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HISTORY OF LAKE OSWEGO HUNT (LOH)

By Adrianne Brockman

  1. Paul Murphy of Ladd Estate owned 24,000 acres in Lake Oswego
    • Murphy’s Vision: To create a place where people could live and play.
    • Gave land for the Country Club.
    • Built the polo field in 1928 on the Iron Mountain site. Intended to bring Portland Polo Club from Waverly Country Club site, but depression hit. Portland Polo disinterested.
  2. Multnomah Hunt located at stable on Wizer Property in downtown LO until 1936.
    • No interest by the riders in moving to the polo field. The focus was trail riding in Tryon Creek Canyon. They rode up First Street to the trails into the Canyon.
    • Some of the riders played polo at Oregon State. The horses were ridden up “A” Ave. to Iron Mt. to Fairway and up Fairway to the Iron Mt Trail to the polo field where they played polo.
  3. Murphy and Hunt Group reached agreement in 1936
    • Paul Murphy agreed to dedicate trails for riding if the Multnomah Hunt riders would move to the polo field site and build a stable. LOH was legally formed in December 1936.
    • b. Construction of LOH started in December 1936.
    • c. Since 1936, LOH has been through four eras.
  4. LOH Era I: 1936-1950
    • a. LOH was one of five Hunt Clubs: Portland, Columbia, Highlands, Eugene and LOH which formed an association, The Associated Hunt Clubs of Oregon. This Association awarded high point trophies at the end of the year at a formal Hunt Ball at the Benson Hotel. There were trophies for the high point jumper as well as many other types of riding.
    • Riders trained their own horses, showed in horse shows, rode on the trails and rode in weekend events such as paper chases. They may have jumped in shows, rode in the Posse and played polo on the same horse.
    • LOH was home to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Posse which drilled and was so outstanding that it was on national TV on the program, “You Asked For It”.
    • LOH was home to Portland Polo Club, a newly formed organization. Tournaments were played with Spokane, Yakima, White Swan, Tacoma and San Francisco Polo Clubs.
    • Many members jumped in shows such as the State Fair and Pacific International Livestock Show—a ten day show.
    • Horses were purchased from the Portland Meadows Race Track for $250 to $500 and trained to jump.
  5. LOH Era II: 1952 to 1972
    • Until 1948, the US Olympic Equestrian Team riders were military men. It was opened to civilian male riders in 1948 and women in 1964. There are four riders on the Equestrian Three Day Team and riders are selected from throughout the United State for their ability.
    • Olympic Team hopefuls created a market for Trainers and expensive horses. There were some riders who enjoyed trail riding, but many focused on more serious riding. Several families at LOH had their own trainer who was a cousin of the Olympic Team coach.
    • Kevin Freeman, a LOH member, rode on the Team for 12 years so the dreams of several LOH riders were realistic. Kevin rode a horse on the Team belonging to former LOH member Gerry Pearson. She purchased the horse, “Good Mixture” from Portland Meadows for $500. Good Mixture was the U.S. Eventing Association Horse of the Year in 1971, and Kevin was inducted into the U.S. Eventing Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
    • A LOH Junior rider rode on the Canadian Team many years after riding at LOH.
  6. ERA III: 1972 – 2000
    • The polo team and Posse moved to other locations. LOH had four programs remaining: The Riding Academy, Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing, a program that mirrored the Olympics. Each Program had a trainer. Trainers came and went. Financially, LOH experienced peaks and valleys.
    • There were many other private facilities offering the same programs.