The band played Auld Lang Syne, the big crowd cheered and there were moist eyes all around the arena as the gray mare, wearing a blanket of red roses, was led around the show ring by her owner. Joan Robinson Hill of Houston was officially retiring her spectacular 11-year-old mare Beloved Belinda at Houston's Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.
The combination of the beautiful mare shown by her equally decorative owner has been one of the most successful in recent show history—together they have taken more than 86 blue ribbons and four five-gaited world championships in the amateur division. Joan Robinson Hill has owned horses since she was 5, fell in love with Belinda when she was serving as equitation judge at Baton Rouge. Like all good show horses, Belinda is occasionally temperamental in the ring: "She knows she's on." Mrs. Hill owns two other promising show horses, "but I'll never have another like her; it's only once in a lifetime you get a horse like Belinda." But Lee Roby, Belinda's trainer, hopes for the best: retired to pasture in his care, Belinda is expected to produce her first foal this January.