On October 18, 2019, dressage trainer, Hanoverian breeder, and AHS judge Verne E. Batchelder passed away from a heart attack while on a business trip in Maine. Born June 23, 1953, to Verne C. Batchelder and Kathryn George, Verne grew up on a dairy farm in Fairlee, Vermont, with five brothers and sisters. He went on to earn a degree in math and sciences from the University of Vermont, and taught math and sciences at Thetford Academy for 17 years.
From his farmer parents, Verne learned about breeding quality Holstein cattle, but Verne was passionate about horses from an early age. The soon-to-be dressage master earned his riding knowledge from area Olympians and spent 30 years passing that knowledge on to others. In the 1980s, he used the profits from selling his cattle to purchase what would become River House Hanoverians in Piermont, New Hampshire. He attended an equine breeding techniques program at the University of Colorado and traveled to Germany for many years to master the many layered topic of bloodlines. Over the years, Verne and his family imported more than 200 Hanoverians to the United States, developing River House Hanoverians to a nationally known breeding program.
Verne was a well-respected clinician, having earned his USDF bronze and silver medals. He was successful in the show arena as well as the breeding community, eventually becoming a judge for AHS.
At the time of his death, he was living in Williston, Florida, where he owned and operated River House Hanoverians with his daughter, Nora. He is also survived by his wife, Jeanie Hahn, and daughter, Emma.