Master Breeders

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

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…”

Harlinsdale Farm

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.

Charles Ramsey

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.

Sam Stockett

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.

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

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.

Larry Gribble

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.

Betty Freeman

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

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.

Hoyte Eakes

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.