June Warren Passes Away at 52
Well respected breeder and trainer, June Warren of Yukon, Oklahoma has passed away at the age of 52 after a two year battle with brain cancer.
Warren was a multiple AQHA World and Congress champion in the Hunter Under Saddle events as well as a former NSBA President. June and her partner of 25 years, Ron Horn, made their mark in the breeding part of the industry when they discovered, Last Detail, when he was just a yearling. They turned him into the 1995 Junior Hunter Under Saddle World Champion, multiple World Champion sire and NSBA Hall of Fame horse.
Since 1985, June and Ron have been mainstays in the American Quarter
Horse industry, raising, training and starting horses from their
facility in Yukon, Oklahoma, specializing in hunter horses.
“June Warren’s impact
was huge to our industry,” said multiple World Champion trainer, Lainie DeBoer. “She was such an articulate person and she was
always lobbying for the under saddle and pushing people to be progressive in their
thinking in terms of the future of the American Quarter Horse. She always
had a great way of being diplomatic when she would debate someone on certain
issues and you would always know where she was coming from. I
especially enjoyed talking to her about hunters and her prospects,
because she really understood what kind of a horse could jump. June
showed hunters in the past and we could talk for hours about them. I
really enjoyed those times.”
“I think June was instrumental in getting things going for the Hunter Under Saddle discipline in the NSBA,” says Deborah Kail, who is a trainer and AQHA judge from Scottsdale, Arizona. “She stayed true to making nice horses that went on and did multiple events. She had a passion for horses from conception to the show pen then to retirement. She loved them all. My favorite memory of June was when she won the World Show with The Last Captive. She and Ron had worked so hard to make it happen and it did.”
Many people have wonderful memories of June, including Lainie DeBoer.
“One of my favorite
memories was actually last summer at the Redbud, and she sat with me to watch
the under saddles with a glass of wine. She was going on and on a
mile a minute about the under saddle horses and her thoughts. I was
really soaking up all she had to say. She then she stopped and said ‘I’m so sorry for going on and on, its just that I have not been able to
drink in a long time because I have brain cancer and someone gave me a glass of
wine and it does not take much these days.’ I said, ‘I’m so
sorry,’ and she said ‘Oh no, please don’t be sorry about the brain
cancer.” I said ‘No, I was not talking about your cancer, just the
fact that you have not been able to drink wine for a long time!” We
both busted out laughing.”
According to former youth customer, Lindsey (Sommer) Braddock,
“June didn’t have
any kids, but I know was like a mom to many. I spent many summers living with
her and Ron and it was like home. She taught me so much about riding but even
more about life. She was incredibly smart and extremely driven. I had so many
good times with her and Ron. She was a wealth of knowledge on any subject you
wanted to talk about. She loved her youth kids like they were her own and
taught them how to work hard and succeed.”
Lindsey went on to add, “June was amazing. She loved life, loved horses, loved her whippets, and loved
her friends and family. It’s so like her to not want a funeral and people to
mourn her. She didn’t want to be in the spotlight or have any focus on her, but
wanted to help everyone and everything. What a tremendous loss for the industry
and for the world.”
Diane Chilton-Harper, owner of Radical Rodder, remembers some funny memories about her friend.
“Oh my, June was such a sweetie. When I first started pleasure driving, she was one of the people who encouraged me. One day at a show, June came up to get in her buggy and was wearing the proper skirt and lifted up the skirt to show me her hunt seat pants outfitted with tennis shoes. Not hunt boots. So, needless to say, my attire changed to more relaxed outfits under the skirts after that!”
Diane also remembers a time at the AQHA Convention that June Warren and Suzy Jeane went on the town in New Orleans.
“Suzy and June were sorority sisters at LSU–so running buddies. She and Suzy came back wide eyed and laughing,” she said. “They understood why their moms did not want them to go to those wild bars in New Orleans.”
One of the most funny memories of June that Diane remembers is when June rode up to a hunt seat class with a 17.2 hand Last Detail horse that was an appendix quarter horse. “I always thought of June as tiny. Then, she comes up to a class and is taller than my 16.3 hand horse and my 5’8″ height. She said she had to use a crane to get up there and we all laughed.”
“I remember her as always being friendly and helpful. One of my best horses (Must Be A Detail) we got from her, she had won the Congress on him as a 2 Year-old and was always so proud of him when we did well with him,” Beth Case says of High Point Performance Horses. “I’m not sure if she knew he just won the youth world again, making him a six time AQHA world champion now, and, just this week, at the NSBA world show, he just won three more world championships. But, I’m sure she would be so proud of him.”
Warren grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in a non-horse family, and she doesn’t really know where her horse interest started, but her parents told her she loved horses for as long as she could remember. After graduating from LSU with a major in political science, she moved to Oklahoma and went into business with her partner, Ron Horn. For the next 10 years, she concentrated on the training and showing aspects of their business.
At first, Warren and Horn began buying and selling mainly race bred horses for hunt seat prospects. However, eventually, they saw the racing industry going in a different direction, so, they decided they wanted to get involved in the breeding part of the industry. After they started gaining momentum and success with their stallion, Last Detail, they expanded their facility, purchased broodmares and also developed business relationships with outside mare owners. From this point, Warren and Horn had established themselves as top trainers and breeders in the industry. Warren has left a legacy from her success as a trainer and breeder but more so from all the friendships and lives she touched in the industry. She will be greatly missed.
“June was such a special person. She always had joy in her heart and a laugh–through the brain tumor too……so young,” Diane said.
According to one of June’s closest friends, Molly Cherry, June and Ron
have recently lost their parents, and June requested that there not
be a funeral. Instead, there will be a memorial party at a show. We will
update you as soon as we have more information about the memorial.
Thanks to K.C. Montgomery and Molly Cherry for the pictures. AQHA.com contributed to this article.