Remembering Bill (3/3/1931-1/28/2012 & Joan Throgmorton (7/17/1934-2/3/2023)

NATRC was saddened to learn of the passing of Joan (JoAnn) Throgmorton. Joan was NATRC's first secretary, but she and her husband, Bill Throgmorton, DVM, were more that that. They were major contributors to the very nature and success of NATRC and the sport of competitive trail riding. This write-up by Chere Barger for their Worker Hall of Fame recognition in 2000 says it all quite well.

Joan in 1976

In 1962 and 1963, while still in vet school, Bill and two other students, Leroy Burnham and George Cardinet, Jr., began initial research on pulse and respiration recovery. This meant going to competitive rides and drawing blood from horses. Joan went along to help, and both of them were impressed with the people they met and the horses they saw.

After graduation, Bill continued his research on pulse and respiration and dehydration. He included endurance as well as competitive horses. The result of this research marked the beginning of objective guidelines, i.e., P&R recovery and dehydration in judging competitive and endurance horses. This meant better protection for horses under stress.

Joan in 1978

Joan was anxious to get a horse and start competing but had to wait until after they moved to Gilroy. They bought a Quarterhorse. Bill and Joan along with a number of other people grew very frustrated trying to find out when and where the NATRC rides were going to be held. They wanted a membership and the right to vote.

NATRC's founding fathers agreed to hold a meeting in 1967. A number of important decisions were made at this meeting. An election was held, the board of directors was expanded, and Bill was voted as a member of the board. Joan became the first NATRC Secretary (unpaid for many years), a position she held until October 1978. She did the newsletter, set up all the files, membership, bills and began keeping track of horse and rider mileage, which she continued doing for many years. During this time, she also competed in many rides, won many awards, hauled a number of junior riders, besides her own kids, and was and still is an avid and tireless worker for trails.

Bill on the Trail

Bill became an NATRC veterinary judge in 1965. In 1968 he became a veterinary judge for the Tevis Cup Ride. He also judged a number of other endurance rides as well as competing in both types of rides.

Bill and Joan believe strongly in NATRC's original philosophy and have selected and bred horses for many years that demonstrate the soundness, disposition and hardiness needed to make top competitive trail horses. Among the many regional and national awards this family has achieved are two President's Cups, won by daughters, Linda and Denise.


This couple was very involved with ride management. They helped start the Gilroy Hot Springs Ride, sponsored by the San Martin Horsemen's Association. This is the oldest consecutive NATRC ride, still ongoing after 30 years (at the time of this reward). In 1969, they were active in the management of the first Uvas Ride. They continued to support this ride in many capacities until the last one in 1982.

HW Champ - 1981

Bill was chair and Joan secretary many times on both the above rides. Some of the "firsts" on their rides included the first 3 -day ride, the first A Open, B Novice ride, the first belly dancers, and possibly the first roasted pig in a pit. Joan has managed or helped on one ride in 1969, two rides per year from 1970 to 1982, and one ride from 1983 to 2000, for a grand total of 45. She laid out trails for all these rides. She was extremely good at finding and making new trails.

Joan on the Trail

During the early years, Bill trained new judges and judged many new rides at his own expense, sometimes traveling great distances throughout the country. The result helped the expansion of NATRC nationwide and the creation of newly formed regions. Bill wrote the original NATRC Judges Manual. During his last term serving on the board, Bill proposed the idea for the NATRC Foundation and was instrumental in getting it approved.

Joan and Jan Jeffers

Joan was a horsemanship judge for a number of years and also judged new rides at no cost to management. She spent many hours on the phone and writing letters to new ride managers, always encouraging and giving invaluable advice. She wrote the original NATRC Management Manual.

Joan and Bill

This dynamic duo made NATRC a big part of their lives. They both said that the people they have met through this organization have been truly special. They continued to learn about horses and horsemanship through their entire lives. They enjoyed seeing a big part of this country and making friends wherever they have traveled. They continued to fight for trails

We have several articles/letters/notes that Bill and Joan wrote on various aspects of Competitive Trail - take a look, if you're interested: