Former ASHA Member and UPHA Charter Member, Ross Drake, Passes Away
Ross Drake, longtime American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) member, and charter member of the United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA), passed away on Monday, March 12, at the age of 98.
Drake, who was born in Shelby County, south of Indianapolis, began his professional career in Indiana, and in 1941 went to work for Howard Dickey in Detroit, Michigan. After serving in the Merchant Marines, Drake worked at Plainview Farms in Louisville, Kentucky, followed by three years at the Arthur Simmons Stables, where he worked CH Magnolia’s Ann Rutledge, CH The Replica, and CH Blue Meadow Princess, each of which ultimately went on to become a World’s Champion.
In 1956 Drake leased Timberland Farm at Racine, Wisconsin, which he operated as a public stable, before he and his wife, Candace, purchased Oakwood Farm at Hartland a year later, in 1957, which would become one of the largest stables in the Midwest, and from which came many top equitation and amateur riders. Particularly skilled in starting riders and matching them with horses, Drake developed, showed or trained such campaigners as CHSam McGee, Sensational Folly, Courageous Jean, King of Mystery, CH Regal Gold, The Firebird, and Pinecroft Genius Maid.
After the sale of Oakwood Farm in 1976, he and his wife returned to Indiana. In 1990, the two were honored at the Wisconsin Futurity Horse Show as an example of how individuals can touch the lives of so many people, in so many different ways, all with a lasting impact, and the day was named “Ross Drake Stables Day.”
Other of Mr. Drake’s honors include being a 2005 inductee into the Indiana Horseman’s Hall of Fame, a 2006 inductee into the UPHA Tom Moore Hall of Fame, and 2007 recipient of ASHA’s Meritorious Service Award, which honors recipients for their contributions to ASHA on almost all levels over a long period of time.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Saddlebred Museum, 4083 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY, 40511.