Welcome to the Hackney Hall of Fame.  This section of our web site is dedicated to the greatest horses, ponies, exhibitors, breeders and trainers that have made an impact on the Hackney in Canada

William H. Robinson

William H. Robinson got his start in the horse world travelling to horse shows in Yorkshire with his father. The senior Mr. Robinson managed a large farm and exhibited Shire horses, walking them hitched to a dray wagon to the shows. His first lessons were learned with a Shetland pony that he rode four miles to school. He spent every spare moment working with horses and ponies after school, and his love for animals continued for a lifetime.

Bill left school when he was 16 and went to work grooming Hackneys for Jimmy and Bob Black at their large public stable. He remained for five years and then turned his talents towards hunters and riding horses. Serving with the British Army during WWII, he next obtained the trainer position at Mr. J. Hayhurst's Oaklands stable.

Bill then went into Scotland where he worked for Mr. John Sword at the Craigweil Stud, remaining until 1955 when the stud was dispersed. At that time, he was hired by Elgin Armstrong of A.B.C. Farms at Brampton, Ontario. He worked at A.B.C. Farms for three years, followed by two years at the Dufferin Stock Farm. At Dufferin he started out Parade Girl and Gladiator, one of the great pairs of horses to be shown.

Bill moved back to Toronto and for a short period worked at John Farintosh's farm.. He returned to A.B.C. and brought Mr. Sandman to prominence as one of the greatest harness ponies ever. Kenwil Lady Hollie, and Croftland's Dainty Doris, were other great winners.

After his 12 years in Canada, he moved in 1966 to Missouri where he trained for Cliff and Carilla Johnson's Springhill Farm. Here he made Tijuana Brass into one of the greats in the harness pony division. Next was to Kentucky to Rock Creek Riding Club operating a public stable. California became his next stop, at Art Birtcher's. He stayed 11 years, showing Birtcher and customer-owned ponies. Cover Girl, El Toro, Mr. Yank's Poinsettia, and Poinsettia's Reality were shown throughout the southwest USA After so many moves and years showing, he decided to retire to San Diego, occasionally helping Michelle MacFarlane with her Hackney horses, and driving Buck Rogers to World's Champion Fine Harness Horse.

Mrs. Kenneth Wheeler of Cismont Manor Farm lured Bill out of retirement, and for six years he trained more world champion ponies, with summers spent in Kentucky and the winters at Cismont Manor West in Arizona. Cismont Manor ponies Flamethrower, Tijuana Starlet, La Louisianne and Kilreen Debonaire Lady were the best in the business.

When he did finally retire, he moved back to the San Diego area but continued to help other exhibitors, assisting Joel Brown with Mrs. Blackwell's ponies, and driving Heartland Rain Song for Dena Lopez to the Hackney Pony world championship at the Kentucky State Fair. Bill passed away November 17, 2000.

Bill Robinson set a standard for perfection in both the horses he showed, and the stable from where they came from. He was one of the great showmen of all time in the Hackney division.

(Inducted March 2012)

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