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Northampton Horsemen’s Hall Of Fame Inducts Its First Members

by Diana Davidson

Through the course of its 67 years, this event has gone by many names – the National Morgan Horse Show, then the Eastern National, and most recently New England Morgan. After more than 50 years here at the Three County Fairgrounds, however, it’s small wonder that the name “
Northampton” has become synonymous with this show. The grand outdoor ring has hosted more than its fair share of the breed’s greats, both horse and human, and continues to do so today. There’s no doubt that the tradition of this show – the opportunity to watch Morgan history in the making – is part of the allure that keeps us coming back to Northampton year after year.

But beyond the wonderful competition in the ring, this show embodies all that is good about our sport. There is a certain lightness, a certain joy, that seems to be shared by everyone, from the most seasoned competitor to the youngest lead line rider, from the judges in center ring to the grounds crew. This camaraderie is as unique to New England as the ring itself.

For this one special week, our common love of the Morgan show horse transcends our differences and binds us together as a community. And as with any community, there are individuals who naturally emerge as leaders – people whose actions through the years have a lasting impact on those around them, and on the show itself.

The Northampton Horsemen’s Hall of Fame has been established by the New England Morgan Horse Show to honor the contributions of the amazing men and women who have given freely of their time and talent in support of the Northampton tradition. Beginning this year, one or more individuals will be selected for induction into the Hall of Fame.

New England Show Manager Fred Nava added, “It is our pleasure to induct Dr. S. Robert Orcutt and Patricia Tataronis Orcutt as the inaugural members on Friday night followed by Anna Ela, John Lydon, Lyman Orcutt and Joe Parker on Saturday night as the Class of 2006 Hall Of Fame members.

“To recognize the members of the Northampton Horsemen’s Hall of Fame, each member’s name will be mounted on the box seat roofs around the main ring. The inscription on the plaques reads: ‘In recognition of dedication, sportsmanship and support of the Northampton Tradition and the New England Morgan Horse Show’.”

Dr. S. Robert Orcutt and Patricia Tataronis Orcutt

Tonight, we are especially honored to induct Dr. S. Robert Orcutt and Patricia Tataronis Orcutt as the inaugural members of the Northampton Horsemen’s Hall of Fame.

Dr. Bob was born in East Burke, Vermont on August 20, 1912, the youngest of five children. Young Bob Orcutt developed an early fascination with horses, and the Morgan horse in particular.

He attended secondary school at Lyndon Institute, often commuting in winter via horse-drawn sleigh. He withdrew from Norwich University after one year during the Depression to assist his uncle, Dr. Wallace Orcutt, in West Newbury, Massachusetts in the care, training and showing of his string of Morgans. During this time, he achieved the distinction of winning the saddle championship at the first annual National Morgan Horse Show in 1939.

Returning to school, Dr. Bob graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1945 with a degree in veterinary medicine, and went to work for Dr. Bowen in Framingham, Massachusetts. He still had a great love for the show ring and continued to train and show horses.

He was a pioneer and an innovator in our show ring. Showing a horse named Jubilee Queen, he created a whole new approach to showing. With his quiet manner and the way he presented his horses, he paved the way for our standards of today – a man well ahead of his time. Yes, he was a veterinarian by profession, but he was a breeder, a trainer and a horseman first.

Dr. Bob judged the Grand National in Detroit in 1980. He received the UPHA Chapter 14 Man of the Year in 1986. He was inducted into the AMHA Hall of Fame in 1987, and also inducted into the national UPHA Hall of Fame. He served on the AMHA and NEMHA Board of Directors. In 2005, he was presented with the AMHA Golden Reins Award.

The list of legendary Morgans managed by Dr. Bob is endless. A list of just a few of his favorites includes Wonderman, whom he showed at the first National Morgan Horse Show in 1939 and was his first great horse; Gay Cavalier, who’s pictured on the show program cover; Westwold Donna Resa; Gladgay’s Pride; Glenallen’s Nelson D; Command Performance; Green Meads Galaxy; Phillistine’s Encore; Glenallen’s Johnny B; and Dr. Bob’s personal all-time favorite, Gay Dancer.

Of course, it is impossible to separate Dr. Bob’s impact on this show and the Morgan breed from that of Patricia Tataronis Orcutt. Pat arrived at Dr. Bob’s Burkland Farm to serve as trainer in 1959, and there she remained for the rest of her 40-plus year career.

While in high school in the 1950’s, Pat worked at a polo club, not for money, but at she put it, for the reward of riding a lot of horses. Her big break was a chestnut son of Upwey King Benn named Saracen. Still in high school, Pat quickly established a name for herself as she showed this fancy trotting stallion to beat the big names of the time – including John Lydon, Whitey Fenton and Dr. Bob himself.

It seems only appropriate that Dr. Bob and Pat Tat be welcomed as the first members of this Hall of Fame. Each enjoyed great success in this show ring, but it is their contributions outside of the ring that made them true standouts. Both were always ready with a word of support or sound advice, and were among the first to help anyone in need. Scores of younger horsemen and newcomers to the Morgan breed benefited from Dr. Bob’s and Pat’s gentle mentoring. They truly personify the spirit for which this honor is intended.

Dr. Bob and Pat Tat, we sound the final call tonight and proudly induct you as the inaugural members of the Northampton Horsemen’s Hall of Fame.

Please welcome Dr. Bob’s son Dr. Robert M. Orcutt, his daughter Mary Jane Wahl and her husband Larry, daughter Helen Noble and her husband Leif, and his grandsons Peter Wahl, Joshua Noble and Caleb Noble to accept the Northampton Horsemen’s Hall of Fame plaques for Dr. Robert Orcutt and Patricia Tataronis Orcutt.

Anna Ela

Anna Ela has been involved with Morgans all her life, and with this horse show since its inception in 1939. In fact, Anna rode her beloved mare Gladwin to that first National Morgan Horse Show in Woodstock, Vermont. The history of this horse show is intertwined with Anna’s Townshend Farm.

All you have to do is read through the list of past champions for almost any class in the show program, and the Townshend prefix shows up again and again and again. hree Grand Champion Mares – Townshend Cornita, Harriet and Debadonna; Townshend Mhy Debra in Park Saddle; Townshend Vigil Me in English Pleasure. One of the most memorable rivalries ever to take place here was between Orcland Vigildon and Waseeka’s Nocturne in the Sire and Get class. What a sight it was to see these two great stallions trot into the ring, followed by the finest examples of their offspring. Later, it was Merri Lee Double Don leading the parade in the Sire and Get class – always one of the highlights of the show in its day.

It is a true honor to welcome Anna Ela back to this grand ring as we welcome her to the Northampton Horsemen’s Hall of Fame.

John Lydon

 It would be practically impossible to establish a Northampton Horsemen’s Hall of Fame and not include Johnny Lydon – one of the true icons of our breed. As a showman, mentor, and architect of the incomparable Waseeka breeding program, the entire Morgan industry, and of course this horse show, are entwined with this one man. From leading Windcrest Donfield to Grand Champion Stallion honors in 1953, ‘56, ‘57, ‘58, ‘59 and ‘60, to leading his own Waseeka’s Showtime to the same title in 1981, Johnny’s prowess in the show ring is matched only by the great horses he presented here – horses such as Waseeka’s Thisizit, Waseeka’s Themesong, Helicon Calliope, A Okay, and of course Waseeka’s Nocturne and his son, Waseeka’s In Command.

Just the mention of Nocturne and In Command tells you what an impact Johnny had on the breed as a result of his successful partnership with the Powers and Annis families. Perhaps less well known is the equally important role Johnny played as a mentor for such trainers as Whitey Fenton (ask Peter), Eric Noble, Ann Anderson, and his son Tim and daughter Ginny.

It’s said that evolution is a slow, gradual process, but that every so often it makes a great leap forward. Johnny Lydon was that leap forward in the Morgan world.
Please welcome Tim, Priscilla and Maureen Lydon along with Rich Campbell and Dotty and Howard Ingraham to accept the Northampton Horsemen’s Hall of Fame plaque for John Lydon.

Lyman Orcutt
From showing Ulysses to Grand Champion Stallion honors at the first National Morgan Horse Show in 1939 at the ripe age of 16, to serving as elder statesman while holding court in Hospitality in his later years, Lyman lived and breathed the Morgan horse and this horse show. He was a consummate competitor, showing such great horses as UNH Astronaut, Orcland Dondarling and Waseeka’s Skylark, with whom he traveled the country one year to compete in every regional show – winning Grand Champion Stallion honors at each one in the days before there was a Grand National show.

Lyman’s Orcland Farm and the Orcland prefix are certainly among the most recognized in our breed, with many of today’s champions tracing back to Lyman’s breeding program. Lyman also played a major role as a mentor for young horsemen, helping to mold such respected trainers as Jim Anderson, Glenn Bouvier and Richard Boulé.

As many of you know, Lyman died here on the grounds a few years ago. There’s no doubt that he was exactly where he wanted to be, working on one of the things closest to his heart – New England Morgan.

Please welcome Lyman’s son Chip Orcutt to accept the Northampton Horsemen’s Hall of Fame for Lyman Orcutt.

Joe Parker

 When you talk about showing horses in this big ring in years gone by, Joe Parker’s name invariably comes up as one of the greats. Joe Parker Stables has always been a force to be reckoned with in the ring, a tradition started by Joe and handed down to his sons. When Joe was alive, he and son Bill often shared training and showing duties. Perhaps the best-known horse they showed together was Bennfield’s Ace. Bill would lead Ace in-hand and show him under saddle, while Joe drove him, winning the Park Harness Championship here in 1972.

Joe also showed such wonderful horses as Park Saddle Champions Bay State Gallant, Chasley Superman, Paramount’s Emperor, Paramount’s Delight, and Paramount’s Highness, with whom he won the first-ever Grand National Champion Park Saddle title in 1973.

Joe was a dedicated family man, sharing his knowledge and his stable with sons Bill, Bernard and Leslie. All three have continued their life-long involvement with the Morgan breed, carrying on their father’s tradition of showmanship and sportsmanship.

Please welcome Bill, Susan, Abigale and Hugh Parker to accept the Northampton Horsemen’s Hall of Fame plaque for Joe Parker.

Bob Moseder/Tim Keller

While we’re all gathered, we’d like to make a special presentation to two gentlemen who have served this horse show for more years than they probably care to remember, and continue to do so year after year. They are as much a part of the fabric of this show as the ring itself, and it’s almost impossible to imagine being here without them.

Bob Moseder, our show photographer has been coming to Northampton since the 1970’s, faithfully capturing the sheer joy a Northampton victory always brings. Even those who have never been to Northampton recognize this ring, thanks to Bob’s countless thousands of photos recording the history being made here class after class.

Believe it or not, Tim Keller, horseshoer extraordinaire, has been coming to this show since 1971 – a whopping 35 years! He has worked on many of the greats that have trotted through this ring, if not always with a smile, at least with his trademark dry humor.

Tonight we present Bob and Tim with plaques commemorating their years of service. One creates the champions, and one preserves the memories. We hope both will be with us for the next 30 years – then maybe we’ll induct them into the Hall of Fame too!

Helen Herold

We would also like to take a moment to recognize New England Morgan Horse Association President Helen Herold. Helen will be stepping down as President this coming January. When Helen entered office, there was a very strained relationship between the NEMHA Board of Directors and the NEMHS Committee. During her tenure, she has worked diligently to repair this relationship, and has ushered in a new era of cooperation and understanding between the Board and the Show Committee. Thank you Helen.

Fred Nava

The current day New England Morgan Horse Show would not be what it is today without the dedicated leadership of Fred Nava. Fred’s hard work, strong vision and attention to detail have brought this grand old show to new heights. Please take a moment to thank Fred along with wife and show co-chair Christine and chair Molly O’Brien for bringing
New England to even greater heights.

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