Margaret Hammond Obituary

Margaret Hammond, 65, dies of Alzheimer's disease.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Margaret Hammond

Margaret Hammond of Peyton, Colorado, renowned equestrienne, horse trainer and international horse show judge, died June 26 of Alzheimer’s disease. She was 65.

Born July 6, 1948, the daughter of Charles and Sylvia Hammond of Denver, Margaret moved with her family when she was a youngster to the Black Forest area directly east of the United States Air Force Academy, where her father worked as deputy chief of staff of engineering. Margaret became enamored with horses at an early age and admitted years later that “they just couldn’t keep me off of them.”

In AQHA youth events, she and her horse, Joe Bruce, were consistent all-around winners. Upon graduation from Air Academy High School in 1966, she plunged full time into the horse business, riding, training and showing horses. She learned from the best of that era, including one of the top trainers, Sunny Jim Orr, to whom she was married for 10 years, then divorced.

While training on her own in the l970s, the legendary Quarter Horse breeder Hank Wiescamp asked Margaret to show some of his top horses, including the 1969 stallion Skip N Go, the acknowledged superstar of Wiescamp’s show string. She showed the big sorrel stallion to Superior awards in halter and western pleasure en route to his AQHA Champion title. Then she campaigned Wiescamp’s 1973 mare Silent Sheila to win the same awards once again.

Margaret also showed Skips Style, a 1971 palomino mare who earned her AQHA Champion title and Superior halter award in 1975, with a highly respectable 56 halter points. The mare also won in hunter under saddle, and in both heading and heeling in team roping.

Not willing to rest on these laurels, Margaret furthered her education by studying under two of the greatest horsemen of all time, the amazing Clyde Kennedy, who trained and rode horses for every discipline, and Hall of Fame horseman Don Dodge, cutting horse trainer extraordinaire.

In later years, Margaret enjoyed showing in the cutting events with San Norene, a talented gelding, and with her stallion, Docs Legend, whom she also stood at stud.

Margaret was respected far and wide as an excellent horse show judge. She held judging cards in all the major associations. She judged throughout the United States and Canada, in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and the Dominican Republic. She judged the huge All American Quarter Horse Congress in Ohio, plus the AQHA World Championship Show (four times) and the Youth World Championship Show. Margaret was also called upon one year to judge the Miss Rodeo America contest.

But Margaret probably received more satisfaction than anything else by mentoring youngsters, teaching them to ride and then win in the show ring. Many of the children she worked with, including her nieces Rhonda (Morgan) Holmes and Christy (Morgan) Brasier, went on to achieve their own accolades in the show ring. All the former students are middle-aged now, and many have families and children.

They all remember Margaret as an instructor who believed it was important to strive for perfection, that riding lots of miles was good for both kids and horses. Her students were responsible for saddling their own horses when they arrived for lessons or prepared to compete. And they all learned to clean a horse stall – to perfection.

AQHA presented the AQHA Professional Horsemen’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Margaret in 2008 – “for a lifetime of commitment to the equine industry.” In 2011, she was inducted into the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.

Margaret was preceded in death by her parents and a brother and sister, Dick Hammond and Carol Moore. She is survived by her sister Charlene Morgan and husband Butch, plus eight nieces and nephews, and about a million friends.

A memorial service for Margaret is scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 20 at Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In lieu of flowers, Margaret’s family requested that memorial gifts be made to the American Quarter Horse Foundation’s Endowment Fund. Their goal is to raise enough funds to enable the industry to forever memorialize Margaret with a granite paver at the AQHA Hall of Fame & Museum in Amarillo, Texas. Her memorial will be placed in the Wall of Honor Plaza.

Gifts in memory of Margaret Hammond can be made to the American Quarter Horse Foundation Endowment Fund at; by mailing a check to AQHF, P.O. Box 32111, Amarillo, TX 79120 (indicate “Margaret Hammond” in memo line); or by calling 808-378-5040.