The Bold and Beautiful: Trailblazing Women of the American Quarter Horse
The Bold and the Beautiful: Trailblazing Women of the American Quarter Horse” was a previous exhibit that featured twelve women who made a tremendous impact on the American Quarter Horse – as an association and a breed. Some were breeders, some were owners and competitors, and others were chroniclers and artists who recorded not only history but life at the time. All were leaders and visionaries, and each left their mark on the American Quarter Horse. Their efforts opened the doors to others and made it possible for the lifestyle to exist in the industry.
The women included in the exhibit were by no means the only trailblazers. There are many unsung heroes whose dreams and sacrifices created the American Quarter Horse of today. Sharon Ralls Lemon, an American author, said:
“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.”
Her quote defines the focus of “The Bold and the Beautiful: Trailblazing Women of the American Quarter Horse” exhibit. These visionary women embody the elements of grace, beauty, spirit and fire.
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Ginger Hyland made AQHA history when, in 1997, she became the American Quarter Horse Association’s first woman president, a position she earned as a result of the years she served as a leader in the horse industry.
By the time she finished high school, Ginger knew she wanted a future in the horse business. She attended college at California State Polytechnic College at Pomona, before transferring to the University of Kentucky at Lexington, where she graduated with a degree in animal science. While in college, she tried to learn as much as she could about genetics and the science of breeding.
“The whole idea was to come back and manage the ranch,” she said. “I wanted enough knowledge to be able to take care of the horses, plan their breeding, and be able to foal them and look after them and manage them correctly.”
Ginger’s dream was to put together a band of show mares to breed and sell the resulting foals as yearlings. However, that all changed when a neighbor sold her family a mare named Carol Echols, in foal to Go Man Go, and then they bought two more mares in foal to Go Man Go, as well as a mare in foal to Top Deck (TB) and a Thoroughbred daughter of Depth Charge. “From that point on, we were into racing Quarter Horses.”
By the time Ginger graduated from college and returned home to take over the responsibilities at the ranch, her family was involved in the Quarter Horse racing business in a big way; and their success is well documented.
“Our statistics were very high,” Ginger said. “We were in the business for 29 years, and horses that we bred earned well over $5 million. We had 10 or 12 that won more than a hundred thousand, and, of course, two of those were millionaires. Dashingly won more than $1,750,000, and Florentine won $1,123,000. And we also raised the champion Calyx. (We) had a lot of exciting races, a lot of wonderful times.”
Ginger’s father was involved with the PCQHRA, Quarter Racing Inc. and the Horsemen’s Quarter Horse Racing Association, but he was also elected as a director to AQHA, serving first on the research committee.
“Dad tried to pave the way for me with the American Quarter Horse Association,” Ginger said. “I was appointed as a member of the research committee, and when Dad was named an honorary vice president, I replaced him as one of the California directors.”
Ginger served on the AQHA research committee for 15 years, including three as its chairman. Following that, she served on the stud book and registration committee until she was elected to the executive committee in 1993.
In September 2006, Ginger purchased The Towers, an antebellum home in Natchez, Mississippi, that is included on the Natchez Pilgrimage Tours. Ginger is president of the Natchez Pilgrimage Homeowners Association.
Ginger and her husband, James, also own a gift shop in Natchez, The Towers Collection, which specializes in the antiques that Ginger has collected for many years, as well as gifts for any occasion.
Ginger continued to serve the Association after her retirement from the Executive Committee in 1998. She was a member of the stud book and registration committee, investment oversight and finance committees, and the Foundation committee and Foundation council.
Want to learn more about Ginger Hyland? Purchase a "The Bold & Beautiful: Trailblazing Women of the American Quarter Horse" companion book from the museum to learn more about the stories and history of the 12 women in the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.