Local inducted into Horse Hall of Fame

Bunny Evans has loved  horses since childhood

By Elizabeth Sias

Bunny Evans felt nothing but shock upon learning she had been inducted into the Minnesota Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame.

The Cambridge resident said she was honored with the induction Jan. 28 during the annual MQHA banquet in Lakeville, Minn.

Bunny Evans, showing American Quarter Horses, was inducted into the Minnesota Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame in late January.

The MQHA Hall of Fame recognizes and honors individuals who have made substantial contributions to the Minnesota Quarter Horse Association and the American Quarter Horse as a breed by their accomplishments, character and activities such as leadership, breeding, fund raising, showing and so on.

“I didn’t even know it when I got there,” Evans said about receiving the award. “The MC got up there and started talking, and we were sitting at our table finishing our dinner and chit chatting, and I said, ‘we have to be quiet, she said something about Cambridge,’ and they’re all sitting there snickering. And she kept talking, and I thought, ‘she’s talking about me; what is going on here?’ That’s how much of a surprise it was. My first reaction was shock. Total shock. It was a real honor that I never expected to get.”

She went up to speak, but said it was difficult to talk through tears and she doesn’t remember what she said.

Evans has been involved with American Quarter Horses for all of her adult life, but she’s loved horses for as long as she can remember.

Cambridge resident Bunny Evans with her plaque recognizing her induction into the Minnesota Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame.

“I was a city kid, but I loved horses,” she said. “I always found them. All of my relatives lived on farms. About two years old I think I started. I was around horses whenever I could be.”

In the MQHA, she was a member of the Board of Directors for two three-year terms in the 1980s, chairman of the rule book committee, and she served on many Quarter Horse show committees, as well as open shows.

As a Board member, she helped make decisions for the association, or presented them to the general membership for approval. She was on the committee to change the bylaws.

On horse show committees, she was involved with everything from deciding the program to taking entries. Occasionally, Evans said, she served as ring steward, helping the judge bring in horses and checking that the correct number horses came into the ring, as well as taking his placings up to the announcer.

While she loved serving on committees, Evans said showing was always her true passion.

“Showing can be stressful. It’s fun, but you have to really be competitive to want to do it, I think,” Evans said. “I love the whole atmosphere and the friends I made. They’re life-long friends. And I love competition, no matter what I do. Even if it’s a plant, I have to take it to the county fair.”

She showed in Western Pleasure, English Pleasure, trail, reining and halter, which means the horses are led and judged on their conformation and suitability for breeding.

“My favorite part about working with horses is the challenges of achieving my goals,” Evans said. “One of the challenges is that every horse is suited to something, and you have to figure out what that is. Their breeding has something to do with that. Some horses are bred to be reining horses, some are bred to be cutting horses. Some are bred to be pleasure horses. As you mature in the business, you learn to recognize what bloodlines are good for which.”

After an auto accident and a back injury, Evans was no longer able to show. Last spring, however, she had surgery and now she’s hoping to get into it again. She and her husband have raised all their horses on their own. Right now she has two brood mares, gives riding lessons and helps students at horse shows.

In addition to her work with the MQHA, Evans has been involved with 4-H for more than 40 years, including her role as 4-H Horse Project Leader. She was instrumental in the formation of the training program and the judging team, as well as hosting training clinics at her home. And she worked behind the scenes in getting the state 4-H show in the Colosseum.

“I’m hoping to get back into riding. I haven’t been riding for several years, and that’s been pretty hard,” she said. “Horses are a learning experience, and you never quit learning. You can learn things from everybody, regardless of their stage. It’s just such an interesting life, and the horses respond to you in different ways. It’s a challenge because all horses are different. They’re individuals, so you don’t handle them all exactly the same. Use what you learned and hope it works.”