“Everyone that has met Ms. Betty has adored her. She is not only an incredible horsewoman but definitely one of the nicest, most honest and hardworking people you will meet. Ms. Betty is a huge reason I became a jockey at 17 years old. She gave me opportunities on amazing ponies and horses on the National Steeplechase Association circuit. She taught me a lot about riding races and riding horses in general. She demonstrated strong courage and determination. Ms. Betty is definitely a SheHero!“
- Maddie Rowland, Jockey
“No matter your age, level of riding experience, riding discipline, or if you just want to come out and feed retired thoroughbreds carrots and apples, my mother has the horse for you. Her dedication to our industry and love for the horses and people in it can be seen on a daily basis in everything she does.
Her accomplishments as a horsewoman are an inspiration to everyone that knows her. As a graded stakes winning breeder, a skilled rider across many disciplines, an advocate for thoroughbred after care, caring teacher and trainer, she is a hero to so many.
Her impact on young riders reaches worldwide. The pps are pretty impressive including veterinarians, jockeys, doctors, nurses, and trainers among others, all who were given the opportunity at a young age to be in a barn and enjoy it. The opportunity to fall off and get back up and do it again hopefully better than the last time. These life lessons that she has instilled in us make us who we are today.
I could not be more proud of the woman we honor today.”
- Anthony Hamilton, Assistant Trainer to Shug McGaughey and Betty’s son
“Betty is perfect! She is the guardian Angel to every child who wants to ride, race, show, live with and take care of a pony or horse. Betty has taken her good nature and temperament from teaching second graders in school, to teaching kids how to have fun and be kind to everyone!”
- Georganne Hale, Maryland Jockey Club
“Well, in the past year Betty has taught me a lot of things. I think without her, I wouldn’t be where I am right now, so I’m very glad to have her in my life. She’s also introduced me to a lot of people that I probably would not have met on my own. She’s taught me how to jump, along with many other things, and I am very grateful to her.”
- Yomar Ortiz, Jr., Pony Racer and Aspiring Jockey
“Betty is incredible! She does a lot, and no one realizes how much is going on in the making. She loves her horses and ponies and the children she coaches!! Very compassionate toward the kids and to each child’s needs. Betty comes from a Virginia horse family, so her siblings and children are horse people. I trust her, and integrity is a word that comes to mind. I adore her and Jimmy!” (Betty’s husband, Maryland track photographer Jim McCue)
- Holly Robinson, retired trainer
“Betty is generous with her time and resources, and she does everything with a great sense of humor. She has taught many young people to be excellent riders and, more importantly, decent people. It always strikes me how natural it is for her to help and to offer a space where each person feels welcome and important.”
- Jessica Ryley Hammond, Beyond The Wire
“When I think of the term ‘SheHero,’ I immediately think of a strong, courageous, and selfless woman. Those are just a few of the many words I would use to describe my mom, Betty McCue.
From farm chores, to horse show mom, and pony racing, along with everything in between…saying she’s done it all would be an understatement. For as long as I can remember, my mom would be up before the sun to go take care of the horses, then off to work as a school teacher, then back to the barn in the evening. Since retiring from teaching school, she has placed her focus on providing experiences to her riding students and pony racing kids. She is teaching them so much more than what can be learned in a classroom. They are learning by example about hard work, how to succeed, how to fail, how to be patient, how to have compassion and most importantly how to love unconditionally.
To the EHM Stables groom, chauffeur, horse holder, trainer, best friend and above all, fabulous mother; Betty McCue, thank you for all the little and big things that you have taught me and so many others. Most of all, thanks for sharing your love for horses. You are a true SheHero!”
- Mary Elizabeth Read, Betty’s daughter
“Betty McCue is simply amazing!
She has introduced a multitude of kids to the world of horses, providing opportunities to take lessons, compete at hunter/jumper shows, race ponies and ride in hunter paces and hunt meets. Betty supplies excellent mounts – ponies to OTTBs – from her EHM Stables. Many a retiring Thoroughbred has found a new career and wonderful home with Betty.
A team from EHM can be found traveling to equine events most weeks, with Miss Betty at the helm, organizing the efforts with her boundless energy and unflappable demeanor.
The Maryland horse industry is lucky to have Betty bringing along the next generation of equestrians!”
- Carrie Everly, Maryland Jockey Club
“I’ll never forget my first trip to Maryland to meet my now mother-in-law, Betty McCue. First thing, she told my now husband, Anthony Hamilton, ‘Make sure Kristen packs some riding boots and her helmet.’ When we arrived, one of our first stops was to her barn in picturesque Baltimore County, to a barn full of off-the-track-thoroughbreds, adorable ponies, and a group of horse crazy teenagers.
I was immediately struck by how these kids looked up to Betty and were inspired by her love and knowledge of the thoroughbred. In subsequent visits, I was lucky enough to join along with Betty and her students to horse shows, paper chases, and races at the historic Pimlico Racetrack. She has always been so inclusive – making sure her students are learning and feeling cared for. Betty was teaching these young men and women to not only become great riders, but also great horse persons and horse racing fans.
In subsequent years, I’ve watched as those teenagers have grown up to become vet students, nurses, educators – some still very much involved in the thoroughbred industry. Betty has become very involved in the local pony racing scene, and was very involved in the instruction of now professional jockeys like Maddie Rowland and Charlie Marquez.
Anthony and I now have a two-year-old son, and everytime we visit, we are whisked away to the barn, where he is able to help feed the horses, fill up the waterers, and of course ride the ponies. He cannot stop talking about his farm visits and we are just so blessed to have a ‘mom-mom’ that is delighted to share her knowledge and love of the sport with her grandson.
Betty has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met. She has such a visible love of teaching that is only eclipsed by the love for her animals. She is definitely a super SheHero, and my son is lucky to call her ‘Mom-Mom.’”
- Kristen Goncharoff, e5 Racing Thoroughbreds, LLC
“They truly broke the mold with Betty McCue. Not only is she a fabulous horsewoman, but she is also a wonderful person. She has taken so many young people under her wing to teach them horsemanship and kindness. She is providing generations to come with life skills, compassion for horses that is exhilarating and sportsmanship that will help mold them into mature, caring and responsible adults. Ms. Betty will give any horse or any person an opportunity and go out of her way to make those opportunities the best experiences possible. She knows where the horses will excel, and which rider would match them best. She develops a rider’s skill, confidence and love they share with their horses. And knows just when to push a little harder or when to provide some much-needed comfort and take a pull back. She demonstrates exactly what she expects – do and be the best you can and have fun while doing it! Betty McCue is synonymous with SheHero.
My daughter Madeline Rowland and I have been two of the many that have benefitted from Ms. Betty in many ways. It was clear before Maddie could talk understandably, she had a love for horses that is difficult to put into words. Ms. Betty shares that kind of love with her horses and everyone she encounters. Therefore, I had complete trust in Betty when she told us that she wanted Maddie to give Saluda Sam a try. Saluda Sam was a big, bright chestnut gelding who was well known in the Steeplechase world. He had a reputation that preceded him, and when Billy Meister approached Ms. Betty about giving him a try, he was quick to tell her that if Sam got too strong do not point him at a fence and expect him to stop, he will just jump it – however high. Knowing this, I look back now and sometimes wonder what Ms. Betty was thinking putting a pint size 14-year-old little girl on him…and I always come to the same conclusion- she just knew! She knew them both so well and knew they would work great together. She knew Maddie had the confidence to let Saluda Sam take her wherever she wanted to go. She knew that however strong of a rider Maddie thought she was, this was the one horse that would always out muscle anyone on him. It took skill, finesse and trust to ride Saluda Sam, and these are just a few of the things Maddie learned from Betty McCue. Ms. Betty taught her something she could never learn from reading in a book, and this could not be taught by just anyone. Ms. Betty is special this way, teaching everyone she meets through experiences with herself and horses.
Betty gave me and my child, like many others, some of the most precious moments of our lives. She was firm when needed but always loving and kind. She expected big efforts and in turn came with them big results. We knew whenever we were with her it was going to be a good day. Ms. Betty is one of Maddie’s finest mentors and continues to support her as Maddie follows her dream of being a jockey. Betty McCue continues to give so much of herself to so many – the world would clearly benefit from more Ms. Bettys in it.”
- Jodi Rowland, Equestrian and Mom to Maddie Rowland
*Photos supplied by Jim McCue and Kristen Goncharoff