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Euchee Matthews Inducted Into Dixie Cup Hall Of Fame



 

by Alicia Davis

Back in January, Barbara Goda asked me to write something about my trainer and friend Euchee Matthews; this year’s inductee into the Dixie Cup Hall of Fame. After pondering as to where to start I decided that the beginning is always good.

Horses have always been a part of Euchee’s life. As a youngster living in Columbus, Ga., he rode for hours every day bareback because he didn’t own a saddle. At the age of 12, he was invited to a prestigious foxhunt. He said they put him right up front because the riders, many from England, couldn’t believe this dare devil youngster could take all the jumps bareback. Yes, we know Euchee can stick on a horse!

Euchee was a teenager the first time he saw an American Saddlebred. This was the most beautiful horse he had ever seen and he wanted to learn to work with these beautiful horses. He worked with a herd of about 100 Saddlebred mares and foals until he graduated from high school. The day after he graduated, he left Columbus to begin an apprenticeship at Raymond Cowden Stables in Illinois.

After a few years, he returned to his hometown and continued to work with Saddlebreds and shoeing. In 1971, he moved to Atlanta, where he became a popular horseman and farrier. He was the official farrier for the Dixie Cup in the early years, and probably shod all the show Morgans and many Saddlebreds in the Atlanta area. At the same time, he was training and showing Saddlebreds and racking horses. In fact, he won the Racking World’s Championship on a Saddlebred.

Euchee left Atlanta to become the trainer for Mr. Catledge’s Big Gator Farm in Bainbridge. Here he bred, trained and showed many top horses including Amateur Five-Gaited World Champion Enlightening and Road Pony World Champion Little Gator.

In 1984, Euchee and wife Dalton took the big step and built their own barn in Alachua, Fla., Horseshoe Farm. Euchee established his own breeding and training program, showing and winning championships from Albuquerque (Arabian Nationals), Oklahoma City (Morgan Nationals) to Louisville (American Saddlebred World Championship), with many others along the way. Many of his show stars have won championships at the Dixie Cup.

When the horses are worked, Euchee’s afternoons are spent at his “office” that is the West End Golf Course. He truly loves the game of golf! At one Pro Am show, a certain trainer, whose name will remain unknown, was so happy that he finally won money from Euchee that he asked him to autograph the money. He planned to frame his winnings! That was early in the week. By the end of the week the same trainer was signing money over to Euchee.


As a judge, Euchee is highly sought after, having judged both the Morgan and Saddlebred World Championship shows. Trainers and exhibitors agree he is honest and decisive. He gives everyone a fair chance and a good look. If you ask his opinion, be prepared: good or bad he will tell it as he sees it.

At a recent horse show, while watching Euchee work my horse, a younger man came up to me and said, “When I grow up I want to be just like him, Euchee.” I had to ask why. He continued to explain that Euchee is a self-made man. Does it all himself, shoes, trains and shows his horses. The horses are always in top form and he is hard to beat. Euchee is willing to share his expertise with others. He relayed an incident where he was having trouble with a horse and Euchee offered his advice and then checked a few days later to see if there was any improvement. There was.


Others would agree with this man’s opinion. Yes, that’s Euchee: always there to lend a helping hand or give assistance in any way, but will do his best to beat you in the show ring and the golf course.

 

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