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Obituary - Dale Pugh

(Editor’s note: The following was written by Chris Waller of The Fulton Sun.)


Dale Pugh


“He had an innate ability to understand horses and work with them,” stable owner and friend Mike Roberts said. “He was very patient, always kind with them, and would never do things like mush them.”


Pugh, who was born on April 10, 1917, died Feb. 11 at the Missouri Veterans Home in Mexico. Pugh served in the United States Navy during World War II, but was mostly known for his long and awarded career as a horse trainer.


Pugh began training horses in the area at the Callaway Hills Stable in New Bloomfield in the 60s, and had a hand in training the legendary horse Will Shriver, who defeated every challenger he showed against for four straight years. He was highly respected in the horse training community, and had a large influence on many inspiring horse trainers in the area.


“He was regarded as one of the greatest Saddle Horse trainers nationwide,” William Woods University Professor Gayle Lampe, who worked closely with Pugh, said. “When my friends in Kentucky knew I was working with Dale and they saw his horses win championship after championship, they wanted to come here and watch him.”


When it came to bridling new horses, few were better than Pugh. According to Lampe there was a saying among fellow trainers that “Dale Pugh could rack a saw-horse.”


“He was known nationally as one of the best trainers of young horses,” Roberts said. “He could take a colt and get started and take it to a horse show and be as successful as anybody else.”


For Pugh and his wife, Glenda, horses were the most important aspect of their lives all the way through to his death.


“Horses were a 24/7 deal for them,” Lampe said. “They went to horse shows all the time, but their idea of a vacation was to go somewhere and watch a horse show that they weren't involved in.”


Lampe, among many others, was grateful for all of the work he put in to help new trainers develop. For these trainers that knew him, his presence will be hard to replace.         

“He was a quiet man of few words, but had a great sense of humor,” she said. “He was a great person, a great influence and I feel honored to have been his friend.”

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