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In Memoriam: William "Bill" Hughes

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Oct 2, 2023, 12:43 PM

Photo Caption: Ferrara

Lexington, Ky. - A passionate equestrian whose career started with Arabian horses but truly impacted all aspects of equestrian life, William “Bill” Hughes passed away on September 24, 2023.

Hughes was respected as an all-around horseman. During his lengthy officiating career, he held a Registered (‘R’) Judge’s license in multiple breeds and disciplines including Andalusian/Lusitano, Arabian, Friesian, Morgan, and Western, and he regularly judged all over the U.S. and Canada. He was also a celebrated educator who spent more than 43 years as a professor in Agribusiness Management at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif. It was there that he also served as the Director of Equine Sciences which included direct involvement with the famed Arabian horse breeding program established by cereal magnate W.K. Kellogg in 1925.

“Bill Hughes was a true leader, gregarious in nature and quick with a smile, who enjoyed mentoring others and seeing them gain confidence and succeed,” stated US Equestrian Chief Executive Officer Bill Moroney. “He was generous with his time, his knowledge, and his friendship. We are all better individuals for having known Bill and we will miss him.”

Hughes’ primary breed affiliation was with the Arabian breed, where he served as the last President of the International Arabian Horse Association in 2002 and the first President of the Arabian Horse Association in 2003 and 2004. According to the Arabian Horse Association’s statement, Hughes’ service with the IAHA and AHA was extensive, from his dedication to Region 1 through the US National Show Commission.

On a national level, Hughes served as a Director on the Board of the American Horse Show Association (AHSA) in 2000 and 2001. He continued his service as the organization transitioned to USA Equestrian, where he served as a board member from 2002 until the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) was formed in July 2003, at which point he became a member of the inaugural Board. He continued to serve on the USEF board until January 2015, concluding his service as Secretary/Treasurer from 2011 to 2015.

“Bill Hughes was larger than life,” stated US Equestrian Board of Directors Vice President Judy Werner. “His wit, his knowledge of horses, and his love of everything equine made him someone I liked the first time I met him. While Bill had his fun side, he was also a respected USEF Director who served on numerous committees and wanted to see all breeds and disciplines thrive. I am glad I knew him.”

In addition to his board service, Hughes was deeply involved in governance on the committee level, serving for numerous terms on the following AHSA, USA Equestrian, and USEF sport committees: Andalusian/Lusitano, Arabian, Reining, and High-Performance Reining. From an administrative standpoint, Hughes also served the USEF by being a member of the Planning, Marketing, Budget & Finance, and Investment Committees as well as the National Affiliates Working Group (the predecessor to the National Breeds and Disciplines Council).

Bill Hughes’ impact on equestrian sport is significant and he will be remembered fondly by equestrians across all breeds and disciplines. Everyone at US Equestrian extends their heartfelt condolences to the Hughes family and friends.