigma—a good horse show is good sport."
As a result, the
atmosphere at Tulsa has the casual informality of a 19th hole. The only top
hats (indigenous to horse show presidents and committee members at the East's
major indoor events) to be seen were in the three-gaited classes. Although both
Katsie and Mary Lou have shown horses and both love horse shows, they agree
that there is no way to guarantee spine-tingling competition in every class.
Therefore, enter Gene Holter from California with his animals—racing ostriches
(well broke to harness) and racing camels (broke for anybody to ride).
Katsie and Mary
Lou need not have worried about entertaining the paying customers this year.
Almost every class was well worth watching and every division was well filled
except for the parade. Actually, the managing team (who have never had a profit
under $22,000 in the seven years they have run the show) had more horses this
year, and more people to see them, than ever before.
Joan Robinson Hill
and her pretty mare Precious Possession were an eyecatching combination and
proved it by winning both the ladies' and the amateur stakes. Trainer Lee Roby
rode Joan's junior mare, Many Memories, picking up a third championship rosette
for Joan to take to Houston. When she got home she retired her four-time
amateur world champion mare, Beloved Belinda (see page 64). This mare was bred
by Katsie Lackey, who raises saddle and quarter horses when not running the
horse show. Patricia McGee from Oklahoma City captured the juvenile five-gaited
classes with her Welcome Mistress besides winning the equitation championship
for the third time and retiring the trophy.
But in the
"leg on the trophy" department, The Lemon Drop Kid must have
established some sort of new record. He won the Fine Harness championship for
the sixth year in a row. Now that memorial trophy—a handsome silver punch bowl
with eight matching cups on a tray—is different from most in that it will be
offered for eight years. Lemon has won it every year since it has been
offered—six. If all goes well, he'll be back next year to try for seven. Irene
Zane, manager of Sunnyslope Farms, is satisfied right now. "Each year that
you win the trophy," she says, "you get to keep one of the cups. I'm
glad Lemon didn't stop at five—it's nice to have an even half dozen."
continues to be in a class all by himself, the other fine harness events were
of high quality, too. Jean McLean Davis' homebred filly won the 3-year-old
class easily, living right up to her name, So Wonderful. But it was the ladies'
class that was the real sizzler. Mrs. Walter Duncan Jr. with The Cock Robin,
Mrs. Stephanie Hudkins with Henry VIII and Mrs. E. A. Lee with Elegance in
Motion turned in grimly competitive drives, moving Steward C. J. (June) Cronan,
who has seen many a fine harness class, to say that it was the best ladies'
event he had ever witnessed. They finished in that order, with Mrs. Duncan's
pert gelding in the top spot.
East at ostrichless Devon, Pa., Mrs. Alan Robson (SI, Feb. 23) entered horses
and ponies in six divisions and won 16 blue ribbons, one championship and three
reserve rosettes. Besides that, she rode L. E. Brauninger's Arabian horse in
two classes and won a first and a reserve.
In the working
hunter division, which had its usual horde of entries, Pass Christian's Laurie
Ratliff produced a notable sequel. She guided her Little Sombrero judiciously
over the fences to win the championship. Last year she did the same thing in an
equally impressive field but with a different horse—her Cottage Den. At the Pin
Oak show in Houston (the world's richest) there was a sequel, too. Last year
Kathryn Means sold her flashy gelding King Lee to Judy Kaufmann for $20,000.05
after winning the amateur championship (SI, June 23, 1958). This year King Lee
was back but was being shown in the open classes instead of the amateur by
Trainer Art Simmons. King Lee won the five-gaited championship, while Mrs. J.
R. Sharp's Afire, which had been the victor at Tulsa when the horses met there,
was the reserve.
three-gaited division Delightful Society, bought last fall at auction by
Omaha's Don Decker for $30,000, repeated her Tulsa victory, as did The Lemon