It was a night for celebration and standing ovations during the much-anticipated Pegasus Awards where the equestrian world’s brightest stars gathered to be honored and celebrate achievements from 2007, as well as a lifetime.
The highlight of the evening was the awarding of the Lifetime Achievement Award to living legend Don Burt, who has dedicated his life to the equestrian world. From trainer to exhibitor, judge and educator to high-level administrator, Burt’s influence has been felt for decades.
“Rarely am I speechless … but this is one of the highlights of my life,” said Burt, after a lengthy standing ovation that welcomed the legend to the stage. “And it’s really an honor to be named with such a list of dignitaries.”
”I want to say how truly blessed I am, and I have an angel on each shoulder,” he continued. “My wife really should be getting this award. She is my lifelong friend and partner, and I want her to join me and stand and be recognized.” Burt went on to mention and thank the many friends he has met along his life’s journey, some of whom were in attendance at the gala presentation.
Burt, who began training and showing horses across disciplines in California, has had a career that saw him give riding lessons to Hollywood royalty, followed by his own achievements as a rider, having won both the national hunter and jumper titles in the same year at the Cow Palace. After an injury ended his riding career, he turned to judging and lecturing, becoming a well-respected and in-demand licensed official. And then there were the years of service he spent as an administrator and past president of the American Quarter Horse Association, where his influence is felt to this day.
“I also want to thank a person that has been truly special in my heart, and that is Jimmy Williams,” said Burt of the legendary equestrian for whom the night’s pinnacle award is named.