Mildred Fogel Janowitz may have been small in stature, but she was a giant in spirit, with a steely determination to do what she felt was right for the American Quarter Horse. Never hesitant to speak her mind, she was considered by some to be abrasive. Yet, those who knew her best admired her and a great number were her steadfast friends for many decades.
When Mildred was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2004, she pointed out the five tables of Colorado friends who were in attendance and told the convention audience: “Friends make up the beautiful garden of life, and I have the most beautiful garden there is,” adding that the friends met through her association with AQHA, RMQHA and PHBA were her “greatest treasures.”
A pillar of the RMQHA, a 60-year Quarter Horse breeder and AQHA Honorary Vice President, and a member of the American Quarter Horse and the Palomino Horse Breeders of America Halls of Fame, Mildred died December 19, 2014, at the age of 96. She will be greatly missed.
Born in Denver on November 7, 1918, to Louis and Elizabeth Fogel, Mildred had one sister, Gertrude. Bright and articulate, Mildred did well in school and was a talented writer, which led her to study journalism at the University of Denver.
As a city girl bent on a writing career, Mildred’s life changed completely in 1940 when she met Jack Janowitz, a pharmacist. She soon embraced her new husband’s passion for horses and together they embarked on a journey which would bring great joy and last for more than 50 years.
“Our goal was to raise a beautiful Quarter Horse with that perfect gold color that could win at halter and in performance alike,” Mildred often said. The couple first set up their horse operation near Littleton, and later moved to Franktown, where they built Horse Patch Farm from the ground up.
“We started out with very little,” she once said in an interview. “He was a city boy and I was a city gal. I wasn’t used to cleaning stalls. But we pitched right in on chores and put our whole hearts into being successful breeders.”
Mildred and Jack registered their first Quarter Horse in 1948 and Mildred was recognized with an AQHA Legacy Award in 2001 for 50 years of breeding American Quarter Horses. She dedicated that and the Hall of Fame honor to Jack, who had passed away in 1994.
Their foundation sires were Horn’s Stormy Gold and Sucaryl, a son of Sugar Bars. Their “sweet” horses, as they were known, included many notable individuals, including Moolah Be Sweet, champion Yancy J Sweet, and Better Be Sweet (Sucaryl x Tempest Storm), a 1969 mare who was the 1974 PHBA Over-All National High-Point Champion, earning 443 points in 27 shows, competing in halter and reining.
Other stallions used later included: Moolah’s Choice, Rosy Sweet Choice, Andrew R Sweet and Lee Bee Sweet. The Janowitzes’ herd of broodmares were even featured in a 1970s Marlboro ad campaign. Jack and Mildred were inducted into the Palomino Horse Breeders Hall of Fame in 1981.
In addition to her involvement with the aforementioned horse organizations, Mildred also was active with the National Western Stock Show and the Colorado State Fair, as well as being involved with political and civic affairs in Douglas County. There, she was instrumental in acquiring an indoor arena for the community and working on other projects. Mildred also was a long-time writer and editor for The Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse magazine.
After Jack’s death, Mildred stayed active with the horse operation and breeding program, and with her writing, speaking, and traveling. A woman of strong convictions, she always said, “It’s really all about the Quarter Horse and what is best for them.”
Never one to stand back, she attended more than 40 AQHA conventions. “I go in and speak my mind,” she said, “but I don’t get up and talk just to be talking. It’s never something just for me or because I have a particular horse. If I have a crusade that I think is good for the horses and for the association and its members, that’s what I like to bring out.”
Mildred lived out the last years of her life at her beloved house on Horse Patch Farm, with a photo of Jack nearby and great stories to share with visitors.
Survived by a niece, a great-nephew, and scores of dear friends, Mildred leaves a legacy that will continue down through the generations of the golden descendants of her beloved American Quarter Horses.
A Girl and Her Horse
It’s well-known that many in the Colorado horse community trace their love for Quarter Horses straight back to the Janowitzes. Margo Ball, an AQHA professional horsewoman and judge, and owner of Ball Quarter Horses, Fort Collins, like many people has fond memories of Mildred.
“I recently found this picture of Crystal Sugar, an own daughter of the Janowitzes’ foundation sire, Sucaryl, and out of a daughter of Horn’s Stormy Gold. This picture was taken at the Colorado State Fair in 1968 when we were named the All-Around Youth. Crystal Sugar was the RMQHA Champion Senior Western Pleasure Horse in 1969, along with numerous champion youth awards in showmanship, western pleasure, and horsemanship. Mildred ran an ad in the RMQHA magazine saying that we were the “winningest combination if 1969!”
Margo added, “The Jolly Rancher Candy Company had offered to buy Crystal Sugar, before we got her, to use in their advertising but Jack wouldn’t sell her. He had kept her back because of her outstanding disposition, thinking that she would be a good horse for Mildred to ride. We looked at her and of course I fell in love, so my parents purchased her in 1965. Most people knew that Mildred showed the halter horses, but Mildred never did ride.
“Crystal Sugar certainly started my career in showing in both AQHA and PHBA. Mildred meant a great deal to me and I visited her often over the years, even as life slowed her down. She meant so much to so many in the horse business.”
Article courtesy of Marian K. Carpenter Editor, The Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse magazine