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Golden Oldies-Vic Thompson



Vic Thompson

            Vic Thompson has greatly impacted the walking horse industry in virtually every area. He was a trainer, promoter, breeder and a long time enthusiast. Thompson began training in his native state of Texas in 1939 after his father purchased 22 horses at the Murray Sale. Thompson caught the walking horse bug even though the horses were quickly sold for double the money.
            Thompson was the founding president of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association, an early inductee into the Hall of Fame and played a major role in the breed’s early development in Middle Tennessee. Thompson opened his training barn in Shelbyville in 1951 and spent 20 successful years training. Thompson directed Sun’s Jet Parade to the 1957 World Grand Championship and Ebony’s Senator to the 1969 World Grand Championship.
            Thompson’s personal favorite mount was Mr. Sensation, two-time Reserve World Grand Champion and six-time consecutive World Champion Aged Gelding. He was also the Amateur World Grand Champion, carrying Deedy Decker in her long-remembered solid silver sequin riding coat. Mr. Sensation won over 400 ribbons under Thompson’s training.
            Amateur and juvenile riders out of Vic Thompson Stables dominated the show scene for many years and the list of trainers who worked under Thompson early in their years is truly amazing.
            Thompson started the Sale of Champions in the late 1950s. The first sale was on the Celebration grounds in the warm up ring and all the entries were required to also be Celebration entries. In subsequent years, the sale was held in a tent on the hill where the farrier station is today. It had become one of the leading auctions in the nation by 1960. The Sale of Champions was purchased by S.W. Beech Jr. and Pete Yokley later in the 1960s and was moved to its present site across from the Celebration grounds.
            In 1968 Thompson retired from training and opened Stallion Stables for breeding with a championship lineup. Thompson was known for his gruff voice and his full steam ahead on whatever the project. His contributions to the industry and the breed are legendary.

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