The History of the San Francisco Horsemen's Association - Written in 1944
In the early part of 1940, Mrs. Billie Winckelman, together with a group of prominent San Francisco horsemen, held a meeting at the City Hall to discuss and act upon her idea of forming a Horsemen's Association in San Francisco. At the conclusion of this meeting, it was unanimously decided to organize such an Association, and committees were immediately appointed to draw up the By-Laws and to carry out the procedure of organization as outlined in the meeting.
All horse people of San Francisco were invited to attend a general meeting in April 1940 at the City Hall, where the By-Laws were presented for approval and the SFHA was formally organized and started. The first election of officers was held and Mr. John M. Ratto was elected the first President, which office he held during the ensuing two terms, and through his able leadership this Association was soundly organized.
The basic purposes laid down for this Association was to better all conditions for the horse and rider in all phases, and to do so as a unified group with all factions pulling together to the one desired end.
During the latter part of 1940, Lonnie McNally suggested the publishing of a periodical. He was named Editor and turned out a fine publication named "Tales." Ellis Rehn succeeded Lonnie as Editor in 1942. When Ellis became ill in 1943, Marian Silverberg graciously consented to take over the duties of Editor, and as such as built our publication up to its present outstanding position in the world of equestrian journalism.
In April 1942, Mr. Homer P. Thyle was elected President and took over his duties with an outstanding record of hard work and service while the Association was in its first stages of organization. During this term of office the Association made great strides toward the goal set forth.
In April 1943, Mr. Ray Stone was elected President and took over his duties after an outstanding record as a director. Considerable progress was made, particularly the increase in membership dues and notable changes in the By-Laws. The first Rodeo was held at Shellville and was a grand success. The merits of Mr. Stone's accomplishments during his term of office was shown at Sacramento this spring when he was elected President of the California State Horsemen's Association.
In April of the current year (1944), Mr. William E. Strauss was elected President, and is now leading the SFHA through its fifth year. His present program promises great accomplishments, today's horse show being only one of the activities to be carried out.
Today the SFHA is still in its infancy, and it has enjoyed 100 percent success in all its undertakings, which have been many. Its experiences have included the maintenance and building of old and new bridle paths throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area; the establishment of better care and respect for the horse; the bringing together of all classes of horse people for better understanding within their ranks; the sponsoring of functions such as organized Rides, Barbecues, Rodeos, Horse Shows, Dances, etc., all to create goodwill and to bring the horseman and his activities closer to the General Public.
While many horsemen have been responsible for the success of this Association, they well understand that the mention of their names here would be impossible. Let it suffice to say that their satisfaction lies in the fact that they are sincerely striving for one simple endeavor - TO MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE FOR THE HORSE.
John M. Ratto