Each week on #HallOfFameThursday, Horse Network recognizes members of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame with an inductee’s plaque, historical photos and, on the first Thursday of every month, an article written by a Show Jumping Hall of Famer. This week, we recognize the first female inductee: Frances Rowe, Show Jumping Hall of Fame class of 1989.
Frances Rowe was best known for her contributions to show jumping through her training and her endeavors to establish Grandprix in the United States.
A successful rider in the hunter ring who rode for Mary Barbin in the 1950s, she made a name for herself riding Spanish Mint, Jack Blandford, and Journey Proud, before injuries ended its career. Rowe later turned to Olympic training and her first top jumper was Unusual, who won the National Jumper Championship with Kathy Kusner in 1962.
Rowe established Foxwood Farm in the 1960s. Joan Boyce, Joe Fargis, Conrad Homfeld, John Simpson, Patty Sifton, Kevin Maloney, and Juan Rieckehoff are among the riders who trained with Rowe.
She gained international fame for helping to develop such Olympic caliber horses as Pueblo, Balbuco, Bonte II, and Don Juan. At one time she owned one-third of the Gold-Medal winner, Touch of Class, and had the mare at Foxwood for several months before selling her. Rowe was a team-oriented figure who believed strongly in the superiority of the American Thoroughbred.
Rowe worked for Richard Reynolds for about 15 years and helped make Little Hawk Farm one of the best training facilities in Virginia for both race horses and show horses. A noted course designer and judge, Rowe was voted AHSA Horsewoman of the Year in 1978. She died in 1985 at the age of 59.
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