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Eduardo “Lalo” DeLoya Inducted into the Jesus Gonzales Gomez UPHA Caretaker Hall of Fame

The United Professional Horsemen’s Association Jesus Gonzales Gomez Caretaker Hall of Fame award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to providing the highest level of care for show horses. This year's recipient shares enthusiasm and loyalty with his barn family and maintains perseverance in the face of adversity.

During the Thursday evening performance of the Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show, UPHA honored Eduardo “Lalo” DeLoya, as the 2022 inductee into the Jesus Gonzales Gomez UPHA Caretaker Hall of Fame. This gentleman is recognized not only for his caretaking abilities but also for his professional conduct. Eduardo “Lalo” DeLoya has worked as a caretaker for several of the best show barns across the country, including Mercer Springs, Chestnut Lane, and most recently, Autumn Hills.

Lalo worked at Mercer Springs Farm for 10 years, under the guidance of Smith Lilly. During his time at Mercer Springs, Lalo took conscientious care of such notables as Five-Gaited WGC CHHe’s The Man, WCC CHPlatinum’s New Look, WCC CHFrench Silk Stockings, WCC CHJust Special, and WCC CHCallaway’s Born With Style, to name a few.

After his time at Mercer Springs, Lalo moved on to work for Matt Lightner at Chestnut Lane Farm. During his two years there, Lalo cared for a top show string that included WC Bluebonnet’s Hip Hop, RWC Fort Chiswell’s Wild Kiss, RWC The Road Less Traveled, and Kalarama’s Too Hot To Handle.

In 2018, Lalo began work at Autumn Hills Farm in Simpsonville, Ky, as Tiffany Wheeler tells it, they were not looking to hire anyone at that time and didn’t know Lalo at all. However, Lalo was determined to work for Steve and Tiffany Wheeler, and both agree the decision to hire him was one of the best decisions they ever made.

Today, Lalo is an invaluable asset to the Autumn Hills team. He is always the one to hold colts for the Wheelers when they are being broke to ride or jog. If anything goes wrong with a youngster, Lalo is always there to save the day. He is the first one to work each morning and the last one to leave each night. Lalo has become the crew leader for the farm. Tiffany says he is always happy to be at work, whether it’s 4 a.m. getting ready to ship to a show or 11 p.m. checking on a colicky horse. Lalo truly cares for the farm and its animals as much as Steve and Tiffany – a rare trait for sure.

Lalo takes great pride in his work and has taken care of some of the best of the best at Autumn Hills, including WCC CHIt’s Aerosmith, WCC CHFox Grape’s Forget-Me-Not, WCC Top Asset, WC Just Surprize Me, and RWC I’m A Blues Man, among many others of note. Upon the sale of CHIt’s Aerosmith and CHFox Grape’s Forget-Me-Not, the Wheelers let Lalo take a spin aboard both horses. According to Tiffany, his excitement was contagious as he enjoyed the thrill of riding two great horses. Lalo is an absolute integral part of the farm now, and Tiffany often jokes that when Lalo retires, so will she!

Congratulations once again from all of us Lalo, on your well-deserved induction into the Jesus Gonzales Gomez UPHA Caretaker Hall of Fame.

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