TWHBEA Master Breeder Recipients
S.W. Beech, Jr.
Born in 1917 on his father’s farm near the community of Belfast, Tennessee, S. W. Beech, Jr. grew up helping with the daily farm chores. He took an early interest in the livestock produced on the farm, which included high quality mules, Percherons, and plantation horses. After graduating from high school, he added a few more stalls to his father’s mule barn and began training horses. In 1941, he married Margaret Moore and shortly thereafter took a training job in Arkansas. While in Arkansas, the couple greeted two sons, Bobby and Steve. In 1945, the family returned to Middle Tennessee. Following his father’s death in 1946, Beech took over the family farm. He continued training and began a breeding operation. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ Association of America in 1947 and his third son, Ray, arrived in 1949.
In 1954, the year Merry Go Boy arrived at S. W. Beech & Sons Stables to stand at stud, Beech stopped training and decided to devote himself full time to breeding top-quality Tennessee Walking Horses. From that time until his death in 1985, S. W. Beech & Sons Stables stood some of the most influential stallions in the industry, stallions such as Go Boy’s Shadow, Ebony Masterpiece, Another Masterpiece, Go Boy’s Chatterbox, Handshaker’s Delight, Delight Bumin Around, and Go Boy’s Sundust. The list of notable horses bred and raised on the Beech farm is almost endless.
James R. Brantley
Born in Coffey County, Tennessee, James R. Brantley inherited his love for horses from his pioneer ancestors that came from North Carolina to carve homes and farms from the Tennessee wilderness. In 1903, he acquired the horse that would be the foundation of our breed. That horse, Black Allan, was part of a package deal that also included a fine jack and a jersey cow – all for $110. At first, Brantley wasn’t sure that he wanted the small, 17-year-old black stallion, but after researching Allan’s pedigree and discovering his outstanding bloodlines, he closed the deal. Between 1903 and his death in 1910, Allan sired the horses that would provide the framework of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. His get included the great stallions Roan Allen F-38 and Hunter’s Allen F-10 as well as the outstanding mare Merry Legs F-4.
Shortly after acquiring Allan, Brantley made the decision to breed his prized saddle mare Gertrude to him. The resulting foal, Roan Allen F-38, was perhaps, the most influential sire of his time. In his book, Echo Of Hoofbeats, Dr. Bob Womack, makes the statement that 100% of all living walking horses trace to this great stallion. Roan Allen’s offspring included Wilson’s Allen, sire of five World Grand Champions including Midnight Sun; Merry Boy, sire of two World Grand Champions, including Merry Go Boy; Hall Allen, Brantley’s Roan Allen, Jr., and Mitch F-5. He was also the sire of several great and influential mares, including Maude Gray, Pearle, and Wiser’s Beauty
Albert Dement was born in Cannon County, Tennessee in 1868. In 1892, he moved to Bedford County and began breeding plantation horses.
Often referred to as the foremost experimental breeder of Tennessee Walking Horses, Albert Dement played a prominent part in the work which culminated in the formation of a registry exclusively for walking horses and the formation of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ Association of America. As early as 1905, he envisioned the development of a breed of horses which would produce and reproduce, by proper mating, the true gaits of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed as they are known today. He began his breeding program with the mare Nell Dement F-3. Dement bred Nell to several top plantation and five-gaited stallions of the era, learning something valuable from each pairing. In 1910, he bred her to Allan F-1, producing the great mare Merry Legs F-4. Dement continued with his experimental breeding program, pairing both Nell and Merry Legs with both plantation and five-gaited stallions. After several pairings, he determined that, while the five-gaited stallions added refinement, only the plantation stallions produced foals with the nodding walk that he was looking for. Through continuing experimentation with line breeding, Dement was able to also add the refinement he had been seeking.
Mr. Dement’s experimental breeding program resulted in such influential horses as Merry Wilson, Merry Boy, Little Merry Legs, and Last Chance. Aware of the potential influence of Mr. Dement’s program, W.H. Davis of Wartrace, who showed Merry Legs and other horses bred by Mr. Dement, declared, “I would say Mr. Dement was the Master Breeder of all times…”
In 1932, William Wirt Harlin, Sr. purchased the first sections of Franklin, Tennessee property that would become Harlinsdale Farm. The original farm operation centered around the training of five-gaited ponies and it wasn’t until talk of the formation of a Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ Association began to circulate that Harlin began to seriously consider acquiring Tennessee Walking Horses. In 1935, he and his two eldest sons, Bill and Tom, attended the organizational meeting for the new association. From that day on, the emphasis at Harlinsdale has been on producing the finest Tennessee Walking Horse foals.
In 1937, Harlin persuaded his nephew, Harlin Hayes, to move to Franklin and take over management of Harlinsdale. By 1939, Hayes had implemented the use of artificial insemination at the farm and had begun assembling what would eventually become known as the most enviable group of Tennessee Walking Horse broodmares anywhere. Five years later, Harlinsdale acquired the stallion that would make them a household name – Midnight Sun. Midnight Sun would go on to win two world grand championships and sire more than 2,000 foals, including 7 world grand champions. The very foundation of the Harlinsdale breeding program, the sons, grandsons, daughters, and granddaughters of Midnight Sun carried on at the farm, continuing to produce the finest Tennessee Walking Horse foals around. Over the years, the Harlinsdale stallion lineup included such greats as Ace’s Sensation (WGC), Gen’s Major General, Midnight Mack K, Out On Parole (WGC), Pride of Midnight, Pride’s Hallelujah, Pride’s Dark Spirit, Pride’s Genius, Revelation, and Sun’s Delight.
H. L. Worrell
H. L. Worrell’s entrance into the walking horse industry came out of a random act of kindness. According to legend, he heard a boy talking about wanting to go to college. The only thing of worth that the boy owned was a Tennessee Walking Horse Mare. Worrell bought the mare for $1,000 in order to help the boy pay for school. Although he boarded the mare at first, it wasn’t long before Worrell had purchased land on which to build a farm of his own in his hometown of Goodlettsville, Tennessee. Constructed in 1948, he dubbed his farm Solitude Stock Farm and proceeded to implement top-notch training and breeding programs.
While the horses of Solitude excelled in the show ring, the farm’s greatest claim to fame came from its breeding operation. It was Solitude that produced the great Pride Of Stanley, the dam of Pride Of Midnight – one of the most influential sires our breed has known. It was also Solitude that crossed the great Skipper Son Midnight with Lady Lee to produce 1962 World Grand Champion Ebony Masterpiece, who went on to become one of our industry’s legendary sires. In addition to standing Skipper Son Midnight, Solitude Stock Farm was home to influential breeding stock such as Son’s Successor, Son’s Worthy Boy, My Palomino Pal, and Mountain Man’s Go Boy.
A. S. “Audie” Dean
Our first honoree of 2010 began his breeding program prior to World War I. Shortly after the death of Albert Dement, who was honored with a Master Breeder Award last year, A.S. “Audie” Dean purchased Snip’s Chance from the Dement estate. Crossing Snip’s Chance with Wilson’s Allen, Dean decided to keep the fillies that were produced for future brood stock. In later years the Last Chance blood of Snip’s Chance was crossed with Dean’s Wilson’s Dean by Wilson’s Allen. The result of this crossing produced four mares, which became legendary as the “four sisters.” It was these four mares that became the foundation for Dean’s success as a breeder of outstanding Tennessee Walking Horses.
From these mares came Sun’s Hero, Sun’s Delight, Johnny Midnight, Midnight Imp, Midnight Ike, Mack K’s Trigger, Dean’s Boss Man, Delight’s Sunbeam, Delight’s Chance and many more. Sun’s Delight won the World Grand Championship in the early 1960s and went on to become one of the breed’s great sires. Johnny Midnight was the Reserve World Grand Champion in 1968. The others were consistent winners and many went on to produce foals that continually reflected credit to Dean’s foresight and patience as a breeder.
Dean’s knowledge of the walking horse breed penetrated to the very foundation upon which the breed rests. While most of his contemporaries could trace the breeding of outstanding stallions, Dean could trace the bloodlines of mares all the way back to the Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds, and Saddle Horses from which they sprang. To him the mare represented a vital ingredient, which blended its strengths into the melting pot of bloodlines that characterized the Tennessee Walking Horse.
Dr. Porter Rodgers
A native of Searcy, Arkansas, Dr. Porter Rodgers began his breeding operation in 1933 with an eye toward developing and promoting the Tennessee Walking Horse. For the first decade, Dr. Rodgers gradually grew his operation, acquiring top-notch brood stock along the way. By the early 1940s, Porter Rodgers Stables was well established as a top breeding facility for Tennessee Walking Horses.
In 1950 Old Glory’s Big Man won the World Grand Championship. It was Dr. Rodgers who decided to cross Old Glory and Nell Mayberry to produce the popular champion. Old Glory’s Big Man was the first of four World Grand Champions to originate from Porter Rodgers Stables.
A mere five years later, Dr. Rodgers watched yet another of the colts he produced walk to the industry’s ultimate title. That horse was Go Boy’s Shadow, who followed up with a repeat win in 1956. Go Boy’s Shadow was by Merry Go Boy and out of Dr. Rodger’s great mare Merry Walker.
1959 World Grand Champion Rodger’s Perfection, the third World Grand Champion produced by Porter Rodgers Stables, held a special place in our honoree’s heart. Foaled on Dr. Rodger’s birthday in 1955, the stallion was the first to actually be owned by the Doctor at the time of his win. By Midnight Mack K and out of Merry Walker, the stallion proved equally successful in the breeding shed. Standing at stud at Porter Rodgers Stables, Rodger’s Perfection, when crossed with Midnight Doll, went on to produce 1964 World Grand Champion Carbon Copy. The fourth World Grand Champion produced by Dr. Porter Rodgers’ breeding program.
Four World Grand Champions – quite an impressive record for any breeder. Add to those the great mare Shadow’s Sis W., dam of 1978 World Grand Champion Mark Of Carbon, who, by the way, was sired by Carbon Copy, and one beholds a truly incredible record.
A native of Viola, Tennessee, Charles Ramsey made one of the most momentous and influential breeding decisions in the history of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed when he decided to breed his mare, Ramsey’s Rena, to the great stallion Wilson’s Allen. This cross produced the horse that has been referred to as the greatest sire of all time and the horse of the century – Midnight Sun. Ramsey’s decision on that long ago day in 1940 set the tone for future generations of Tennessee Walking Horses. Midnight Sun was shown to both the 1945 and 1946 World Grand Championships before finding what may have been his true calling in the breeding shed. He went on to sire more that 2,000 foals including World Grand Champions Midnight Merry, The Talk Of The Town, Setting Sun, Sun’s Jet Parade and Sun’s Delight D. He also produced the great Pride Of Midnight and a slew of good producing broodmares and sires.
Our next honoree, who hails from Jackson, Mississippi, began riding when he was five. He made his first show ring appearance aboard a Shetland Pony when he was eight and three years later he made the transition to Tennessee Walking Horses under the direction of J. H. Noblin. Influenced by a childhood spent immersed in the Tennessee Horse World, Sam Stockett has spent the years since that time working towards the betterment of the breed he loves.
In February of 1979 he purchased from Tom Jones of Franklin, Tennessee, a three-year-old son of Pride Of Midnight. This talented young stallion was named Pride’s Royal Master. After a successful show career, Royal Master was retired full time to the breeding barn where he quickly made a name for himself as a top choice among knowledgeable breeders. His first crop of seven foals arrived in 1981 and all seven made successful show horses. When Stockett acquired Pride’s Royal Master, he owned only three mares, and he had been adding, very selectively, to his broodmare band. The success of the stallion’s first foal crop stressed, even more strongly, the importance of assembling a group of top caliber mares.
Stockett intensified his search and by the mid to late 1980s his broodmare band included such standouts of Tiger Lilly K.C.H.C., Rock’s Romance, Lonely Little Star, Delight’s Star M., Delight’s Caper, Bum’s Caper, Senator Special Babe, Delight’s Kay M. and Delight’s Ideal among others. Crossing these mares with Royal Master, Stockett produced successful contenders such as Royal Label, Royal Seal, Royal’s Dark Bum, Royal’s Kay, Royal Deal and Royal Sparkle. Stockett also proved successful when crossing his mares with his second stallion Pride’s Last Recall and other prominent stallions.
Today, Stockett continues to seek out only the best mares and to produce top quality foals that are full of potential.
J. Mac Carter
One of the most astute breeders in Walking Horse history, J. Mac Carter, became legendary for the horses he produced as well as his colorful outlook. Mac entertained a steady stream of buyers, potential buyers, lookers and students of his methods on his small farm located on the outskirts of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Dr. Bob Womack called him the “Casey Stengal of the Walking Horse business” for his colorful expressions and his insightful observations.
Mac’s horse involvement started early. As a child, he spent much of his time on his grandfather’s farm in Donnell’sChapel community in Rutherford County, Tennessee. His grandfather, Mr. Jim Carter, had a few Roan Allen F-38 mares that he bred to the top stallions of the day. That experience obviously influenced Mac’s life and career. After high school, Mac attended Middle Tennessee State Teachers College (now MTSU) where he excelled as a “scrappy” guard on the Blue Raider basketball team. Upon college graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served through the end of World War II. In 1951, he purchased his place on Midland Road near Murfreesboro and developed an award-winning dairy farm. In 1967, he decided to close his dairy and start a Walking Horse mare and colt operation. From 1967 until his death in 1990, he actually made his living raising and selling Walking Horse colts. No small feat in any era!
One of Mac’s foundation purchases was Nooky, a Go Boy’s Shadow mare, that he bought from the Meek brothers in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. Nooky was in foal to The Impala and the filly she produced, Impala’s Shadowette, turned out to be one of the greatest broodmares in Walking Horse history. Impala’s Shadowette became the dam of 1973 World Grand Champion Delight Bumin Around, Delight’s Tramp, Delight’s Hobo and Delight’s Vamp. Nooky was also the dam of 1973 Amateur World Champion Delightful Shadow. Good horses kept coming off Mac’s farm including Bum’s Storm Cloud, Ebony’s Hacksaw, Delight’s Time to Deal and Delight’s Caper. Most of these outstanding horses came from the first three mares that Mac purchased and their offspring. Mac loved to keep good fillies out of his best mares to replenish his broodmare band. He parlayed that strategy into a fulfilling career and now recognition as a Master Breeder of Tennessee Walking Horses!
George Wright Family
The breeding program of the family we are honoring with our last Master Breeder Award of the evening began with one mare – Shadow’s Juliet. By Go Boy’s Shadow and out of a Stately Allen mare, Shadow’s Juliet produced Master Perfection who, in turn produced two Pride Of Midnight daughters whose offspring would become the beginnings of the George Wright family broodmare band.
From this broodmare band, the Wright family breeding program produced such greats as World Grand Champions Gen On The Run and Play Something Country, and Reserve World Grand Champion and sire of numerous world champions Pride’s Main Man. They are also the breeders of record for over 20 world and national futurity champions as well as numerous reserve title holders.
The Wright family currently has 12 producing mares, seven of which are by Pride’s Main Man. At the 2011 National Futurity and Celebration, five of their mares had offspring that won two world grand championships, three world championships, one reserve world championship, two national futurity championships and two reserve national futurity championships.
Burt Hunter, along with his father Bright Hunter, was one of the men that founded our great breed. Bright was a longtime breeder of plantation horses and his son followed in his footsteps. The family bred, raised and owned Hunter’s Allen F-10, one of the foundation sires of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed and one of the most influential early stallions in our breed’s history. Hunter’s Allen F-10 sired such early notables as Nell, Bright Allen, Last Chance, Lady Sensation, Brooks Allen and Dements Allen. As he grew up, Burt’s love for his family’s smooth riding horses only increased and it was a conversation between him and former Tennessee Governor Jim Nance McCord that resulted in the idea to create the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ Association of America. That conversation was held on the corner of the public square in Lewisburg, Tennessee, the hometown for both men. Burt Hunter served as the Association’s first President. His esteem for the Tennessee Walking Horse continued throughout his life and it was one of the legacies he left to his children.
A native of McMinnville, Tennessee, Larry Gribble became interested in the Tennessee Walking Horse as a teenager. His drive to learn all he could about the breed carried him to a number of its founding fathers including Harlin Hayes, Steve Hill, the Paschal brothers, James R. Brantley, Auburn Gray and Elmore Brock. From these men, Larry heard, first hand, the philosophies and theories behind the development of the breed he so loved. He took the knowledge gained from his elders and began developing his own stock, continuing to research the breed as he refined his breeding operation. Over the years, a number of outstanding stallions called the Gribble farm home including Midnight Mack K., Johnny Midnight, Rodgers’ Perfection, Pride’s Stormy Night, Stormy’s John Mack and Stormy’s Lightning. Equally impressive, the Gribble broodmare band has included Merry Boy’s Fame L.M., My Shady Lady, Mack’s Lovely Lady, Stormy’s Ruby, Stormy’s Roseanna and Stormy’s Rebel Queen. With the quality of stallions and mares, it’s no wonder that the Gribble program has influenced a great number of past and present champions including NYPD, Stormy’s Miss Delightful, San Juan, Chicago, Jose’ Jose’ and Stormy’s Fashion.
A longtime resident of Wilson County, Tennessee, in the 1970s Betty Freeman turned her passion for horses into a full-time breeding operation known as Freeman Foals. During her breeding career, she bred and raised over 300 foals, many of which went on to great success in both the show ring and breeding shed. Some even traveled oversees where they made a great impact on the Tennessee Walking Horse industry in Europe. She was the breeder of 1997 World Grand Champion Generators Santana as well as the plantation pleasure phenom Ironworks. She also produced such greats as Extra Ebony, Absolutely Armed, I’m A Buzzsaw and current breeding success story Watch Out Jose. Committed to the betterment and success of the breed, she served as a director from Tennessee for TWHBEA and was a Hall of Fame inductee. Perhaps her greatest and most lasting accomplishment, she passed her love for the Tennessee Walking Horse on to her daughter Delaine Freeman Smith, who continues to operate Freeman Foals today.
Paige Edwards grew up in the walking horse industry. As an exhibitor, she claimed 10 world championships before leaving the show ring behind to focus on her first loves, her broodmares and the babies they produce. Her residence in Dawson, Georgia is home to 15 top-notch broodmares and the farm where her husband Gary and brother-in-law Larry train is home to nearly 100 more. Paige’s breeding philosophy is straight forward – breed well bred mares to well bred stallions. To her, bloodlines are everything and she has found a great deal of success combining such lines as Generator, Hard Cash, Pusher, Ritz and Jose. The horses produced by her program include 1996 World Grand Champion and multi-titled Sire of the Year He’s Puttin’ On The Ritz, World Champion Gen’s Dixie Crystals, World Champion and World Grand Champion The Dixie Lineman, World Champion Sugarland, World Champion Neon Deion, World Grand Champion Palm Beach Ritz and World Champion Neon Bright. For Paige, nothing comes close to the thrill of raising a world champion.
A lifelong horse enthusiast, following a career spent first as a Master Sgt. and Drum Major in the Tennessee National Guard and later as an owner and operator of drive-ins, Hoyte Eakes devoted himself full time to breeding and raising top-quality Tennessee Walking Horses. He and his wife of 62 years, Jane, owned and operated Hidden Acres Farm in Donelson, Tennessee, where they bred numerous horses that went on the success in nearly every division our industry has to offer. Over the years, the Eakes breeding program produced five world grand champions, six reserve world grand champions, 18 world champions, six mare and foal world champions and seven TWHBEA National Futurity Champions. Notable names among these champions include Jewel’s Magic, Magic Bum’s Jewel, Maxie Choice, Bummin Choice and Whoopin It In Command. Hoyte’s love for the breed, love for the show ring, and love for our great industry are legendary. His legacy continues in the capable hands of his grandson Nathan Mills.
S.P. “Pete” Anderson
A native of Woodbury, Tennessee, S. P. “Pete” Anderson first became involved in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry in the early 1950s. His passion was always the challenge involved in breeding top-quality Tennessee Walking Horses. His philosophy was simple – breed good mares to good stallions. His broodmare band was renowned, including such names as Miss May Lady, Piddley’s Business, Eldorado’s Threat, Bummin Belinda, Qtr. Back’s Majorette, Sun’s Bay Girl, and Lady Supreme A. Crossing these mares with the best stallions of the time, he was able to produce numerous winning show horses as well as numerous successful broodmares and breeding stallions. Among his greatest success stories was, of course, 1979 World Grand Champion Threat’s Supreme A., who was out of Miss May Lady and by 1965 World Grand Champion Triple Threat. Other well-known products of his breeding program include Eb’s Black Charger, sire of 1998 World Grand Champion Masquerading, and the popular stallion Black Diamond Ritz, sire of Adorable Diamond.
Sheryl Crawford and her husband Doug have been breeding Tennessee Walking Horses for more than three decades. World Champions (under saddle) bred by Crawford include Our American Eagle, Look Who’s In Command, That Lady’s In Command, In Command Again, Combat Commander and You’re In Command. Crawford-bred World Champions in the halter division include Down & Out On Gen, A Royal Flash, Godiva In Command and Royally In Command. Other top show horses bred by Crawford include Miss Hard Cash, A Perfect Delight, Godiva In Command, War Commander, Proudly In Command, Two Star Command, Absolute Command, Completely In Command, My Girl’s In Command, Girls Can Command, Don’t Look Back, Magically In Command, Highly In Command, At Your Command, Best In Command, Ready To Command, She’s The Lady Of The Night, Strategically In Command, Right Back At Ya, The Storm Commander, We’re Back, Scratch Player, Tee Time and Miss Pebble Beach.
With the purchase of one mare, the Rock McEwen-bred Dixie Allen Baker in 1959, the late Billy Maddox of Duck River, Tennessee created a 50-year breeding record that is unmatched in the annals of walking horse history. From this one mare spawned horses such as Big Shot’s Dream, Dixie’s Little Star, Dixie’s Dark Lady, Sun’s Dark Dixie, Delight’s Dixie, Duck River Girl, Pride’s Foxie Farrah, Premier Delight, Pride’s Kojack, Delight’s Dark Dixie, Ravishing Ruby, Charcoal’s Delight, Deal Me Aces, Dixie’s Desperado, Gen’s Way High Willie, Pride’s Super Sonic, Pride’s Gypsy Woman, Coin’s Super Sister, Duck River Pride, Fantastic Gold, The Duck, Bionic Man, Hard Texas Cash, Coin’s Double Pride, Pride’s Premier, Coin’s Spun Gold, Legend Of Pride, Grand Performance, Cabbage Row Joe, The Legend, The Revelation, Red Sun Rising, Red Sunday’s Best, Genius’s Dixie Chick and Power Force.
Dr. William R. Gaw
Born in Gainesboro, Tennessee, William Gaw spent the majority of his life in Nashville. He was a very well-respected physician and veteran of the Vietnam War who harbored a passion for the Tennessee Walking Horse. Starting in the late 1970s, Dr. Gaw began developing one of the industry’s top breeding programs. The first stallion that he stood was the great Delight’s Solitude, who sired 104 foals. Following in his hoof prints was Solidarity, whose offspring included Executive Order, Threats Dixie Delight, Valid Consent, My Solidarity, and Prevailing Justice. Additionally, Dr. Gaw stood Vigor who made his mark with offspring that included Vigor’s Modest Charm, A Major Impression, Sleipnir, Dust Bunny and Vigor’s Dixie Chick.
Not to be outdone by the stallions, the Gaw broodmare band was renowned for its success. Notable broodmares included Traveler’s Annie, Shadow’s Clementine, Threat’s Lovely Lady, and Senator Sassy.
When he was only 27 years old, Billy Hale purchased his first broodmares from legendary horseman Sam Paschal. Shortly thereafter, in 1961, he bought his first big-time show horse, which happened to be none other than the great Ebony Masterpiece. After winning the World Grand Championship in 1962, Billy decided to stand his striking black stallion at S.W. Beech & Sons Stables in Belfast, Tennessee. He based his decision on Beech’s background in the breeding business and in the horse business in general. It was a decision that certainly paid off, for Ebony and his connections as well as for the walking horse industry at large as the great stallion went on to sire five World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horses – Ebony’s Senator, Another Masterpiece, Ebony’s True Grit, Ebony’s Mountain Man, and Ebony’s Bold Courier.
Of the champions sired by Ebony Masterpiece, Another Masterpiece and Ebony’s True Grit were out of broodmares selected by Billy Hale as was Ebony’s very first champion, 1964 National Futurity Weanling Champion Ebony’s Image and many, many more.
Robert Keenan initially became interested in Tennessee Walking Horses in the 1960s as a fun, family hobby. Over the years, an interest in breeding developed and by the 1970s he had established Hill Vale Farms where he stood a number of the industry’s top stallions including Ebony’s Black Market, 1968 World Grand Champion Go Boy’s Royal Heir, and Spirit’s Headliner. Later, he established Possom Trot Farm and owned the great Pride’s Dark Spirit whom he stood at Harlinsdale Farm. During his time under the ownership of Keenan, Pride’s Dark Spirit sired numerous champions including 1992 World Grand Champion Dark Spirit’s Rebel.
Over the years, Robert Keenan projected a love for the Tennessee Walking Horse that spread to his entire family. His breeding program produced numerous success stories, including, but certainly not limited to, Generator’s Silver Express, Silverado Spirit, and Express’s Frosty Girl.
Joe Martin started his involvement with the Tennessee Walking Horse breed at the age of 12. A native of Gallatin, Tennessee, he first went to work for Ray Beckler where he gained experience in both training and breeding. In 1963, he bred a mare to Shadow’s Reflection for a stud fee of $100 and started his career as a breeder of top-notch Tennessee Walking Horses.
Over the years, Joe Martin Stables has produced countless show ring and breeding shed success stories. On average it has been home to between 200 and 300 horses at a time, with 80 to 90 foals produced each year. Notable stallions that have stood at Joe Martin Stables include World Grand Champions Master Of Jazz, The Black Night Shade, Delight Of Pride, and The Pusher C.G. Champions produced by Joe Martin’s breeding program include Pushin’ Prowler, Perfect Cut, Pusher’s Firestone, Masq Of Jazz, A Fire In Dixie, and Pushin That Jazz.
Stephen B. Smith, Ravenswood Farm
Always valuing quality over quantity, the breeding program developed by Stephen B. Smith and Ravenswood Farm is modeled after that of the legendary thoroughbred breeder Bull Hancock, who believed his broodmares should themselves be great racehorses or full sisters to great racehorses. To that end, the broodmare band at Ravenswood Farm has continually included great show mares such as miltiple-time world champions Miss Walking Miracle, Jenny’s Jezebel, Pride’s Xanadu, Miracle At The Ritz, and Cameo Cash. Mirroring Mr. Hancock’s additional theory of breeding strengths to strengths, Ravenswood only breeds to accentuate their mares positive traits, rather than breeding to mitigate their negative traits.
The primary goal of the Ravenswood breeding program has been to raise the top yearling every year. Judging by sales price, almost every year for over a decade, they have accomplished that goal. And that’s with averaging less than 10 yearlings per year.
World Grand Champions raised by Ravenswood Farm include Miracle At The Ritz, All American Ritz, Ted Williams, and Prime Country. World Champions include New York Yankee, Brooks Robinson, and Cash Date.
“Marty Warren, Steve’s “right hand man” deserves much of the credit for this award, it would have been impossible without his loyal supervision”, says Smith.
Dr. Andrew Sisk
Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Dr. Andrew Sisk has spent the majority of his life in Columbia. After graduating the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Dr. Sisk joined the United States Air Force as a flight Surgeon. The well-respected General Surgeon harbored a passion for the Tennessee Walking Horse. In 1980, Sisk got involved with his first horse, Ebony’s Dude, in partners with J.O. Williams and Dr. Ken Moore. That started the love and devotion to the breed for Dr. Sisk. In 1983 he bought his first stallion Delight of Pride, whom went on to take the title in 1984 for the World Grand Champion with the late Billy Gray in the irons. The first stallion that he stood was Delight of Pride, who sired 378 foals. Sisk stood behind and promoted Delight of Pride during his entire breeding career. Following in his hoof prints, Sisk took great pleasure in breeding the best of the best, which he says was a lot of “just plain old luck”. Some of those horses are WC Another Pushbutton, WC Papa’s Bar None, WC Out on Bond, Firestone’s Keepsake, Wicked Walking Witch, WGC Samsung, WGS Popcorn Sutton, WGC, Mister Pushbutton, WC Pusher’s Country Girl, Roy G. Biv and WGC Jimmer Fredette.
During all the years of his success he’s had his wife Linda by his side along with sons Scott, Adam and David.
The North Mississippi lawyer and breeder who believed less is more and ponies are beautiful sought over 50 years to establish a sub-breed, pony-size strain of the Tennessee Walking Horses. Franks bought his first registered Tennessee Walking Horse in 1939, Pride’s Fashion; being one of hid more notable horses. The first mare he took pride in breeding was a mere 36 inches tall at her withers, Tiny’s Secret. She was by No Secret and out of Tiny Mite. Next was Little Man’s Gypsy, sired by Sun’s Little Man by Setting Sun, the 1958 World Grand Champion and his damn was Sun’s Golden Girl also by Setting Sun.
Franks would say “I try to find small mares to breed down, since I believe the dam brings at least 75 percent of all characteristics to the foal, with the stallions contributing 25 percent.” One of his most eye catching walking ponies was Mud Slide’s Brother. The small stallion was a black apparition of the World Champion pony, Mud Slide Slim, he had the same full, arching neck, same fine head and same fire about him. Bet on Me, Little Wench, Betty’s Shaker and Playboy’s One Spot are just a few others than Donald Franks had the privilege of raising and breeding.
Carroll S. Benedict
Carroll S. Benedict was born in Glasgow Kentucky in 1939. His passion for horses began at a young age on his uncles working farm. His love for horses grew as he did. He purchased his first horse in the 1950’s! While serving in the National Guard he would write home checking on things, but always chiefly concerned about how his horses were doing.
Carroll married Karen Lewis in 1963, raising two children, Spencer and Jane Layton all the while growing his herd of horses. He would rent stalls at local barns in town until the time came in 1969 when he could realize his dream and purchase his own farm. This was the beginning of Pleasure Acres!
Carroll could now follow his dream of raising Tennessee Walking Horses. His first World Champion was Ebony’s Belle who was purchased from Master Breeder Paige Edwards. After her show career, she was added to headline his mare band.
He was very proud that many of the offspring raised at Pleasure Acres were making in the show ring some of the first being, Delight’s Black Dream and Beam’s Star N’ Stripe. Both mares spent their life time owned by Carroll Benedict and produced mare show winners.
In 1984 Carroll purchased his horse of a lifetime, a beautiful chestnut stallion, Prime Candidate. He selected this yearling upon the advice of longtime friend and trainer Steve Aymett. Anyone who knew Carroll definitely knew how he felt about this horse! Prime Candidate when on to earn Reserve World Champion 3-year-old stallion in 1985. Soon after his purchase of Prime Candidate he also purchased ½ interest in his dam, Prides Ink Spot and she was moved to Pleasure Acres. This was the beginning of the long-time partnership between Carroll and Joe Brummell.
With the addition of Ink Spot and Prime Candidate a whole new chapter began. Ink Spot went on to produce Prime Design, 1988 Three Year Old World Grand Champion, Prime Event, who not only won the 2yr old and 3 yr old mare classes at the Futurity, was the highest selling two year old filly in that day and time, but also herself went on to produce WGC Shock Jock and WC Prime Suspect, Ink Spot also produced Prime Fable who is the dam of WGC Prime Poison and WC Hurricane Rain and the last full sister in this great string all sired by Magic Fashion KW, Prime Glory produced WC Night Mare. Ink Spots final foal was sired WGC Doc’s High Tribute she is WC Prime’s Hi Tribute who is the dam of It’s High Maintenance and Final Hi Tribute.
Carroll served as a director from Kentucky and on the EC for many years as well as President of the TWHBEA in 1994-1995. He not only had a passion for the horse but also a great love for this association.
Steve Beech is a 3rd generation member and past-President of TWHBEA, and the middle son of the late Master Breeder S.W., and Margaret Beech. He was raised and continues to live on the family farm in Belfast, TN.
Growing up in a TN Walking Horse breeding barn, along with brothers, Bobby and Ray, Steve learned from a very early age how to care for the mares, foals, and stallions that they were responsible for.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Middle Tennessee State University before joining his father fulltime as breeding manager at S.W. Beech Stables. Steve has owned countless mares over the years, with the favorite probably being Go Boy’s Lady Beech, who was the dam of Coin’s Dixie Darling and grand dam of Mark’s Bobbie Sue and Gen.’s Country Girl. What Steve is most well-known for, though, is not the foals that he raised himself, but the thousands of customers he helped to develop their own breeding programs.
The four graves on his farm tell a large part of the Steve Beech breeding story, as they serve as a memorial to World Grand Champions Merry Go Boy, Go Boy’s Shadow, Ebony Masterpiece, and Another Masterpiece. Steve also managed Prides Generator for most of his career, along with many other of the industry’s top stallions including Ebony’s Bold Courier, Threat’s Supreme, Mark of Carbon, Ebony’s Excalibur, The Touch, Bold Design, Another Grey John, and Pride’s Pattern.
Steve has always given credit to Drs. DeWitt Owen, Dick Meredith, and Ike Isaacson, for teaching him to palpate mares to determine when they were ready to breed and also to check for pregnancy. He learned this skill well before ultrasounds were the norm, and was known for usually being more accurate than the machines. It could be argued that Steve has personally gotten more mares in foal than anyone else in the walking horse industry, but his services did not stop there. Often times, he would take mares back in at foaling time, select the best foals, and start a campaign to claim Futurity and Celebration titles. The Beech Stables team was impossible to beat in the halter division for many years, and not only did they do well in the ring, but also delivered top yearlings to the Sale of Champions production sale, managed by his father and later his brother Ray.
Steve has also served as an ambassador for our breed. As a teenager, he met Lyndon B. Johnson as his father presented him with a TWH mare. He provided horses to Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton when they filmed Rhinestone. While TWHBEA president, he accompanied a team that delivered two breeding stallions to Mongolia. He also accompanied Prides Generator as he represented our breed at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. And, if you hung out at the farm very often, you would see that for many years it was normal activity to welcome a complete stranger, introduce them to the breed, and send them on their way, with a mare and foal – or two, and possibly even a horse trailer if they needed one.
Born in Guntersville, Alabama and now resides in Arab, he’s been a Marshall County Alabama resident his entire life. He is a graduate of the 1973 class at Jacksonville State University and is now the owner of ColorMasters LLC. which employees over 580 employees. Gus, along with wife Ella King got started in the Walking Horse business in 1991. Through the years Mr. King has produced and raised many great horses. His all-time favorite would be Jazz King. He saw the greatness in that colt the day he was born. Jazz King foaled 327 foals, some of the more notables are Jazzy Jen, The Kings Reward, Jazz on my Mind, The Kracken and I’m Sky King. Another stallion that Mr. King had great success with is A Jazz Man.
He bought A Jazz Man as a yearling, sold him as a 2-year-old and bought him back as a 5-year-old as a breeding horse. A Jazz Man has produced a total of 1,054 foals to date. A Jazz Man sired Jazz King, 2 year old WC Jazz in Dixie, Late Night Jazz, Jazz Pusher; whom is dam to WGC Pony Rudy Rudiger, M-One Jazz; the dam to She’s Blue as Ice, N.Y.P.D; whom is a full brother to M-One Jazz, who’s also a 3 & 4 year old World Champion and is the highest horse sold in history, multi WC The Indy 500, BeeBee King, WC weanling One Bad Witch and many many others.
Mr. Gus King also raised 2007 World Grand Champion Master of Jazz with Jimmy McConnell in the irons. WGC Weanling Skyhawk, Norah Jones who is the dam of multi WGC pleasure horse Etta James.
Mr. King owned as many horses if not more than he raised. Some of the top horses that have earned superior titles are The Blue Diamond, 4x WC Hoffa, Precious Pusher BW, Back in Command, Senor Generator and full sister Generator’s Showgirl, Air Force, Dam of Jazz in Dixie Generator’s Dixie Design, dam of The Indy 500 and Show of Jazz Generator’s Showbiz, 2005 WGC Main Power, Mark Me Bewitched, The Skywatch and several more.
Connie Bryant, Karla & David Landrum
It all started with an “I do”. Karla Bryant and David Landrum were married in 1988…with this marriage came a union of family and horses.
Karla’s mother, Connie Bryant, always had a love for horses. She began a small breeding operation of Tennessee Walking Horses in the 1970’s and enjoyed taking care of her mares and watching their foals develop (one of which was WGC Our American Eagle). During this time, the family began purchasing show horses such as Pride’s Executioner, Gen’s Queen of Hearts, Shadow’s Making Magic, Ultra Violet, and a very talented and well-bred 2-year-old stallion named Gen’s Major General.
David Landrum grew up in a family that enjoyed all aspects of the Tennessee Walking Horse. Karla Bryant Landrum enjoyed showing and helping her mother with the broodmares and foals. In 1987, David and Karla met at the Kentucky After Christmas Sale and a year later they were married. With Karla’s move to Tennessee, along with her luggage, came the talented Gen’s Major General.
MG, as he was affectionately known, would go on to have a stellar show ring career that resulted in multiple World and World Grand Championships. The decision was made in 1991 for MG to pursue a breeding career, first at the Horse Hub, then Joe Martin Stables, and finally to historic Harlinsdale Farm. MG was named TWHBEA Sire of the Year 2001(percentage points) and 2003 (actual points). He was the sire of one of the breed’s greatest show and breeding horses, Jose’ Jose’. MG has produced countless World and World Grand show horses along with top producing mares and stallions that will continue to carry his legacy for future generations.
David’s longtime client, Dorothy Halsey, made the decision to retire and breed her great show mare, Ebony’s Sun Lady. That resulted in two fillies being born at David Landrum Stables, My Magic Dream (My Magic Marker x Ebony’s Sun Lady) and Splash of Gen (Pride’s Generator x Ebony’s Sun Lady). Upon Dorothy’s untimely death, David purchased the three mares. It was decided to breed My Magic Dream to Pride’s Generator resulting in WGC Sweepstakes and WGC The Lottery. Dream was then bred to Gen’s Major General producing WGC The Super Bowl, WGC The Stanley Cup, WC Preakness, WC Miss Keeneland and TWHBEA Futurity champion Ryder Cup. Top broodmares include Wimbledon, My Cosmopolitan and Pimlico. My Magic Dream spent many years in TWHBEA’s top 10 Dam of the Year lists. In addition, Splash of Gen and Gen’s Major General produced WGC Major Splash, WC Major Splish Splash, WC Brother Splash, RWC I’m Splashed, RWGC General Splash, Futurity Champion Cocoa Splash and Brother Oh Brother, who is the TWH breed representative at the Kentucky Horse Park. Splash of Gen was named twice TWHBEA Dam of the Year in 2001 (by percentage points and by actual points) and spent numerous years on the Dam of the Year Top 10 List.
Tommy Grider was born in Columbia KY in 1951. He and his older brothers Ronnie and Donnie grew up on the family farm alongside their parents Mr. 0.E. and Margaret Grider.
His passion for horses began at an early age as one would expect since his parents along with his granddad were horse enthusiast. Growing up there was a different horse show every weekend in the summer. The family vacation being the Celebration. Possibly not realizing at an early age that this horse was and would continue to be the nucleus of forming and maintaining the many wonderful friendships throughout the years.
Tommy married Marsha Ann Caldwell, raising two children Todd and Julie Grider Tucker. Once again being a total family involvement in the horse industry.
Tommy served as a Director from Kentucky and 2 terms on the TWHBEA Executive Board, former Co-owner and President of Wiser Farm, and was inducted into the TWHNC Hall of Fame in 2008.
As in many cases getting an education, starting a family, getting a career off the ground would distract Tommy’s love and involvement in the horse business. All the while never diminishing his dream of being active and involved in the Industry. During this period, he stayed with the family farm operation. At times his Dad, whom Tommy considered as having a talent and sharp eye for selecting great prospects, found and purchased a little known yearling, Pride’sDesign. This extremely talented colt was plagued with health problems forcing his show career to cease and becoming the breeding stallion for the farm. At the time it was not known that this medical set back would allow this beautiful talented animal to excel in the breeding shed, producing such greats as World Grand Champion Flashy Pride.
So, it is no surprise that Tommy’s continued interest expanded into a larger scope to include marketing, promoting, breeding as well as showing. Some of the World and World Grand Champions that are a product of the Grider Farm include: World Grand Champion The Bourne Legacy, World Champion Master Miracle, World Champion Pusher’s Society Man, Reserve World Grand Champion Design’s Red Baron, World Grand Champion Rammer Jammer, World Champion Major Sky Command, World Champion I’m Plum Pretty, World Grand Champion She’s Limitless, World Champion Generating The Command, World Grand Champion Mr. Country Gentleman, World Champion Estatic, World Grand Champion Roll The Gold, World Champion J.F.K.’s Tiny Dancer, World Champion Big Time Pusher among many others.
Tommy has always emphasized the importance that should be placed on the dam. This was instilled early on as he saw such greats as Pusher’s Special Design, Pusher’s Solid Design, Pusher’s Eight Ball, Travis, Stainless Steel, Chairman of the Board, Pride’s Painted Rose and others being produced out of the broodmares band bred and retained by his parents. This philosophy continued as he would retain most of the mares after their show ring career had ended. Placing them in his broodmare band. Some of which included World Champion and World Grand Champion Producer Witch Revival, Reserve World Champion and World Grand Champion Producer Miss Emma Brooks, World Champion Preakness, World Champion and World Grand Champion Producer Pocket of Gold, Reserve World Champion, National Futurity Champion and World Champion Producer Pusher’s Major Minor, World Grand Champion and World Champion Producer Generator’s Flirtin, World Champion Flirtin’s Command, World Champion I’m Plum Pretty, World Champion Pushin’s Miss Genny, World Champion Gennie’s Charming Lady, World Champion Sweet Sixteen, Pusher’s Color My World the dam of World Grand Champion Game World and others.
If you have ever been in attendance at Wiser Farm or had a horse conversation with Tommy, you probably heard him make this statement “A broodmare will make you and an incubator will break you”.
In addition to the many greats that is a direct product of Tommy’s Family Breeding Program, he has owned some of the Industries’ premier horses, including World Grand Champion The Pusher C.G., World Grand Champion Delightof Pride, World Grand Champion Pride’s Jubilee Encore, World Champion Pusher’s Firestone, World Champion and Reserve World Grand Champion Pusher’s Twist About, World Grand Champion Pride’s Midnight Prowler, World Grand Champion Wired, World Grand Champion and World Grand Champion Producer My Promises Promise’s, World Champion Jubilee’s Knight Time, World Grand Champion The Sky Command and others.
When ask what some of his most memorable moments are in the Horse World? He replied, there has been so many it’s hard to list them. Some would be “The Pusher” being named Sire of the Year, also his producing World Champions in Walking, Racking and Spotted. Watching our son win the International, our daughter winning 10 World Championships including a World Grand Championship. Winning 2 World Championships myself was pretty special. Watching my great niece being the fourth generation of our family win her 1st World Grand Championship this year at the Celebration. Also, I take great pride in my nephew Brent for not only his World Champion rides but more importantly assuming the responsibility of continuing our role in the breeding of these fine animals.
Tommy summed up the significance of his family being afforded The Master Breeder Award as being very humbling and a great honor to be in the company of the Elite Group of Master Breeders. He is honored to accept this award. He would like to dedicate this distinguished award in memory of his late parents who introduced and supported his involvement in this great industry.
William “Ray” Beech is the youngest son of Stephen Wood “S.’W.” and Margaret Moore Beech. He was born on August 22, 1949. The family pleasure pony, John Henry, taught Bobby, Steve, and Ray a lot about how to train and show horses.
Ray’s next mount was Little Bit o’ Trouble. He and “Trouble” were in the show ring dozens of times claiming many blues ribbons and titles including the 1963 TWHNC World Champion pony, 14 & under, the l964 TWHNC Reserve World Champion pony, 14 & under. In 1965 and 1966 Ray and Trouble claimed back to back Walking Pony World Championships at the celebration, and in 1965 and 1965 they also won the Kentucky State Fair show in Louisville, KY. One of the highlights of Ray’s years training and showing Little Bit O’ Trouble was being asked at the age of 14 to exhibit him at the University of Tennessee’s Homecoming game during the half-time festivities. He had to wear a band uniform, and he remains the youngest person ever to exhibit a performance Tennessee Walking Horse in Neyland stadium.
Ray married his wife, Jean, in September of 1972 and in December of the same year he graduated from MTSU with a degree in Animal Science and Agriculture Business. He bought Murray Farm and Sale of Champions and continued the sale traditions of his Dad and Pete Yokley. Ray learned so much from his Dad about genetics. Overtime he began to study his mares and know their strengths as well as their weaknesses, and he began to strategically breed them to the stallions that he felt would produce the best combination.
In 1992, Peaches Big Time was bred to Gen’s Future Attraction (who was also bred and raised by Ray) and produced Hoffa. Ray’s son, Bill, led Hoffa to: the 1993 International Weanling Colt World and World Grand Championships, the Futurity Weanling Colt Championship, and the TWHNC Weanling Colt World and World Grand Championships. That same year, Hoffa was also voted Weanling of the Year by the Trainer’s Association
In 1989 Count’s Silver Lining (raised by Ray) was bred to Prides Generator and produced JFK, who had great success in the show ring. His titles include:
1992 TWHNC 2-year-old stallion World Champion and World Grand Champion
1993 TWHNC 3-year-old stallion World Champion and World Grand Champion
1994 TWHNC 4-year-old stallion World Champion and World Grand Champion
JFK was retired from the show ring in 1994 and went on to become one of the industry’s premier breeding stallions and sire many world champions. JFK produced over 50 individual World Champions that claimed numerous of World and World Grand Championship titles including show ring stars Mr. Heisman, John FK’s Pusher, John FK’s Delight, JFK’s Monopoly, Oh My Darlin, Mistress, Lil Wayne, JFK’s Irish Dream and a host of others.
Three years later Count’s Silver Lining was bred again to Prides Generator and produced My Jackie O- the 1996 Futurity 3-year-old Mare and Gelding Champion with Tim Gray and that same year Ray’s daughter, Margaret Anne and Jackie O won the 3-year-old Owner-Amateur Mare and Gelding World Championship. Margaret Anne rode Jackie O to seven more World and World Grand Championship titles, including the 1998 and 1999 Owner-Amateur Mare and Gelding World Grand Championship. Jackie O was also voted Ladies Horse of the Year in those years.
In 1996 Count’s Silver Lining and Pride’s Generator produced RFK.
Bill led RFK to the 1996 Reserve Futurity Weanling Colt Championship, the 1996 TWHNC weanling colt World Championship and Reserve World Grand Championship RFK also retired the S.W. Beech Memorial Challenge trophy at the 1996 Celebration.
A few years later Ray bred Count’s Silver Lining to Generator’s Silver Dollar and produced Jackie O’s My Sister who was the 2000 TWHBEA Futurity Weanling Filly Champion with Tommy Wilson at the halter and the 2002 TWHBEA Futurity 2-year-old Mare Champion with Buck Williams.
When My Jackie O was at the height of her show career, Ray still wanted her to be able to produce foals. At this time, the Embryo Transfer program was new to our breed and being finetuned at Waterfall Farm under the expert direction Dr. Mike Harry.
My Jackie O produced l0 foals by various stallions using the Embryo Transfer program. Hey Hev Jose, by Jose’ Jose’, and Simply Priceless, by RPM were both 2002 foals. History was made at the 2002 TWHBEA Futurity when Hey Hey Jose and Simply Priceless both won their divisions under the direction of Bill Beech. Hey Hey Jose and Bill were also the 2002 TWHNC Weanling Colt World Champion and the Reserve Weanling World Grand Champion.
Sadly, My Jackie O died in 2005, but her last embryo foal, our Amazing Grace by Jose’ Jose’ was born in 2006. “Gracie”, as she is lovingly called, was the reserve 4-year-old Amateur Mare and Gelding Champion at the 2010 Celebration, and she is the dam of the 2018 Wartrace 2-year-old Amateur Mare, I’m on Good Behavior. Margaret Anne has been fortunate enough to show three generations of mares all bred and raised by Ray: My Jackie O, She’s Our Amazing Grace, and I’m on Good Behavior.
There are many other notable horses bred and raised by Ray- Jackie O All Over, Aristotle Onassis, Santana’s Rockette, Soul Patrol, Hell’s A Poppin Again, Hello Jose, Steve Nash, I’m Dialed In, Delightful Attraction, Ebony’s Handiwork, I’m Filthy Rich, I’m A Blockbuster, King of Pop and Our Commander In Chief, just to name a few of approximately 300 foals raised and registered over the years. For Ray and Jean, the greatest pleasure has been sharing this wonderful breed with their children and grandchildren. Seeing their children showing halter, and under saddle is confirmation of a life’s work and they feel very fortunate and blessed.
A.E. “Rock” McEwen
When he was a very young boy, an old lady felt of his arm and said “Boy, you going to be hard as a rock”, the name stuck for the rest of his life. Rock was born in September 1914 on his family farm in Shady Grove, Tennessee. He would marry Georgia Harvill McEwen and have two sons, William E. “Bill” McEwen and James Walker “Jim” McEwen. Rock was a lifelong farmer and remained on his family farm his entire life.
His farming interests were varied. Hogs and cattle were a big commodity on the family farm in the early days. His band of Hereford brood cows were considered some of the best. But horses were his first love. One of his early horses was a big gelding named “Lively Lad”, a big strawberry roan saddle horse that took him far and wide. But as saddle horses became a breed, the Tennessee Walking Horse, Rock became more involved. In 1939, he attended his first Celebration and never missed one until he died in 1980.
Horses and especially his broodmares became Rock’s passion. He loved pedigrees and trying to cross the best mare with the right stallion to get the best foal. Rock spent many, many nights in the barn watching and waiting for his foals to be born. It was a joy and excitement shared by his whole family. He spent countless hours transporting his mares to Beech’s, Harlinsdale, and Shadow Valley to get his mares bred to the best stallions.
Some of his outstanding brood mares and their offspring are, Dawn of Dixie, Delights Kay M, Triple Threats Kay and M K’s Society Glory with babies raised on the farm such as Delights Rock and Roll, Sun’s Dixie Delight, Tiger Lilly, Ebony’s Old Crow, Lonely Little Star, Pride’s Hard Rock, Pride’s Sky High and countless others.
Rock was a well-known and highly respected judge having judged shows all over middle Tennessee and the Southeast. Perhaps what he was best known for in the Walking Horse world was his outreach and ability to help others to become involved in this great industry of ours.
He handpicked Dixie Allen Baker, one of the greatest broodmares, for his lifelong friend and neighbor Billy Maddox. He assisted and guided Pete Banks in his choice of mares for his startup band. Sam Stockett was a fan and owned many mares that came off the McEwen Farm. All three of these fine gentlemen have received the TWHBEA Master Breeder award.
Also, of note that in 1953 one of Rock’s best mares, Merry Sal, foaled Midnight Jubilee. That same year the Maury County Horseman in Columbia, Tennessee of which Rock was a lifelong member initiated the Columbia Spring Jubilee named after Midnight Jubilee.
Rock never knew a stranger and was known far and wide for his easy-going disposition and his deep love for the animal, our Tennessee Walking Horse.
Kenneth “Pete” Banks
Kenneth, better known as Pete, Banks was an avid Walking Horse breeder and enthusiast for forty plus years. Pete first attended the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in 1964, which sparked his interest in raising walking horses. He registered his first mare in 1966. Pete was a Hickman County native. It’s believed that he bought his first mare from Rock McEwen in Hickman County. In 1974 he bought a farm in Maury County where he resided until his death in 2014.
Over the course of Pete’s life, he registered more than 300 horses through the TWHBEA. He began his breeding career at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin Tennessee. He continued to breed there for more than 30 years. He also went to other breeding farms, such as S. W. Beech Stables, Waterfall Farms, Joe Martin Stables, The Horse Hub, Rising Star Ranch, Black Hawk Farms, and Fantasy Farms just to name a few. Our current TWHBEA President David Williams assisted Pete with many of his mares being bred and sold many yearlings for him. Pete owned some great mares with reputable blood lines from sires like The Pusher C.G., Sun’s Delight, Pride’s Gold Coin, Ebony’s Bold Courier, Midnight Mack K, Mack’s Hand Shaker, Midnight Sun, and Go Boy’s Shadow.
Some of his choice breeding sires included Pride’s Dark Spirit, Pride’s Generator, Coin’s Hard Cash, JFK, Dark Spirit’s Rebel, The Sky Watch, He’s Puttin On The Ritz, Generator’s Santana, Motown Magic, and Gen’s Armed and Dangerous. Pete raised some of the top-selling yearlings at the celebration sales. Yearlings that would go on to have a show or breeding career. For example, Generator’s Ten High, A Big Chill, Pride’s Respect, You Light Up My Life, Jewel’s Black Charmer, Kennedy, and Coin’s Ten High.
Pete enjoyed the business, but also loved the social aspect of the industry. He had many connections with people in the walking horse industry all over the country. He developed many friends over the years. Pete was a reserved, never boastful man. He took pride in his stock and loved breeding and raising colts.
Tennessee walking horses have always been part of Charles Gleghorn’s life, and he began raising and breaking colts when he was about twelve years old. While Charles is proud to be part of all that the TWHBEA has accomplished over the years, he is most proud that showing horses was a family endeavor. He and his late wife, Joy, did it all together with their two children, Carl and Gay: dying a brown bridle to black because they could not afford a new one, braiding ribbons, eating fried chicken and baked beans on the tailgate and sewing show coats. Carl and Gay never had to wonder what they were doing on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer; they would all be at a horseshow, together.
The most fun Charles has had over the years has been showing his children, grandchildren and many other children in lead line on Little Satan and Shake’s Little Midnight. He says that, “showing children and focusing on the youth is more important and rewarding than winning a stake class at the Celebration.” His love for horses has been passed down to his grandchildren, and they are happy if they are trail riding or showing at a horse show.
Charles began showing colts in 1965 and has been part of the industry ever since. His contributions to the industry have had an enormous, positive impact and he has given of his time and his talents in many ways. He has been blessed to own and raise some amazing Tennessee walking horses, and he has registered over 4,300 horses over the years. He has stood many stallions, but his true treasures were Black Rain, Cash in My Stock and Gen at Midnight. He has raised numerous world champions including seven times world grand champion, Shake’s Little Midnight, world grand champions Gen at Midnight, Game World, No Mas Tequila, Insomnia and Unforgettable Pusher. He has also owned some of the best brood mares in the industry including five times mare and foal champion, Pushers Walking On. A few of his other mares are:
Gold Coins Roulette- Dam of Black Rain
Santana Woman- Dam of Santana
Winning Bet- Dam of Shakes Little Midnight
A Gen & Tonic- Dam of Trip My Trigger
Home Spun Melody- Dam of Bolt of Rain
Especially Yours- Dam of No Mas Tequila
Genteel Generator- Full sister to Black Rain
Loose & Busty
Charles was first asked by Ron Thomas to serve on the Regulatory Commission in 1985. He was elected to the TWHBEA board in 1988 and served as President from 1989-1991 and 1998-2000, and he returned to serve on the board over the past few years. Much has been accomplished over the years, and Charles contributes that to being surrounded by great people serving on the board together. People like Walt Chism, Steve Smith, Carol Benedict, Told Bold, Claude Crawley and Charles Welch just to name a few. Charles says, “that we do nothing in life without the help and support of other people, and he has been surrounded by the best.”
A few of the accomplishments that were achieved during his tenure are:
- Began blood typing all colts
- Started accumulating show records and made them accessible to others
- Increased membership in the TWHBEA from 5,000 to 22,000
- Raised the budget from $400,000 to $4,000,000
- Restructured dues to include a monthly subscription to The Voice Magazine which created a communication system for the industry
- Formed the National Horse Show Commission
Charles says that he cannot begin to tell you how many winners he has had over the years, and the abundant blessings that have come from this industry. Charles is thankful for the many people who have believed in him and for the countless friends he has made through the walking horse industry. For Charles, God and his family are and will always be first. He is thankful for the many men and women that have worked with him at his stables over the years, especially Bret and Kristin, and he is honored to be receiving the Master Breeder’s Award. His family’s love for horses will be forever.
Emery “Rocky” Jones
Rocky Jones began working at Harlinsdale Farm the summer of 1971. He was the understudy of two great horsemen Harlin Hayes and Wirt Harlin. These men saw in Rocky someone who had what it takes to continue the legacy of fine horses produced at Harlinsdale Farm. Rocky’s standard by which he judged all other horses, came from the plethora of the world’s finest stallions and mares that were associated with Harlinsdale Farm.
In 1980, after the passing of Harlin Hayes, Rocky Jones stepped into the role that Mr. Hayes’ had of Manager of Harlinsdale Farm and carried on the legacy to become himself a Master Breeder of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. People sought out Rocky’ opinion and expertise on yearlings, broodmares, stallions, and show stock.
Rocky became synonymous with the words, honesty and integrity. Rocky had only one goal and that was to produce the best. He now joins the greats of the Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association.
Auburn Gray was born in Franklin County, TN in 1894. He died there in 1969. He grew up with walking horses and was regarded as among the most knowledgeable of the breed. He was an exhibitor at the first Celebration. He was a great storyteller, tall tales too. He stood Star Gray Wilson who sired 59 registered foals but preferred to keep mares. Mr.Gray twice owned Maude Gray, a top show mare, always taking ribbons. Auburn Gray was the breeder of all Maude Grays foals. She was dam of Sir Maugray, (Sire of 531 foals including 1954 WGC Garnier’s White Star and Merry Marquita dam of 1968 WGC Go Boy’s Royal Heir) Booger Boo, Lynnie Gray and Nellie Gray, Maud’s Nellie Gray, Little Maude Gray, and Frank Wilson’s Allen II (sire of 364 foals)