On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions welcomed three-time World’s Champion and two-time National Champion, American Saddlebred CH Bono.
Bono is the first American Saddlebred representative in the Hall of Champions since CH Gypsy Supreme, who passed away in 2010. Bono has joined an all-star cast in the famed stable, including Quarter Horse Racing Champion, Be A Bono; two-time Breeders’ Cup Champion, Da Hoss; Kentucky Derby winner, Funny Cide; Kentucky Derby winner, Go For Gin; Standardbred Racing Champion, Mr. Muscleman; Standardbred Racing Champion, Staying Together; Standardbred Racing Champion, Western Dreamer; and Standardbred Racing Champion, Won The West.
CH Bono won the 3-Year-Old Five-Gaited World’s Championship and United Professional Horsemen’s Association Five-Gaited Classic National Championship in 2005, with trainer Bret C. Day. In 2007, the grand chestnut gelding was paired with Linda Fischer. After winning the prestigious Five-Gaited Ladies Amateur Championship at the Midwest Charity Horse Show in Springfield, Illinois, Bono suffered a devastating injury while being hand walked after the class. The gelding was rushed overnight to Rood & Riddle where he underwent surgery to correct his fractured hind left ankle.
After extensive rehabilitation and patience on behalf of his owners and trainers, Bono returned to the show ring in 2009 to win the Open Five-Gaited class with Bret Day aboard. After that win, Linda Fischer again took over the reins to win the Five-Gaited Ladies Amateur World’s Champion of Champions title later in the year at the Kentucky State Fair.
Bono continued more show-ring success with Bret and Linda, until it was time for Linda’s daughter, Rose Marie Wheeler to claim Bono as her mount. Rose Marie rode Bono to the Five-Gaited Junior Exhibitor 13-and-Under World’s Champion of Champions title at the Kentucky State Fair in 2013, and later that year, the Five-Gaited Junior Exhibitor National Championship at the UPHA/American Royal National Championship Horse Show in Kansas City.
After an illustrious career, battling an injury that may have prematurely ended his show-ring career, Bono overcame the injury to make the dreams of a mother and daughter come true. The now 13-year-old American Saddlebred gelding will enjoy his twilight at the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions.
“On behalf of the American Saddlebred Horse Associations’ Board of Directors and all of our members, we are gratified with the Kentucky Horse Parks’ selection of the multi-titled World's Champion of Champions’, CH Bono, to be stabled in their Hall of Champions,” said ASHA Executive Director Bill Whitley. "Because of the tireless efforts of Bob Funkhouser, past president of ASHA, Bret and Susi Day, Bono’s trainers, and the vision of Linda Fisher, the American Saddlebred is being represented at the Park again. There was a span of time following the untimely departure of our previous breed representative. The Parks’ representatives are charged with evaluating each entry as being people friendly, gentle, alert, and a healthy individual that will be our ambassador for a long time. I am sure on your next trip to the Park visiting this great horse will be on your to-do list, and as always, please visit our ASHA offices and the American Saddlebred Museum."
The grand gelding’s kindness, willingness and aptitude as a family horse epitomizes the American Saddlebred, making him a perfect breed ambassador. The American Saddlebred Horse Association is grateful to Bono’s team since his 2-year-old year, the Mayer and Fischer/Wheeler families, Bret and Susi Day, and caretaker, Bill Allen for sharing Bono with the public.
Bono, along with his stablemates in the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions, will begin parading twice daily in the stable pavilion on Wednesday, March 15 at 10:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.
-- via ASHA