** Below is the Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Bill Hinkebein. Mr. Hinkebein was inducted into the MFTHBA Hall of Fame on September 9, 2017**
Today, it is not uncommon to see Missouri Fox Trotting Horses at North American Trail Ride Conference events. But that wasn’t always the case. Back in the early 1980s, it was uncommon to see a Missouri Fox Trotter. Bill changed that. Because of his initial success and promotion of the breed within the sport, today Missouri Fox Trotting Horses are frequent competitors and award winners within the sport.
The start of Bill’s herd began with the on-site/performance registration of Star Dust H (F3102) in the early 1960’s. This mare was known for her speed on the trail and her gentle temperament. From this mare several brood mares were born including Peaches Delight WH which became the dam of Golden’s Red Hickory Star WH a beautiful sorrel stallion that was extremely gentle along with strong trail endurance. In 1983, Golden’s Red Hickory Star WH was the sire of Hickory’s Country Gold WH a strong competitor in the North American Trail Ride Association. Hickory’s Country Gold not only won numerous awards but also slowly changed the association from the mindset that only Arabians could win in NATRC. This was not an easy task due to the fact that many of the NATRC’s judges had never seen Fox Trotting horses and had to be educated in their gait from not being lame but a horse that had a nice normal way of traveling.
Bill has competed on Fox Trotters in NATRC since 1987. He has won numerous awards on Hickory’s Country Gold including 9 National Championships. To receive this award the horse had to accumulate 75 points, two firsts or one first and two seconds in a minimum of two states in the Open Division which meant he rode 60 miles over two days of competition. This outstanding horse also won top Sweepstakes which today is the same as the President’s Cup. Hickory’s Country Gold has also participated in one Championship Challenge ride in which he competed against horses that had received National Champion status. In the Championship Challenge ride, Hickory’s Country Gold won first. Championship Challenge rides are two days of 40 miles each making a total of 80 miles per ride. Several years later another Championship Challenge ride was held in Alabama and Bill again won the ride on Prime Sensation. Prime Sensation was sold to Cheri Jeffcoat of Nebraska and with the new owner, won the President’s Cup. Indian Creek Equine Center had two additional horses, Hickory’s Magic Traveler in 1998 and Country’s Shades of Gold WH in 2000 both winning second place awards in Championship Challenge rides.
For years Bill has enjoyed the hundreds of miles of trail that he and Hickory’s Country Gold traveled along with the numerous winnings. In 1997, Hickory’s Country Gold was put to pasture and a breeding program began for Indian Creek Equine that Bill and his wife, Jeanne, own in Chillicothe Missouri. Nearly 50% of NATRC Fox Trotters have come from Indian Creek winning nearly 50% of National Champions. After 1997, Bill started to ride other horses that were raised and trained on his equine farm. The following horses ridden by Bill have also attained National Champions- Hickory Magic Traveler, Country’s Shades of Gold WH, Country’s Prime Time WH , Prime Sensation WH , Country’s Da Hoss WH, Country’s Touch WH, Shady Sunset WH, Nikita’s Chilli Sensation, WH, and Roho Honoy Mocha WH. Bill has won a total of 20 National Championships on 10 different horses. No one in NATRC has ever accomplished such an honor. In the 2016 National NATRC Convention held in Chattanooga, Tennessee Bill received a beautiful hand painted picture for this outstanding accomplishment.
To enjoy competitive trail riding, he has taken two granddaughters, Josie and Jessica Reeter, with him on the trails. Josie rode Country Mocha WH and Jessica rode Shady Sunset WH) both registered Fox Trotters from Indian Creek Equine farm. The three riders have competed in two seasons of NATRC and in the 2016 season all three have achieved National Championships. Jessica has also been awarded top percentage rider and horse over all youth in the NATRC organization. She is the youngest to ever win this award. Jessie’s horse had received his second National Champion status and Josie’s horse received her first National Champion. All three were recognized at the Chattanooga convention. In addition the granddaughters have accumulated over 700 miles of competitions and Bill has a total of over 14,000 miles. Along with National Championships, Hickory’s Country Gold has also been inducted into the NATRC Hall of Fame and the Missouri Fox Trotter Hall of Fame.
Since 1983 Indian Creek Equine has also participated in Horse Back Riding Classes and Horse Training Classes held at Indian Creek through North Central Missouri College. For the past 20 years, the equine center also holds a spring session and a fall session of therapeutic riding classes which meet on Tuesdays for 8 weeks per session.
Horses from Indian Creek carried the flags in the opening ceremony of the Show and Celebration. In 2012, Indian Creek stallion, Midnight Masterpiece received Top 5 Breeding Sire recognition.
Bill and his horse, Country Gold have appeared in Western Horseman and Gateway Magazine along with articles in the St. Joseph News-Press and The Chillicothe Constitution Tribune.
It is said that a man is lucky if he has the chance to ride one outstanding horse in his lifetime. Bill has been fortunate to ride many talented horses. Through Bill’s quality registered trail riding horses, he has shown hundreds of people the advantage and versatility of riding and owning a fine Missouri Fox Trotter horse, a breed that he has and always will hold in high esteem.
Because of his exception efforts to promote the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse and upon recommendation of the MFTHBA Board of Directors, we welcome Bill Hinkebein to the MFTHBA Hall of Fame.