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Service Award and Retirement – Special Features at NWSA Fall Classic

Editor’s Note: The following speeches were read by John Owens at the NWSA Fall Classic Horse Show in Salem, Ore.


Ed and Janet Ross (far right) presented the Ross Perpetual Service Award

 to Allison, Brooke and Don Deardorff at the horse show.

Photo by Casey McBride.


It is my pleasure to again announce the awarding of the Ed and Janet Ross Perpetual Service Award, this time for 2006.

Ed and Janet would like to once more thank those individuals responsible for initiating this special award in their honor. Each year they say its significance becomes more and more important to them.

Over the past few years they have chosen to honor not only various individuals but also husband and wife teams for their many contributions not only to the Northwest Saddlebred Association but to the horse industry as well. This year they have chosen a different approach and this very special award is being given to a family.

Let us briefly outline some of the many, many contributions this family has made. They have all had a lifetime involvement in the horse industry. Let’s begin with the head of the family and his parents who also have been Saddlebred owners for many years. He began showing the breed as a teenager and, following his college years, established what is now one of the premier Saddlebred operations on the West Coast. The stable name was established in 1974 and this stable banner is a familiar sight not only on the West Coast but across the nation as well.

A very large breeding program has been maintained for many years and that well known farm name is attached to many, many champions they have bred, shown and sold. They currently have numerous customers showing great Saddlebreds, road horses and ponies under the stable banner.

His wife of 33 years is also no stranger to the horse industry and as a teenager showed top hunters and western horses. She is actively engaged in the many management programs for their public stable and always an avid supporter of all their many customers. When you take many entries to a horse show she can always be thanked for having the entries in on time and in order.

The other member of this horse oriented family has had a truly lifetime involvement with the industry they all love. She was first seen in the ring as a two-year-old in lead line classes and has been an outstanding horsewoman ever since with top saddle seat equitation honors across the nation. Following college graduation she joined the family horse operation and has established very successful programs for her juvenile and amateur riders.

Time does not permit us to outline all of their contributions to the horse industry but Ed and Janet can certainly attest to this family’s contributions to the wonderful world of the American Saddlebred and the Hackney pony, as they have been loyal customers for nearly 40 years.

I think you probably have the picture now. Would you please join Ed and Janet as they honor best friends and true horsemen in every sense of the word . . . Don, Brooke and Allison Deardorff, and present them with the 2006 Perpetual Service Award.


Bob Facciola joined Chuck and Carol Court, 

Harry and Mollie Chapman and Jessica Petro with Posseman

after his retirement ceremony Saturday evening.



What do we really know about the horse we call Posseman? Well, before Harry Chapman and Posseman started their partnership, Posseman was virtually unknown, found in a field outside of Salem; blind in one eye and with a notch out of his ear, he lived a different life than he does now.

Was he a road horse? We don’t know. Did he race? We don’t know. How old is he? We don’t know. Where did he start his life? We don’t know. One thing we can figure–Posseman had, has and always will have a huge heart.

What is important today is his long career as a winning road horse pulling, and I do mean pulling, Harry around the ring in his red and yellow silks to the whoops and hollers of the crowd. The duo are always a crowd pleaser and most often in the ribbons.

Bring him into the ring and turn him left to get him started; a nice easy clip. Well, as nice and easy as a road horse can go. Then reverse and “road gait”. . . get in your groove and “turn him on.” Here we go–the more whooping and hollering from the crowd, the faster Posseman will go. And as he turns the corner you can see the sparkle in his eye and the grin on Harry’s face. Another lap, around and around they go. Another job well done by Posseman, showing all he’s got and getting Harry home safely again. The horse has heart.

Harry and Posseman have traveled around the country to show off his talent. Roadster To Wagon at the World’s Championship in Louisville, Ky., was a little different since Harry found himself standing in a wagon and going as fast as we know a road horse can go. Was Harry nuts? Maybe, but Posseman saw him through that class like a true champ.

The American Royal in Kansas City was another favorite stop to Mollie Chapman’s hometown crowd. Adding a few extra hollers and whistles for another ribbon for the duo. Asheville, N.C., was a true challenge for the pair. Fourteen horses in the ring at once – what a sight to see. All of them turning and burning. In Posseman fashion, the horse with the big heart gave it his all and found himself in the top three. Harry couldn’t have asked for more. Another stop on his horse show circuit was Devon; the horse show of all horse shows. Our favorite, Posseman, did not disappoint. His last show on the East Coast before returning to the West Coast was the Dixie Jubilee in Baton Rouge, La. He flew in the ring like a hurricane to bring home another championship.

These are just the highlights of Harry’s and Posseman’s career. The last two years brought Posseman home to the West Coast, living at Chuck Court Stables and showing up and down the coast. Always a hometown favorite at the Oregon State Fair, this year’s fair was his last competition. Right here where we sit tonight.

So it is time to say our last farewells to the horse with the big heart. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Posseman to the center of the ring. If you ask Harry why he bought Posseman, this is what he’ll tell you. “I bought Posseman to teach me to drive a road horse. Ever since I was a young man and rode jumpers, I have always been fascinated with road horses. I always said when I was done with jumpers I was going to learn to drive a road horse. But the damnedest thing is . . . Posseman didn’t teach me to drive any road horse, he only taught me to drive Posseman and for that I thank him.”

Chuck and Carol, please do the honors of removing his harness for the final time. Del Gianella, are you going to pull those shoes for us? And in the tradition of all great road horses, Carol [Court] will hang Posseman’s tail to pasture perfection.

Jessica Petro, the granddaughter of Harry and Mollie Chapman, is now placing the colors of his retirement stable on his back. She will be responsible for the care of her grandfather’s beloved Posseman throughout his retirement.

We wish Posseman acres of green pastures and bunches of carrots as he lives the rest of his life at the Chapmans’ Whip N’ Spur Farm in Wilsonville, Ore.

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