The Success of Sallie B. Wheeler Graduates 

Photo courtesy of Betty Oare.

BY Helen Chimbos

Sallie B. Wheeler USEF/USHJA Hunter Breeding National Championships has had great success from their graduates. The event started when Betty Oare and her husband Ernie wanted to do something in honor of Sallie B. Wheeler and her dedication to the equestrian world. The first show honoring Wheeler was held at the Warrenton Horse Show in 2002, which was the base for the East show for many years before moving to the Virginia Horse Center. 

There are a variety of classes that are open to yearlings, two-year-olds, three-year-olds, and four-year-olds. The classes are judged on athleticism, conformation, way of moving, quality, substance, and suitability to become hunters. The judges officiate both East and West coast championships and name an Overall Champion.

Each year, a talented group of young horses attend these championships. This year, the East competition is hosted at the Virginia Young Horse Festival on August 26, 2023 and the West competition will be at the Texas Rose Classic on September 14, 2023. Top breeders will attend with their young horses.

Check out this video to take a peak at a West Coast Championship!

Many Sallie B. Wheeler graduates go on to success and achieve great things. Let’s take a look at a few! 

Jump! the 10 year-old warmblood was bred by Betty Oare and owned by EMO Stables. Jump! participated in the Sallie B. Wheeler Championships in 2015 and 2016. After becoming a SBW graduate he continued on to become a successful hunter.  He attended Tryon, Lexington, Ocala and many other big shows, winning championships in the 2’6”, 2’9”, 3’, 3’6” all the way up to the 3’9”.

Pikasso, handled by Ted Fieger and owned by Barbara Dunning, competed in 2006 in the SBW Hunter Breed 3-Year-Old Championship and won the National SBW, the first from the west coast. After, he went on to be a great hunter for Dunning, placing well in Hunter Championships, classics, and derbies. Not only did he excel in the hunter ring, he went on to be competitive in the junior equitation and a few jumper classes. 

Ragtime Cowboy, bred by Sue Lightner and owned by Twinkle Gorman, was an SBW West Coast Champion and Reserve National Champion in 2010 and also the HOTY 2-year-old. He went on to be the Champion Conformation hunter at Harrisburg at 6 years of age. Throughout the years, he competed in the 3 ‘6” and 3 ‘9” hunters, placing well throughout and was a successful Small Junior Hunter. 

Reminiscent, who was bred and owned by Melissa Brandley, started as a yearling and continued on until a four-year-old. Reminiscent started his journey with SBW showing in 2014, and then returned in 2015. He competed at Showpark All Seasons Summer Tournament, winning all of his classes and the Sallie B. Wheeler Hunter Breeding Best Young Horse Championship. Returning in 2016, he won almost all of his classes as a three-year-old and then finished up his eligibility in 2017 by winning all of his classes as a four-year-old. After becoming a SBW graduate, he has had great success in the hunter ring and has competed in a variety of derbies. 

Sallie B. Wheeler is a great organization for young horses and has helped up and coming hunter stars get started on achieving great things. These are just a few of their graduates that have succeeded in the show ring after graduating, but there are plenty more who have proven their success. Many of the recent graduates have already started excelling in the show ring, it will be exciting to see what more they can accomplish in the future.