It’s with great regret that we have to write about another equestrian legend and dear friend who has passed on.
Arthur Hawkins, brother of the late Steve Hawkins died yesterday.
He was known for setting the standard of how to judge top hunters. Artie, as was best known, was born the youngest of five kids into a family of riders in Batavia, NY. His father was a notable rider-trainer in the hunter field and proprietor of Shannon Stables during the 1930’s and 40s.
Following a stint in the Air Force and then some time in the marketing department at Parade magazine, Artie opened two photography shops in midtown New York while living in White Plains. It was the long commute and lack of riding time that swayed his decision to sell the businesses and join his father’s operation, opening a second training facility just up the street. In 1965 Artie’s father decided to retire from Shannon Stables in order to focus his energies on judging and stewarding – Artie stepped up and took over. However, after six years of running dual businesses Artie came to understand his true calling was in judging show hunters, so he sold Shannon Stables. While Artie admits that change is not an easy thing for him, two of the best life decisions he’s made involved huge changes and both have yielded bigger rewards. First giving up the businesses to pursue a new avenue of the horse industry and within a few years Artie was one of the most sought after judges in the country. The second being a move to Southern California in 1977, which led to much improved health – far fewer bouts of pneumonia and pleurisy that he’d endured living through New York’s winters.
There is no doubt that Artie’s most noted legacy to the horse show world will be the creation of the open numerical judging system. Now used as the standard in recording judge’s scores throughout the show industry, it was designed with Artie’s own practical knowledge and experience. He once explained, “When you sit and watch 45 and more in a class without an accurate set of cards, it all falls apart two-three hours later when it’s time to pin. It’s truly the only thing that helps you separate the horses for the pin, especially now-a-days holding two to four cards at a time.”
Artie will be missed by all who knew him and our condolences go out to all of his family and friends.
Video tribute to Arthur Hawkins upon winning the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award
(Thanks to the USHJA for the information above)