Ray and Tom’s demise have left a void in the horse world felt by many. The men that could not only tell you how to do it, but had the ability to show you how to get it done were gone. Martin and Buck came to me with the idea of setting up a foundation in Tom and Ray’s names with hopes of keeping their legacy alive. Tom and Ray strived to teach a better way of interacting between horse and rider. Their goal was to make a better deal for the horse and by helping the horse they were able to help the human realize a greater potential within themselves. Ray acknowledged a debt to the horse for all of the mistakes that he had made before he met Tom Dorrance.
I believe we owe it to Tom and Ray to preserve and protect their legacy for future generations and those who never had the opportunity to study with the Masters. I was married to Ray Hunt for over thirty years and shared his dream of preserving the dignity of the horse by endeavoring to become a better person. It became a way of living a life. It wasn’t something that you turned off and on when working with the horse; it was life with respect for the horse and your fellow man. You worked on yourself to have more to offer. Ray was tireless in his effort to reach horsemen the world over. He found people who couldn’t be bothered but never found the horse who didn’t understand and appreciate what he had to offer. The horse was never a tool for Ray. He didn’t want to become famous. His satisfaction came from creating a unity between horse and rider. Ray’s dream was to see a child working with a horse with perfect understanding. When asked where he learned it, he asked ‘is there any other way.’ I’m asking you all to help to make Ray’s dream a reality.
- With appreciation, Carolyn Hunt
I’ve started horses since I was 12 years old and have been bit, kicked, bucked off and run over. I’ve tried every physical means to contain my horse in an effort to keep from getting myself killed.
I started to realize that things would come much easier for me once I learned why a horse does what he does. This method works well for me because of the kinship that develops between horse and rider
- Buck Brannaman
In February of 2010, Buck Brannaman and myself helped Carolynn Hunt put together a Memorial event in honor of Ray Hunt. At this event, there were a lot of comments and questions about making an event like this an annual gathering.
We went away with the feeling that people would like to see an event that demonstrates the horsemanship that Ray and Tom have passed on to others. With that in mind, we have put together something that is basically two-fold.
First, during each annual gathering, students of Ray and Tom will demonstrate their horsemanship in a variety of disciplines to horse enthusiasts. Not only colt-starting and troubled horses, which most people have come to expect, but performance horses on a higher level, would also be included.
The second part would be a scholarship program that would be funded by the revenue from the event. People would submit applications and based on the funds available, scholarships would be awarded to help interested people spend time with the more experienced students of Ray and Tom.
Carolyn, Buck, and Martin generously contributed their time and additional funding to make the first annual Legacy of Legends a success. Doug Jordan and Melanie Smith Taylor presented during the first Legacy of Legends event. Anyone who would like to contribute to this event or to the scholarship fund would be welcome. You could add: Donation of a $100 or more are especially welcome for the scholarship program. Carolyn has written a letter to major sponsors that can be found on the website, ALegacyofLegends.com You may use this form for a donation to the event or the scholarship fund in any amount.
We would like to make “A Legacy of Legends” a Non-profit organization and an annual gathering. We are the messengers, you the people are the jury. If the public will support such an idea, this knowledge can be passed on for generations to come.
- Melanie Smith Taylor
Melanie Smith Taylor’s show jumping achievements are well known. From an early childhood on a farm in her home state of Tennessee, she went on to gain international recognition as both a competitor and a trainer
While training with George Morris in the early 1970s, Melanie was successful in amateur/owner jumper classes before graduating to the Grand Prix level. In 1978, she earned the American Grandprix Association’s Lady Rider of the Year title, and she was also named the AGA’s overall Rider of the Year. Her wonderful record that year convinced the AGA that women could perform on completely even terms with men, leading to a decision to discontinue the separate Lady Rider award. To cap off her year, Melanie’s mount Val de Loire was named AGA Horse of the Year.
Melanie became one of only two riders ever to win the “Triple Crown of Show Jumping” by winning the American Invitational, the International Jumping Derby and the American Gold Cup. Melanie was part of the USET’s Gold Medal team at the 1979 Pan American Games in Puerto Rico.
At the “Alternate Olympics” in 1980, Melanie won the individual Bronze Medal aboard her beloved horse Calypso. She also placed second that same year in the World Cup Final. She was named the United States Olympic Committee Sportswoman of the Year after winning the World Cup Final in 1982. Riding Calypso, she capped her show jumping career with a team Gold Medal in the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984, a year in which she was a finalist for the Sullivan Award which is given to the nation’s top amateur athlete.
Melanie retired from active competition in 1987 and continued to serve the horse world as a television broadcaster, course designer, judge and trainer of young riders. She was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.
Melanie also chairs a national program called The Emerging Athletes Program to develop more complete horsemen in the younger generations. From this program she not only teaches riding skills but introduces a lot of the horse handling techniques she has learned through Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman and Mindy Bower.
Jaton is a third generation ranch-raised horseman born and raised in southern Idaho. Jaton had the unique opportunity to travel extensively with his grandparents Ray and Carolyn Hunt for three years, accompanying them across the United States and as far as Australia and Europe. After spending time on the road, he returned home to cowboy for several summers on the VanNorman and Petan Ranches in northern Nevada. This combination of clinical learning and practical application has enabled him to become a successful horse trainer in his own right.
For the past two years he has worked as an assistant trainer to Annie Reynolds a competitor in the NRCHA. Jaton maintains a strong interest in both Reined Cow Horses and Cutting.
Betty is a writer, artist, and rider. The greatest influences on Betty’s riding have been Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman. Betty is the co-author, with Ellen Eckstein, of the book, “Bringing It Together, an approach to a lighter and happier dressage horse.”
Riding both Western and English, Betty focuses on raising, starting, and schooling her horses (no matter what breed) toward the higher dressage movements, including piaffe, passage, flying changes, pirouettes, and more.
Betty notes, “My teachers are a hard act to follow, and I’ve been following hard for 30 (plus) years. Ray told me, ‘The horse will teach you, if you’ll listen.’ Because of Ray, I know that’s true.”
Peter Campbell was asked by Carolyn and Buck to join the Legacy of legends. Back in the early 80’s Peter was introduced to Tom and Ray on a search for bettering himself and helping the horse. With over 25 years on the road helping people and horses, Peter still speaks of the philosophy Tom taught him in years past. “It’s about the whole horse – mind, body and spirit. This can’t be bought, borrowed or sold, it has to come from the inside of the human.” Always having a strong sense of integrity and loyalty, Peter believes it’s important to help people understand this way of working horses, along with preserving the heritage of Tom and Ray. Carrying on the tradition is what carries Peter down the road year after year.