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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.”


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