Mar 31, 2016

In Memoriam: Roger Haller

By Shelby Allen - USEA Staff
Roger Haller and Golden Griffin at Essex Horse Trials. Alix Coleman Photo.

March 13, 1946 – March 30, 2016

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is sad to announce that Roger Haller passed away from cancer on Wednesday, March 30.

The son of Elliot Haller and Jean Haller Reid, Roger grew up with a love for horses. He was riding and competing in equitation classes by 9-years-old, and became involved in the Junior Essex Troop, which was a riding group for schoolboys in the area. By 17-years-old Roger was riding at the United States Equestrian Team’s (USET) Headquarters in Gladstone, N.J. Roger was a member of the Somerset Hills Pony Club and achieved his ‘A’ rating at the age of 18.

By his early twenties, Roger served as Area II Chairman, on the Board of the United States Combined Training Association (USCTA), the Board for the United States Pony Club (USPC) and on the American Horse Show Association’s (AHSA) Events Committee.

Roger’s family farm, Hoopstick Farm, in Bedminster, N.J., became the original site of the Essex Horse Trials thanks to many efforts of Roger and his parents. The Essex Horse Trials hosted their first event in 1968, and Roger was the first organizer, course designer and course builder for the event.

Roger building at Ledyard.

Roger’s contributions to the sport of eventing are nearly impossible to list. He was a course designer, technical delegate, judge, organizer and volunteer. Roger designed the cross-country courses for such notable events including the 1978 World Championships in Lexington, Ky. and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. He officiated in 46 different states and 14 countries as well as judging at major events across North and South America including Rolex Kentucky.

He was a life-long volunteer of the former USCTA (now USEA), and served as Vice President with Denny Emerson, a member of the Rules Committee and Editor of USCTA News. He also served on what is now called the USEF Eventing High Performance Committee and the USEF Technical Committee. Most recently, Roger served as the Executive Director of the Pan American Equestrian Confederation’s General Assembly.

Roger knew the sport inside and out and could nearly recite the rulebook, as he was a major contributor to its composition. He was a member of the FEI’s Eventing Committee and in 1990 he, alongside Hugh Thomas, revised the rules for eventing. The changes they implemented helped bring the sport into the “modern era” and introduce the star system, which is now a central part of the sport on an international stage.

In addition to his behind-the-scenes roles, Roger also had many successes in his personal riding. He rode through the Advanced and three-star level with his own Golden Griffin. He spent the summer of 1975 training in England with Griffin and was entered in the Badminton Horse Trials that spring.

Roger was inducted into the USEA Hall of Fame in 2012. Eventing as we know it is thanks to Roger’s many years of service. He was surely one of the most dedicated individuals to eventing, and his legacy will live through the sport.

Roger being inducted into the USEA Hall of Fame. StockImageServices.com Photo.

Roger and his wife, Ann Haller at the USCTA Annual Meeting in 1993.

Roger is survived by his wife, Ann Haller, another life-long supporter of eventing, his sister Barbra Pace and step-siblings Sidney Funston and Richard Reid.

A celebration of Roger’s life will be held Wednesday, April 6 at 4:30 p.m. EST, at The Old Church, 1011 Wesley St., Oxford, GA 30054. A memorial gathering is also being planned for April 28, the Thursday of Rolex Kentucky. Details to follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation, Box 355, Gladstone, N.J. 07934.

2012 USEA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: Roger Haller from USEA on Vimeo.

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