Former Aikenite inducted into Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame
Former Aiken resident William David “Billy” Haggard III couldn’t be at the Aiken Horse Park Foundation’s Bruce’s Field on Friday night for his induction into the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame.
Haggard died in 2004, eight years after a riding accident left him confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic.
He was 76 years old.
One of Haggard’s two sons, however, was at Bruce’s Field to represent him.
“He was the most passionate guy about sports, and he considered himself a sportsman,” said William David “Bill” Haggard IV, who lives in Franklin, Tennessee. “He moved to Aiken because this was such a sportsman’s paradise. I wish he could be here to see this, and I am certainly grateful that he is being recognized. Everybody who knew him knew how enthusiastic and committed he was about everything he did, particularly on the equestrian front.”
On behalf of his father, Bill accepted the Janet Peterson Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to people who “make the dreams of riders and horses come true,” according to the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame’s website.
One of Billy’s best horses was Bold Minstrel, who excelled as a show hunter, fox hunter, three-day eventing competitor and show jumper.
Bold Minstrel was the Conformation Hunter Champion at The Royal Winter Fair in 1960, Reserve Champion at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in 1960, Champion at the Milwaukee Hunt Club in both 1960 and 1961, Champion at the Fairfield Hunt Club in 1961 and Reserve Champion at the National Horse Show in 1961.
In addition, Billy rode Bold Minstrel in two editions of the Pan Am Games. They helped the United States team earn a silver medal in 1959 and a gold medal in 1963.
They were alternates on the U.S. team for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
After Mike Plumb’s mount, Markham, had to be euthanized during the flight to Japan, Billy let Plumb ride Bold Minstrel in the Olympics.
The U.S. won a silver medal.
“It’s a funny thing, but he (Billy) did not display his trophies anywhere in the house,” Bill said. “I never saw them, and I never asked him where they were. I’m sure they were hidden away somewhere. He never aggrandized himself. He was somewhat self-deprecating and very quiet about what he did.”
The Hall of Fame ceremony was among the events during Aiken Charity Horse Show I, which began Wednesday and continues through Sunday at Bruce’s Field.
The Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame is based at the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club in North Carolina.
For more information, visit carolinasshowhunterhalloffame.com.