Olva Stewart Pharo, artist

Dedicated Horsewoman and Philanthropist
Helen Lenahan
Leaves a Lasting Legacy

June 21, 2017 - Phelps Media group, Inc.

Helen Dent Lenahan, a passionate, life-long horsewoman
and philanthropist, passed away on May 19, 2017 at the age of 91.
Lenahan was the dedicated horse owner of many
successful performance horses, including several
SBS Farms hunters and jumpers,
after being a rider herself for many years prior.

Lenahan owned more than 100 horses and ponies
throughout her equestrian career, showing them herself
or supporting the competitive aspirations of other riders.
She received several high honors in the equestrian industry,
including induction into the
National Show Hunter Hall of Fame
in Old Salem in 2000.

She was presented with the
Mrs. A.C. Randolph Owner’s Legacy Award from the
United States Hunter Jumper Association in Lexington,
Kentucky in 2011, and the Welles Family Award at
the 2016 CP National Horse Show for being
“a special individual who has made an
exceptional commitment and contribution
to the equestrian sport and industry.”

“I don’t know that there are many people who have been
given those three honors in their lifetime,”
said Susie Schoellkopf, owner of SBS Farms.
“Helen had an amazing background,
and she was such a great horsewoman.”

Schoellkopf enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship
with Lenahan, growing up with her daughter Susie
and spending time riding and showing
horses together over the years.

Earlier in her career, Lenahan enjoyed racking up ribbons
aboard her three-gaited and five-gaited
American Saddlebred horses at National Horse Shows
— she also rode to great success
in side-saddle classes along with
her good friend Sharon O’Neill.

Together, Lenahan and O’Neill won high honors
in the side-saddle division at prestigious venues
such as the Washington International Horse Show
and the National Horse Show.
Most recently, Lenahan had taken up driving
competitions with Welsh ponies in
championships across North America.

“Helen was very smart,” Schoellkopf said.
“She knew good horses, she knew what a nice hunter
was and she was competitive.”

Lenahan’s niche for identifying and developing
the finest show horses was indisputable.
Several of her top horses, Logically, Roses Are Red
and Gabriel, have been awarded
United States Equestrian Federation National
Horse of the Year titles.

Lenahan was the owner of SBS Farms'
elite performance horses Miss Lucy and Girl Crush.
Her horses have won numerous honors
in elite arenas, and most recently,
Miss Lucy won the prestigious
$100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship
in 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Lenahan left a remarkable legacy
on the equine industry, and most notably
the hunter arena. She offered show opportunities
to talented junior riders such as
Molly Ashe Crawley, as well as numerous
other professionals including
Brian Flynn and Gary Raman.
All went on to win in the national arena
with her horses. Among those professionals,
Lenahan had a successful 25-year partnership
with SBS Farms trainer and rider, Jennifer Alfano.
Her guidance and presence at horse shows
as an encouraging role model will forever
be remembered by those she supported.

“Helen not only watched her own horses at the horse shows,”
Schoellkopf said. “She always went back to watch
the customers and the kids,
regardless of if the horse was hers.
She was very much a part of
the barn and the team.”

Lenahan’s philanthropy was seen
through her service as a board member
of the Harry M. Dent Family Foundation,
the Helen Dent Lenahan Foundation and
the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center.

Also passionate about educational opportunities,
Lenahan created the Helen Dent Scholarship Fund at
Canisius High School and provided continuous support
to the Buffalo Seminary, Elmwood-Franklin School
and Nichols School.

Lenahan is survived by her daughter,
Susan Lenahan, two sons, John and Christopher,
and four grandchildren —
John IV, Mackenzie, Christopher, Jr. “C.J.” and Reilly Lenahan.

A dear friend to Schoellkopf and a proud supporter
of the SBS Farms team and numerous other equestrians
throughout the years, she will be dearly missed by all.

Special thanks to
Phelps Media Group, Inc.,
for the press release.

Miss Lenehan was a legendary figure to me.
It was a great honor to do a portrait of her champion
hunter Miss Lucy with Jennifer Alfano.

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Last update: 13 August, 2018.