Excerpted from Dorothy McElhinney's Obituary dated May 20, 1997 from the Press-Enterprise
Mrs. McElhinney grew up on a ranch in her hometown of Newton, Iowa. She sold newspapers to save up for her first pony.
As an adult, she competed in rodeos and races, led pack horse trips in Wyoming and wrangled herds of horses from Wyoming to Colorado.
Mrs. McElhinney was a graduate of University of Wisconsin at Madison where she took post graduate classes. She taught physical education at the University of Wisconsin High School from 1925 to 1926. She headed the physical education department at Illinois Wesleyan University from 1926 to 1928.
She married in 1928 and moved to Long Beach, but longed for the country life. She and her husband, Philip Paul Bliss McElhinney, who died in 1951, bought the Pinto Ranch in 1931. She moved there permanently in the 1940s.
There she raised, trained and sold horses. For more than 40 years, she shared her knowledge with 4-H club members and girls who attended summer camp at the ranch. She taught horsemanship from shoveling to saddling up a mount and skills from racing to polo.
The youngsters called her Mrs. Mac.
In 1932, Mrs. McElhinney and three friends herded 20 of her horses from Wyoming to New Mexico, then shipped them by train to Perris.
In 1950, she started the first horse program for 4-H members. University of California cooperative extension officials lauded her in 1980 for starting what became a statewide program.
She led the Loping Lads and Lassies 4-H group for 21 years at her ranch. They raised and trained young thoroughbreds and sold 2-year-olds through the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association. She started summer camp sessions in 1952. After retiring from 4-H, she started another youth group called the Brush Hill Horsemen.
A decade ago, her daughter took the reins of the summer camp.
Mrs. McElhinney was past president of the Riverside County 4-H Leaders Council, was a charter member of the Palomino Horse Breeders Association and a member of the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.
Last Modified on June 4, 2014