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Lifetime Achievement-That Says It All.

ASHA Lifetime Achievement Award - Marty Mueller

Editor’s Note: The following speech was read by Bob Ruxer at the ASHA Convention in Lexington, Ky.

If anyone here thinks I might be a little nervous tonight, you’re right, but I’m sure it’s nothing compared to how our honoree feels. You see, he’s never been one to seek recognition. He’s just devoted his life to our wonderful American Saddlebred horse and along the way he’s been the one so many of us look to as the ideal horseman we’d all like to be.

Marty, when I sat down to write this, I had so much to say, but those words just wouldn’t go down on paper. I tried to think of all you mean to those of us who have had the privilege of working with you over the years. You know who I mean, the ones who take so much pride in calling ourselves “Marty’s Boys.” This is from all of us.

Let me set the stage a little, we’re back in the hills of southern Indiana, in a magical place they call “the valley,” in a little town called French Lick. Now let’s turn that clock ahead six days from now, now turn that clock back 93 years, that’s when my hero was born.

Who would have known what life had in store for this man or what this man had in store for life. He didn’t just train horses, he really trained horses. The Tempest, Red Cedar, King Lee, The Great “The Lemon Drop Kid,” The Rambler, and the list is too long to continue. But this man did so much more, he took an interest in others and saw to it that we could share in his wisdom. Just ask Merrill Murray what he thought as he carried The Red Roses out of Freedom Hall in the Five-Gaited Stake. Just ask Kim Cowart who put the “sweet” back in Sweet Treat just before she carried the yellow roses out in the Three-Gaited Championship or how his words echo throughout our barns every day on “What Would Marty Do.”

What was it like to work for this man, I’ll tell you. It was hard work, no shortcuts, and you better leave your own ideas at home if you worked for him. Every move you made better be the move he wanted or you’d find out that won’t happen again. Why he’d even tell you which way to turn your horse when you reached the end of the barn. One day I told him that I was just a puppet, I’d do whatever he said. After all, there were only two ways to turn, right or left, when you reached the end. Let’s see if I can get it right without you telling me. So off my horse and I went, up and down the barn nine times, that’s 18 turns, I figured I had to be close to right half the time. After the workout, I received my score, 0 for 18. To say he could get inside a horses mind is an understatement, but let it be known he’d play with your mind too. He had a way to make his point. After he had been at our place about two weeks, he asked me if I was starting to catch on to this horse training stuff, did it make sense to me, I answered “oh yeah, I’m really learning a lot” to which he replied “if you know so much, why is it your horses don’t know anything? It’s not what your know, it’s what your horses know.”

Hard work? You bet, but the fun we had and memories we all share make a life we wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. He can’t be here tonight, he’s with his family, daughter Sherry and sons Tom and John and their wives and looking down on us is a smiling lady who remains his biggest fan, his wife, Irene.

I’d like to share just a little more, this from Kim Cowart. Marty, a great horseman and even better teacher. Probably my biggest mistake was not to stay with him longer. Nothing I could write would justify this master horseman, all I know is he is a huge part of my life and I love him. Yeah, we all do.

The best part, our honoree isn’t finished with his lifelong devotion to training horses. He trains horses to this day helping top horseman throughout the country. He’s the man, He’s amazing, He’s our 2005 lifetime achievement recipient and like I said at the beginning, He’s my hero. He is the one and only Mr. Marty Mueller.

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