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Equine Obituary - Out On Parole

Aside from his winning ways and stellar influence to the breeding aspect of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Out On Parole became known as much for his interaction with his huge fan base. Long after his 2002 World Grand Championship title at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, “Opps,” as he was affectionately known, remained a great ambassador for the breed.

Out On Parole died Sunday, Jan. 21, at age 21, after complications during surgery that would remove a large tumor he had developed. 

“Yesterday was a sad, sad day,” said Randall Baskins, who owned and loved the horse along with his wife, Sadie. “He had a tumor and we were going to remove it but he died on the operating table. It was really bad when we discovered it … Yesterday was tough. Who ever knew we’d be tearing up and so sad over a horse.”
But Out On Parole wasn’t just any horse. He was a seven-time world champion, a champion sire, and a charismatic performer who exhibited in many public forums, including once at the University of Tennessee homecoming. 

“He was more horse than we ever dreamed of having,” Baskins said. “He won just about every time he went in the ring. He was just an all-time great horse with the best disposition, you know? And he just loved Sadie. He wanted all her attention. I don’t know why but he did.

Trainer Steve Dunn had trained Oops his entire career with help from his late father Bud, who taught the horse to canter, and he shared in the family’s grief. 

“He was good to me for a long time,” Dunn said. “I won more blue ribbons with him at the Celebration than any other horse. He had a great demeanor, and natural ability that made him fun to fool with.”

His love for showing and a fan base who reciprocated that love are reasons why Dunn said they kept him in training long after their 2002 World Grand Championship. Dunn and the Baskins wanted people to continue enjoying him. On many occasions, the Baskins encouraged Dunn to exhibit Oops at public forums.

“The beautiful stallion, under Dunn’s watchful eye, would carry dozens of riders, both experienced and novice, on the ride of their lives,” said Mike Inman, current CEO of the TWHNC. “The powerful performer exhibited the great talent and temperament of the breed. He seemed to know how much the rider could handle and he would deliver a thrill of a ride and take care of them both at the same time. He was one-of-a-kind and will be missed.”

Out On Parole’s success was a given from the time he came to be, with a winning pedigree that includes his sire Pusher’s Doing Time and a dam, Pride’s Golden Doll, who was by Pride’s Gold Coin. Other champions in his lineage include Midnight Sun, Sun’s Delight, Go Boy’s Shadow, Triple Threat and The Pusher C.G. 
In 1999, the same year Bud Dunn won the World Grand Championship aboard RPM, Steve and Out On Parole capped off an outstanding season with the Two-Year-Old World Grand Championship. 

In their second year out, the pair finished as world champions in the three-year-old preliminary and reserve world grand champions in their age group. This reserve was the last time Oops ever wore anything other than a blue or tricolor out of the Big Oval. 

As a four-year-old, Out On Parole continued to prove he was a force to be reckoned with as he finished another good season as the Four-Year-Old World Grand Champion. It was after this win fans really began to catch on and speculate how he’d perform in the aged stallion division. 

The beautiful and big-going roan stallion had a great back stride and a nice front end and at the start of the next show season, in 2002, all speculation was put to rest when he made his debut as an aged horse at The Spring Fun Show. 

Several of the industry’s finest contenders showed up for the challenge but Dunn and Out On Parole left the season debut show as unanimous winners. That was their final appearance that year until the Celebration that year. 

Come August, after a great preliminary class and a lot of cheering, they were named world champions in division A for the aged stallions. Eleven contenders showed up for the World Grand Championship a week later, and Dunn and Out On Parole received a roaring applause as the last ones to enter the ring. 
His long and powerful career reached its climax when Steve Dunn directed the champion to spotlight victory pass to a roaring applause of his fans. While Bud was not present for this win, there was a special added reminder of his presence as Steve wore his tie. It was a special night for the Baskins, the Dunns and all the fans who loved Oops. 

The Baskins did their part as outstanding owners and promoters of this horse, and that tradition carried on long after 2002. Even at shows he did not attend, it was not uncommon to see fans carrying around his picture at shows all summer long. 

“To have seen Out On Parole perform is to have seen the model walking horse in action,” according to the 2002 edition of the Year In Walking Horses, which was dedicated to him. “Out On Parole possessed all of the traits a fine horse needs to wear the roses. A great team of owners and a gifted trainer all played their part in helping him become the 64th World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse.”

Oops went on to spend his days in the breeding world, making significant contributions with hundreds of offspring. In 2013, he was officially retired during a special exhibit at the Celebration that fans will long remember.

“So many, many, many people loved that horse, the whole industry,” Baskin said. “He just had the best attitude and people wanted to praise him for all that he was … He was a great one.”

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