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Indiana Horsemen’s Hall of Fame: Steve and Bill Kildow

“Two Boys and a Shetland Pony” might make a good title for a children’s book.

It would also describe tonight’s Hall Of Fame recipients’ first encounter in the horse business.

Brothers Steve and Bill Kildow began their association with ponies in 1958 when a family friend asked Bill to show a Shetland pony at the Madison, Indiana, County 4-H Fair. Bill was hesitant, but with encouragement from mom and dad, he agreed. Bill and Gran-Vue Major were not winners that day, but Bill discovered he not only liked showing ponies, he also had a natural flair for showmanship. After numerous visits to local Shetland breeders Gran-Vue Pony Farm, Bruce and Barbara Kildow bought a mare for their young sons, Steve and Bill, to show in 4-H. On a small parcel of land adjacent to the state highway - dubbed the “pony lot” - Bill and Steve worked their ponies, loaded them into the family pickup truck and found a driver to take them to the local shows on weekends.

Early in their partnership, it became evident that Bill was the talented one showing and training the Shetland ponies. Steve shone in a different role, handling the organization, management, promotion and association participation of the Kildow Pony Farm. In fact, Steve was elected the youngest President ever of the Indiana Shetland Pony Club and served on the National Board of Directors for the Shetland Pony Club.

Bill and Steve had been exposed to Hackney ponies in a limited manner but they had heard about various Hackney futurity programs and how one could “win good money” in those classes. That “got their ears up”. So one day Bill took a trip to Reedannland in Cumming, Iowa, where he picked out a beautiful weanling stud colt for the Kildow’s first Hackney. When that one didn’t make the grade, the brothers contacted Dr. Raun, who said bring him back. That colt was traded for a brood mare in foal and thus the Kildow Stable breeding operation was founded.

In the years that followed, the Kildows excelled at the breeding side of the business, compiling an enviable roster of champions raised at their Alexandria, Indiana, farm. A partial list of these outstanding ponies includes such instantly recognizable names as WC Mr. Amigo, RWC Arthur B, WGC Shake Don’t Stir, WC Nacho Mama, WC Joan Jett, WC Cowboy Magic, WC Callisto, WC Material Girl and many others. The newest addition to this elite group is Kilbro’s Image, the last living foal of Analuisa. He is making his mark as a breeding stallion, siring Futurity winners from his initial crop of foals.

Twenty years ago, a group of Indiana Hackney breeders met to establish the Hoosier Hackney Association. Both Bill and Steve have served the association as officers and directors for the entire twenty years. The Hoosier Hackney Futurity is the largest non-subsidized Hackney futurity in the country. Steve has served on the American Hackney Horse Society Board of Directors and is currently Vice President of the All American Cup, assisting in the annual auction and class presentation.

The Kildow brothers’ association with the All American Horse Classic, both as exhibitors and show committee members, goes back many years. Steve’s involvement began in 1992, when Dawn Kendrick asked him to be Hackney liason to the AAHC Show Committee. Initially brought on board to turn around declining Hackney pony participation in the show, Steve now serves with great distinction as Co-chairperson and Treasurer of the All American – and the Hackney division at the All American is now of the strongest in the country.

The Kildow brothers have enjoyed many successes individually; together they are making a mark in the equine industry both in Indiana and the nation. The main criterion for admission to the Indiana Horsemen’s Hall of Fame is that the recipients must have made a significant contribution to the horse show industry in Indiana. With their dedication, perseverance, generosity and success tonight’s inductees certainly meet this criteria.

In conclusion, the management of the All American Classic – Manager Claire Panke, Co-Chairperson Dawn Kendrick, Jim Aikman and the entire staff and volunteers of the show – would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Steve Kildow for his tireless efforts on behalf of the show. Without Steve Kildow, the All American Classic as we know it would not be possible.

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