Lexington, Va. – July 26, 2017 – The Virginia Horse Center is deeply saddened by the loss of J. Arthur ‘Bucky’ Reynolds. Reynolds, a renowned Virginia horseman who had deep ties to the Horse Center, was a leading hunter figure in the sport horse industry for more than fifty years. Bucky passed away after a long illness on Monday, July 24, at the age of 78.
Born in Tryon, North Carolina, Reynolds was taught to ride by his father, James Arthur Sr. He and his sister Betty Oare both caught the horse bug and went on to have successful careers in the show ring. Although he majored in English at Wofford College, he knew that his place was on the back of a horse and returned to the sport upon graduation. His professional riding career began by training horses near Orange, Virginia.
Reynolds became a top rider in the hunter and jumper divisions with the help of professionals including A.E. ‘Gene’ Cunningham. He placed in the Maclay equitation finals in New York and won multiple championships. He developed Gozzi, a four-time National Horse Show champion and one of the most famous show hunters of all time, as well as other Hall of Famers including Stocking Stuffer, Navy Commander and Estrella. He also won the Cartier Grand Prix of New York with his father’s open jumper, Steve’s Poppet, in Madison Square Gardens.
Reynolds has been credited with helping many riders achieve success in the ring, most important of those being his sister, Betty. The brother and sister duo who remained close throughout the years because of their shared passion for horses have trained multiple hunters to tricolor ribbons and Hall of Fame awards. In 2003, Reynolds trained Oare and her mare Estrella to the Amateur Owner 36 and Over Grand Championship at the prestigious Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. Reynolds also trained horses for Hunt Tosh and Kelly Farmer that have gone on to win many of the country’s top divisions. Many of his horses have been produced in Virginia, out of EMO Stables in Warrenton, owned by Betty and her husband Ernie.
Along with being competitive riders, Reynolds and his wife Linda, a well-regarded hunter judge, have been long-time fox-hunters and supporters of the Old Dominion Hounds, located in Warrenton, Virginia.
At the beginning of 2017, Reynolds was honored by the industry by being inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame where his name now resides next to his father and sister, earning the Reynolds family the title of ‘The Royal Family’.
“Virginia’s equestrian industry has lost a giant figure in the passing of Bucky Reynolds and the Virginia Horse Center has lost a special friend,” said John Nicholson, Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia Horse Center Foundation. “He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He will be greatly missed.”
There will be a celebration of Reynold’s life at the Warrenton Horse Show (Aug. 30 to Sept. 3) with the date still to be determined.
Reynolds is survived by his wife, Linda, a son, Jay, a recent graduate of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, and a daughter, Lydia, of Charleston, South Carolina; his sister, Betty Oare of Warrenton and his brother, Bobby Reynolds of Warrenton.