Legendary Show Names Need To Be Retired

Walk into any sports stadium and you’ll see them. Retired numbers, hung up in the rafters or on the fences. Retiring those numbers honors the greats of that particular sport. No player on the Chicago Bulls will ever wear the number 23. No player for the 49ers will ever wear number 16. No player for the Boston Red Sox will ever wear number 9.

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In our sport we have the same legendary riders and horses. Of course riders don’t have numbers that they keep from show to show, nor do horses.

But horses do have show names.

Some show names are unusual and unlikely to be reused. Take Rox Dene or Isgilde for example.

But others are more common, and pop up in current day, their owners likely unaware they’ve christened their mount with such a meaningful moniker. I’ll be judging the children’s and in walks a horse that’s announced as Master Dan or Cap and Gown. I’ve gulped when listening to the announcer say, “Now on course, Touch of Class.”

Horse racing often names stakes races after turf legends, as Belmont Park has done for 1980 champion Just A Game.
Horse racing often names stakes races after turf legends, as Belmont Park has done for 1980 champion Just A Game.

That’s where the USEF could step in and retire certain names. Only the best of the best–the horses inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame or the Show Hunter Hall of Fame.

At the very least there could be a web page with a list of the most famous horses and ponies for people to refer to so they don’t make the same mistake.

Touch of Class (courtesy of Phelps Sports)
Touch of Class (courtesy of Phelps Sports)

Certain shows could even have names “retired” on their walls–shows where that horse won year after year. The Idle Dice Open Stake at Devon has this idea in mind.

Why should we not truly honor the greats of our sport?

 


About the Author

Kim Ablon Whitney is an ‘R’ judge in hunters, equitation and jumpers. Her latest novel is Hunter Derby.

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