Monday, April 23, 2018

4/23/18 Wing Commander's 75th birthday celebration at Meadow Brook Hall

The American Saddlebred Association of Michigan recently held a celebration for Wing Commander's 75th birthday at Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester Michigan.  Here, in 1943, Wing Commander was born at the estate of Frances Dodge Van Lennep's mother, Matilda Dodge Wilson.

Much has been said about Wing Commander elsewhere in this blog.  A 6 time 5-gaited World's Grand Champion, he was also a 6 time leading breeding stallion, leaving a legacy of subsequent generations filled with more World Grand Champions, Hall of Fame broodmares, and high ranking stallions.  He was a one of a kind, whose name was recognized by Saddlebred fans as well as the general public.  He even appeared in Life Magazine in 1954 during his heyday.

Meadow Brook Hall, the estate built in the 1920's by Matilda Wilson, was donated to Michigan State University in 1957 and became Oakland University.  Meadow Brook Hall is an imposing 88,000 square foot home, still furnished as it was by Mrs. Wilson, and is open to the public for tours.  The architecture, the furnishings, the artwork and the grounds are all worth a trip to this home, which is now a National Historic Landmark.

One of the highlights of the evening's celebration were Dave Bedell's stories of Wing Commander.  One might expect that a 90 year old would remember seeing Wing Commander show, but Dave was honored to have been in a jog cart behind Wing and sitting alongside Earl Teater.  He also got to pick up Wing's foot, and watched from Wing's stall as he was being prepared for the Lexington Jr League's show at the Red Mile's historic round barn.  Dave questioned Mr. Teater when he noticed that the ribbon being used to braid Wing Commander was wider than the standard ribbon.  In a style far different than today, Dave was told by Earl Teater that he liked Wing's braids on show day to be "short, fat, and cocky!"  Not many people today can hold claim to such memories.

Wing Commander as a 3 year old
Frances Dodge and her mount Pendennis.
The original oil by George Ford Morris hangs in Meadow Brook Hall.
Frances Dodge in 1933 at Meadow Brook Hall.  
The entrance to Meadow Brook Hall over the bridge 

Was this originally one of Frances Dodge's barns?

This room off the main living room featured huge windows, a great view and a wormy chestnut ceiling.  It was my favorite room in the mansion.  
Round doors and ornately carved paneling were found throughout the home.  
Another room with a fabulous view. 
A hallway on the first floor.
Danny Dodge's bedroom
A trophy from the Toledo, Ohio show in 1929.

Matilda Wilson's bathroom
The ballroom at Meadow Brook Hall.
Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra once performed here. 
The book signing table for "Riding on the Edge", 
a book about Frances Dodge. 
The billiards room in the basement of Meadow Brook Hall. 

A delightful and informative evening at Meadow Brook Hall reminded us all that Michigan will always be able to lay claim to the fact that CH WGC Wing Commander was born right here.


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Saturday, March 17, 2018

3/18/18 #200, ASB's forever, and a search for a White Tie Event




This post marks the 200th entry of the American Saddlebred Blog, so I decided to do something a little different.  From time to time, someone reaches out and asks if I have information about a particular horse.  It could be a famous show horse, renowned breeding stallion, an obscure horse in their current horse's pedigree, or one owned by their grandmother decades ago. Recently, a reader asked about a horse she had in her early teen years.  The mare's bloodlines were first class, and I relate to the story of a first horse that's never forgotten.  In any event, this post will look at the bloodlines of a treasured mare, review search features of this blog in case you're ever searching for a specific horse, and a quick look at the versatility of American Saddlebreds.




White Tie Event Stonewall's Main Event Starheart Stonewall Stonewall King  My King
Gloriann (BHF) 
Queen Anne Of Windsor  Alexander Monroe 
Louisville Lou 
Katie Boone Ace O'Goshen American Ace
Kalabara O'Goshen (BHF) 
Rachael's Genius (BHF)  Genius Of Stonyridge 
Lady Paula 
Wing's Luv'n Kisses  Buck And Wing CH Wing Commander  CH Anacacho Shamrock
Flirtation Walk (BHF) 
Lovely Maid  Society Rex
CH Moreland Maid (BHF)
Fire's Royal Dream  Royal Rambler  The Rambler 
Emerald Present (BHF) 
Nancy Wild Fire  Ensign Kirby
Wild Witch
#1 ranked breeding stallions marked in blue          Hall of Fame Broodmares marked in pink



First we'll look at some of the more famous horses in White Tie Event's registration papers.  Many have been covered before, so there will also be a link to a previous post that has more info on a particular horse.    


Stonewall's Main Event
he sired many good horses, that's why he was ranked #1 in 1984 & 1986.
Starheart Stonewall
#1 ranked stallion in 1960, 1961 and 1962
Stonewall King
#1 ranked sire in 1945 through 1947, he was a true breed builder.
Alexander Monroe
He was a grandsire of Starheart Stonewall

Ace O'Goshen
he was the broodmare sire of Stonewall's Main Event and
his full sister was the dam of Gallant Guy O'Goshen



American Ace
#1 ranked sire in 1948 and 1949
Genius of Stonyridge
He was a full brother to Bourbon Genius, Leatherwood Genius,
Leatherwood King and The Genius.



Buck and Wing
a well known son of Wing Commander
Wing Commander
WGC for 6 straight years and #1 sire for 6 straight years
Anacacho Shamrock
#1 breeding sire 1951 through 1957

Flirtation Walk
All her colts were sired by Anacacho Shamrock
Lovely Maid
the only colt she had was Buck and Wing
Society Rex
a good son of Kalarama Rex
Moreland Maid
WGC and BHF
Royal Rambler
his dam was BHF
The Rambler
a good son of Genius Bourbon King


Ensign Kirby
a good son of Cameo Kirby, who was a full brother to Anacacho Denmark



Wild Witch, the 4th dam of White Tie Event
was a full sister to Jean Lafitte (pictured here), who was a
Reserve World's Champion under his original name, Valrodare.
White Tie Event and Brooke at age 11
Every little girl's dream













White Tie Event







White Tie Event at a Civil War Reenactment


Obviously, White Tie Event was special to her owner Brooke. When Brooke was 11 years old, just a few minutes after she was introduced to White Tie Event, her mother told her the two best words she'd ever heard, "She's yours!"  What a thrill for any youngster.  "Tie" also showcased the versatility of the American Saddlebred.  This mare was kind and gentle to her young owner, but true to her bloodlines, she could be hot when the occasion arose.  She competed in the show ring in several divisions.  She performed before an audience at a Civil War Reenactment. This mare was located in Virginia, but over the next few years, moved all the way to California, then back again to stay with her family.  Thanks to Brooke for sharing her story. 

 American Saddlebreds can do it all, and we should be marketing the breed as the versatile equine they are.  Once smitten, owners become lifelong lovers of this breed.  We need to do more to encourage fans of all ages to the American Saddlebred.  Not every horse is Louisville bound, but they are valuable in so many other ways. 
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Please remember that this blog has a search feature.  Depending on your browser, usually in the upper left you'll find a search tool and you can do a search for any horse that's been mentioned in the blog.  The appropriate post should pop right up.  And there's always Google.  Search the name your looking for along with American Saddlebred Blog and Google should help you locate any horse contained in the blog.  Another option is to contact me via the blog on Facebook and I'll try to help. 

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

3/4/18 Youth's Charm

Somewhere in Illinois is a grave marker for an American Saddlebred mare named Youth's Charm.  Her owner must have felt she deserved a remembrance, and indeed she did, for she was a broodmare of note.  Foaled in 1925, she was by Ben Sory who was a grandson of Montrose.  Youth's Charm no longer appears on the pedigree of any living horse, she has no show record that can be found, and she's not in the Broodmare Hall of Fame, but she has left her mark on the breed.  Producing 6 colts and 3 fillies during her lifetime, her daughters made a name for her, and then carried on that name.

Youth's Charm was bred to some of the leading stallions of the day, including #1 breeding stallion American Born.  Moreland Peavine, a son of Rex Peavine,  and his son Hallmark Peavine were also bred to her.  Society Rex by Kalarama Rex, and Admiral Denmark by American Born each sired one of her colts.
American Born
f. 1921  Guided by Love x Lena Jemison BHF by Highland Denmark
He sired several of Youth's Charm's colts

Hallmark Peavine
f. 1934  Moreland Peavine X Blanchita BHF by Bourbon King
he sired Watch Charm BHF

Moreland Peavine
f. 1924 Rex Peavine X Ladybug by Highland Denmark

Society Rex
f. 1937  Kalarama Rex X Spoonbill BHF by Sun Flower
He sired Youth's  Charm's last foal

Here is a list of her more famous offspring, and what they accomplished. 

Make Way For A Lady was her 1938 foal by American Born.  She was a World's Champion weanling in 1938 and Reserve World's Champion as a yearling, then went on to produce ten foals of her own.

Society Charm was Youth's Charm's last foal, born in 1943 and sired by Society Rex.  He sired about a dozen colts.

Watch Charm BHF was Youth's Charm's foal of 1940, and was sired by Hallmark Peavine.  She was shown as a weanling at the Kentucky State Fair.  Of her 14 foals, several were good enough in the show ring to put Watch Charm in the Broodmare Hall of Fame.  Among them, the American Ace son Ace's Lucky Charm also went on to sire numerous colts.  His full sister, Ace's Radiant Charm was a good 3 gaited mare.  Another full sister, Ace's Roberta, produced the WGC Forest Song.  Another daughter of Watch Charm, American Souvenir by American Dictator, produced the nice stallion Rosemar Souvenir by Vanity's Sensation. 
WGC CH Forest Song
Broadlands Captain Denmark X Ace's Roberta
Her 3rd dam was Youth's Charm

WGC Moreland Maid BHF was Youth's Charm's 2nd foal and was born in 1932.  She is by far her most famous offspring.  She was the 3 Gaited World's Grand Champion in 1937, and it's interesting to note that many of the other horses with Youth's Charm in their extended pedigrees were also 3 gaited horses.  Moreland Maid produced two colts who were gelded, and five fillies.
WGC CH Moreland Maid BHF
American Born X Youth's Charm

Most of the horses tracing to Youth's Charm do so through two daughters of Moreland Maid.  Here they are.

Maid of Orleans was Moreland Maid's first foal and was sired by the great King's Genius.  She, like her mother, was a 3 gaited show mare.  She also went to Grand View Farm in New City New York with her dam and they both lived out their lives at that farm.  Maid of Orleans had nine full siblings sired by Grand View Farm's head sire, Golden Thunderbolt.  They included the breeding stallion Grand View's Matinee Idol, Grand View's Roxy Anne, and Thunderbolt's Genius Lady.  All were good producers. Thunderbolt's Genius Lady was owned for a time by Jim Aikman, long enough to produce Fire Bolt, the 2nd dam of BHF Bourbon 'n Coke, who in turn was the dam of WGC One for the Road.  Grand View's Matinee Idol was sire to Buddy, Best ever Saddlebred, so my first horse had Youth's Charm on his pedigree.
Bourbon 'n Coke BHF
Premier's Bourbon Genius X Hide a way's Country Bumpkin
out of Fire Bolt
out of Thunderbolt's Genius Lady
out of Maid of Orleans
out of Moreland Maid
out of Youth's Charm
WGC One for the Road
Supreme Heir X Bourbon 'n Coke BHF
Youth's Charm was his 7th dam!
Grand View's Matinee Idol
Golden Thunderbolt X Maid of Orleans
Youth's Charm was his 3rd dam 
Buddy Best Ever Saddlebred
He had Youth's Charm on his registration papers

WC Lovely Maid was sired by Society Rex.  She was a World's Champion several times in various 3 gaited divisions.  She only produced one colt, but she made it count.  Her son, Buck and Wing was sired by Wing Commander.  Buck and Wing sired CH Tender Tears, CH Short Street, and CH Bandstand, among many other good horses.  His daughters also did him justice.  Danville Debutante BHF produced WGC Finest Hour.  Buck's Cotton Tail BHF was in the Broodmare Hall of Fame.  His  daughter Lady Gambler BHF was also in the Broodmare Hall of Fame and produced CH Callaway's Born to Win.  Buck and Wing's daughter Third Daughter, while not in the the BHF, produced WGC Onion.

Lovely Maid
Society Rex X Moreland Maid BHF
her 2nd dam was Youth's Charm
Buck and Wing
Wing Commander X Lovely Maid
His 3rd dam was Youth's Charm
Buck's Co Star
Buck and Wing X Starheart's Daughter by Starheart Stonewall
CH Bandstand
Buck and Wing x Courageous Fire by Courageous Peavine
CH Tender Tears
Buck and Wing X Giggles by On the Go
WGC Onion
Family Jewels X Third Daughter
note that Third Daughter was a full sister to Buck's Co Star

WGC Finest Hour
Stonewall's Main Event X Danville Debutante BHF by Buck and Wing
CH Callaway's Born to Win
Callaway's Blue Norther x Lady Gambler BHF by Buck and Wing
He sired some good horses before he was gelded.  

Here is some more information about Youth's Charm from Elaine Laux who gave me the idea to use her as a topic.  

The marker is on a farm in Danville, Illinois. We requested research from the American Saddlebred Museum in Kentucky and received interesting documentation. They had to go into the archives of course and it was amazing all the information they had. Youths Charm was born on Moreland Farms in Lexington, KY in 1925 and died 1946 in Danville, Illinois having a foal that also died. Youths Charm was sold to Mrs. Wm Bryce of Vermont in 1934 for $1000 and was at Kalarama Farms. She was then sold to Dr. Glenn Browne of Hoopeston, Illinois for $2100. At the age of 18, this was the second highest price ever paid for an aged broodmare. She was advertised as a "consistent producer." Youths Charm was then transferred to Nathaniel Smith in 1945 and sadly, died on his farm in 1946.

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