AHT's April Leader Of The Times
Leaders Of The Times: Eleanor Hamilton
by CHRISTY EGAN
Eleanor Hamilton has won numerous awards, especially over the last decade. Named APAHA Amateur Working Western Rider of the Year in 2007 and 2012, she also won the APAHA Distinguished Service Award in 2012. In 2015, Eleanor’s Arabian Farm was named APAHA Breeder of the Year. In 2017, she was honored by them for breeding the 2016 Half-Arabian Working Western Horse of the Year, Built By Peppy (Little Sorrel Peppy x Fae Zee Princess), a horse she still owns. Yet, after more than 35 years as a breeder and exhibitor, Eleanor still readily and fondly harkens back to her beginnings as the daughter of pioneer ranchers in the Sandhills of Nebraska.
“We did everything with the horses at the ranch,” Eleanor remembers. “We rode them to work cattle, to work the fields and to get us kids to school in all kinds of weather. I will always breed and own horses with sound conformation and great, people-oriented dispositions. Also, my Arabian horses will always be working horses first. It’s critically important that they be honest, hard-working athletes. This is the foundation and backbone of my breeding.”
Her program was off to a great start with the *Muscat son Crown Musc+ in the 1980s, a solid and reliable sire and her first, fine show horse. Then, Eleanor’s Arabians welcomed the Xenophonn son and breeding sire, Hesa Zee+/ in 1995. Equally successful as a producer of national winning purebreds and Half-Arabians, Hesa Zee+/ passed in 2015, but has remained an important part of Eleanor’s program. At the 2018 Scottsdale Show, Hesa Zee+/ was the sire of multi-Scottsdale Champion, Art by Hesa; Scottsdale Reserve Champion, Zee Fire Ball and Scottsdale Top Ten winner, Kissed Inthe Mist. Eleanor’s Arabians is expecting (via frozen semen) eight Hesa Zee+/ foals this spring with Arabian and Quarter Horse mares. Hesa Zee+/ youngsters will arrive at the Minnesota farm, just north of Minneapolis-St. Paul, from early March through April.
“Hesa Zee+/ put us on the map,” Eleanor notes. “I believe he will keep us there. He’s still a great sire for us and provides that priceless bloodline mix of *Muscat and Xenophonn that gives our horses top athletic ability and ‘people savvy’. We are breeding his daughters to both Arabian and Quarter Horse sires.”
In accepting the Arabian industry’s kudos and respect for her nationally competitive, award-winning reining, cutting, working cow and pleasure horses, Eleanor Hamilton is always quick to point out that her horses are successfully ridden and enjoyed by professionals, amateurs and horsemen of all ages, from small children to ladies of her venerable longevity.
“I’m 82 now and I still ride every weekend (and do reining patterns and stops!). It’s not an isolated incident that my good, Hesa Zee+/-bred gelding Heza Fire Walker (x Fire Musc+) carried me to top ten honors in the U.S. and Canada four times between 2013 and 2015,” she notes proudly. “Then he went on to be ridden by Madison Rose to reserve national championships at Youth and Canadian Nationals. That success was topped off by her younger brother, Justin, who rode him to both of their first national championships in Canada last summer! I think my horses can be nationally famous and still get the kids to school in a snow storm … and I like that very much!”
Eleanor’s Arabians Breeding Manager is Mark Coombs. Eleanor’s horses are trained at home by Rod Matthiesen and sent out for training to Gary Ferguson, Pam Rose and Lance Scheffel. Visit Eleanor’s website for further information on breeding and sales; she would be happy to visit with you.