Legendary hunter pony trainer Emerson Burr, 81, of Fairfield, Connecticut, passed away Monday, December 17, 2001. Burr was best known for his talent for matching kids to ponies and was known to many as a "father figure" in the pony hunter ring. His dedication to ponies and the children that show them lead USA Equestrian and its Pony Committee to name the trophy given to the trainer of the Overall Grand Hunter Pony Champion at Pony Finals, the Emerson Burr Perpetual Trophy awarded for the first time in 2000.
In 1965 Burr brought a pony Criban Dart to the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. This was his first time showing a pony at the prestigious show and Criban Dart was declared Champion. This outing set the stage for decades of blue ribbons, high point riders and ponies, championships and countless accolades for the legendary Burr, his ponies and the children he took under his wing.
Burr was the 1999 recipient of the AHSA Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed annually by the Executive Committee to an outstanding equestrian whose "lifetime experience and accomplishments exemplify uncommon devotion to the sport of horse showing and whose equestrian career and horsemanship has continually elevated the sport's excellence." He was a Chairman Emeritus of the AHSA Hunter Pony Committee, on which he served through many changes and served as the host for the first AHSA Pony Finals held in 1967 at the Fairfield Hunt Club in Fairfield, CT.
Memorial services for legendary hunter pony trainer Emerson Burr will be held Saturday, December 22, 2001 at the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church at 10:00 AM followed by a reception at the Fairfield County Hunt Club. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Fairfield-Westchester PHA, 39 John St., Greenwich, CT 06831.