Skip to content

Tara’s War Eagle Bids The Show Ring A Fond Adieu


Tara's War Eagle with Fran Pugh and Ken and Diana Swanson



by Diana Davidson

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Southern States Regional was a fitting site to honor World Champion Tara’s War Eagle. On Friday, May 26, 2006, Tara’s War Eagle was officially retired from the show ring in his hometown and at the show where he earned his first blue and tricolor ribbons. He enjoyed a ceremony befitting a true champion and a party complete with many of his biggest admirers.

Announcer Bill Carrington read the following tribute to Tara’s War Eagle:

“Ladies and gentlemen it is now time to honor your hometown Raleigh favorite…. World Champion Tara’s War Eagle along with his owner and breeder Fran Pugh.

Tara’s War Eagle has always held a special place in Fran Pugh’s heart. Eagle is sired by World Champion Tara’s Cherokee and out of Mrs. Pugh’s beloved Fox-Ridge Command. Eagle inherited the beauty of his dam and in many ways took her place. Fran Pugh notes Eagle’s eyes and his expression as two things that make him so special and magnetic.

“Eagle’s show ring career began with tricolor accolades in hand including the Junior Champion Stallion honors right here at the Southern States Regional as a yearling, presented by Lynn Peeples. It was a title he would repeat a year later as a two-year-old. His tricolor driving career also began in this arena as the Southern States Two-Year-Old Pleasure Driving Champion under the direction of Ken Swanson. Eagle went on to earn regional tricolors during his three and four-year-old seasons at Southern States, Mid-A and Jubilee in the pleasure driving and in hand gelding divisions.

“As Eagle entered his five-year-old year, it was time for Fran Pugh to enthusiastically take over the reins of her handsome gelding. Their triumphant debut was right here as they claimed the ladies pleasure driving victory in front of their hometown fans. They celebrated their winning ways in the amateur and ladies pleasure driving divisions for three seasons before they transitioned to a new division where they would enjoy the ultimate achievement.

“Tara’s War Eagle and Fran Pugh became synonymous with the classic pleasure driving division. With beauty, style and perfect manners, Tara’s War Eagle became the icon of the division as he enjoyed three nearly unbeatable seasons that included four world championship titles as well as tricolors from New England, Mid-A, Gold Cup and Southern States Regional Championship Morgan Shows. In addition, Eagle earned numerous People’s Choice awards and became the first UPHA Classic Pleasure Driving Horse of the Year.

“As spectacular as his show ring career has been, Eagle has also served as an incredible ambassador to the breed. He resides in the first stall and serves as Tara Farm’s welcoming committee. His namesake, Tara’s War Eagle the virtual horse, likewise welcomes thousands of visitors a year to the Morgan display at the Kentucky Horse Park. Mrs. Pugh purchased the naming rights, and there was never a doubt that he would bear the name of Tara’s War Eagle. Eagle has also had the distinction of pulling the carriage at special events, including many parties and the wedding of Southern States Show Chair Julie Broadway Humphreys.

“Owner Fran Pugh and trainers Ken and Diana Swanson would like to thank Eagle’s caretakers, farrier and veterinarians for all they have done to help keep Eagle happy and healthy. They would also like to thank Eagle’s countless fans for their support in the show ring and kindness in visiting him in the stall following his performances. Eagle is certainly a favorite of everyone who visits Tara Farm, and he will undoubtedly continue to enjoy his job as official greeter.

“We would like to invite everyone to come and celebrate the official retirement of Tara’s War Eagle with dessert and champagne in his honor at tonight’s exhibitors’ party. Eagle will be on hand to personally welcome you and will be looking forward to enjoying some treats of his own.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please show your appreciation for Tara’s War Eagle.”


More Stories

  • Latest Issue 3 4 24

    Read More
  • Joint Leadership Council Reinstated

    Leaders of the American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association, American Hackney Horse Society, American Road Horse and Pony Association, and the United Professional Horsemen’s Association met Sunday evening to reinstate the Joint Leadership Council (JLC), comprised of leadership from all four membership organizations. Read More
  • Latest Issue 3 24 HW

    Read More
  • 2024 ASHBA Council and Committee Applications Are Now Live!

    If you are passionate about serving to strengthen the American Saddlebred Horse & Breeders Association (ASHBA) and the future of the American Saddlebred, you may be interested in joining one of ASHBA’s committees! ASHBA is proud to host a full slate of committees that allow all members to get involved. Read More
  • ASHBA Holding Statement Regarding World's Championship Horse Show

    The American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association has seen the Kentucky State Fair Board’s unexpected press release yesterday afternoon, after learning the day before of its plan to drop the United States Equestrian Federation as its governing body for the 2024 World Championship Horse Show. Read More
  • WCHS drops USEF, joins ESC

    Read More
  • WCHS Drops USEF, Joins ESC

    The World’s Championship Horse Show (WCHS) announced today that the Equine Sports Council (ESC) has been selected as the governing body ahead of the 2024 event. In February, the Kentucky State Fair Board unanimously approved the change, recognizing the importance of operating with Saddlebred-competition-tailored rules and standards emphasizing integrity, sportsmanship, and safety for the non-Olympic horse industry. Qualifying requirements for WCHS remain unchanged. Read More
  • Meet the Author Event with Emma Hudelson

    Join the American Saddlebred Museum on Friday, April 5 at 3:00 p.m. for a lecture, book signing and reception with Emma Hudelson author of Sky Watch: Chasing an American Saddlebred Story. This book is not only the tale of a remarkable horse, but of the American Saddlebred breed and the way these horses carried one rider back to herself.  Read More
  • 2024 USEF Saddle Seat Medal Finals Qualifying Season Has Begun

     US Equestrian invites saddle seat equitation athletes in the junior exhibitor and adult amateur ranks to plan their path to the 2024 USEF Saddle Seat Medal Finals. The finals will be held once again at the UPHA American Royal National Horse Show in Kansas City, Mo., in November. Read More
  • Morgan Stallion Sweeps Winners Drawn

    In conjunction with the United Breeders Committee, the New England Morgan Horse Association and New England Regional Morgan Horse Show, have drawn the 2023-2024 Morgan Stallion Sweeps winners. Read More