TALLAHASSEE, FL – Barry Horenbein died last week at the age of 80. Barry was an elite lobbyist and a good guy. He was an anomaly in the horse business. Barry was Jewish, brainy, smooth, nice, open-minded, savy, short, athletic and versatile. He was a lot of fun and made people around him feel comfortable.
A native of Miami Beach, Barry was an All SEC shortstop at the University of Florida. He started lobbying over 50 years ago in Florida’s state capitol. Before Barry finished up, he did noteworthy things such as represent the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and helped coordinate lobbying efforts that resulted in the Seminoles signing the largest Indian gaming compact in U.S. history, totaling 1.5 billion dollars.
About 30 years ago, Barry had the audacity to suggest that the Tennessee Walking Horse business should consider hiring a lobbyist to represent its interests in Washington. The Trainer Boyz thought that was the craziest idea they ever heard of, and you can see where they have ended up.
Barry’s wife Marilyn showed Big Lick horses out of the Carl Edwards & Son Barn in Dawson Georgia. One night Marilyn was showing a horse at the Celebration which during the class stepped over the rail at the entry gate, then stepped back over it, and continued to compete. One can’t remember if she won the class or not, but she may have.
While never an Exhibitor, Barry had a fine eye for horses, and he got his Judge’s license. Trainers frowned on the idea of owners being judges. It never occurred to Barry that he couldn’t be one. Barry was a good Judge, and he was one of the few who wasn’t a Horse Trainer.
Barry Horenbein was one of the brainier guys to ever come down the pike in the horse business. He was also one of the nicest.
Barry Horenbein Obituary
“Barry Horenbein, a lobbyist who worked the Capitol for decades and was a colorful throwback to a simpler time, died peacefully Thursday at his home in Tallahassee. He was 80 and had battled esophegeal cancer for the past two years.
Raised on Miami Beach, Horenbein first hung out his lobbying shingle in Tallahassee in 1962. The company was called Florida Consultants Inc., and Farris Bryant was governor.
Horenbein was known for his advocacy on behalf of the parimutuel industry, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the 3M Corp., as well as his close friendship with the late Senate President Jim King of Jacksonville. He was an All-Conference baseball player at the University of Florida and had a brief professional baseball career with the Baltimore Orioles.
His career spanned 52 years, enough time to include nine governors, 22 House speakers and 23 Senate presidents. Lobbying in those days was a mixture of advocacy, salesmanship and public relations.
“My first client was Hillsborough Printing Company out of Tampa,” Horenbein said in a 1990 oral history with UF, his alma mater. “I was just getting them business out of the state of Florida, more or less kind of like a salesman. I guess my first fairly big client was, the city of Miami Beach hired me. I’m sorry, it was not the city of Miami Beach, it was the Deauville Hotel. The city of Miami Beach was awarded the national governors’ conference and all of the hotels were competing against each other for the main function. The Deauville Hotel hired me.”
The Horenbein family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Barry Horenbein Memorial Fund at the Leon County Animal Shelter. Funeral arrangements are pending at Culley’s MeadowWood Funeral Home in Tallahassee.”