Skip to content

Obituary – Virginia Ann Hanson




Virginia Ann Hanson, of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada (formerly of Big Oak Morgan Horse Farm, Lunenburg, Ontario) passed away at age 91. She was born January 14, 1929 in Newton, Massachusetts. She is survived by her son Calvin Hanson of Cornwall and predeceased in 2009 by her husband of 60 years, the late Merton (Bud) Hanson, retired resident civil engineer with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. 

Virginia graduated in June 1947 from Newton High School in Newton, Massachusetts, and was valedictorian. She graduated from Academie Moderne Modeling School in Boston, Massachusetts in December 1947; and also attended Marjorie Webster Junior College in Washington DC majoring in Art and English. Virginia channeled her love of nature and animals into her paintings, artwork, and writings of poetry and stories. 

Virginia loved horses and in the equestrian sport she was an avid horsewoman throughout her lifetime. Virginia started riding horseback at age 10, also riding in the Newton High School equestrian club program, and with private equestrian establishments in Massachusetts perfecting both saddle seat and hunter seat equestrian riding. In her youth, she rode American Saddlebreds and hunters winning awards at horse shows. 

Decades later Virginia, Bud, and Calvin became heavily involved in the equestrian sport in the 1960s while residing in Cornwall. To accommodate the growing number of horses they acquired, a 200-acre farm was purchased in Lunenburg in 1967 which quickly earned a national and international reputation as the highly successful Big Oak Morgan Horse Farm where Champion registered Morgan horses were bred, raised, trained, exhibited, and sold. 

Horses became a full-time commitment for Virginia, and as a horse breeder for four decades her contributions continue to have a significant influence on the Morgan breed today. Virginia had a very special talent for selecting and matching key bloodlines that would ultimately produce Champion caliber foals. Two Champion Morgan stallions spearheaded the farm's breeding program: Waseeka's Serenade and Big Oak Black Tie, the latter was bred by Virginia. She was exceedingly proud that Morgan horses carrying the Hanson-bred bloodline have claimed seventy-seven World Championships and Reserves. Virginia was also proud that offspring from her Big Oak farm won and or produced Champions at the world, grand national, international, regional, state, and provincial shows. 

Showing Morgan horses was a family affair exhibiting throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Ontario, and Quebec. Virginia won her share of awards including Grand Champion Morgan Pleasure Horse with the Ontario Morgan Horse Club in 1969 with her beloved Morgan mare Dancette. In addition, Virginia enjoyed vacationing at her summer home and property in Nobleboro, Maine for many decades; and at her cottage on Island 17 in Long Sault, Ontario. She had a flair for growing flowers and vegetables in her many gardens; and she adored her St. Bernard dogs Bruno and Juno. 

More Stories

  • **Updated Event Cancellations

    Saddle Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse events. Read More
  • Latest Issue 9 21 20

    Read More
  • From the Desk of Marty Schaffel: Change Is Not Easy

    Robert Samuelson is a well-respected columnist on topics of economics and human behavior. He has been writing since the early ’70s.  He wrote his farewell column this week, and I excerpted the above quotation from him... Read More
  • CH Fiasco Succumbs to Heart Failure

    CH Fiasco, the first ever Western Country Pleasure World’s Champion of Champions died of heart failure September 13th at Michael Craghead Stables in Fresno, California. The big, beautiful bay gelding set the standard for the Western country pleasure division with Doug Glick. Read More
  • UPHA Update

    COVID-19 has caused many changes in our world and has had a significant impact on our sport. We have all learned to wear our face coverings, practice social distancing and elbow bump instead of shaking hands or giving hugs. It has been a steep learning curve, but our equine industry has risen to the challenge and prevailed when many other sports have faltered. Read More
  • UPHA/American Royal National Championship Horse Show Update

    With concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our guests, community members, volunteers, and our employees is our top priority. We are working to make sure our operations will run smoothly and safely for all our attendees at the 2020 UPHA/American Royal National Championship Horse Show in November.  Read More
  • Osteen Captures the All American Action

    Rick Osteen, official photographer at the All American Horse Classic, has proofs available online at www.rickosteen.com and despite not being able to set up his viewing table he and wife Joni are fulfilling orders as quickly as possible. Read More
  • Rock Creek Cancelled

    The Board of Directors of the Rock Creek Riding Club regret to announce that they have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s show.  We had high hopes that rescheduling the traditional June show for October would allow us to do justice to the Rock Creek tradition even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read More
  • American Saddlebred Museum Accepting Consignments

    The American Saddlebred Museum is pleased to accept consignments for the next Equine Art, Antique, and Rare Book Auction taking place in July 2021. To prepare for this much loved event, the Museum is accepting consignments until February 1, 2021. Read More
  • Latest Issue 9 14 20 Insert

    Read More