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American Saddlebred World Loses Donald Rich

Published Date: Feb 01, 2019

The American Saddlebred Horse Association is saddened to share the passing of Donald Rich. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Monday, January 14, 2019 at the age of 81. It may have been a few years since we saw him competing in the show ring, but his impact on the American Saddlebred has remained strong, and he will be greatly missed by many. Rich dedicated himself for over 40 years to the American Saddlebred breed and industry.

Rich’s introduction to the breed had humble beginnings. As his daughter Pamela Rich Carroll shares, “My dad was a horse-crazy little boy and began drawing them at a young age, going to local New Jersey shows and studying their confirmation. As a teenager, he was on the rail at Madison Square Garden and even drove down to Kentucky to some of the shows seeing Wing Commander and many of the great horses of the past.” If there was one thing Carroll could say to sum up his love for horses, “He was so proud and thrilled, for over 40 years, to be able to be a part of the Saddlebred show horse world.”

That passion for the breed was fostered during his formative years and brought him to the epicenter of the industry. Longtime trainer and friend Peter Palmer said it best, “He had a nice eye for a good horse and a great eye for finding the right talent to train them.” This proved true as he found tremendous success as an owner, exhibitor, and breeder under the guidance of Bill Beckley, Jan Lukens, Frank McConnell, Tom Moore, Nelson Green, Peter Palmer, and Merrill Murray. He enjoyed great success with showing American Saddlebred horses on the national circuit for over 40 years with several World Championships to his name. Most notable horses he had a hand in developing were CHPerfect Prowler (82364G), Secret Smile (BHF) (131981M), The First Lass (BHF) (136162M), CH Bi Mi Chi Town (70497G*), CHAlbelarm Witchcraft (114967M), Kaladar (82337G), More Than Magic (109489M) Future Perfect (112391G), ARC I Can Teach You To Tango (119170G), The Rhumba (118898G), and Magic Fire Music (140999M) just to name a few.

The love for the breed and the sport was shared by his daughter, and she will continue in his honor with their exciting up and coming Camouflage (127640G). While the future of the Rich family Saddlebreds looks bright, the loss of Don will leave an absence profoundly felt by all of their Meadowlake Family. Palmer honors his memory with the sentiment that “With over 20 years of working together nothing was more paramount to Don than the love of the horse. He loved his horses more than life itself. Above all his success was his quality as a man. He was a top-notch, high-class gentleman. Who was as kind of a man as you could ever think of” added Palmer.

Donald is survived by his wife Carolyn Kraus Rich of Darien, his daughter Pamela Rich Carroll and her husband Tom of Southport and Essex, his son Harry Rich and his wife Lisa of Stamford. As well as his grandchildren Edward Carroll and his wife Liz, Henry Carroll, David Rich, Jeffrey Rich, and Jonathan Rich.

Besides his parents, Donald was predeceased by his daughter Carrie Rich.

A Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at The Darien United Methodist Church, 345 Middlesex Rd., Darien. Interment will be held in private at Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, Basking Ridge, NJ.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Pegasus Therapeutic Riding c/o Candice Sciarrillo, 310 Peach Lake Rd., Brewster, NY 10509-1715 or online at Pegasustr.org, or the charity of one's choice.

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