“So when we do make that last ride that is inevitable for us all to make, to that place up there, where the grass is green and lush and stirrup high, and the water runs cool, clear, and deep—You’ll tell us as we ride in that our entry fees have been paid. These things we ask.—Amen.”
—Excerpt from ‘A Rodeo Cowboy’s
Prayer’ by Clem McSpadden
Don Blazer, author of the syndicated columns ‘A Horse, of Course’ and ‘Making Money with Horses’ lost his battle with lung cancer on April 7, 2014. Don’s energy changed form at the Bulverde, Texas, home he loved, with his wife and daughter by his side.
Don was born June 2, 1939, in Camden, N.J., the family soon moved to Riverside, Calif.
Don is survived by his loving wife, Eleanor Butler Blazer of Bulverde, Texas; daughter Cathy Hanson and granddaughter Taylor Hanson of Vista, Calif.
He was preceded in death by Cathy’s mother, Roberta (Bobbi), and his parents Jabez and Gladys Blazer.
Don was a business man from the time he was able to walk. His first business lasted one day. Young Don gathered old magazines and newspapers in a wagon, which he pulled through the neighborhood; selling the periodicals to neighbors for a penny. His mother made him return the money.
He was excepted at West Point, but his dream was to be a writer and he declined. Don worked as a newspaper reporter in southern California, where he learned how to get to the point quickly, but still produce an interesting column.
While writing for the newspaper he started his second business, The Communications Center, which specialized in advertising consultation. It lasted longer and was more successful than his first business.
When his daughter decided to be a horse trainer, Don sold the Communication Center and went into business with Cathy. Later he turned all the show training business to Cathy when she married. Don expanded the race horse training side and was very successful—training Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred Stake race winners.
While training horses, Don was also writing horse training books and developing correspondence courses for horse owners who needed help with their horses.
Through his publishing company, Success Is Easy, he released six critically acclaimed books about horses; ‘Walter (A Horse, Of Course) Spills the Oaks’, ‘Make Money with Horses’, ‘Nine Secrets of Perfect Horsemanship’, ‘Healthy Horses Seldom Burp!’, ‘Horses Don’t Care about Women’s Lib’, ‘Natural Western Riding’ with his daughter Cathy Hanson, and an e-book (Kindle Edition) titled, ‘Make Any Horse Business Profitable’.
Don also wrote eight How-To books on training performance horses and horse health care. He was a syndicated columnist, writing the columns, ‘A Horse, Of Course’ and ‘Making Money with Horses’, which had thousands of fans across the nation.
As a teacher, he’s travelled from Alaska to Australia demonstrating training techniques and he’s taught a variety of horsemanship courses for seven colleges and universities.
In 2003, his future wife and business partner, Eleanor, developed HorseCoursesOnline. It is the leading provider of online educational horse courses to schools and universities. More than 5,000 students all over the world are enrolled in online courses provided by HorseCoursesOnline.
Don was a spiritual man with a passion for educating and helping horse owners with the care and training of the animal he loved. He was still answering questions and helping students within a week of his passing.
Even though he is physically gone, his spirit and energy guide his wife, daughter and granddaughter as they continue his legacy.
A remembrance of his life with us, is to be held June 21, 2014 from 5 to 7, at the San Antonio Rose Palace Hospitality Room during the Texas Buckskin Horse Association’s show. There will also be celebration of life at his daughter’s horse training facility in Vista, Calif., June 7.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Don Blazer Scholarship Fund, Texas Buckskin Horse Association, Cindy Gidden, Treasurer, 1780 FM 1103, Cibolo, Texas 78108. Please make checks out to TBHA.
Don has educated and touched so many lives with his columns, books, and teaching…he will be greatly missed by so many all over the country.
DEBRA ANN MATHEWS
Debra Ann (Milefchik) Mathews was born to a daughter of Nebraska ranchers and a son of Iowa farmers who settled in suburban life in Ohio. Her love of horses grew with each summer trip back to the Nebraska ranch that her mother grew up on, where there were plenty of ponies for the kids to ride. Her favorite was a buckskin gelding named Prince Antonio Buck Whitefoot. She always wanted a horse, but was never allowed to have one. After growing up with four younger brothers, finally a sister came along who also loved horses. When Amy asked for a horse of her own, Deb told her father that if he didn’t buy her one, she would. Deb drove Amy and her friends to every horse-related event that she could. In 1981, they were on their way to the Kentucky Horse Park when they were hit head-on by a drunk driver. She sustained very serious injuries, and those, along with her Lupus diagnosis at age 19, made it difficult for her to enjoy riding.
She and her sister Amy both had daughters a year apart, and of course those girls grew up to love horses. They were both in 4-H, where Deb was a 4-H advisor and also served on the county’s Horse Advisory committee. She loved helping other kids, and especially enjoyed mentoring kids taking the Horseless Horse project. Deb helped coach the Horse Bowl and Horse Judging teams, and was always saving articles out of magazines for the kids to study and learn from. Deb’s daughter, Brianne, and Amy’s daughter, Tabitha, both had IBHA-registered horses when they were 12 and 13, so they decided to check out the Ohio State Buckskin Association. This was in 1998 and Deb’s family has been involved ever since. Deb was always willing to help in the show office and loved to welcome new members—who pretty quickly felt like old friends. She also served as a director for OSBA and was a big supporter of the small fry classes. At each Congress or Equine Affaire she attended, she always looked for potential prizes for the kids. On trips to TSC or even Cracker Barrel, she thought of them and usually picked up something for the shows.
Deb’s life was cut short due to a stroke, but she will always be missed and remembered. The Ohio State Buckskin Association will be giving out a year-end high point and reserve high point Leadline award this year in Deb’s memory. In addition, the annual Red, White, & Buckskin circuit, which will be held on June 28 and 29, will be dedicated to her. We know that she is up in heaven, reunited with that old buckskin, Prince Antonio, and she is watching out for all of us. So, happy trails to you, Deb, until we meet again.