Skip to content

Eugene Kennedy Inducted in Hackney Hall of Fame

Pat Kennedy, John Kennedy, Frances Bjalobok - AHHS Exec. Sec., Eugene Kennedy, Carole Kennedy, Lambert Junior Schut - AHHA President

Eugene Kennedy was inducted in the American Hackney Horse Society Hall of Fame on Monday night during the World’s Championship Horse Show. Following the conclusion of the evening’s classes, family and friends joined Kennedy for a celebration at the John Shea Stables.


The following remarks were read on Monday night during the induction ceremony:


Admired for his skill and competitive spirit, Eugene Kennedy is one of the horse show community’s greatest assets - a wealth of knowledge spanning 80 years of showing and breeding.  Raised in Taylorville, IL, he shared his father, Roy Kennedy’s love and interest of horses and ponies.  They visited the great farms of the 1920’s and 1930’s to study their philosophies and breeding programs, as Mr. Kennedy educated himself to become one of the finest breeders of champion Hackneys.  During his teens, he traveled with his family to show ponies single, pair, tandem and under saddle. His good friend, Doc Flannery, often asked Gene to drive or ride his road horses - thrills he remembers with a smile.  “Showing on the “kerosene circuit” was a life-learning experience, one for the books,” Gene fondly remembers. “We all helped one another - traded stock, loaned stock, and then would catch-drive for one another to fill a class.” 


Gene followed his father in the general contracting and farming enterprises.  In the mid-1930’s, he met his soul mate - the lovely Alice Carnahan showing a harness pony at the Marion, IL horse show.  Together they built their stables, farming, general contracting and redi-mix enterprises, sharing a love and dedication to one another that lasted 62 happy years. Their son is the noted horseman and harness maker, Patrick Kennedy, owner of Kenhurst Farm and Kennedy Harness Company. 


A respected judge from the 1940’s through the late 1980’s, he adjudicated  many shows including the World Championship Horse Show. Mr. Kennedy says that, “it was a thrill for me, being invited by Bill Munford to judge this show.  What a wonderful person to work with. To judge and to show at the best “turned out” show in the country is thrilling.


Mr. Kennedy served as a Director and/or President of the American Hackney Horse Society from 1960-1994 and was instrumental in bringing its Futurity to the WCHS, which proved to be a great benefit to Hackney breeding farms.  He also served many years on the AHSA Hackney and Harness Pony Committee and continues to participate with other equine associations and shows.


He and his mentor, Harley Heyl worked to develop his vision Of Hackney breeding - animation, color, stylish quality, and athleticism - the hallmarks of the Creation’s King, Southworth Swell, and King Of The Plains.  After the Heyl Dispersal in 1957, Mr. Kennedy purchased Creation’s King and continued to line-breed him with select mares, successfully developing progeny to lead the sire rating for 17 years.


With his supportive family and dedicated employees, Eugene Kennedy and his son, Pat, raised, trained and exhibited many ponies under the Kennedy Pony Farm banner including May Day Dividend, May Day Elise, May Day Poppin’, May Day Modernaire, Rhythm’s Black Satin, Dividonna, Poppin’s Robin, Prides’s Pandora, Duke Elegant, Dark Rythmn, Highlander, Pride’s Cameo, Dan Cupid, Apollo’s Heir and Apollo’s Righto, jut to name a few. 



Truly major accomplishments are the multiple classes in the 1960’s through the 1990’s at the WCHS where various Hackney Champions and Reserve Champions were bred from Kennedy Pony Farm and its bloodlines.  History was made one Saturday evening in the 1970’s when the only two full brothers in any division won the World’s Grand Champion and the Reserve - Apollo’s Heir and Apollo’s Righto. Six of the 13 ponies in that championship class were bred at Kennedy Pony Farm - without a Kennedy showing. 


Eugene Kennedy continues to maintain his show stable and breeding program in Taylorville, IL, sharing his keen enthusiasm and love of horses with four generations of his family. They work with him in his endeavors and are joining him at the WCHS.  We wish to celebrate Eugene Kennedy and his contributions to the Hackney breed and the show horse industry. 



Editor’s note: At age 92, Eugene Kennedy is still winning in the show ring. At the recently concluded Illinois State Fair, Kennedy’s 81st Fair, he showed Kennedy Pony Farm-owned Scottish Lass to the blue in the Land of Lincoln Hackney Pony class.


More Stories

  • A Memorable First Trip To Oklahoma

    Taylor Ladd arrived in Oklahoma to compete for the first time this year, but she had the success of a seasoned veteran. The walk-trot rider left the fairgrounds with two World Championships, one Reserve World Championship, and three Grand National titles under the direction of Taylor River Farm. Read More
  • Highlights from Morgan Grand National

    Enjoy the victory passes and interviews from Oklahoma City on ReporTV! Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN FINAL

    It's official! The REPORT Leaderboard for the 2017 Morgan Grand National and World Championship Horse Show is final. Wow!  All the hard work all year really paid off! Congratulations to all the winners - blue ribbon and otherwise!


    Read More
  • Interview at Sterling Training Center

    In the interview that follows, trainer Katie Mair and owners Mary and Natalie Golota share their thoughts following Katie's win with As Predicted GCH at the Morgan Grand National.  Read More
  • Interview at Cater Stables

    In the interview that follows, trainer Kristen Cater and proud owner Lila Tater share their thoughts following Kristen's victory in Hunter Pleasure with Epona's Mo'O Lio GCH at Morgan Grand National.  Read More
  • Interview at Fire Stables Equestrian

    In the interview that follows, Elaine Galatz, Hannah McBain, Phil Fountain and Julianne Rafferty of Fire Stables Equestrian share their thoughts following a successful Morgan Grand National. Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN Thru Friday

    With only Saturday's finale performances to go, here's how the blue ribbon counts go in the REPORT Leaderboard through end of day Friday, October 13. Read More
  • A Family Bond

    The Youth of the Year contest tests the skills of young equestrian each year at the Morgan Grand National. Selina Cloutier had the honor of winning this prestigious competition in 1998, and this year, her daughter Clea is competing for the same title. Read More
  • Another Record Breaking Performance

    Morgan Grand National fans were treated to a history making performance on Thursday afternoon as Arcadia, Oklahoma resident Chloe Farischon became the first junior exhibitor to win the World Champion Four-Year-Old English Pleasure title. Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN Thru Thursday

    It's coming down to the wire and the competition is so close. Check out the REPORT Leaderboard standings as of Thursday, October 12. Read More