There is a very special member of our organization that deserves recognition in our Hall of Fame, Judith McNeish. For those of you that might not know this vivacious septuagenarian, let me tell you a bit about her…It was at an early age in her home state of Wisconsin, where she first fell in love with anything equine. She showed locally till college took her to Colorado where she married and started raising a family. Along with her daughter, Hilary, Judy returned to the show ring in a big way with her Triangle Tree Ranch in Parker, CO. She managed the 50+ stall barn with show, pleasure and boarding horses. Following the purchase of Denver Nugget, a road pony, in 1994 from Dr. Raun, Judy began driving in the roadster division. James Nichols sold her Sergeant Preston the next year which brought further competition locally in both under saddle and bike classes. Later that year, they won the Amateur and Amateur to Bike Championship at the American Royal. After showing in the Colorado area for a number of years, Judy decided she wanted to learn from the “masters” and moved her daughter to Lillian Shively for equitation/performance and her road horse to Raymond.
The rest is history…Since Midwest of 2003 when Judy showed Free Agent for Raymond, she has won qualifying and Championships in Amateur, Ladies, Ladies/Amateur, Open to Bike as well as Amateur and Open Wagon classes with a total of over 106 wins in classes all over the country. Her wins includes 14 consecutive years with at least one World’s Championship title with such grand horses as Invincible Summer, Thunderbolt, Last Call and Nothing Else Matters. Also included in these titles were S. Sparrow Express, whom she catch drove for Steve Crabtree and her beloved “Otis” (Thunderbolt) she drove for Shane Mullins. At one time or another she has won every driving class offered in the Road Horse Division at the Kentucky State Fair, which totals 24 titles! Furthermore, in 2009, Judy became the first woman to win the Roadster to Wagon World’s Grand Championship. Like many divisions at horse shows, the number of competitors in the road horse division has gone up and down. Judy has helped draw additional amateurs, especially women, to the show ring. As Judy has said, “They think if an old lady like me can do it, anyone can.” The truth is that the ladies are also anxious to see how she is outfitted and the unique stylish hats she wears in the road wagon classes. Judy has brought her horses to county fairs, local shows, national championships and international competition. In 2008, 2009 and 2014, she won multiple titles at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Canada. Judy wants to expose road horses to as large an audience as possible and is always available to explain road horses to inquisitive spectators. She is quite the road horse ambassador. Additionally, Judy has generously sponsored classes and donated trophies in order to have road horse classes included in horse shows nationwide so as to stimulate more road horse interest. Judy has served on the Road Horse and Pony Committee for the United States Equestrian Federation and has served on this board as well. She was instrumental in making it possible for the Road Horse Museum artifacts to be moved out of the Red Mile’s Round Barn to Walnut Way Farm. Being a knowledgeable, hands on owner, Judy retired Invincible Summer and since she moved to Kentucky, her day is not complete without going to the barn to groom him, turn him out and clean his stall. She calls this routine “her gym”. Even in winter when “Matty” (Nothing Else Matters) is let down for a winter break, she cares for both horses. Never make the mistake of telling this lady she can’t do something, for she will prove you wrong. It is doubtful that there is a gamer person on any show grounds or a person who loves a road horse more – inside and out as much as Judy does. She says she loves driving her horses because at her age she can’t run as fast as she once did and they make her feel like she is “flying”. When the history of the Road Horse is written, Judith Davis McNeish should be included there in BOLD PRINT.
Mike Brannon began on the Standardbred race tracks at a very young age and developed a strong admiration for the Standardbred breed. He most admired their intelligence and endurance. Eventually the American Saddlebreds provided Mike with a unique opportunity and he began a career at the historic Lakeview Farm. During his time in the Saddlebred industry, he continues his love for the Standardbreds through the Roadster division. After many successful years at Lakeview, Mike was eventually offered a position at Windsor Farms in North Carolina. The Garretts had also developed a love of the Standardbred breed and a need for speed within the Roadster division after spending a lifetime in the Saddlebred industry. The then current Under Saddle World Champion, WCC Where Are We Now (Ed), was purchased by the Garretts and would compete under the Windsor Farms banner. This horse needed a trainer to continue his success in the show ring. Mike arrived in late winter of 2008. Within a short period of time he fell in love with the great Standardbred and they developed a strong bond. The horse renewed his excitement of Standardbreds and the Roadster division. WCC Where Are We Now suffered serious injuries in the Fall of 2008. Mike Brannon was a significant part of Ed's recovery. When the horse returned to training in the Spring of 2009, Mike combined his knowledge of the racing Standardbreds with his vast experience training Saddlebreds to prepare Ed for a historic run within the Roadster Under Saddle Division. Ed achieved an additional 9 world titles (12 total) and 3 Reserve world titles. In the spring of 2010, Mike Brannon found another Standardbred that excited him. WCC Show Me The Money fascinated Mike Brannon by his unique form and appearance. This horse was purchased under the advice of Mike Brannon and his belief this horse “is the horse of the future” and “will one day wear the roses at Louisville”. Mike was correct. WCC Show Me The Money (Money) did indeed become a Roadster Under Saddle World Champion 4 times. Collecting 6 Reserve world titles along the way. In addition to his two stars, Mike has guided the multiple World Champion Roadster to Bike horse, Mr's Bones, to a Amateur Roadster Under Saddle Reserve World Championship in 2017. He currently is training future hopefuls Here We Go Again and F-32. Mike Brannon has strongly supported the Roadster division for over a decade and supported the Standardbred breed his entire life. He has worked tirelessly caring, nurturing, and training Roadsters to provide them with an opportunity to succeed. His dedication and success within the Roadster division are difficult to match. Please consider Mike Brannon for the American Road Horse and Pony Hall of Fame.
Among Mike’s accomplishments in the road horse business are:
- He has brought several new people into the road horse business for years, including in recent times. These clients have gone on to great heights and tenure in the business, many winning at the highest levels with stock selected by Mike himself.
- He won the Road Horse Mare Stake two consecutive years – 20 years ago -- with the dazzling Vivacious, and has continued his successes with recent wins at Louisville and other important shows.
- He has chaired the USEF Roadster Committee for the past several years.
His service to his fellow horsemen and horsewomen is valued in our business, offering assistance when needed – railside, in barn visits, even with locating parts and repairs for equipment … actually, all the equipment we need for road horses and ponies! Further, he maintains the very popular tack sale at Robertson Equine Sales’ events, providing opportunities for enthusiasts and professionals to buy, sell and trade equipment in a convenient location. Mike’s a true road horse man, and the sport of showing road horse is much better for his contributions.
Charleston, West Virginia, Retired Dow Chemical, George has owned Hackney Road Ponies for over forty years and has had some of the best. He still has road ponies and one of them recently won the junior class @ the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto