Cannon Creek

Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography
(2011 – )
Owned by Douglas Wheeler
Inducted: 2023


Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography
Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography
Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography
Cannon Creek may only have made his international hunter derby debut in 2021, but the strapping 17.1 hand Holsteiner quickly made his mark on the sport. After earning six championship rosettes at derbies held at prestigious shows up and down the east coast in 2022, and capturing back-to-back wins at the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships in Kentucky, Cannon Creek has proven to be one of the most formidable horses in the high performance hunter division today. In recognition of his success and with the enthusiastic support of his fans, Cannon Creek was named the 2022 US Equestrian Federation National Horse of the Year.

Cannon Creek - whose nickname is "Fry Guy", after his favorite snack, Chick-fil-A French fries -is owned by the Wheeler family and ridden by Hunt Tosh, who is based in Milton, Georgia. There, he is looked after by barn manager K.J. Pearson and loved on by Tosh's teenaged daughter, Maddie. Last September, Chronicle of the Horse's Mollie Bailey caught up with Pearson to learn more about Cannon Creek's life, both at home and on the road. Pearson describes the gelding as an "easy going" sort of horse, who gets along with horses and people, and prefers to have his nose shoved into a hay bag.

Hunt and Pearson do most of Cannon Creek's grooming themselves, and he is generally the first horse to get worked each day.

"We try to keep it simple, nothing too complicated, just keeping him happy," Pearson told Bailey. "He's easy about literally everything."

2022 was a banner year for Cannon Creek and Hunt. They began the season with a win in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Ocala (Florida) Championship in March, then proceeded to also win the High Performance Hunter Championship at Aiken Charity Horse Show I (South Carolina), the Devon Horse Show (Pennsylvania), and Upperville Colt & Horse Show (Virginia).

In August, Hunt and Cannon Creek returned to the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship at Blue Grass Festival in Kentucky, where they dominated the competition from start to finish. After scoring a whopping 289 points for their first round, the pair returned in reverse order of standing for the handy phase. The audience was nearly silent as Hunt showed off Cannon Creek's rideability and smoothly adjustable stride in the handy round, and erupted into enthusiastic applause and cheers when they landed after the final fence. With a final total score of 606, Cannon Creek was 20 points ahead of the rest of the field.

In an edited press release shared by The Plaid Horse, Hunt opened up about the obvious pride he holds for Cannon Creek's dominant performances throughout the season, as well as his gratitude.

"I am lucky, and I can't say enough good things about that horse," says Hunt. "We don't show him that much. The horses tries so hard every time we show him. He is super careful, brave, and his balance is wonderful. He is everything you look for in a hunter. We show him sparingly and he comes out and is phenomenal on his own."

Cannon Creek rounded off his red-letter year during the fall indoor season, earning the High Performance Hunter titles at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the National Horse Show in Lexington, Kentucky.