I'm researching a book that I hope to write about my first riding teacher, Captain William Heyer, and his famous at the time (mid 1940s to mid 1950s) high school dressage mare, Starless Night. (Yes, that dates me, folks, and yes, I'm a professional writer who has published other books). If anyone here knew or remembers Captain Heyer or the horse, I'd love to hear about it! He had been with the Ringling circus when he first came here from Holland in the mid 1930s, but later toured the country with this phenomenal horse and still later ran an equitation school in Sarasota, Florida where I grew up. Any and all related information would be greatly appreciated!
Also, I'm searching for a woman who would be my age, who was also a student of Captain Heyer's in Sarasota in 1960. She was 10 years old then and was, according to some newspaper accounts, his star student at the time. Her name was Susan Hovey. If Susan reads this, or anyone knows of her whereabouts, please PM me, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks in advance to anyone who responds!
I believe that Tina Konyot is too young to have known Capt. Heyer. Her aunt, Dorita Konyot Humphries, probably knew the Captain. If I am not mistaken, Capt. Heyer gave lessons at a stable in Sarasota called "Chain Link." However, that stable was owned by Oscar Babcock, who eventually lost it when he got suckered into a real estate deal to develope the property, and that project went belly up. Dorita and Oscar are both dead now. If you contact the Ringling Circus, if they have the same general manager now as they had six or seven years ago, his wife might have known Capt. Heyer.
There is a group in Sarasota now that is called "Show Folks of Sarasota," that is basically retired circus performers. Someone there might be able to help you contact more of the old performers that knew him if any are still alive. I have been told that Starless Night was buried on the property across from their headquarters on Beneva Road. However, that property was developed into a shopping center many years ago.
I have contacted someone who might be able to help you alot more. Hopefully, she will be in touch with you soon.
Hi there, I took a few lessons from Captain Heyer when I first started riding. I rode with Bobbie Steele, one of his best protoges for many years. I would be interested in talking to you about your book. I know of others who might be interested in giving you information on Captain.
Thanks to all of you for responding. I hadn't gotten back here since I posted my request, and was thrilled to see all of you here.
atlatl, I did contact Lynn Palm about this several years ago. She shared some great information (and an old Life Magazine) article about Bobbi Steele, her mentor, who had herself studied with Capt. Heyer. I probably need to contact her again, because a few years have elapsed since I first contacted her.
angel, thank you for contacting that person! Haven't heard from her yet. I don't think Capt. Heyer taught at Chain Link, though I have recently learned of that place. The man who was associated with it, who did know Capt. Heyer, is, unfortunately, deceased. Capt. Heyer had his own stable and equitation school on Oriente Avenue, where I rode for a few years as a kid. I do know of the Showfolks organization. Starless Night was buried on the property on Oriente Ave. I remember her grave; she'd died not long before I began riding there. I did hear from the person who is living in Capt. Heyer's house now. The grave may have been covered up with a newer driveway for that house.
rebecca yount, I have not yet been in touch with Tina Konyat, but she's definitely on my list!
I have found Capt. Heyer's son Bill (used to be Billy) and his granddaughter, both of whom have expressed an interest in working with me on this book. Still waiting to get that going, but hopeful they will be back in touch.
ideayoda, thanks for these links. I will check them out immediately.
Another person I've been in touch with is Bob Good, Jr. whose father found Starless Night for Capt. Heyer near Allentown. That man is a treasure trove of information, old letters, and photos. Yay, Bob!
Thanks to all of you, and if you have anything more, please contact me.