The 2010 Pioneer Horseman Award Recipient is Lyle Anderson
August 21, 1917 - August 28, 1973
The 2010 Recipient is the late Lyle Anderson Jr. of Owatonna, MN. Lyle was born, raised and died in Owatonna, MN. Growing up in a city family, he never out grew his love of horses. At the age of 15 he became Daniel C. Gainey’s stable boy taking care of Mr. Gainey’s race horses. This began a lifelong friendship and mentorship with Daniel C. Gainey. Lyle found time to care for the horses until he joined the Army to fulfill his duties for his country in WWII. Upon his return and marriage to Geraldine Satre, Anderson went to work for his uncle doing heating and roofing. In 1950 he purchased the business and started Anderson Heating, A/C and Roofing. His business would grow to win several awards. Anderson Roofing would become a leader in flat roofing industry. Some of those jobs included the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and the Hubert Humphrey Terminal in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. His knowledge and expertise was acknowledged by the state of Minnesota when offered the position of State Roofing Inspector in 1965. His love of the Owatonna community and horses caused him to decline the offer. When his daughter Anita was born in 1948 he announced “If she ever wants a pony she will have one” and in 1953 he bought her a pony and by 1955 they were exhibiting at the MN State Fair.
In 1956 Lyle bought what would be the first of two Arabian Stallions from Dan Gainey, thus beginning a lif long commitment to Arabians. Lyle was active and one of the first members of the Owatonna Saddle Club and the Minnesota Arabian Horse Association. He helped and served on committees to promote the Minnesota High School Rodeo and the promotion of both Standard bred and Thoroughbred horse racing in Minnesota. Lyle was asked and accepted to be the Assistant Superintendent to the Horses and Ponies at the Steele County Free Fair in 1958. By 1961 he was the superintendent of Horses and ponies for the Steele County Free Fair. Under his direction the fair hosted one of the largest Shetland show pony shows in Minnesota and one of the first Arabian Horse Shows at a local level. Lyle was also responsible for securing the Bongards’ Six Pony Hitch to be exhibited at the fair for numerous years, which the community enjoyed immensely. Lyle went out of his way to secure ponies and horses for the fair so that every stall was full. At the same time, he did his best to get knowledgeable judges. As the “County Rest Home” used to back up to the area used for the Horse show, Lyle would arrange for a private horse showing for the residents. These residents looked forward to it every year.
Lyle enjoyed raising and training the young foals. He especially enjoyed the halter training and the time spent with all his Arabians. Anderson Arabian’s were shown all over the Midwest. Lyle was often asked to fill in as a halter handler for Gainey Arabians when they had double entries in a class. Lyle was ahead of his time and never trained a horse with force or intimidation. “Dad told me many times that the horses were for our pleasure and enjoyment, not the blue ribbons they win,” Anita recalled. Lyle mentored many young people and adults into the passion of horses and especially Arabian Horses. Many went on to succeed him as Superintendent of Horses at the Steele County Free Fair, and as leaders in the world of Arabian Horses. The Steele County Free Fair in Owatonna, MN is always held the week immediately preceding the MN State Fair. Lyle could be found for the entire week at the fair, putting together one of the finest exhibitions of horses anywhere. Starting around 1967, The MN State Fair learned of his success with the Steele County Free Fair’s Horse Dept and spent the next 6 years attempting to lure him to the position of Superintendent of Horses for the MN State Fair. August 28, 1973 just days after the SCFF had ended, Lyle died of a massive heart attack.
Lyle’s daughter Anita Anderson Grant is humbled that after 37 years, strangers and horseman still fondly remember her father. In 2008 Lyle was one of the first inducted into the Steele County Free Fair Equine Hall of Fame. Many of his friends have been awarded the MHC’s MN Horseperson of the Year in the past and of course his mentor and friend Daniel C. Gainey was the 2001 Recipient of the MHC’s Pioneer Award. Lyle’s only daughter Anita Anderson Grant lives in Northfield, MN and carries on the family tradition of Arabian Horses and service to the breed and equine community her father so eloquently taught her.