A History of Greatness
The horses seen on the medallions are show horses from the St. Louis area. Most notably, these images include the American Saddlebred pleasure mares Good Night Irene and Glory Town, the parade horse Thousands Cheered, and the hunter Zanzibar, who was mentioned in the newest book by the famous equestrian and trainer, George Morris.
The medallions are a favorite tradition of the St. Louis National Charity Horse Show, and help us thank our donors while highlighting past show champions. The St. Louis National Charity Horse Show is in the process of preserving the medallions digitally for future generations.
The large tricolor medallions you see decorating the St. Louis Charity Horse Show arena are a tribute to the show’s history and the donors that support the organization. The first medallions were created in 1978, when the horse show celebrated its first year in Queeny Park. This show was a realized vision of founding members Ruth Pfeffer and Bee Brown.
Talented horse show members, including Jean Mutrux, Linda Roos and other, hand-painted the medallions through the 1980s. Medallion artist Ann Lamont’s considerable artistic talent gained her national recognition. As a result, the former American Saddlebred Horse Show Association rulebook showed her illustrations to demonstrate proper equitation form. Board Members Angel Venegoni and Christy Barnes began restoring these medallions in 2019 to ensure the beauty and life of this hallmark of the St. Louis National Charity Horse Show.
The First Horse Show West of the Mississippi
- 1856: The first St. Louis National Horse Show becomes a main attraction of the first St. Louis Fair, held at Fairgrounds Park.
- Circa 1861: St. Louis Fair is cancelled as Union troops use the fairgrounds as a campground.
- 1903: A fire destroys the horse barns and livestock pavilion where the show is held, marking the end of the St. Louis Fair.
- 1904: The Horse Show is held as part of the World’s Fair in Forest Park.
Since the late 1800s, many famous exhibitors and attendees have experienced the show:
- Albert, the Prince of Wales, 1860
- President Ulysses S. Grant, 1870, 1871 & 1874
- General William T. Sherman, 1874
- President Grover Cleveland, 1887
- President Benjamin Harrison, 1890
- Queen Marie of Romania, 1926
- August A. Busch Jr., multiple years
- William Shatner, multiple years
A New Era
- 1978: The show is revived at Queeny Park after a 25-year hiatus, named St. Louis National Charity Horse Show benefiting the Kilo Diabetes and Vascular Research Foundation.
1978: At the first Queeny Park show, all three open five-gaited world champions from the stallion, gelding, and mare classes showed together in an amazing St. Louis gaited championship. Mountain Highland Encore repeated his world grand championship to win the St. Louis National Charity Horse Show stake.
- 1980s: William Shatner collaborates with William Thompson of Saddle & Bridle magazine to create the first-ever western division for Saddlebred horses. The St. Louis National Charity Horse Show still hosts Saddle & Bridle’s Shatner Western Pleasure World Championships annually, and draws the top western Saddlebreds from across the country.
- 1985: The show expands exponentially; a separate week is created to make enough room for the two separate shows, saddlebreds and hunter/jumpers.
- 1995: St. Louis Charity Horse Show hosts its first Grand Prix class on Sunday of the Hunter/Jumper show.
- 1999: The event moves from Queeny Park to its current home at the National Equestrian Center in Lake St. Louis.
- 2016: Donations top $115,000 over several years, providing much needed resources to the show’s two charities.