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October 28, 2005

Obituaries--09/23/05

Torrance Watkins Sr.

Horsewoman Torrance Watkins Sr., of Middleburg, Va., was killed in an auto accident on Route 7, west of Leesburg, Va., on Aug. 26. Mrs. Watkins was 86.

Her daughter, two-time Olympic medalist Torrance Watkins Jr., inherited her mother's love for horses. In the late 1930s, Mrs. Watkins became the first woman to exercise horses at New York's Belmont Park, where her horses were stabled with trainer Charlie Plumb.

Mrs. Watkins also galloped the legendary race horse Seabiscuit. According to the Loudoun Times-Mirror, trainer Tom Smith asked Mrs. Watkins if she would gallop Seabiscuit "if she wasn't too busy."

Mrs. Watkins recalled that Seabiscuit had a reputation "as a horse you didn't want to be around," but she found him to be "a perfect gentleman."

Although born in Mobile, Ala., Mrs. Watkins grew up in Washington D.C., and was mentored by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as a young woman. She later became the personal assistant to Sen. Claude Pepper of Florida. She also worked for Pan American Airways as a passenger service assistant, making her the first female to hold that significant post.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Watkins is survived by her sons Richardson L. Watkins, Thornton Watkins and August D. Watkins Jr.; and seven grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, August D. Watkins.

Memorial donations may be sent to the Middleburg Humane Foundation, P. O. Box 1238, Middleburg, VA 20118.

T. Troy Taylor

T. Troy Taylor, the professional huntsman for the Middleburg Hunt (Va.), died Sept. 8 of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. He was 39.

Mr. Taylor had served as huntsman for Middleburg for 10 years. A native of Michigan, he attended Michigan State University for two years, then left to work as a cowboy in Arizona, Colorado, and Montana. In 1988 he returned to Michigan and began working for the Waterloo Hunt in Grass Lake. Within two years he'd been promoted to huntsman.

In 1994, Mr. Taylor took up the horn for the Mells Foxhounds (Tenn.), and then moved to Middleburg in 1996. He was known for his keen relationship with the hounds and his enthusiasm for sport.

"You could just tell after the first few times we met with him how gifted he was," Penny Denegre, jt.-MFH of the Middleburg Hunt told the Washington Post. "He loved his hounds, and his hounds loved him."

An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Taylor enjoyed all types of hunting, and he coached his sons' youth league hockey teams. "He touched so many lives through all the things he did, the coaching, his boys' school, foxhunting," Denegre said. "People have approached me that I didn't even know he knew. They've come up and said how much they're going to miss him."

A memorial service was held in Middle-burg on Sept. 16, with 12 fellow huntsmen in their scarlet, hounds, and mourners.

Mr. Taylor is survived by his wife of 13 years, Pamela; sons Colt and Connor; and stepsons Clint Burlett of Middleburg, and Chase Burlett of Harrison, Mich.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Troy Taylor Memorial Fund, c/o Middleburg Bank, Box 5, Middleburg, VA 20118.

Patricia Ann Taylor

Foxhunter Patricia Ann Taylor died after a short illness on Aug. 18 at her home, Fox Glen Farm, in Schuyler, Va. Ms. Taylor was 54.

Ms. Taylor was a 25-year member of the De La Brooke Foxhounds W. (Md.) and a jt.-MFH for nine years, until 1999. Since then, she's been a member of the Oakridge Hunt in Nelson County, Va.

Ms. Taylor's love for horses and riding began at a young age when training and showing ponies in Maryland and Virginia. She later taught riding at Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Va.

Ms. Taylor then returned to her family farm in Welcome, Md., where she owned and operated a large boarding and training barn called Mill Run Stables for 25 years.

She also competed in endurance rides and once completed the Old Dominion 100-mile ride in Front Royal, Va.

Ms. Taylor is survived by her life partner, Evelyn Mawacke; sisters Diane T. Gregoria and Betty Taylor Allen; their husbands; and a niece and a nephew.

Memorial contributions may be made to Almost Home, Humane Society/SPCA of Nelson County, 29 Stagebridge Rd., Lovingston, VA 22949.

Radishes And Mint

The Thoroughbred stallion Radishes And Mint died in his retirement at Full Cry Farm in Locust Grove, Ga., on Aug. 1. He was 27.

Radishes And Mint started his career on the racetrack, but after bowing a tendon was sent back to Ocala, Fla., to recuperate.

Several years later, he was purchased by Barry Lane and Gina Johnson and trained as a show jumper. After a few years, his jumping career ended as the tendon became soft again, and he was retired to stud.

The foals he produced--such as Herbs And Apples and Aims To Please--mirrored his own big strides, athletic jump and kind temperament.

"Radishes and Mint was well known through the South, and his get are doing well at the shows even now! We are proud of that!" said Debbie Lane, Barry Lane's sister.

Radishes And Mint retired from stud duty at age 23. He spent his last four years enjoying retirement at Full Cry Farm.

Pierre Cazes

Pierre Cazes, the outspoken trainer of the powerhouse French endurance team since 1994, died after being kicked in the thorax by a horse on Aug. 10. He was 55.

Mr. Cazes competed in endurance and was the French team's veterinarian before he was put in charge of the team's selection process in 1991. Under his leadership, French teams have accumulated 27 medals in the World or European Championships, including nine gold medals. The French won the team gold medal at the 1992, 1994 and 2002 World Championships.

Mr. Cazes was appointed to the FEI Endurance Committee in 2004.

After Midnight

Champion show hunter After Midnight died peacefully on May 9 at Meadow Farm, in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he'd lived in retirement. He was 21.

After Midnight began his life on the racetrack. Owner Carol Russell found him there and started his new career as a hunter. Elizabeth Gabler acquired him in 1995, from trainers Paul and Gale Haurnet of Dallas, Texas, and with trainer Lucy Stewart, she showed him to numerous championships in the regular working hunter and adult hunter divisions.

After Midnight had the rare distinction of being American Horse Shows Association Zone 10 year-end champion and Pacific Coast Horse Show Association year-end champion three years in a row in the regular working hunter division, in 1995, '96 and '97. He was also ranked in the top 10 of the AHSA regular working hunter standings nationally.

He won The Oaks $10,000 Classic (Calif.), as well as circuit championships at Indio (Calif.) and Pebble Beach (Calif.).

"It was an honor and a privilege to know and ride our 'Dave,' " said Stewart. "He blessed and inspired everyone with his courage and talent. The light in his eyes will live on in our hearts forever."