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Hanson Calvin

Calvin (Cal) Douglas Hanson
Sport: Equestrian
Year Inducted: 2008

Calvin “Cal” Douglas Hanson was born in Cornwall, Ontario in 1952. At the age of 9, he began equestrian riding which led to 44 year equestrian career. He became one of the most sought after experts in the equestrian sport, and many awards have come his way.

Kentucky Governor Paul E. Patton and the Secretary of State commissioned Calvin Hanson as a “Colonel” in “The Honourable Order of Kentucky Colonels” in 1996, the highest honour awarded by the State and Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Mayor Jerry Abramson presented Calvin with the key to the city of Louisville Kentucky in 1996.

The American Morgan Horse Association honoured Calvin with three awards:  induction into their Hall of Fame in 2007, the 1999 Man of the Year Award, and The Calvin Hanson Project First CD-ROM Produced May 2001 Award.

In 2007, he was the recipient of the Benson Friends of the Round Table Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cornwall Lions Club Sports Awards Dinner. In 2008, Calvin was inducted into the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame and South Stormont Sports Hall of Fame.

As a competitor and trainer, Calvin won more than 500 awards in North America including 120 Championships and more than 160 local, Regional, Provincial, National, and International first place finishes in a variety of equestrian disciplines.

At the age of 16, Calvin became a builder in the equestrian sport. He bred Champion Morgan horses, and offspring from his Big Oak Morgan Horse Farm won and or produced Champions at the World, Grand National, International, Regional, State, and Provincial levels. Horses carrying the Hanson-bred Morgan horse bloodline have claimed to date (Oct 2021) 93 World Championships and Reserves; 101 Grand National Championships and Reserves; and at least 140 Regional Championships and Reserves. Calvin also bred several Champion Arabian horses.

He was a recognized International equestrian judge for 31 years, first licensed as a judge in 1974 at 22 years of age. He held 26 judging licenses in various breeds and disciplines in Canada and the U.S.A. In the United States Equestrian Federation and Equine Canada (the two National governing bodies for the equestrian sport in North America) Calvin held the most judging licenses of any judge at the time and he was the only judge in both countries licensed in all three equestrian seats. He has judged World, World Cup, Grand National, International, National, Regional, State, and Provincial Championship equestrian competitions. Among those competitions, he judged the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show four times; the American Royal Horse Show; the New England Regional Championship Morgan Horse Show; the United States National Championship Arabian and Half-Arabian Youth Show, and the World Cup Saddle Seat Equitation Championships in Louisville, Kentucky and also in Paarl, South Africa where World Cup competitions were held for both 3-gaited and 5-gaited Saddle Seat equitation disciplines for the first time.

Calvin enjoyed creating and developing the official rules of the sport in the United States Equestrian Federation and Equine Canada. He was a member of the United States Equestrian Federation Rules committee, American Morgan Horse Association Judging Standards committee, and National Museum of the Morgan Horse council. He served as an evaluator for the Horsemastership program with the American Morgan Horse Association. He was Secretary of the International Saddle Seat Equitation Association (1998–2000).

In Equine Canada, he served on the Board of Directors and the National Rules committee. He was chairman of the national Morgan Horse Rules committee for 11 years (1973–1984). He was responsible for the creation of the national Saddle Seat Equitation Rules committee and he served as chairman of that committee for the initial 3 years (1994–1996). He served as a clinician and educator for recognized and applicant judges, and he authored many articles for Equine Canada’s magazine.

In the Canadian Morgan Horse Association, he founded the national Zonal High Score Awards System in 1973. He was chairman of the national Zonal High Score Awards System committee and was national Recorder (1973–1980). He was chairman of the Horse Show Committee (1973–1979), and he created the C.M.H.A. Medal class rules for all equestrian seats. In the Ontario Morgan Horse Club, he was a member of the initial High Point Awards committee (1969–1970), and served as Recorder in 1969.

Locally, he originated and organized several horse shows at Avonmore, Newington, and Williamstown. He was chairman of the Stormont County Fair Light Horse Show. He served as a horse show volunteer, gave clinics to youth and adult groups, developed new classes at many competitions, and spearheaded equestrian clubs such as the Seaway Valley Arabian Horse Association and Ottawa Valley Arabian Horse Association.

As an author, Calvin produced five books, two CDs, and a videotape, which he donated back to the sport. He authored more than 27 copyrighted literary works. Calvin was guest editor of “The Morgan Horse” magazine in the U.S.A.  He was an equine media reporter and he wrote articles for many international publications.  He was also a successful amateur equine photographer.

As an historian, from 1993-1999 Calvin computerized the foundation era of the Morgan breed on a CD-ROM documenting the ancestry and history of 45,000 horses. In doing so, he uncovered 6,000 new pedigree discoveries and preserved a multitude of bloodlines that would have been lost otherwise. He donated his CD-ROM and research to the American Morgan Horse Association in 1999, and in May 2001 the AMHA reproduced the work on a CD-ROM called, “The Calvin Hanson Project.” Calvin also authored a book on the project, “The Morgan Horse Foundation – A Computerized Analysis” and all copies of the book were donated to the National Museum of the Morgan Horse.

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Kentucky Colonels