California Riding Magazine • March, 2010

Flying Changes

Jim McEvoy

Southern California horseman and friend to many Jim McEvoy died unexpectedly on Feb. 9 at his home in San Diego County’s Encinitas. Known first as a trainer of Saddlebred riders and horses, McEvoy became well known in the hunter/jumper industry. He worked as a steward and was a familiar sight at shows riding his bicycle or sharing a golf cart with other stewards. McEvoy’s longtime friend, Grand Prix rider and trainer Hap Hansen, and fellow trainer Philip Cillis held a memorial service honoring McEvoy’s life on Feb. 18. In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to make a donation in McEvoy’s honor to one of his favorite charities: Hubb’s-Sea World Research Institute,, or the World Wild Life Fund,

Donna Hecht

Donna Hecht, former president of the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Assn. and founder with her husband Jay of Jdon Farms in Somis, passed away on Jan. 22.

IALHA’s website posted the following obituary:

“Donna Hecht is well known to almost everyone who has an Andalusian, as much as a woman with a smile and infectious laugh as a highly regarded breeder. Donna, who with her husband Jay founded Jdon Farms in California, was a long-time supporter of the IALHA. In addition to serving as President of the IALHA, Donna served as board member, as part of the Show Committee, on the Audit Committee, and in every possible way publicly and privately that would benefit the IALHA. She was a shrewd businesswoman who knew the true value of money and was always concerned about getting the best for the association. With her personal funds, she was enormously generous in support of the horse, not only sponsoring classes at shows, but also supporting seminars and clinics.

“Donna believed in charities. She was a strong supporter of the work done by the USC Norris Cancer Center, donating not only directly to the Norris Center during her husband Jay’s lifetime, but also later through the charity work done by Fiesta of the Spanish Horse in Burbank every May for the charity. Donna not only supported charitable entities, she also was generous in helping friends in their times of need. She was always ready to offer a shoulder or a hug, a laugh or even a check.
“She loved her friends and was particularly, though quietly, generous to them. She loved good food and good wine and was happiest when surrounded by friends who shared not only the food, but the laughs.
“After closing her farm in California, Donna moved to New Orleans with Steve Bell, her dear friend, her faithful caretaker, and her partner in the horses as much as in daily life. Steve took care of Donna in her last years, urging her back to health time after time, until her wonderful heart could do no more. We are grateful to Steve for the love he gave Donna and to Donna’s many friends who remembered her with cards and calls.

“The IALHA will continue to support the good work started, sponsored and supported by Donna and hope that her life will serve as a model for others to follow.”

This year’s Fiesta of the Spanish Horse, May 8 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, will be dedicated to Donna Hecht.