For more than 50 years Larry Horn has been training Standardbreds for harness racing. Last Christmas eve he received a phone call and unexpected news. Larry learned he was being inducted into the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association Hall of Fame.

“I was stunned. I didn’t think I heard right,” Larry said. “It never crossed my mind that I’d ever done anything to deserve this.”

Larry Horn Hall of Fame Inductee

In his 20’s, Larry began working at the county fairgrounds jogging horses on weekends. Learning the fundamentals of horse management and harness racing, he worked hard eventually becoming a trainer himself.

“The next thing I knew, I quit my regular job and did it full time,” he said.

As a trainer, Larry began to acquire horses of his own. He developed a sensibility for horses and looked for certain characteristics – a good pedigree, a horse that was eager to get out of their stall, wide set eyes – they seemed smarter, and small horses.

Larry’s success on the track provided him with a lifetime career. Tall Oaks Jade was one of his first big winners, a world champion in fact. Over the years, others like Charamar NiteLite and Sunrise Raider went on to win championships on tracks from New York to Chicago.

“Learning a horse’s personality is part of training a horse. That includes what it likes to eat, how much work it likes to do and what bits and shoes it prefers,” he explains. “You want the horse to feel as comfortable as you can.”

While Larry doesn’t own horses anymore, he still helps area trainers. He never considered training horses to be work.

“It was my life,” he said. “I loved it.”

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Photography Courtesy: David Panian