A 36 year love affair with the Tennessee Walking Horse and a 50 year love affair with each other is the foundation that undergirded the selection of Jim and Jeanine Gullett as the owner honorees for the 2001 Year In Walking Horses.

The Gulletts were introduced to the Tennessee Walking Horse by Tommy Kerkeles. They first attended the Celebration in 1966 and, like many, were attracted to the beauty of the horses and the excitement of the show.

They decided they would like to own some walking horses and Kerkeles sent them to J.T. Leech, whom Jim Gullett had met earlier during some time he spent in Nashville, Tenn., on business. The Gullett’s built a stable at their home in Duluth, Ga., just north of Atlanta, and acquired a resident trainer, Jimmy Brown.

Later, Wayne Jones took over their show string and the Gullett’s won their first world championship in 1970. Jeanine Gullett rode Son Of Panola to the Ladies Gelding World Championship in a unanimous decision over a 50 plus horse field.

“We were totally shocked!” Jeanine Gullett remembers. “We felt like we were new and just getting started. It felt wonderful to win!”

Jim Gullett also showed and he enjoyed fun and success in the amateur division on the stallion Shadow’s Mesach. He decided he better enjoyed the role of supporter and sponsor. He also is a natural ground man. “He’s good at telling us what to do,” Jeanine Gullet humorously said.

Ralph Hensley also trained for the Gullett’s in Georgia. Jeanine Gullett enjoyed statewide success on Rhythm’s Motion Man, sired by Man Of Rhythm, whom they saw Boyd Hudgins win the FourYear-Old World Grand Championship at their first Celebration.

A string of regional and Georgia state champions trained by Willie “Flip” Cook followed such as the stately Ace’s Man Of Glory. He was sired by 1970 World Grand Champion Ace’s Sensation, owned by Duluth neighbors Randall and Peggy Rollins of Sugarloaf Farm.

The Gullett’s enjoyed a year to remember in 1985. They saw the great Charcoal’s Delight at the International and purchased the four-year-old stallion through trainer Dave Brown. At the Celebration that year, Jeanine Gullett won the 15.2 and Under Amateur Gelding World Championship on Bum’s Showboat and then came back in the ring a few classes later and earned the Four-Year-Old Amateur Stallion Reserve World Championship on Charcoal’s Delight.

Stormy’s Headman made headlines for the Gulletts in 1988. He won the TWHBEA Two-Year-Old Stallion National Futurity with trainer Winky Groover and Jeanine Gullett rode him to the TwoYear-Old Amateur Stallion Div. A Reserve World Championship.

Crimson Parader was the Gullett’s headlining entry in the ‘90s. Jeanine Gullett won the Amateur 60 & Over World Championship in both 1994 and 1996 on the strawberry roan stallion trained by Ronal Young. The Gulletts still own Crimson Parader and stand him at public stud at Maple Leaf Stables in Shelbyville, Tenn.
Doubleclutch’s Playboy was poised to be one of the Gullett’s best horses. Jeanine Gullett showed him six times in 2000 and won six blues. However the talented 15.2 and under stallion succumbed to a twisted intestine and died in July before the Celebration.

The Gulletts believe in giving back to the industry that has given them so much. They were on the founding board of the Walking Horse Owner’s Association. Jim Gullett served on the executive committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association and is a past president of the Georgia Walking Horse Exhibitors Association. Jeanine Gullett has put in countless hours on horse show committees including the first year Georgia hosted the National Trainer’s Show in Stone Mountain in 1975.

The 2001 show season, the Gullett’s 37th one, was as good, if not better, than all the rest. With a second home in Shelbyville, Tenn., Jeanine Gullett burned up Middle Tennessee’s four-year-old amateur division on Mozambique, trained by Mickey McCormick. The pair went on to nab the Four-Year-Old Amateur Mare and Gelding Div. A World Championship. Reminiscent of 1985, the Gullett’s purchased The Golden Sovereign just before the Celebration and Jeanine Gullett rode him to the Reserve World Championship in the B division of the Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallion class.

The Gullett’s also enjoyed another special moment in 2001. Their granddaughter, Kari Tisma, the daughter of Steve and Trish Gullett Tisma, won the TWHBEA Youth Council Championship on Pride’s Hard Cash at the Southern Championship horse show in Perry, Ga. All three of the Gullett’s children, Ronnie, James, and Trish showed as children and Kari Tisma’s entrance into the show ring marked the third generation of Gullett family riders.

 “We’ve stayed in this sport all these years first and foremost because of our love of the horses,” Jeanine Gullett, said. “Secondly, because of all the many wonderful people we have met and the lasting friendships we have developed with people throughout the country who share our love of the horses.”