Arabian Horse Enthusiast Patrick Swayze Dies at 57
RELEASE: September 15, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Sarah Evers
Photo by Javan Schaller/Courtesy AHA (Patrick Swayze and Tammen)
Patrick Swayze, a passionate and valued member of the Arabian horse community died from pancreatic cancer complications at the age of 57.
Swayze was known to most as a dancer and actor in films such as “Dirty Dancing,” “Roadhouse” and “Ghost.” To the Arabian horse community he was an accomplished and giving horseman. An active participant at Arabian shows throughout the late '80s and early '90s, Swayze’s star power helped bring attention to the Arabian breed. Swayze’s true passion for the horse earned him utmost respect in the horse community.
Although Swayze’s bond with horses started as a child, he claimed he did not fully realize the potential relationship with a horse until later. “When you get a bond happening with a horse, it’s interesting. I was raised a cowboy and did some rodeo and stuff and thought I was a horseman. Found out I knew nothing. As I have gotten into these horses, [Arabians] I have realized how far you can go with them,” said Swayze in a 1994 video interview.
In 1991, the same year Swayze was named People Magazine’s
Sexiest Man Alive, he bought the stallion Tammen from Tom McNair and during the next year the stallion was honored with several halter championships. “Over the years it’s happened—people gradually started seeing that I am serious about this and I care more about the horses than my little image. I am accepted now, so going grand champion there was like a big event for me,” said Swayze.
Swayze owned more than a dozen purebred Arabians and became an active breeder. Tammen, Swayze’s 1982 Champion stallion, sired 175 foals. A photograph of Swayze with Tammen was made into a poster and established as a youth fundraiser during the early '90s. The poster, now in limited supply, continues to help fund Arabian Horse Association Youth Programs.
“We at the Arabian Horse Association and our some 35,000 members mourn the loss of a great American icon, Patrick Swayze. He was an ardent lover of the Arabian horse and his passion for the breed would always spill over into the audience when he showed his beautiful horses—particularly with young people. His close friends called him ‘Buddy’ and that sentiment seemed to define his character, as I always found him to be a man of significant humility and grace. The Arabian horse has lost a dear friend and our prayers go out to his wife Lisa and family, and everyone who loved him. His significant contributions to the Arabian horse will not be forgotten,” said Lance Walters, Arabian Horse Association President.
Swayze is said to have passed away peacefully after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months.