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UPHA Alvin C. Ruxer Lifetime Commitment: Fu Family

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we are pleased to present the Alvin C. Ruxer Lifetime Commitment Award to the Fu Family of Dragonsmeade. Comprised of the late Yum Kee Fu, the late Susan Fu and their daughters Ling Fu Wylie, her husband Rob and son Mac; Iann Fu Longenecker and husband Geoff, daughter Andrea and son Devin, the Fu family has earned this award through their lifetime commitment to the Morgan breed at the highest levels our sport offers.

The Fu family’s history with Morgans is personal. Their breeding decisions have been informed by firsthand knowledge; they breed the horses they’ve loved and shown and they show the horses they’ve bred. 
Iann herself showed And The Beat Goes On to multiple Amateur Park Harness World Championships. Ling rode World Champion Mare HVK Obsidian to many world and Grand National titles. So the Fu Family was on familiar turf when these two produced Dragonsmeade Axios who, with Iann in the buggy, was named Amateur Park Harness World Champion. 

Axios has gone on to be a producer of world titled performers, such as Dragonsmeade Vendome and Dragonsmeade Hereafter, on their show string today. 

Multiple world champion Dragonsmeade Icon was a double grandson of HVK Bell Flaire. When you ask Iann about her confidence in doubling this bloodline, she will tell you, “We owned Bell Flaire’s grandsire, HVK Hotspur. I rode him. I knew how trainable the foals would become.”

Family matriarch Susan (McKinley) Fu grew up near a hunter jumper stable where she learned to ride. Being a Southern California girl Susan also surfed and raced cars. She graduated high school at the age of 16, went directly to the University of New Mexico where she met Yum Kee Fu in her freshman year. Kee, who studied architecture, was on his way to an award-winning career, they married and their two daughters grew up to share their parents’ devoted love of animals. 

In the late 1970s Iann and Ling began their adventure in the horse show world. Early education in New Mexico with trainers Jonalyn Gwinup, Debbie Seybold, and Tim O’Gorman impressed upon them the importance of equitation in horsemanship. 

When the family ventured to Kohler to work with Tom Caisse an association with both show and breeding horses began. There, the Fu’s found a number of horses they loved, including HVK Dragon Fly. “Mr Kohler put her in the Kohler Sale, because he knew we wanted her,” Susan has said. Dragon Fly, along with four of her daughters, became the foundation of the Dragonsmeade breeding program. 

On the show circuit the girls fell in love with Larry Bolen’s park mare, Antoinette, and that led the entire family next to Cedar Creek Farm in Ohio. There they launched the impressive show string that would see Ling and Iann through their junior and into their amateur years. Ling rode the likes of Prince Of Highland and DM Premonition to world championships; Iann earned roses on HVK Hotspur and Java’s Charmer. The relationship that began in the early 80s continued until Larry’s retirement in 2005.

Again, their intimate knowledge of the horses at Cedar Creek would instruct future decisions. Among others, they acquired Cedar Creek Pirouette, sired by the farm’s top ranked sire I Will Command. This Broodmare Hall Of Fame mare has produced Dragonsmeade Fusion and Dragonsmeade’s Infusion, both retained by Dragonsmeade and shown to world titles.

Fu Family members have volunteered their time and resources. At the outset of their involvement in the Morgan horse show community in the 1970s Susan was an active member of the Grand National Show Committee for a decade; Iann has followed suit also dedicating her time to the show committee; Ling has served a number of terms on the Board Of Directors of AMHA and beginning in 2020 will represent the Morgan breed on the USEF Board Of Directors.

Morgans loved by the Fu Family not only made a mark in the show ring, but clearly deserved to find their places in the breeding shed. This led to the creation of the farm in Winchester, near Lexington, Kentucky in the late 1990s. Mizrahi, owned at the time by The Design Group, which included Pete and Sandy Hendrick and Rock Walker and Bob Hughes, led the way. 

The stallions And The Beat Goes On, Bocelliand Beethoven, have all made their mark. Mares like Black Tie Debutante (acquired for the gorgeous heads of the Porvenir family), the pleasure driving mare Dancity Gracious Remark and the daughters of HVK Dragon Fly (Dragonsmade Annalise and Dragonsmeade By Design) including the important HVK Obsidian have produced world, Grand National, and regional winners too numerous to list.

Over nearly five decades the Dragonsmeade horses have been trusted to a number of prominent trainers in the Morgan industry, bringing the prefix to prominence in the Morgan show ring. Today the family’s major show string is managed and trained by Tim Roesink at Grove Pointe in Ohio where young stock is evaluated, Ling and Iann’s mounts stay fined tuned, and horses are carefully placed in future homes. Iann says, “Tim brings out the best in each horse and prepares them for their futures. Tim and Kim have sustained our family and our horses.”

Perhaps the most important element of the family’s involvement in the equine world is their commitment that the animals they love and breed will have the best lives they can make possible. This is a promise endorsed by Kee, Susan, Ling and Iann and the staff of Dragonsmeade headed by farm manager Jan Banks and it is made to foals born there, broodmares in their pastures, and a virtual herd of retirees. 

Like all stories, there have been elements of hardship, well-known to everyone in this room. We lost Kee Fu in August of 2018, and just this past November Susan passed away. Our community mourns them both. 

The horse community woke up on the morning of August 19th, 2018 to the news that the great barn at Dragonsmeade was engulfed in flames and we all shed tears over the loss of Dragonsmeade Icon, Cedar Creek Pirouette, Dancity Gracious Remark, and Jan’s Standardbred broodmare Grand Solution.

 Today, however, we celebrate the tenacity of Ling and Iann as they follow in their parents’ footsteps with rebuilding in full stride at Winchester. And, every presentation of the multiple world champion junior pleasure driving horse Dragonsmeade Spectre, the signature son of Icon, leaves horse lovers with chills and our community with the promise of the future.

“Dragonsmeade”, Ling says, “is about community and horses. Our Morgan horses are our companions and our partners. They have introduced us to friends we never would have met otherwise.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the Fu Family has not just bred, owned and shown Morgan horses. To a person, Kee, Susan, Ling and Iann, have provided an example of contributing to one’s chosen community; sportsmanship in competition; stewardship above ownership; and loyalty to friends.  We honor them tonight.

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