Equestrian Aid Foundation Congratulates Raymond Francis on USHJA Lifetime Achievement Award
Devon, Pa. – June 4, 2005 – The Equestrian Aid Foundation congratulates Raymond Francis for his well-deserved United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Lifetime Achievement Award. Because he was unable to attend the USHJA annual convention to accept his award, the management of Devon Horse Show and Country Fair offered to hold the presentation in the Dixon Oval, June 1, Derby Day.
Around the hunter ring, Francis’ name is synonymous with excellence. A trainer, breeder, horse show official and beyond, he is the quintessential horseman—a legend. A revered member of the Professional Horseman’s Association and an inductee into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame, Francis has won many of the country’s most prestigious awards for his accomplishments and contributions to the industry. His achievements are paralleled by few, yet he is a friend and mentor to many.
In February 2016, Francis underwent abdominal surgery following an aortic aneurysm. Despite his resolve to return to work, residual effects from the surgery led to a prolonged hospital stay, followed by an extensive stay in a physical rehabilitation facility. Finally, he was well enough to come home. Francis’ wife Cheryle Francis—also a beloved presence on the hunter/jumper circuit—is instrumental in his home care, but when she must travel to work as a show secretary or judge, he is reliant on round-the-clock nursing care.
Between the medical bills and everyday living expenses, the Francises' finances were overstretched. Then, the equestrian community, to which Francis has committed himself for decades, responded with the same spirit of generosity. While donations poured in as part of a grassroots effort among the horse show community to help the Francises, friends and colleagues of the couple also reached out to the Equestrian Aid Foundation with the message that Ray needed our help.
The Equestrian Aid Foundation is honored to be part of the vast community, from leadliners to leading riders, that is with him every step of the way. We salute Ray Francis and are moved by his acceptance of this award.
PHOTOS: top, ringmaster John Franzreb with Raymond Francis as Bill Rube presents the USHJA Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by The Book, LLC; at right, Francis has been a regular at Devon for many years. Photo courtesy of Raymond Francis