Friday, April 11, 2014

4/12/14 S. J. "Jack" Thompson Jr and Knob Creek Stock Farm

This will be the first time a person has been featured in a post, but Jack Thompson and his family are deserving of special attention.  As usual, the topic of this week's post just presented itself.  Looking through some of the old Saddle & Bridle magazines from the 1950's, I noticed the picture of Noble Kalarama on the cover of the February 1952 issue.  The John R Horst photo was dated 1951, which meant the stallion was 20 years old when the photo was taken.  I started digging..................

Stephen J Thompson Sr. owned a working farm in Hodgenville Kentucky and raised a few saddle horses on the side.  He married late in life and his children were born when he was in his fifties.  His nephew, John Thompson lived with the family and helped train the horses.  His youngest son, Jack, born in 1912, also had an affinity for horses and began working with them at a young age.  S. J Sr owned Red Light 2nd, a nice quality stallion that was used as a sire by many neighboring mare owners.  The other breeding stallion owned by SJ Sr was King Vine, by Rex Peavine.  He was a 5 gaited stallion shown by John Thompson at the Kentucky State Fair and was in the ribbons in the stallion stake several times in the early 1920's.  King Vine sired Spelling Bee in 1923, and she was out of a mare by Red Light 2nd.  Although she was a good 5 gaited show mare, her lasting value came as a broodmare.  She produced stallion sons Meadow Majesty (sire of WGC CH Vanity) and  Kalarama King. She also was the dam of Rosemary Lane (dam of Fire Lane), but her most famous offspring was Flirtation Walk (BHF), dam of Wing Commander.

In the early 1930's S J Sr passed away, but Knob Creek Stock Farm continued under the management of his nephew John and son Jack.  In 1932, they purchased a bay yearling colt by Kalarama Rex named Noble Kalarama.  The colt was brought along slowly, then John Thompson also passed away in 1935.  Jack Thompson was forced to sell the family farm, but continued training horses at the LaRue County Kentucky Fairgrounds.  Noble Kalarama became a good fine harness horse and was twice reserve and once World's Grand Champion Fine Harness horse.  He was also the only horse to defeat Vanity twice, and she was only beaten three times in her entire career.  Noble Kalarama was also gaining a reputation as a good sire, but shortly after his wins at the Kentucky State Fair,World War II broke out.  Jack Thompson was drafted into the Army and he had to leave Noble Kalarama and his band of broodmares in the hands of friends.  Jack was in Italy, and in January of 1944, he stepped on a land mine and lost both legs above the knees. His right elbow was also severely injured.  (Personal note: my mother-in-law was an Army nurse stationed in Italy from 1943 to 1945 in field hospitals. It's possible she cared for Jack Thompson, as she did many others)

Jack Thompson  was rehabilitated, but remained in hospitals in Italy and then the US until a year after his accident.  He was fitted with prosthetics and learned to walk again. And most amazingly, he continued to work as a trainer of saddle horses.  The farm he had purchased before going in the service didn't have indoor training facilities, so he had to drive the colts outdoors.  His help would long line them, but Jack always broke the colts to the jog cart.  Jack also managed several other stallions in addition to Noble Kalarama, including Leatherwood King, Genius Bourbon King and King of Rose-A-Lee.  Jack also managed the broodmare band for the  owner of King of Rose-A-Lee, including Lucy Kilmer, who would later be inducted into the Broodmare Hall of Fame.  Another mare that belonged to Jack, Peavine's Lady Dare, had been neglected by some neighbors while he was in the army.  Upon his return, he brought her back to good health and bred her to Bourbon Genius and the resulting foal was Genius' Flying Saucer, the sire of Carey Stonewall.

Noble Kalarama became a leading breeding stallion in the early 1950's, and Jack Thompson gave a special exhibition  at the Kentucky State Fair in 1951.  This was undoubtedly when they were photographed by John R. Horst.  Noble Kalarama passed away in 1953, and Jack Thompson became ill with kidney disease and died in 1955 at the age of 43.  That he was able to continue his work with saddle horses with the disabilities that he endured is simply amazing.  Looking at the horses that were bred, owned or shown by his family indicates what a lasting impression this family had on the saddle horse industry.

Red Light 2nd 
sired by Lightfoot Brummel, he traced back to Washington Denmark
He was put down at age 31 when Jack Thompson had to sell Knob Creek Farm.
HIs father had told Jack never to take Red Light 2nd off the property. 

King Vine
sired by Rex Peavine out of Bourbon Belle by Bourbon King
He is shown here by John Thompson. 
He sired Spelling Bee (BHF)

Spelling Bee (BHF)
King Vine X daughter of Red Light 2nd
Ridden by Jack's sister Ann Thompson.

Meadow Majesty
Kalarama Rex X Spelling Bee
He sired WGC CH Vanity (BHF)

CH Meadow Vanity (BHF)
Meadow Majesty by Kalarama Rex out of Spelling Bee X Live Wire Beauty
The mare that Noble Kalarama defeated years later
was a granddaughter of Spelling Bee

Kalarama King
Kalarama Rex x Spelling Bee

Flirtation Walk BHF
King's Genius X Spelling Bee
dam of Wing Commander and all his full siblings by Anacacho Shamrock

Noble Kalarama
Kalarama Rex X Daisy Reed by Noble Denmark
Shown here by Jack Thompson in 1951.

CH Noble's Color Added
Noble Kalarama X Kentucky's Lady Dare
This horse was also shown by Jack Thompson on several
occasions at the Kentucky State Fair.

CH Lady Lola
Noble Kalarama X King Vine's Fancy by King Vine, 2nd dam by Red Light 2nd
She was truly a product of the Thompson Family's breeding program.
This top mare was a World's Champion and owned & shown by Josephine Abercrombie. 

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