Patricia O’Leary was born in Rochester, Minnesota, far away from the western lifestyle in Arizona. As a teen Pat pursued any horse activities and clubs that were available. After graduating from Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota, she planned a trip to the west. An unplanned stop in Phoenix, Arizona changed the course of Pat’s life. Pat soon met and became assistant trainer to John Hoyt at the Arizona Horse Love’s Club, where she also served as secretary from 1958-1961.
In 1959 Pat O’Leary and her horse Little Onions won the Arizona Open Stock Horse title. They were also Reserve Champion Arizona Quarter Horse of the year, winning Champion Reining as well. In 1967 Pat was named Arizona Horsewoman of the Year. As a trainer Pat was best known for her work with youth, deriving great pleasure in turning a youth and a horse into a competitive combination.
In the early 1960’s Pat began volunteering to take minutes and do the books for the Arizona Quarter Horse Association. After years of volunteering and as the job got more complex, Pat became the first paid Secretary of the Arizona Quarter Horse Breeders Association, a job she continued for almost thirty years. It was Pat’s idea to publish a newsletter for the members, which eventually became the Arizona Quarter Horse Magazine.
Pat O’Leary was more than a secretary, more than a teacher and more than a horsewoman. She was an ambassador-at-large whose dedication advanced and enhanced whatever she was involved with. Pat died in 1991 leaving a huge void in the Arizona Quarter Horse Association. In 2013 Pat O’Leary was inducted into the inaugural Arizona Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame.