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Celebration finds a new gem

By Sadie Fowler

Celebration CEO Mike Inman believes he’s right on the money with his pick of the new Celebration flag horse White Diamond Dollar, which will help the show carry on a long-standing tradition with an extra special touch. 
If it’s all in a name, take note of this fancy mare’s connection to the dollar. Her predecessor in filling the role of the big, white flag horse starring in opening ceremonies for 13 nights in August is Counterfeit Dollar, presented by Bud Seaton for 15 years prior to his retirement a couple years ago due to health issues.

Both horses are tied to the famous walking horse Generator’s Silver Dollar bloodline — and both have the same owner. In fact, OK Walking Horse Farms in Oklahoma also owned Generator’s Silver Dollar, now deceased, as well as one of his well-known offspring, A Strong Dollar.

Dr. Bob McCloy, speaking on behalf of OK Walking Horse Farms, said he and his wife Curtice have always loved the tradition of the flag horse during opening ceremonies at the Celebration and wanted to make sure it continued with the white horse ridden by Seaton. 

“We like the flag ceremony and we appreciate the fact that we have it,” McCloy said. “The horse world has retained that type of ceremony and we feel that’s important.”

Inman said he appreciated the McCloy’s commitment to the show, explaining it’s quite a large one. Once a horse becomes the Celebration flag horse, they can no longer compete, although they do have a chance to shine in addition to the Celebration when they also showcase the flag at the Spring Fun Show.
The bloodline connection of Counterfeit Dollar (sired by Generator’s Silver Dollar) and White Diamond Dollar (Silver Dollar was the great dam sire) makes the story unique, as does the connection the McCloys have to both horses, but the story gets even better. White Diamond Dollar is a mare — the first mare ever to carry the flag — and she’s only 3. 

“My wife came up with the name,” Bob McCloy said. “White Diamond is an Elizabeth Taylor perfume and since (the horse) is a mare it seemed like a good name to showcase.”

The family purchased the mare last month when they learned she was on the short list of horses Inman was looking at when naming the next flag horse. McCloy called Inman and said if he’d give the mare the job, he’d purchase her and carry on the longstanding tradition the family and bloodline have to the ceremony.
“They have a desire to preserve the horse and the tradition, but it’s a big commitment,” Inman said. “Not only do they have to buy the horse, but they have to take it out of competition. We consider this a huge gift to the Celebration and appreciate it tremendously.”

The Celebration pays for the flag horse to be in training during show season, and currently White Diamond Dollar is being prepared for her first go at the Fun Show by Dick Peebles in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Seaton and the young mare who’s referred to as mature and solid beyond her years, will be doing a demonstration practice ride next week.

“Bud’s been doing this forever,” McCloy said. “He can hop on and roll with it so there’s not a lot of practice necessary, but since she’s only three he is going to do a dry run. He’s a professional and has the ability.”
The trick to the job is having to hold the reins with only one hand with the flag in the other, he said. While it might sound challenging to some, Seaton has done the job many times, seemingly with ease aboard Counterfeit Dollar, from the late 1990s until just a couple years ago.

At that time, the gelding became ill and retired from duties. It was later discovered his illness was actually just an allergy to some type of green in Tennessee that does not exist in Oklahoma, where the horse is now healthy and fully enjoying retirement. 

McCloy, who’s been in the business since 1993, said he and Curtice are excited to return to the show this year and watch the making of new memories. It’s been a bit of a tough year, with Silver Dollar passing away at an old age first, followed by the unexpected death of A Strong Dollar in December.

The McCloy’s eyes — always a fan of white — are now set on their new jewel, White Diamond Dollar.
“She comes out of the stall every day clean and I thought that was remarkable,” he said. “She’s only three but she acts like and aged horse and she has a perfect step to her.”

Inman agreed, calling her a beautiful representation of the breed that’s hard to find. He’d been looking hard for the white gelding who could perform well before finally finding a mare — truly a diamond in the rough. 

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