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Southeastern Charity Horse Show Hall of Fame



(Editor’s note: The following was written by Bob Funkhouser and read by Mark Farrar on Wednesday night.)

Eddie B. Womble and Bit Hutcheson joined by fellow Georgia horsemen and horsewomen.


 

The Southeast has long been rich in Saddle Horse heritage. Many of our industry’s top trainers and breeders have called this part of the country home at one time or another.

At this time the Southeastern Charity Horse Show would like to honor a duo that represents one of the top trainers and one of the top breeders in the American Saddlebred industry. Not only are they at the top of their profession today, they have been that way for some time now.

Neither one can remember much of their lives when the other wasn’t a part of it. He came to the famed establishment when her father took a serious interest in the show horse business and then expanded to include the breeding division as well.

He used to drive her to one night shows in a wood-slatted livestock truck. They covered a lot of miles on the back roads of the Georgia and Tennessee show circuits, learning, laughing and even crying a little.

From those simple, fun filled days on through the decades, this team was together through successes and failures, joys and tragedies.

“There isn’t a part of Happy Valley Farm that “B” hasn’t been involved with,” said Bit.

“B” would be Eddie B. Womble. “Bit” would be Marion Hutcheson. It’s hard to think of one without the other, as they have been the constants of the famed green and white colors of Happy Valley Farm, Rossville, Ga.

From a family of horsemen, Eddie B., as he is known around the country, has had the opportunity to work with as many or more great horsemen and women as anybody who has ever trained a Saddle Horse. Beginning with David Neil and continuing on with Sam Brannon, Bob Vesel, Nelson Green, Don Judd, Lloyd Teater, Royce Cates, Bob Gatlin, Dede Gatlin, Marilyn Macfarlane, Steve and Julia Joyce, Ray Yoder, David Kerger, Tony White, Jack Magill, Jimmy Price, Frank Gray and currently Carl Irwin, Eddie B. has taken bits and pieces of knowledge from each of his peers and used them to fit his own calm, quiet style.

While in the background with many famous show ring champions he has also had great success himself in the ring. Some of the stars he has shown and/or started include Man Of Fortune, Fox Flame, Wild Luck, Hurricane Lane, Alluring, Prediction, In Your Dreams, Allege, Fortune and Grande Gil.

He is also one of the most respected when it comes to preparing in hand champions for the ring. Priceless and Wizardry were both Happy Valley world’s champions under his tutelage. He also prepared and showed I’m The Prince to the 1997 All American Cup Yearling Grand Championship. He most recently started I’m Grande at home. This son of Happy Valley’s young stallion I’m The Prince was reserve out of 43 in the All-American Weanling Cup just a few weeks ago with Bill Waller showing.

Breeding champions has been a part of Happy Valley’s mission almost since its inception. This is where our second honoree has shined. In addition to showing world class stars like Flavor Taste, Lilly Merrill, Fox Flame, Buck Creek’s Precious Princess, Enlightening, In Reality and four-times Amateur Five-Gaited Mare World’s Champion Such Sweet Memories, Bit Hutcheson has guided the Happy Valley breeding program to the pinnacle of success.

Early on stallions such as Indiana Peavine, King Dell, Eyre Lad, Murray Cason and Chief Of Greystone occupied the breeding sheds at the Valley. Then came High Rise Spirit, Oman’s Luck, Longview’s Paladin and the homebred World’s Champion Merchant Prince who has remained in the top of the sire ratings for many years now.

Today Merchant Prince is the senior stallion with I’m The Prince, Harlem’s Friendly Conversation and Magical Me starting to leave their marks in the pages of Happy Valley history.

Bit is most proud that many of her current broodmares are third generation producers with blue-blooded pedigrees.

The Southeastern Charity Horse Show has had the pleasure of witnessing many of the world class show stars and homebred produce presented by Happy Valley Farm. We would like to thank Eddie B. Womble and Marion “Bit” Hutcheson for sharing their talents and their love of the American Saddlebred with our show for so many years.

Ladies and gentlemen, our 2006 Southeastern Charity Horse Show Hall of Fame honorees….Eddie B. Womble and Marion Hutcheson.

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