Hall of Fame

Denny Emerson

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Edward E. “Denny” Emerson originally taught high school English and sold real estate in his native Vermont. A lifelong fascination with horses led him to eventing, and with his small, tough part-Morgan, Victor Dakin, Emerson was selected to represent the United States in the 1974 World Championships. He was part of the victorious U.S. team that won the gold medal from the British on their home ground. Following that, Emerson was an active competitor with several other horses. He was named Rider of the Year in 1972 and in total rode in 53 seasons of competition, including 45 consecutive seasons of eventing at the Preliminary level or above.

Emerson is a dedicated equestrian professional who passes on his knowledge on to his students. A man of great energy, he is in demand for clinics all over the U.S. His gymnastic jumping exercises have become gospel to many eventers. “I can definitely say that I would not be an international level competitor [without Emerson],” said Kelli Temple, who is one of Emerson´s former students and was named USEA Lady Rider of the Year in 1994, represented Canada in the 1996 Olympics and 2006 World Equestrian Games. “His motivation, work ethic, and commitment to the sport are truly inspirational.”

Emerson has been recognized by a number of associations for his achievements. He was awarded the USEA Wofford Cup for his lifetime service to eventing, the American Riding Instructor Certification Program (ARICP) Lifetime Achievement Award, and the inaugural Ayers-Hammett Award by the American Medical Equestrian Association “in recognition of his outstanding contributions to promote safer horsemanship.” In addition, Emerson received the inaugural Equestrian Land Conservation Resource Leadership Award. His passion for land conservancy is demonstrated by his service as trustee and President of the Green Mountain Horse Association in Vermont, as trustee of the Carolina Horse Park in North Carolina, and as trustee of the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource.

Emerson served as President of USEA from 1982 to 1984 and again from 1991 to 1992. Under his leadership, the sport experienced much growth and needed change, including the recognition of the Novice (formerly Pre-Training) level and the realignment of competition guidelines at all levels. He also served as the USET Vice President of Eventing for seven years and was a member of the USEF Executive Committee and the Chairman of the Breeder´s Committee of the AHSA.

Emerson has now adopted endurance as a passion and has competed in 100-mile rides and The Tevis Cup. He and his wife, May, run Tamarack Hill Farms in Strafford, Vermont and Southern Pines, North Carolina. He and his wife, May, have two sons, Rett and Jamie.

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