Highland Hogan, an alternate for the 2000 U.S. Olympic eventing team, died in his paddock on July 12. He was 18.
Faye Woolf purchased Hogan, an off-the-track Thoroughbred, as a 3-year-old. When he was 6, Woolf sent him to up-and-coming event rider Becky Holder (née Douglas). The pair quickly rose through the levels, placing second in the 1998 MSDCTA CCI* (Ky.) and the 1999 Camino Real CCI** (Texas), and sixth in the 1999 Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). They went on to finish 11th at the 2000 Rolex Kentucky CCI****, earning a spot as alternates at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
Hogan and Holder competed at Rolex again in 2001 and 2002 and were always a crowd favorite at the Head of the Lake.
As Jimmy Wofford said in his 2002 Rolex Preview Issue prediction in the Chronicle, “Hogie has been as arrogant as ever this spring and will jump around on Saturday with contemptuous ease.”
Hogan was formally retired at the 2006 Maui Jim Horse Trials (Ill.), where he won his first advanced competition in 1999 among his many fans in Area IV.
Standing a diminutive 16 hands, Hogan far surpassed all expectations except for Holder’s. “Hogan was an amazing example of what the partnership between a horse, rider and owner can accomplish,” said Holder. “Hogie showed me what I was capable of, and I’m forever grateful and will carry a piece of him on every four-star course I ride.”
In his short retirement, Hogan helped Woolf’s daughter Eliza find success at her first events. Ever the competitor, he served as Holder’s practice mount for her brilliant dressage ride on Courageous Comet at the 2008 Rolex Kentucky CCI.
“Hogan was courageous, spirited and loving,” Holder and Woolf said in a written statement. “He was the horse of a lifetime for us. He took us places we had only dreamed of going and taught us lessons that will last a lifetime. He was our unexpected fairy tale, and we will miss him very much.”