Heritage Tennessee Walking Horses (2)
Herman Oliver did not keep a son of CLARK'S RED ALLEN, but Sara Mae Clark's brother, Jesse Clark, had bred a beautiful and extremely intelligent colt by the old horse out of a HUNTER'S ALLEN F-10 mare. By the time World Wat II ended, however, and the fifties began, mechanized farming coupled with a serious drought to sound a death knell for the old plantation walking horse. Trends in the show ring continued an abrupt swing toward high-stepping show horses requiring built-up shoes, something for which the farmers' usin' horses were totally unsuited. Many small breeders quit. Bloodlines died out. Boss Clark kept his handsome red stallion, while Herman Oliver, ever resourceful, purchased a tobiano gaited pony stallion to use on his TWH mares. It was this stallion and his foals that the four Oliver brothers grew up handling and riding.
After a stint in the United States Army, Leon Oliver returned to Middle Tennessee with a different idea that bucked all the trends of the mid-sixties.While black was basic and the World Grand Champion bloodlines were those the most in demand, Leon chose to breed his family's one remaining registered walking mare, MERRY MAN'S STARR, a daughter of WOMACK'S MERRY MAN, to his Uncle Jesse's RED BUD ALLEN. Leon sought to preserve what remained of his family's heritage in raising a foal by the old stallion from this mare of traditional working bloodlines. The cross resulted in a red horse colt with a blaze and two hind socks. Leon registered this May, 1967, horse colt as RED BUD'S RASCAL.
For most of his life, RED BUD'S RASCAL remained what his sire had been, a true family horse that could be depended upon to do things like provide a calm ride in a nighttime Christmas parade. In the larger equine world beyond his pasture's borders, Racking Horses were the hot new ticket for pleasure competitors, while the TWH show horses continued to be exhibited in pads even in pleasure classes. BUD was a natural walking horse, not a speed racker, and as such attracted only a small court of mares. Times were changing in the seventies, however, as Saturday night shows added the occasional Plantation Pleasure class for flatshod horses performing a nodding running walk, while in the country, trail riding began an upsurge. Breeders across the nation began searching for remnants of the gentle, natural walking, utility horses of the thirties and early forties. Deciding that he had preserved what the market now wanted, Leon ordered a set of business cards in 1979 advertising RED BUD'S RASCAL as an old bloodline Tennnessee Walking Horse.
During the eighties, breeders first in Middle Tennessee, then in other areas, discovered the gentle nature and smooth gaits of the RED BUD'S RASCAL offspring and wanted more. Meanwhile, Leon took a top mare by OLD BUD to the court of a grey stallion by EBONY'S SENATOR whose grey color traced in an authentic line back to the foundation stallion TOP WILSON. This cross produced a gorgeous grey filly foaled black and a chestnut grey studcolt. Well pleased with the colt's build, bone, attitude, and gait, Leon sold the filly but kept BUDS STERLING BULLET to stand alongside his grandsire at service at Brown Shop Road Farms.
As the eighties faded into the nineties, OLD BUD continued to attract mares to his court, while BULLET's first crop arrived in 1992. All but one of the six foals was grey, establishing a tradition of a strong percentage of grey babies that would prove out in each succeeding foal crop. Meanwhile the OLD BUD daughters in production presented their owners with foals carrying the traits of gait, disposition, and common sense. As OLD BUD grew older, some breeders retained sons of the old stallion. RED BUD'S RASCAL died in July of 1997, having sired eleven foals at the age of thirty.Currently, stallions by OLD BUD in shades of sorrel, sabino, and palomino are found on farms from Middle Tennessee to Europe. For almost 3/4 of a century the Oliver family preserved the love for the original Walking Horse by breeding for intelligence, willingness, smoothness and headshaking gaits. Breeders like the Olivers who kept these standards for decades and others like them will continue to preserve the barefooted or keg shod Tennessee Walking horse in the future.
Publiced in “The Plantation Showcase”
6 breeders who dedicated themselves to preserve the rare, old bloodlines of the breed founded the Heritage TWH Society. More info on this original type of horse and their characteristics can be found on the Heritage TWH Society website. We are proud to be one of the founders of the Society and to contribute to continue breeding with these old bloodlines.
Ther Heritage Society released a new DVD. "The World of the Heritage Walking Horse" is a 60 minutes long video that offers interviews with Heritage Society breeders as well as footage of these rare bloodline horses. Old time bluegrass music sets a lively backdrop to this interesting and informative video. Costs € 10 + shipping. Interested? Click here to order.
In 2006 the Heritage Society started publicing their own newsletter called Heritage Highlights. You can download your free version here.