“Poodles” (1891 – 1967), from a circus family in Barnsley, England, became one of the world’s greatest trick horse riders. In 1915, John Ringling North brought the Hanneford family to the U.S. to join the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus.
“Poodles” was the first to do a back somersault from one running horse to another, and his method of stepping off a galloping horse has never been duplicated. He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for performing a running leap onto a horse at full gallop, stepping off and leaping up again – 26 times in succession.
There were more than 40 short films to his credit with memorable roles in “Our Little Girl” (with Shirley Temple) and “The Bells of Rosarita” (with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans).
After “Poodles” retired from trick riding he worked at Prontier Town amusement park in Lake George, New York until his death. He played the Old Prospector, his wife Grace ran the frontier store until their daughter Gracie performed with her father. In 1995 he became the only comedy rider ever inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame.