Editor's Note: The following speech was read by Peter Doubleday, Friday Jan.6, 2006 at the UPHA Convention in St. Louis, Mo.
Tonight's first Hall of Fame inductee started out at a very young age as a fashionable dresser - and she has continued in that standard today.
Her first great interest in horses started with the purchase of a Shetland pony named Prince who was purchased for her older sister. Participating in her first horse show, she borrowed the horse, saddle, bridle, riding suit, boots and no less the bow tie. She did not receive a ribbon but that did not stop her enthusiasm.
At age 12, she began her contributions to the horse show industry when she and a friend put on a benefit horse show for the Polio Fund. This disease was rampant at the time and the show was well attended. They made the ribbons, the Black family donated their estate for the show grounds, and a horse friend served as judge. The show was held two more years, with growing participation and sponsorships, and several hundred dollars was given to the Polio Fund.
Her first horse was a dapple grey Saddlebred walk-trot named Silver Showboat. He was owned by a business friend of her parents who insisted that she pay the sum of $1.00 for the horse, thus his nickname “Buck.” Showing him every weekend on the COSCA circuit, she began her desire to someday become a professional horseperson.
Marrying in 1966, she moved to Kentucky with her Morgan and her dream started to come true. Her first time to show at the Kentucky State Fair, she won the Three-Gaited Kentucky County Fair Championship with Duchess From Denmark. Years later she won the first Roadster Under Saddle class with Dr. J. Still gracing the winner's circle, she won the Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited Division I with That's Exactly Right in 2005.
She and her late husband, Bob Whitney, set the standard in the Morgan breed and won more than 220 World Championships, including the Park Saddle World Championship five times: with UVM Promise three times, homebred Nobility, and the only triple crown World Champion HVK Bell Flaire. She has also won the Park Harness World Championship with the only two mares that have won this class, the Roadster to Bike World Championship and Roadster Under Saddle with homebred JW Romantic Ways. And Serendipity Storm B was the only horse to win both the World Champion English Pleasure and Pleasure Driving the same year.
She has been honored by her peers with the 1st Lifetime Achievement Award, Sportsmanship Award, AMHA Hall of Fame, AMHA Golden Reins Award, Dixie Cup Hall of Fame, Distinguished Horsewoman Award, and along with her husband, Bob, voted the Morgan Trainers of the Century (1900 - 1999) and of the 1980's Decade.
Never resting on her laurels, she outdid herself at this year's World Morgan Grand National Championships by making history. Showing her homebred two-year-old stallion, she won the World Park Harness Grand Championship with JW That Special Flaire.
Please join me in welcoming Judy Whitney Harris into the UPHA Hall of Fame.