Walter Hellyer 1923 – 2017

May 3rd, 2017

Walter Hellyer, Waterford, Ontario, an NCHA Hall of Fame Member, past president of the Canadian Quarter Horse Association, and influential breeder of cutting horses, passed away on May 3, at the age of 93.

Hellyer grew up on a farm in Ontario, where he developed a love for working horses. By the late 1950s, he had become active in American Quarter Horse (AQHA) events, and he joined the National Cutting Horse (NCHA) in 1963. During the same period, he met pioneer cutting horse trainers Buster Welch and Shorty Freeman, who both showed horses for him.

As Hellyer expanded his Quarter Horse broodmare band, he shipped many of them to Texas, under the care of Shorty Freeman and Terry Riddle, who also trained and showed many of their offspring. In 1973, Hellyer purchased half-interest in the 1970 NCHA Futurity champion Doc O’Lena from Freeman, who had shown the Doc Bar son, out of the famed cutting champion Poco Lena.

In 1978, Freeman and Hellyer syndicated Doc O’Lena for $1.2 million, each retaining 10 shares from the total 70 shares. It was the first major syndication of a cutting stallion and was to have a lasting impact on the sport of cutting.

Doc O’Lena’s influence as a sire and grandsire is legendary. His Hellyer-bred offspring include Lenas Jewel Bars, sire of earners of $4.7 million and Playboys Madera LTE $409,761, 1988 NCHA Non-Pro World Champion and dam of 1993 NCHA Futurity Open Champion Playboy McCrae.

Hellyer is survived by his wife of 71 years, Doreen, as well as their children Pam Hellyer, Brenda (and Murray) Wivell, Warren (and Diana) Hellyer, Victoria Hellyer (and Dave Pavey), Margaret Kotsch, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.