Equine Hall of Fame has St. Thomas connection

Daniel C. Gainey poses with Ferzon in this undated photo.

Daniel C. Gainey poses with Ferzon in this undated photo.

There are halls of fame for all kinds of achievers − even horses.

One of the prized Arabian horses once belonging to the late Daniel C. Gainey, whose 180-acre estate now houses St. Thomas' Gainey Conference Center, will be inducted into the Equine Hall of Fame tomorrow at the Steele County Free Fair in Owatonna.

The horse, named Ferzon (1952-1982), was Gainey's most famous stallion and was one of the most prolific Arabian horses in U.S. history.  Once valued at nearly $4 million, Ferzon sired 251 registered progeny and grandsired 7,616 purebred Arabians.

The induction ceremony takes place at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, in the cattle show arena on the Steele County Fairgrounds.

Gainey, who was president, chairman and chief executive officer of Jostens Inc., began to garner an international reputation as a breeder of Arabian horses not long after beginning to acquire them in the 1940s. “A horse is meant for a man to ride,” Gainey wrote in the Arabian Horse Times in 1974, five years before he died. “Sunset and sunrise, the glistening snow of winter with fences half inundated with white, the flowers that grow in the spring, the people passing by – all are more beautiful and wonderful if you’re mounted on a good horse.” He was president of the Arabian Horse Registry of America for 14 years.

The Gainey farm in Santa Ynez, Calif., now houses the Gainey Arabians. Learn more about the herd and its history at www.gaineyarabians.com.