El Paso Women and Equestrian Sports Part two: 1940s-1970s

El Paso Women and Equestrian Sports Part two: 1940s-1970s

Winalin Griffin rode in show for the El Paso Riding and Driving Club held in 1944 with her horse “Red,” proving herself as a jumper. The first Show was held at the Del Norte Saddlery. Griffin recollected that there was just a dozen members, but By 1953, there were 300 members of the horse riding and driving organization. Griffin did publicity work for the group. Griffin came to El Paso as work assistant for a WPA Recreational Project and to work at a newly organized USO Club in 1947. She headed the Hosiery, Cosmetics, and Lingerie Department at the White House Department Store.

Another woman horse jumper was Lucene Lide Biling. In 1948 she won first place in  the jumper class at the Horse Show. In 1951, she advanced to the Texuque Valley Show.  Billing won first place for the Hunter and for Open jumper class. In 1955, she completed with one of her former students, Dorothy White. According to newspapers accounts both White and Billing both stole the show. White won first prize in jumper, amateur, stock horses, and hunter classes. White was the first triple winner at the show.





In 1965, Francia Goodwin Coe took top honors in Fine Harness Ladies in the Amateur class at the El Paso Charity Horse Show.  Coe was among three generations along with her daughter and mother ,who completed in the horse shows. Goodwin won the first place in the five gaited class and first in the Children’s five gaited class at a Horse show in Ruidoso. In her youth, Coe was a member of the El Paso Junior Driving and Ridding Club. Lelani  Greenwood was eighteen when she rode in the 1965, El Paso Horse Charity Show, by that time she won 70 trophies and 130 ribbons. Greenwood won in the Quarter House Class at the American Horse Shows, Amateur shows, junior rodeos, and 4-H competitions. Greenwood was a graduate of El Paso High. Over 100 horses came to ride in the 1965 horse show from all the over the west and southwest, and Mexico. Kathy Brennand was another talented and accomplished rider to ride in the Horse Shows, she won honors in AJRA Champion, Cow Girl, Champion Barrel racing in the Champion Optional Racer and Reserve Champion.



Another interesting rider was Elisa Fernandez a reserve rider for Mexican Olympic team in 1964, 1968. Native of Juarez. Fernandez would come to train here and rode in the El Paso Horse Shows and other horsing events. Fernandez was the first woman to win a place in the Mexico’s Intentional Jumping Team. Fernandez started learning horsemanship at the age five in El Paso, she graduated from Radford School. Fernandez entered her first El Paso horse show at age 10. In 1971, Fernandez was the first woman to win a gold medal for at the Pan American Stakes, an annual horse racing event where riders come from all over the Americas. Elisa’s Sister’s, Emalia, was a also a well accomplished rider and she also  completed in the El Paso Horse Shows.




Ruth Dent married Ermon E. Missik in Missouri and came to El Paso in the late forties. Missk and her Husband built their own horse stable at 8634 Homsley Trail  in the lower valley. Missks trained horses, raised horses and enter horse into  contests. The Missks dug the foundation for the stable ,while a contractor built an adobe building. The design was to be an L Shaped ranch style and had two Dutch doors at the entrance. Ruth later remarried to William Cunluffle . She became a noted horse riding instructor. In 1974, one of her students, Camille Whitefield won honors at the World Championship Horse Show held at the Kentucky State fair. Ruth completed in various horse shows and other equestrian events around the county. She was not just noted for her horsemanship in El Paso, but all over the southwest. In 1944 she moved to El Paso, when the El Paso Riding and Driving Club was just in early stages, Ruth was a member of one of the first board of directors. She completed in the first El Paso Horse Showi n 1944, winning first place in the five-gaited horse category winning, ridding a black mare named “Dixie” belonging to Dr. L.M. Smith. In 1953, Ruth won first place in the five-gaited horse in she also won awards in Horse shows in Albuquerque, Dallas, Fort Worth, Tulsa, Roswell and Santa Fe. Ruth along with Lorena Bowen were the first sponsor of the El Paso Junior Ridding and Driving Club. Ruth also helped organized the Sunland Paraders, who won the best junior mounted group in the Southwestern Championship Rodeo for four years in a row. Ruth was the first El Paso woman tohave driven El Paso Horse Shows. Roadster is a  kind driving competition for horses .  The horse and rider appear in equipment similar to that used in harness racing, where the rider is in a two wheeled chair called the “Sulky”. The cart is pulled by the horse

Camille Whitfield begin learning horse riding at age eight under Shirlee Armstarter. Whitefield started training for competitive horsing  with Bayou Stables in Dallas at the age of fourteen. She later joined the intentionally known Kentucky’s Charles D. Smith Stables . Whitefield earned various honors and awards in horsing, internationally, nationally, and locally. Whitefield was a constant rider at the El Paso Horse Charity Shows. In December of 1980, Whitefield was one of six American riders to be invited to ride at the Olympia Intentional Jumping Show also called the Queen Horses shows sponsored by English royalty. Whitefield won 24 honors and finished one of the top riders in the world nine times. Whitefield also completed in horse shows in around the southwest. Whitefield was a native El Pasoan. Whitefield was also the first  professional horse rider to be inducted in the El Paso Athletics Hall of Fame. She was also among just a handful of women inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1985.







Elise Jean Staudenmayer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1909. While living on a farm in Leachville, Arkansas Jean’s love for horses developed and also her skills as a horsewoman. In Leachhville, her father, Martin, was a medical doctor who ran a private practice. Jean became a nursings tudent but decided it was not for her, so she became a trick rider, winning many competitions with her prize horse named Eagle. It was while in Brownsville, while showing Eagle off at a fair, that Walter Adamsasked her to come to El Paso to train horses at the famous Cowboy Rodeo Park on Polo Road in Ysleta.A group called the Rough Riders was also found there. She stayed in El Paso, and in 1939 she worked as asign marker and clerk for Kress Department Store. In 1940 she was hired to work for S.D. Myres, a famous saddlemaker. Initially, she was a saleswoman but eventually trained under Myers, becoming a well-accomplished leather carver and saddle maker. Many of the saddles, boots,

and other creations she madewere used as awards in rodeos and other competitions. Jean also designed a medal for El Mada Shrine. She lived in North Loop Gardens and had her own workshop. She also ran a phonograph recordshop near her ranch. She named her ranch, located at Craddock Avenue off of North Loop, “Record Corral.” At that location, she had a huge collection of hand carved figures of horses, dogs, and otheranimals. Some were made out of glass, ivory, or wood. Her collections became so big that she sought todonate them places where they would be on public display. The El Paso History Museum has one of her saddles. Jean also worked at Fort Bliss, heading arts and crafts and worked as an illustrator, providingdrawings for books. As part of her work she retouched photos, and she was skilled at cabinet making and crocheting. Jean was a skilled , sketching or painting horses or other animals.


Margaret Hollebreke was owner of the Hollebeke Stables on old highway 80, now Alameda.Hollbreke also had a horse riding academy. Hollebeke’s husband Alton, was a deputy sheriff and headed the . She had a daughter named Bussie Hollebeke, who was Miss Southwest Rodeo in 1973. They also owned some stables on Montana Avenue. In 1962, The Miss El Paso Rodeo was originated, the honor was bestowed to Pat Zangwell, but was revoked when it was found she did not fulfill the age requirement, so the title went to Nikki Lettunich.  Miss Rodeo El Paso, served as hostess alongside Miss Rodeo America for the Southwest Livestock Shows. They also completed for national and state titles.

Other notable horse women were Hazel  Haynesworth, who along with 14 other women owned aStable Called “Temulac ” in the upper valley. Temulac was the name of a famous horse race, ‘Calumet”Spelled backwards. The business was organized in the 1958. Mrs. Hayneswoth told the El Paso HeraldPost that they wanted to prove they run stables just effectively as any man. The stables was called oneof the smallest stable because it had only one  horse, but they put everything they had in his success. Their horse “Winsham Lad” who proved himself when he  came in time at the  Ruidoso Downs Horse Tournament. All fourteen women owned the horse. They expanded their stable to get a secondhorse named “Tom Harvey.”  In 1959 they formed a syndicate with some Ruidoso women to expand their business, numerous prominent women in El Paso and Ruidoso. Hayneswoth’s Robert was President of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce, he also served as manager of the Sunland Park Racetrack and along with his Hazel he , co-founded The New Mexico Horse Breeders Association. Mrs.  Hayneswoth as president of the Jaycees club, she fought to get transportation for El Paso school students with special needs. She also worked to get better building accommodations for them which led to the establishment of the Memorial Park School. She was named All College of the Mines. She served as president of the Panhellenic, Chi Omega Chapter of El Paso. In 1974 she waschosen Frist Lady of El Paso being named the El Paso Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. Haynesworth was a member of the Board of El Paso Radiation Treatment Center and Treasurer for the board of NURSE INC.Haynesworth Also founded the Kermezaar art festival. Haynesworth also served on the Board of Memorial Home.

         Another prominent horse woman was Sheri Amstater. Amstater was a well-known horse instructor and ran stables and a horse riding school on her and her husband ranch  called “El Dorado” in the Upper Valley. Amstater was publicity chair for the El Paso Horse and Driving club.  Amstater was a  native of California. She attended a private school in Los Angeles that offered horse riding . Armstater bought her first horse named “Kathie” a saddled bred for $500, she was able to get the horse at cheaper rate, because the horse was sick ,but was later offered $4,500 for the same horse ,because the horse won the state juvenile five gaited championships. Armstater studied art in Los Angeles. She was a member of the board of the El Paso Public Library and worked to get more art displayed from different artists. She also studied architecture. El Dorado was more then  80 acres with 35 horses, with different breeds that included America Saddle breds, Morgans, Arabians, and Quarter horses. In 1975 El Dorado entered 22 show horses in the New Mexico State fair held inAlbuquerque and took home 69 ribbons. El Dorado also completed at the Phoenix A to Z, Dallas State Fair and was invited to the Iowa State fair. Armstater was once reprimanded for keeping 13 horses at her home across from the El Paso County Club. She later moved out of the city limits to the Upper Valley where she and her husband Joe started “ El Dorado”

Amstater was a member of the Shandor Equestrian Team of El Paso, founded by Juan Munoz and his wife, Dorothy. They created the organization with 12 men and women to perform “Quadrille” and they would frequently perform at the Sunland Park Race Track. The Munoz trained under Joaquin Chagoya, a prominent Mexican horseman and chief of the Mexican Calvary. Quadrille riders are dress in a special kind of outfit or uniform, the ride is choreographed and it is usually accompanied by music. It is called an equestrian ballet or drill team

In the 1970s, El Paso was increasing becoming more urban, replacing many farms, ranches, and orchards. The development of Industries left a challenge to horse sports lovers because they had to work harder to keep interests in their sport going. The El Paso Horse Show ended in the late 1960s. Chris Dougherty came to El Paso in the 1970s. Dougherty was an U.S. Olympic horse rider she wanted to bring back interest in the sport and hoped to bring something like the El Paso Horse Shows back. She founded The Del Norte Equestrian Center on Montoya in the Upper Valley. Dougherty held a jumping clinic on July 6, 1975 conducted by one of the first women jockey’s in the United States, Kathy Kushner.


-Joseph Longo


Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; acquire and make available to the public historic materials; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to the area; and to develop public consciousness of our rich heritage.