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UPHA Lifetime Achievement Award - Raymond and Lillian Shively

(Editor’s Note: the following presentation was made by Lesley Miles on Saturday, January 9, 2010)

Legendary Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi once said, "The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to his or her commitment to excellence, regardless of his or her chosen field of endeavor."

Lombardi came from a blue-collar family and spent a lifetime focused on the details that related to excellence in his chosen field of coaching. That drive and commitment led to multiple Super Bowl Championships in addition to shaping the lives of the men that played under him. The lessons Lombardi taught stayed with his players well beyond the bright lights of Lambeau Field.

Using Lombardi’s formula, tonight’s honorees for the first ever UPHA Lifetime Achievement Award have lived a rich life as they have both exemplified a commitment to excellence throughout their careers as a trainer and instructor. Like Lombardi, they have broken the record book when it comes to championships and even more monumental are the life lessons they have bestowed upon hundreds of children who have taken that knowledge far beyond Freedom Hall and Kemper Arena.

High school sweethearts originally from the Nashville, Tennessee area, Raymond and Lillian Shively have spent over a half-century together, living and working through the highs and lows of their profession as well as life itself. Each hurdle has made them stronger; each success has made them even more appreciative of their good fortunes.

"Their drive of excellence in whatever they get involved with is what has made them the people that they are," said UPHA President and former employee James Nichols of our honorees. "A commitment to excellence is the best phrase to describe them. They put their heart and soul into everything the do and have never lost sight of what it takes for the industry to work. They go out of their way to help others in need. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this first ever award."

When they were a young couple, Raymond was working at Oman Farms outside of Nashville when one of his top horses, The Nashville Cat, had a serious illness and it was Lillian who nursed him back to health and thus became attached to Raymond’s passion. Shortly thereafter they relocated to Wartrace, Tennessee where Raymond joined on with a group of trainers on the staff of the famed Crawford-Cooper Stables. It was there that Raymond started teaching Lillian to ride, however, most of the time those sessions ended up with the young bride running back to the house in tears.

Even though Lillian’s riding lessons weren’t going very smooth at first, Cooper thought she might have had potential to be an instructor so he sent Lillian to Annie Lawson Cowgill’s famous summer camp. Little did Cooper know that that move would change the face of the Saddle Horse industry in the years to come.

From Crawford-Cooper Stables, the Shively team made a few other stops before landing on the Kentucky/Indiana border at the Hagerman family’s Black Magic Land. Having already trained many top horses, including Lillian Stonewall, Maid Of Mist, Giddy-Up-Go, The Nashville Cat, Say When, Admiral’s Command, The Spoiler, Gay Aristocrat and Murray’s Jubilee, Raymond continued to develop and sell champions such as Dream Street Dude, First Look, Starheart Showtime, Sweet Perfume, Rosemar Sensation and Duchess DeLovely, the walk-trot mare for which their new farm in Rockport, Indiana would be named. While running Black Magic Land, the Shivelys purchased that land and started building a barn of their own and in 1972, opened the doors to DeLovely Farm. While training and teaching at both places, a tragic fire at Black Magic Land sent Raymond and Lillian to DeLovely on a full time basis.

DeLovely was turning into a force on the Kentucky show scene and they went to the horse show often. "I went to work for Raymond in the early ‘70s while at Black Magic Land and made the transition to DeLovely," said James Nichols. "In the summertime we would go to county fairs seven days a week and many times would go in two different directions: Raymond at one show and me and Lillian at another or vice versa."

All these years later, things haven’t changed that much: they just travel in a little better style. Several times over the summer you will still find the black and red curtains of DeLovely hanging at separate shows across the country and you’ll still see the Shively crew pull in at county fairs both big and small.

While Saddle Horses have been the mainstay at DeLovely since its inception with Raymond also training world’s champions like CH The Homecoming Queen, Summerfield’s Dream Girl, CH Polo Town, CH Chat, and CH Tyler, additionally the Shivelys became specialists in two other areas of our show horse industry: roadster and equitation.

Dubbed as the Master of Faster, Raymond has enjoyed a career-long association with Standardbred show horses. Tennessee Pride, Century Boy, Okey Doke, Summertime, Back N Black, the legendary Non-Stop, The Natural, Invincible Summer, Power Ranger, Highway 66, Free Agent, Dirt Devil, the Morgan World Grand Champion HVK Derigeuer, Raising The Bar, Emerson, Thunderbolt and the current five-time World’s Grand Champion Roadster To Bike, Big Red, have all been a part of his storied career. Raymond is the all-time leader of Roadster To Bike World’s Grand Championships with 17. He is also the only trainer to ever win the Roadster To Bike World’s Grand Championships in the Saddlebred and Morgan worlds in the same year.

Now Lillian.....she carved out a niche of her own with the teaching of horsemanship and life skills. Helen Crabtree paved the road for Saddle Seat Equitation and then Lillian Shively took that road and turned it into a super highway. The "DeLovely Tradition" is something that goes back to 1980 when Jama Hedden won DeLovely’s first National Equitation Championship - the UPHA Junior Challenge Cup Finals. Hedden would also be Lillian’s first of a record six Triple Crown Equitation Champions. Joining Hedden in that prestigious club are Catherine Schuessler, Amanda Arrick, Betty Cox, Brittany McGinnis and this year’s sensation, Faye Wuesthofen.

While Lillian and her staff have turned more riders than we have time to mention into World’s and National Champions, it has been a demanding task for those who want to succeed. Not only does she demand a commitment to excellence in the barn, she also expects it in every day life. Manners, sportsmanship and appreciation are paramount to wear the DeLovely colors.

"As part of the DeLovely family, one of the great things I [Lesley Miles] love about Lil is something she has the girls do when they have dinner at her house. All these riders come together at the end of long days of riding - day after day, year after year - and share a meal together in the Shively home. At each meal someone is asked to say the blessing - to return thanks for the day and food they are about to receive. To many, this is simple, but to several this has never been done before and it is Lil’s hope that over the summer this becomes a natural, comfortable part of their lives."

Young girls come to DeLovely Farm with a dream and they leave with a purpose.

1983 was a very good year for Raymond and Lillian Shively. That was the year they hired a young man from Brandenburg, Kentucky as an associate trainer. Twenty some years and many World’s Champions later, Todd Miles won both the 2005 Three-Gaited World’s Grand Championship (with Manila Thrilla) and the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion (with Five O’Clock). That was Miles’ second Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship, joining the Chancellor family’s great gelding CH Onion. Along with Karen Medicus and Mark Turner, the longevity of this DeLovely team has made it one of the most consistent and prolific operations in Saddle Horse history while smoothly taking upwards of 30 and 40 horses to a show.

Open champions, amateurs, junior exhibitors, Todd has brought his own flair to DeLovely and with Raymond’s guidance and wisdom, they’ve been a hard team to beat as most of you in this room can attest to. We’ve also been privileged to watch a young man by the name of Mark Turner grow up as part of the Shively family. He too was given an opportunity, becoming Raymond’s right hand roadster man as well as the trainer of several DeLovely world’s champions including Wagon World’s Grand Champion Power Ranger and Junior Five-Gaited World’s Champion Of Champions The Daily Lottery. The glue at DeLovely has been Karen Medicus. Besides being a caretaker second to none, Karen has been a valuable part of the team, both working horses and with organization.

"They make everyone around them better," stated Todd Miles of his mentors and second family. "Raymond and Lillian go beyond the call of duty and do all of the little things right, not just winning blue ribbons. The greatest compliment to them is years later when you run into the families that have been here and talk about old times, it’s not the championships they bring up, it’s dinner at Raymond and Lillian’s house or a sleepover or a bit of wisdom that Raymond has passed on to them. Those are the things that people leave here with.

"And at the top of the list around here is sportsmanship. That is paramount. I remember when I was showing Onion and we had won the stake at Louisville and the next year Michele Macfarlane beat us. I rode down to the end of the ring and tipped my hat to her. It was her night. Back at the barn Bud Willimon said to me, ‘Boy you sure made a lot of friends with that move.’ I said, ‘Bud, that wasn’t anything I thought about doing. That was instilled in me by Lillian and Raymond. They taught me what to do and when the moment arrived, I was able to do it without even thinking about it.’"

Mentoring aspiring horsemen and women is something that has come natural to Raymond and Lillian. They have always believed in giving back and helping. In addition to the names that you’ve already heard, Lynda Freseth, Lynn McCallister, Liz McBride Jones, Ellen Beard Arnold, Randy Cates, Randy Stoess, Suzanne Hubbard, Chris Reiser, Julie Kaufman, Mindy Partee, Marjorie Judd, Missy Hughes and Shelly Fisher have all spent time in the DeLovely classroom.

Whether it’s been grooming young professionals; supporting auctions that fund the running of organizations like the UPHA; serving on committees; implementing college scholarships for UPHA Finals Champions; serving as UPHA Chapter Chairman; securing large sponsorships for shows and/or projects; taking horses to shows that were having problems staying afloat; or judging shows both big and small, there aren’t many areas in the industry that don’t have the finger prints of Raymond or Lillian Shively on it.

For all that they have done and continue to do, it gives me great pleasure to present Raymond and Lillian Shively with the first UPHA Lifetime Achievement Award. As James Nichols said, I couldn’t think of two better people to honor.

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