July 24, 2003 -- USA Equestrian Lifetime Achievement Honoree Clarence L. "Honey" Craven, one of the horse world's star figures, passed away Wednesday, July 23, at age 98.
A 70-year associate of the National Horse Show, Craven was a staple, serving in various roles including Ringmaster and Manager. In 1926 Craven was asked by W. Reginald Reeves, secretary to the National Horse Show, to fill the Assistant to the Ringmaster position at the show. A year later, he was promoted to Ringmaster, according to Craven himself, when the current Ringmaster, Dutch White, unexpectedly left the job. He quickly taught himself to sound the horn and filled the role until 1958 when he began his 25-year tenure as manager for the National Horse Show. Following the show's 100th anniversary in 1983 he became the Manger Emeritus.
Craven began his tenure at the Devon Horse Show in 1936. He started by calling the classes and, since there was no public address system then, he rode a polo pony to the ring, found out how long it would be until the next class, and galloped up to the barns. He then served as Ringmaster until taking over as manager and then was named Manager Emeritus. Craven also served as Ringmaster at shows that include Piping Rock on Long Island, Pin Oak in Texas, Eastern States in Massachusetts and North Show in New York.
USA Equestrian President, Alan F. Balch, commented, "Today, equestrian sport lost not only a pioneer but a giant. "Honey" saw our sport develop over nearly a century and will be remembered forever for his guidance, his love of all horses, his innovation in management, and perhaps, above all, his warmth, friendship, and inspiration to all those who loved horses with him."
Funeral services will take place Saturday, July 26th. There will be a visitation from 9-10 a.m. and the service begins at 10:30 a.m. at St. Margaret's Church in Madison, CT.
Mr. Craven is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Mr. & Mrs. Henry O. Robinson II, grand children, Henry O. Robinson, III, Lawrence Preston Robinson, Elizabeth Robinson Baldwin and great grandchildren Hannah Aileen Baldwin and William Augustus Baldwin.