It is with profound sorrow and grief that the Ruscitto Family and Empress Arabians inform the world that the Legendary Hucklebey Berry+/ passed away at the age of 27 on November 15th, 2011.
HBB came “home” to Empress Arabians in the fall of 2004 and lived out his last years in the love and care of his family and a staff dedicated to keeping him healthy both physically and emotionally. The Ruscittos and the staff of Empress Arabians enjoyed the privilege of getting to know this exceptionally intelligent horse on a personal level. We came to appreciate, even more, the incredible being who was Hucklebey Berry+/.
“Hucklebey Berry+/ wasn’t just a horse,” says Chad Judy, “He didn’t just change our lives; he changed the Arabian horse industry.”
An article in the Arabian Horse Times published in September, 2008, stated: “(A) turning point (in the evolution of English Pleasure)…and what signaled the change from the old style of English pleasure to what we have today was Hucklebey Berry+/. He made some phenomenal passes… that changed the style of showing: motion and the big passes became very important.”
Hucklebey Berry +/ first graced the show ring in 1986, winning Pacific Slope Top Five Stallion as a 2-year-old, which was only the beginning to an unprecedented career in the show ring. He is the only horse ever to win the U.S. National English Pleasure Championship three times by unanimous decision. His first championship was awarded by three judges, but his second and third was adjudicated by a five-judge panel, making his achievements even more remarkable. At the 2000 U.S. Nationals, Hucklebey Berry+/ once again rose to the occasion and was crowned National Champion English Pleasure AAOTR 18-39 with rider Marla Ruscitto.
Said Arabian Acquisitions – “Some horses have a life force that burns brighter than others. Hucklebey Berry+/ is such a horse, and it is perhaps not coincidental that he resembles a living flame with red-gold color and extravagant motion. Since he first graced the show ring as a 2-year-old in 1986, he has won hearts and set records. … Hucklebey Berry's show ring performances were unforgettable, bringing him unanimous accolades from judges, standing ovations and more than a few tears of joy from spectators.”
Not a particularly big horse standing in his stall, HBB grew a hand when he exited his stall, grew another hand when somebody stepped on to his back, and grew yet an additional hand when he heard the applause in the show ring. By the time he was done he was well over 17 hands tall.
Hucklebey Berry +/ was a smash hit as a sire even before the end of his show career. His progeny have established him as a rare treasure -- a horse who could sire beautiful athletes, both purebred and part bred, who could win on the national level in both halter and performance.
Hucklebey Berry+/'s breeding record marks him as one of the leading sires in the breed, a horse whose name is sure to be included when people discuss the breed's all-time greatest sires.