The annual United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) “Evening of Equestrians” awards dinner — the highlight of the 2010 USHJA Annual Meeting held at the Westin La Cantana, San Antonio, Texas — began with a surprise announcement. The well known and respected Wheeler Family of Keswick, Virginia has acquired the naming rights to the USHJA’s National Hunter Jumper Sport Museum located in the recently opened USHJA headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky. The newly named “Wheeler Museum” is being underwritten through a generous donation by the Wheeler family in honor of their lifelong commitment and dedication to equestrian sports.
“When I was approached to learn more about our sport’s governing body, the USHJA and its “Building For Growth” Capital Campaign, it was clear the Museum was the perfect partner to salute my parents, Sallie and Kenny Wheeler, and honor their lifelong contribution to equestrian sports. Our mother and father dedicated their lives to horses and believe in the core values that all true horsemen share. This is a great opportunity to give back to the sport that has meant so much to our family. The “Wheeler Museum” is a tribute to the history and tradition of the horse show industry. We are proud and honored to support this effort,” stated Douglas Wheeler.
USHJA’s “Building for Growth” Capital Campaign Chairperson, Tracey Weinberg, expressed her excitement for the new relationship. “The Wheeler family has always been the pinnacle of horsemanship in the equestrian industry. Collectively, they have built their lives around honoring the horse and contributing to the growth of our sport. I am proud and honored to have the opportunity to build a relationship between this legendary family and the USHJA while celebrating the Wheeler family’s rich history, tradition and accomplishments within equestrian sports.”
Sallie and Kenny Wheeler built an equestrian dynasty over more than six decades receiving countless accolades including the American Horse Shows Association Lifetime Achievement award in 1999. During her acceptance speech, the late Sallie Wheeler, who achieved great success in the show ring with American Saddlebreds, hunters and Hackney ponies, eloquently stated the passion she and her husband shared for horses. ”It is rare that two people have so fully enjoyed a career, profession, and hobby in a sport such as Kenny and I have been privileged to do. We both realize that none of this would be possible without the fabulous animals we do dearly love and appreciate.”
Kenny Wheeler, who resides at Cismont Manor Farm in Keswick, Virginia, continues to actively train horses. He has trained horses who have earned over 115 AHSA/USEF Horse of the Year National Champions and Grand Champions; 9 Grand Championships at the National Horse Show; 16 Championships and 4 Grand Championships at the Pennsylvania National; 12 Hunter Grand Championships at Devon; and Best Young Horse at Devon for 34 years in a row.
The “Wheeler Museum” is home to an ever-growing collection of equestrian memorabilia including trophies, ribbons, books and equipment from all aspects of the hunter/jumper industry as well as a collection of artifacts from the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, which was previously located at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. Located in the USHJA headquarters at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, the “Wheeler Museum” is available to all Kentucky Horse Park visitors year round.
For more information about the USHJA “Building for Growth” Capital Campaign visit www.ushja.org or contact Tracey Weinberg at 410.243.1333 ext. 224.