CRHA Hall of Fame
Moree Thomas - 2004 Inductee & Ross Thomas 2012 Inductee
Ross Thomas first started his interest in showing horses with Cecil Stirling. He helped him show first Percheron, Commercial and then Trotters. He enjoyed the horses, even played horse with his brother when they were kids. After Cecil’s death Ross started helping Wallace Munro show. They went to many shows in the fall. Wallace always had a horse for Ross to drive.
1961 Ross and his wife Moree bought a couple of Hackney Horses, but in 1963 at Erin Fair, Ross bought Canton Enac and Lee Mitre Bearer from Ivan Cochrane. They had fun showing at fairs in Southern Ontario, but still didn’t have something good enough to go to the Royal Winter Fair. When showing at Peterborough in 165 Ross drove Mr. Remlap for Ivan Cochrane. When he came out of the class, his remark was “I’d like to own that horse someday.” The opportunity came at the Royal when Moree and Ivan finally made the deal. At Leonard Blight’s sale, Ross bought a mare named “Mary Seal”. He also bought a mare named Katy S. Henley from Stan Sommerville. Ross then had three horses with which he could show two teams. He enjoyed showing a team. Mr. Remlap and Mary Seal made him the proud owner of five first ribbons at the Royal in the over 15.2 class. His big success was winning the Stake Class in 1973 with Mr. Remlap. He had been reserve champion four previous Royals. In the years that followed, Ross and Moree and daughter Helen showed many different horses, so good, so not so good. Barney Castle and Matilda Coaltown were two good team and single horses. Moree drove in the Ladies’ classes until Helen took over. It always seemed that Ross could hook two horses in a pair class and have them drive like a team.
Competition was tough with lots of horses in the classes. Perhaps the largest single class Ross ever showed in was at Elmira. Eighteen horses showed in the under 15.2 class and Ross and Mr. Remlap came out with the red ribbon.
In 1967, Canada’s Centennial Year, their mare Katie S. Henley was the Champion Line Mare at the CNE. They will always have the unusual and different trophy to remember. During those early times, they attended as many as 25 fairs and Horse Shows from May until November in one year. They travelled as far west as Dresden and Zurich, as far north as Owen Sound and Orillia and as far east as Kingston.
Ross was a farmer, but his main job was driving truck for Fulton Feeds for about 30 years. Sean Merritt became a helping hand and now takes part in the training and showing. Daughter Helen and Phil Austin have really help in the training of horses in Ross’ barn, Flaxen Duke, The black Horse and Looking for Trouble. Looking for Trouble was a brown mare which was grand Champion Mare on the Line at the 1995 Royal. In his retirement Ross let his help take over, but when a horse needs extra schooling it was Ross who would be in the bike.
Following Moree retiring from the show ring, she was still working behind the scene doing harness. Moree was also very actively involved the Canadian Road Horse Association for many years. She was the organization’s Secretary/Treasurer from when it was founded in 1970 until 1974, and served additional terms in the position from 1985-1992 and then as treasurer from 1992-2012. Moree was also the first woman to hold the position of President of the CRHA (1977-1978).
Moree was also famous for her raspberry pies, which were often a feature in fundraising auctions for the organization. The pies were always one of the most sought after items, with a flurry of bids guaranteed.