Long before our present day San Antonio Saddle Horse Association, Texas and San Antonio were well interested in horses, horsemen, and horseshows of all sorts. From the time of the unsubstantiated story that Sam Houston had ordered a Kentucky Saddler, through the ranchers’ impromptu breakfast meetings in the Gunter Hotel lobby, to the Texas location of the legendary Anacacho Ranch, a cradle of American Saddlebreds in Spofford, Texas—We are horse country and like to show off..
The famous and seminal Anacacho Ranch, only 150 miles west of San Antonio, in Spofford, Texas, near Brackettville, was steadily providing World’s Champions, local ASB show horses, as well as all-around using saddle horses. The locally successful Anacacho Cromwell, shown by Beverly Brewer, started out at a ranch in Concan, Texas. After great local, national and international influence, Saddlebred operations at the Anacacho Ranch closed shortly after 1950.
A point of great pride is the almost forgotten fact that San Antonians presented Midnight Star to win the World’s Grand Champion 5-Gaited Stake in Louisville, Kentucky, and the 5-Gaited Championship at the Kansas City Royal show in the same year. This unregistered but undimished black gelding was trained by Frank “Stake” Heathman at the Leisure Hour Stables (then located near what is now Blanco Rd. at Loop 410). Joe Freeman, often working with niece Amy Freeman Lee, owned him then. This was horse show inspiration for decades.
During the 1940′s, Brackenridge Park sported stables and large Polo Fields that saw both team games, and even amateur riders on rented horses. That field is still an open field, but is now a golf driving range.
The Brackenridge Stables were expanded by Bruce & Irene Brewer, with riding lessons given by Lona Collins from the late 1940′s. She was the Saddleseat instructor to several schools such as St. Mary’s Hall and Incarnate Word. Later, Beverly Brewer (Mobley) taught Saddleseat riding from the early 1950′s. When the Brewers moved to their Blue Ridge Stables in l956, P.R. Lackey continued the Brackenridge Stables.
It is through our revered and hard working riding teachers—Beverly Brewer Mobley, Lona Collins, and Beulah Cates, that so very many San Antonians learned the love of and joys of horseback riding and showing at these local barns.
After WW II, San Antonio show classes were the usual Hunter/Jumper, 3-gaited and5-gaited classes, later including Children’s Equitation, Parade Horses, the fancy show ponies, and even such fun classes as Pair Classes. The many shows were small 1 or 2-day local events in basic, almost primitive show grounds, but they were great fun for all and fondly remembered.
By 1962, big and expanding unrated shows formalized into the Texas American Saddle Horse Association (TASHA) and was recognized by the American Saddlebred Horse Association and the American Horse Shows Association as the equivalent of a Class A Rated Show. It is worth noting the many local horsemen & women who contributed to this formation: James Midcap, Elton and Beulah Cates, Lafayette Ward, and Bob and Beverly Mobley.
The San Antonio Charity Horse Show, sponsored by the prestigious Alzafar Shrine, would accommodate well-filled American Saddlebred classes (registration not necessary at that time), as well as a full slate of Hunter/Jumper classes, Tennessee Walking Horses, and Road Horses (Standardbred trotting harness horses), and those cute show ponies. John Russell was the equestrian director of the US Pentathlon Team. The still-rare Arabians began to show here with Walter Chapman at Donohue Farms. Enthusiastic local exhibitors also included Al Kroesche and his exciting Tennessee Walking Horses, and Jack Sellers with his phenomenal silver-mounted Palomino Patrol Parade Saddlebreds.
Through the l960′s and 1970′s forward, great show events continued with local support by George Williams, Roy Martin, Claire Oppenheimer O’Malley, Charlotte Osborne Barrett, Roy Klossner and Fran & Bennie Horton. Many well known trainers came to San Antonio from all over the South and Southwest, notably the renowned Art Simmons, and Tom & Donna Moore. Their daughter, Melissa Moore, judged the SASHA show in 2003.
In 1973, the show organization changed to San Antonio Saddle Horse Association when TASHA moved to Houston. Incorporating in that year, our tradition of excellence continued on for 23 years.
In the Articles of Incorporation, the Purpose of the organization is fourfold:
- To promote the education of the people of the State of Texas in breeding, care, use, handling and development of horses and horsemanship..
- To encourage good sportsmanship and proper conduct among horsemen and horsewomen and to foster good fellowship among all persons interested in saddle horses.
- To encourage proper and humane handling and care of horses to prevent cruelty to animals.
- To assist and establish a horse show circuit in the State of Texas.
After a brief pause in horse show events, the return of Saddlebred shows was ignited by Terry Carter and Lisa Mountain, guided by Beulah Cates. A major reorganization of the San Antonio Saddle Horse Association rekindled the first show in half a decade in October 2001. Instrumental in this endeavor was Megan McAngus (Beasom), Lynnie Bunten, Judy Jordan, Michael Beasom, Marty Allen Wernle and Susan Wooten Wernle, Beth Jones, Nita Mountain, and Stace`Rust.
Today our goals are to support and fulfill the SASHA Purpose, and to attract the best in show horses from all over the country, to celebrate the Show Horse. Expanding our excellent horse shows, SASHA is again growing with the additional Arabian division.
The local San Antonio barns, horse trainers and instructors, our San Antonio horses and riders carry forward the horse show tradition of good and honorable competition. Come see our beloved horses exhibited at this year’s presentation of the SASHA Charity Show!