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Indiana Horsemen’s Hall of Fame

Editor’s note: The following presentations were made during the recent All American Horse Classic.





Atlas has been helping people learn to ride since the 1950s when she was 13 years old. Shortly after she graduated from Beloit College, she began her full-time life with Saddlebreds when she opened her first barn: Fantasy Farm in Michigan City, Ind. She had a very successful lesson program during the summer months and as many as 20 horses in training. But the winters were hard and she moved back to the Chicago-area several years later.


She had a variety of barns in Lake and McHenry Counties in Illinois, training some wonderful Saddlebreds, but the focus was always on training the customer to ride the horse. She was a founding member of the UPHA and through her work on the Equitation Committee developed the Challenge Cup classes in the early 70s with the first championship held in 1974. Qualifying classes did not need to be at ASHA shows, which broadened the accessibility of a national championship.


With Bonnie Kittredge, Dawn also worked to develop the highly successful academy show program, which introduces many families to showing horses. Dawn is also the

creator of the UPHA Pleasure Olympics, once again helping to broaden the field of riders able to participate in an exciting national competition.


There is no question that involving more riders at more levels in the Saddlebred world helps to invigorate the breed. This is Dawn’s special skill: a remarkable ability to not only analyze a situation, but to also articulate corrective action, whether to make a horse, rider or driver perform better. A lesson with Dawn is a continuous stream of commentary, with the commentary providing the logic for the action: “Relax your wrists! You need a direct line from the horse’s mouth, through your hands to your elbows. If your wrists are arched the line is broken.”


Dawn has a specific way and a specific order of doing everything, from hanging up a halter (even after a beginner lesson the rider walks the horse out in the ring) to braiding a switch invisibly into a tail. She also has a logic to back it up. The logic relates to safety, or horse comfort, or esthetics, or efficiency. . . but there is a reason!


It has never been easy being a Dawn customer. Her style is not for everyone. She tells you exactly what you need to do: “You are slumping, if you get your weight deep and your shoulders back, the horse will come back to you!” “I’m trying” is not a good response. “But I am” is an even worse response. The point has never been to make the rider feel good; the point has always been to make the rider learn. Because it all comes back to integrity. Whether a lesson rider or a show rider, Dawn feels that she is taking your money to enable you to ride a horse: safely, in control, and so the horse is comfortable and performing to the best of his ability. Giving false praise does not accomplish that.


The past is in the pictures up on the wall and in the scrapbooks in the viewing room. The present is a series of well-attended classes for College of Lake County (in Grayslake, Ill.). The students come to the barn for hands-on sessions on barn management and a variety of horsemanship courses.


The present is also attending open shows in southeast Wisconsin. The barn is often the only group of saddle seat riders; but steady legs and a collected horse will always catch the attention of judge. And when Dawn’s participants do well, whether in pleasure, equitation, driving, pattern, or bareback classes, it reflects well on the Saddlebred as a breed.


And that makes Dawn happy.







(left) Karen Frickey (r.) with trainers Denessa

& Randy Harper at Louisville this year.

(right) Ed was never without Buster at his side.


Their names have been associated with the All American Horse Classic for more than 30 years. They have each made their mark on Indiana’s show horse industry in their

own special ways. But it is their influence together as a team that is honored tonight and is the stuff of which legends are made. Karen and Ed Frickey are one of those couples that just seemed to go together from the beginning. Although she didn’t want to at first, Karen Swezey eventually gave in and agreed to go out with Purdue University student and football star Ed Frickey and that was it. There would be, could be, no other choice for either one of them. Their partnership has had a profound effect on many lives, the All American Horse Classic, the horse industry of Indiana and throughout the country.


Karen Swezey loved horses from the time she could talk. Her first horse was a stick horse at age four. As a child she used to practice her dressage moves in the backyard and her mother thought she was crazy spending hours moving from one point to another in her makeshift square arena. Her mother didn’t realize that Karen was just working as hard to be the best, even then, as she would go on to do in every endeavor. Soon after, Karen’s grandparents bought Karen and her brother, David, a Welsh pony named Trigger. She loved and showed her beloved pony until she outgrew him at the age of 10.


Karen would go on to show western, dressage and hunter/jumpers and then decided to attend Stephens College. She had many friends there in the Saddlebred industry

and decided she’s better have a gaited horse and learn to ride him. She stabled him at Foxton Farms in Lafayette. Ed Frickey grew up in Kansas and moved to Lafayette when his dad became the head of the department at Purdue University. The move would prove to be the catalyst that brought Ed and Karen together. Frickey was involved in the hunter/jumper industry and he stabled his hunter at Foxton Farms. These two horse lovers were now in the same place at the same time, but it would take a while for the loud, boisterous, confident Ed to convince hardworking and serious Karen to go out with him. He eventually won her over and they were married on Dec. 22, 1971. Ed bought her a Saddlebred colt as a wedding present. Their partnership resulted in the creation of Frickey Farms in Lafayette. A Saddlebred barn that flourished under their care and devotion to the horses. They were teamed with trainers including Art and Jimmy Simmons, Zelfa Corkern, Ed and Jane Bennett, Pat and Jay Kennedy and Lonnie and Renee Lavery.


The list of great Saddlebreds owned and shown by them is a long one and includes Bi Mi Sultan’s Wine, Bi Mi Sip-O-Wine, Chester Drawers, CH Starlike Airs, CH Mr. Casanova, American Wine, CH Monster Man, CH Fury, Spirit Stuff and Karen’s favorite, CH Flash Gordon. Ed was the “go to” guy that wanted nothing more than to

provide Karen and those he loved with all that they desired. But when he sold Flash Gordon, Karen’s heart was broken. Although it would result in her not riding another Saddlebred for five years, it also led to a lifelong involvement in the Hackney pony industry. Trainer at the time, Lonnie Lavery, asked Karen to go to Pat and Jay Kennedy’s to look at a pony that Lavery was thinking about getting for his aunt. Ed was to go along to video her drive. When Ed and Karen arrived, Karen drove the pony and she and Ed then joined Pat and Jay for lunch and a casual visit. The Kennedys decided to show the Frickeys some of their ponies, one of which was a beautiful yearling Hackney named Ballet. Ed’s response when he first saw her? “She’s half neck and half body and I see great things in her future.” How prophetic those words would prove to be. Under the condition that the filly be put in Karen’s name only, Ed bought her. Pat and Jay Kennedy trained and showed Ballet as a yearling and two-year-old and Ed trained and showed her as a three-year-old. With the Saddlebreds in training with the Laverys, Karen and Ed decided, as Ballet was preparing for her junior year and knowing how much potential she had, to hire great pony trainers.


Their partnership with Randy and Denessa Harper was created. Ballet, under their direction, was the 1995 and 1997 Harness Pony World’s Grand Champion and earned world’s title in the mare division until she was retired at the age of 15. Ballet had fulfilled a lifelong dream for Karen-to have one pony that she owned and showed from the beginning of its career until the end. Ballet retired at Louisville in a fitting tribute and still resides at Frickey Farms today where Karen and the Harpers work to produce babies out of this grandest of ponies.


Ballet may be the most beloved, but she is one of a long list of great ponies associated with Frickey Farms, including Fancy Ribbons, Classical Dancer, Bristol Fashion, Trimmed In Brass, Aisle Party, Oliver Twist, Heartland High Time, Late Nite’s Midnight Mist, Regal’s Pride LF, Glory B, Her Excellency, Razzle Dazzle Me, High Life’s Pride, Cowboy Magic, Extremely Fine, Commando, Heartland Twice As Nice, Heartland Miss America, Heartland Flurry, Extremely Sharp, Heartland Stepaside, Catch Me If You Can, Heartland Expectation and Ed’s favorite, Hazard County.


Frickey Farms’ relocation to Shelbyville, Ky., was one that brought joy to both Ed and Karen. They were surrounded by their horse friends and in the center of the horse community. Not surprisingly, their move did not mean the end to their contributions to the All American Horse Classic and the state of Indiana and their beautiful farm continues to produce champion Hackney ponies and a home to the Friesians that they both lived so much.


The loss of Ed Frickey in 2006 was a huge blow to Karen and to the various industries they’ve been a part of for so long, but Frickey Farms, Inc. endures and thrives and the All American Horse Classic is just one of its many benefactors.


Ed was a former president of the Indiana Hoosier Hackney Association, member of the board of directors of the American Hackney Horse Society, creator of the benefit

UPHA golf tournament at Lexington and coordinator of the hugely successful annual live auction at the UPHA/AHHS conventions.


Karen served on the board of the American Hackney Horse Society and currently serves on the board of the Hackney Foundation. She created the AHHS Resource Center and this year at the UPHA/AHHS Convention, she rook the helm of the live auction and continued its unprecedented success.


Dedication, perseverance, ambition and success are all attributes that personify those that are inducted into the Indiana Horsemen’s Hall of Fame and those attributes perfectly describe both Karen and Ed Frickey.

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