The U.S. Pony Clubs (USPC) established the Founders' Awards to honor its most worthy volunteers. Recipients will have made a significant contribution to Pony Club at the Local or Regional and National Levels over a period of twenty years or more. At this year's Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, two outstanding foxhunters were among the five recipients: Ben Hardaway, MFH Midland Fox Hounds (GA) and Nancy Ambrosiano of Caza Ladron (NM).
Benjamin Hurt Hardaway, III
Most foxhunters are already familiar with Ben Hardaway's contributions to our sport, in particular hound breeding, but may not be aware of his involvement with USPC. Ben and his wife had four children, Sarah, Mary, Susannah and Ann, who were all active members of Midland Fox Hounds Pony Club, which Ben and Sarah founded. He is a Life Member of USPC and served on its Board of Governors from 1957 to 1962 with a second term in 1968 to 1970. He was also District Commissioner of Midland Fox Hounds Pony Club from 1963 to 1965. Ben served as a National Examiner in the late 1960’s, as well as the Foxhunting Committee Chair from 1967 to 1974, and further as the Nomination Chair in 1975.
The Founders' Award Press Release notes: "Ben has many hobbies such as foxhunting, bird shooting, racquetball and tennis. He is joint Master of the Midland Fox Hounds and past President of the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America. He was awarded the Honorary Member of the Masters of Foxhounds Association in England (for his expertise in the breeding of foxhounds) which was a great honor. Ben is known for the creation of the Hardaway Crossbreds which are in 80 percent of the Crossbred packs in America today. The lines that he helped to create have been in the kennels for 50 years and his son-in-law, Mason Lampton, believes strongly in keeping a certain amount of these lines going as joint Master of Midland. Ben was inducted into the Huntsman’s Room at Morven Park in May of 2009 and also inducted to the Chattahoochee Sportmans Hall of Fame in February 2010."
Ben's grandson, Mason, attended the ceremony and received the beautiful silver tray on behalf of his grandfather.
Nancy Ambrosiano also received the Founders' Award. She is President and field master at Caza Ladron, and also serves as the MFHA's Board Liaison to USPC. Her Pony Club involvement was described as follows: "Nancy joined Charleston Pony Club in South Carolina when she was 6 years old. The family began hunting in Virginia Beach with Princess Anne Hunt where Nancy rode in the field and whipped in. Nancy’s family helped found Princess Anne Hunt Pony Club, where she achieved her D to the B level. Nancy decided to wait a year to go off to college and prepare for her H-A and A examinations, and after being a working student for Betty Hallett and working with Jan Royce Conant (another Founder honoree) she passed both tests and participated in the Visiting Instructors program in its early days. She has taught Pony Clubs in Connecticut, New York, Virginia, and North Carolina, before finally moving with her family to Los Alamos, New Mexico. They belonged to Sangre de Cristo Pony Club, then founded the Los Alamos Pony Club, where her daughter Laura received her C-3."
Accepting her honor, Nancy described Pony Club as "a nationwide village that has continued to nourish and support me to this day," adding, "My Pony Club connections have taught me about leadership, patience, confidence, teamwork and so much more. Both my personal and professional life have been enriched through the web of which you are all a part. Thank you all so very much."
Nancy continues to give back to the organization. She is Joint District Commissioner, and served two terms in the USPC Board of Governors and twice in the Advisory committee to the Board. She also chaired the USPC Communications Committee, and among others, has contributed for ten years on the National Youth Congress committee, which runs a youth leadership training program.
To read more about the Founders' Awards recipients, click here.
To learn more about MFHA programs for young people, including our connection to USPC, click here.