Saturday, September 9, 2017

9/10/17 JR Ragsdale, a trainer of note

How many people get to work at what they love, are good at what they do, and get to do it for 50+ years?   If you're lucky, you can accomplish two out of three on that list.  JR Ragsdale was lucky to succeed in all three areas.  Ragsdale came from a family of horsemen, and some of his ancestors were present at the founding of the American Saddlebred Horse Association in 1891.  At that time, it was known as the National Saddle Horse Breeders' Association.  In 1991, at the centennial celebration of ASHA, there were three families represented that were still in the industry a century later.  They were the Greenwells, the Barhams, and the Ragsdales.

Born in 1910, Jamie Ray Ragsdale grew up in Missouri surrounded by saddlebreds.  However, after high school, he decided to go out west and worked on a cattle ranch in Wyoming.  After meeting up with some saddlebred folks out there, he decided to come back to work with his favorite breed again.  He worked as a groom for Chester Caldwell and was present when King's Genius and Caldwell won the Stallion Stake at Louisville in 1933 and 1934.  He also worked for CE Fisher at Dixiana Farm under Ross Long.  JR Ragsdale and Marvin Conatser were both grooms for Howard Dickey in Detroit Michigan in the late 1930's.  About this time, JR Ragsdale met another future employer, Dr. Robert H. Elrod of Toledo, OH.

Dr. Elrod owned Ottawa Creek Farm near Berkey Ohio.  JR Ragsdale trained and showed many horses for him, including his stallion, Grey Mac.  For many years, there was a large portrait of Jim Ragsdale showing Grey Mac that hung in the tack room at the farm.  He said he adored the stallion, and his biggest problem was that he was grey.  One of his fondest memories while at Ottawa Creek was being able to show Grey Mac against Oak Hill Chief.  He chased Oakhill Chief around the ring at Lexington and stayed up Lee Roby's tail.  He may not have won, but there were many good horsemen that told him he should have.

Another memory from his Ottawa Creek years was a December day in 1941.  The radio was on in the barn, and Pearl Harbor had been bombed.  He continued to train at OCF in 1942 and 1943, but was drafted into the Army late in 1943.  He wound up at Fort Riley Kansas, along with horsemen Charlie Huston, Whitey Kahn and Dick Lavery.  There he was in charge of the staff stable for the cavalry.

After returning from the service, he went back to training horses for Tom Mills at Broadview Farm, then on to Stonyridge Farm in Ohio for Joe McAdams.  They stood the stallion Genius of Stonyridge (King's Genius X Kate Haines), who was a full brother to Bourbon Genius and The Genius that he handled while at Dixiana in the 1930's.  Fritz Jordan and Claude Alexander also worked at Stonyridge, but when Joe McAdams dispersed in 1954, JR went to work for Lin Mac Stables in Waynesville, Ohio.  After that, Jim Ragsdale moved to Florida and spent the rest of his career in the Sunshine State.

While in Florida, he worked for Dale Shaffer, whose daughter Candy had a great show string.  JR Ragsdale told his amateur riders to "be consistent, stay on the rail, and show the horse, not yourself."  He was noted as a patient trainer who brought his horses along at their own rate, but he could sometimes be impatient with people.  Once again, the stable he worked for had a dispersal, but the Shaffer's gave him the horse Starlight Starbright, and he bought the farm from them.  Over the next few decades, Ragsdale continued to train horses and was inducted into the UPHA Hall of Fame.  He showed horses up until a week before he died, which happened suddenly, but fittingly he passed away at his barn at age 82.

Some of the horses he was associated with were CH Technistar, CH Heavenly Gorgeous (shown as Starlight Starbright), CH Cora's Time, and CH Glory Kalarama.  A lot of people couldn't get Starheart Stonewall horses to rack, but Jim Ragsdale proved them wrong with CH Anna Rooney Stonewall.  The pictures below are in chronological order, from the 1930's until 1992.  Many of the pictures came from his son Carter, and quite a few were from his years at Ottawa Creek Farm.
1935, showing in hand


1938  Good News at Northville, Michigan

1938  Spellbinder at Northville, Michigan

1940 at Northville, Michigan

1942 Dark McDonald

1942 Grey Mac

1942 Noble Miss at the rack

1942 Noble Miss at the trot

1942 San Angela at Cincinnati Ohio

1943 Grey Mac at Lexington, Kentucky

1946 Ottawa's Headliner

1946  Ottawa Commander

1956 CH Anna Rooney Stonewall

1959 CH Heavenly Gorgeous

1962  Kissin Kalu

1965 CH Glory Kalarama

1965  CH Glory Kalarama

1973  CH Cora's Time

1992  Star Swinger

Be sure to visit the blog's Facebook page and like us.   Thanks to all who already have!

Friday, August 25, 2017

8/25/17 World's Championship Horse Show at Louisville Kentucky

I haven't been to Louisville since 2013, and I find that lots of things have changed.  Horses that were WC in 3 Gaited classes are now showing in Walk Trot equitation.  Horses that were showing in Fine Harness are now Country Pleasure.  My mini trip was for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but there was a great variety of classes.  Sorry for the cell phone pictures, but I hate carrying around the better camera.  Here are some pictures and a few videos to get a taste of not only the WCHS, but also the Kentucky State Fair.  During the evening session I sat in the upper deck near the middle and during the day session I was right at the in gate.  Two  very different perspectives and thanks to my friends Brad and Cindy for the tickets.

The line up for the Ladies Amateur Five Gaited Mare class.  
Many of the classes were filled to overflowing!

Storm Seeker pulled both of her front shoes.  Not to worry, the 
farrier got them both on within the 5 minute time limit.  And that
qualified them for the finals of the Amateur Five Gaited Championship
where they place 8 out of 15.


A short clip of reigning WGC Top of the Mark

Top of the Mark on Monday night in the Stallion Stake.  

Lady Mandolin was one section of the Junior Exhibitor Three Gaited 
for riders 13 and under.  She is a former WGC in Fine Harness from 2015.
She also won the Championship class on Friday night.  

This was Section 2 of the American Saddlebred Junior Park Pleasure class.

Michigan had a lot of participants in the morning sessions.
This is Paddyington's Talk About Me leaving with his ribbon.  

During the break between sessions, I went to Broadbent Arena to check out the livestock.
These border collies put on a show herding ducks.  They were amazing.  

And of course I had to watch the sheep showmanship classes.  

Riverdreams' Spitfire took a good reserve in the ASB Registry National 
Three year old Futurity Five Gaited.  He reminded me of his sire WGC Marc of Charm

A well filled Roadster to Wagon class had 7 entries.  

Sadly, there was no Emerson, but it was still thrilling to watch!

The next three shots are of the victory pass in the Three Gaited 15.2 and Under Stake

Last year's winner Don O'Neill made no mistakes, but I agreed
with the judges on this one.  Roselane's Angelo was brilliant!

High stepping over Howie's head.  

8 & under equitation, Alexa and Edna

The Code Cracker repeated as the winner in the ASB country Pleasure Driving class

Ella and Timely Caper were in the Walk Trot Equitation class for 9 year olds

It was fun watching the trainers from this perspective, not just in the equitation classes, 
but in all the classes.  Some were very animated, some were elated, some were
disappointed.  Surely, there is a lot of pressure on these pros.  

The smile says it all, I got a ribbon at Louisville!

 I liked Snowpine's Pola Vortex more than the judges in the ASB Registry National 3YO Futurity 
3 Gaited Park Pleasure class.  However, they got a good 3rd place ribbon out of 14 entries.  

The Junior Exhibitor Roadster Pony class
for drivers 14 to 17 had 12 in the class.  

Stat won the class.  

the 10 year old Walk Trot Equitation class. 

There were 21 entries in the ASB Western Country Pleasure class.  


This short video gives a look at 14 out of 21 entries.
The winner is on the rail.

CH Your Lucky Stars won the top ribbon.  

On the way out of town last time I visited the show, I stopped at Cherokee Park to see the statue of Carolina and John Breckinridge Castleman.  It was sad to hear that someone defaced this wonderful statue.  Our history wont be any different by the use of malicious acts.

Please like us  on Facebook!

Friday, August 11, 2017

8/12/17 1967 A snapshot from half a century ago. Part 2

This post will finish up the year in review for 1967.  July through December issues of Saddle & Bridle magazine feature some amazing Saddlebreds from half a century ago.

July had some well known show horses.  The front cover was a Walking Horse, so I used the back cover.  Art Simmons of Mexico Missouri used the back cover of every single 1967 Saddle & Bridle magazine to advertise his stable.  The early part of the year featured his breeding stallions and later magazines featured many of his show horses and prospects.  Is there anyone like Art Simmons out there today? 

The back cover listed many of Arthur Simmons' horses. 
Holiday's Best Wishes and Jenny Dulworth.
What a powerful mare. 

Local Talent and April Denham

Starlike and Pete Shull driving
After her show days, she became a Hall of Fame Broodmare.

Technistar and Mrs. Merle Doyle
Still showing strong at age 14.

August was yet another strong show horse issue, but again the cover went to a Tennessee Walking Horse.  Art Simmons featured Tashi Ling on the back cover. 

Tashi Ling, the year before she was World's Grand Champion

Broadland's Captain Denmark with his proud owner, Jolie Richardson. 

Hayfield's Belle

James L and Cynthia Woods

Look A Here

Lovely to Look At

My-My at Lexington. 

Super Command and trainer Thad Williams

The Love Charm


September had Arthur Simmons on both the front and back covers.  

Sea Beauty

Broadland's Patrician Lady

Benedictine and Tim Swindler
She was another good broodmare after her show days were done. 

Courageous Connie

Another photo showing her great power. 

Princess Julia

October featured more show horses.  What else?

The Alley Cat and Valerie Knowlton

Bright Hour

Dream Lover   unretouched
Dream Lover,   barely recognizable as the same horse

Folorama and Marty Mueller
unfortunately, this wasn't his real name.

Ottawa's Denmark
This picture wasn't in Saddle & Bridle, but show results were.
This horse was 2nd to Local Talent at Fort Wayne. 

Scarlet Ribbons

November started getting a bit thinner as show season was winding down. 

Follow Me was on the cover

Supreme Airs and Mrs. F.D. Sinclair

Supreme O'Lee and Tim Swindler

The December issue carried many ads as Season's Greetings.  On the cover was Lee Shipman and Tamerlane.  A pretty horse, but that wasn't his registered name.   

Who was he really?

Grand View's Matinee Idol while still on the East Coast
He went to Berkey Ohio in 1968 where he sired Buddy, Best Ever Saddlebred.

Penny Stonewall and Jay Altmeyer

Suki Tu,

Supreme O'Lee

Hope you enjoyed a very brief trip through the pages of all the 1967 Saddl3e & Bridle magazines.

Please be sure to visit The American Saddlebred Blog's Face book page and like it!