USHJA Recognizes Baker and Hawkins with Lifetime Achievement Award

September 6, 2012

Lexington, KY - The United States Hunter Jumper Association announces Pam Baker of Bealeton, VA and Arthur Hawkins of Rancho Santa Fe, CA as the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.

Created in 2008, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors those whose lifelong involvement in the sport and the USHJA itself has benefited the industry. Recipients of this award have dedicated their lives to advancing the hunter and jumper disciplines on a national platform.

Early in life Pam Baker immersed herself in learning and teaching horsemanship at the highest levels, she was a devout student of the forward seat style of riding –influenced greatly by Captain Vladmir S. Littauer and Clayton Bailey. As a teenager, Pam and brother Jimmy Cantwell ran their own lesson program in Virginia with 300 weekly students and 50 regular boarders. Throughout her career Pam has guided many students to championships at major equestrian events, including Devon, Harrisburg, Upperville, Washington International and The National Horse Show.

Pam is passionate in the belief that her clientele can be more than just riders, “they should strive for excellence in horsemanship as well.” she said. As a trainer Pam’s philosophy is that “winning is a natural by-product of both good riding and good horsemanship.” Starting with the basics, Pam has helped people develop strong communications with their horse, which she feels gives them a more empathetic relationship with their partner when competing.

It’s not just through teaching that Pam has shaped the equestrian community- she has served as board member, advisor, and officer for numerous regional and national organizations. She’s been awarded several honors including: VHSA Horseperson of the Year 1989 and was inducted into the VHSA Hall of Fame 2002.

The second great equestrian figure being honored this year is Arthur Hawkins, who is known for setting the standard of how to judge top hunters. Artie, as he’s 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. While his siblings did a fair amount of showing, Artie wasn’t as comfortable in the arena and spent many an event carefully watching the competitions. 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.”

The USHJA will recognize Pam Baker and Arthur Hawkins’ tremendous support of the equestrian industry by bestowing the 2012 USHJA Lifetime Achievement Award to both during the USHJA Annual Meeting, held in Miami, FL this year.

Visit USHJA's Annual Meeting page to learn more about this year’s Annual Meeting or to make reservations.

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