Editors’ Note: The following will be featured in the 2016 Year In Walking Horses book, which will become available for viewing during the National Trainers’ Show. 

“He’s the horse of a lifetime,” is definitely a true statement in regards to Lined Up At The Ritz. Although it goes without question that this year’s recipient of the Year In Walking Horse Pleasure Horse Dedication is truly a horse of a lifetime for any horse owner. 

Born on May 23, 2005, Lined Up At The Ritz was sired by Lined With Cash and out of a He’s Puttin’ On The Ritz mare, Ritz Walking. He was bred and raised by Charles Baldwin of Slocomb, Ala. 

In just 11 short years, he has recorded an impressive resume that includes six World Grand Championships, eight World Championships and one Reserve World Championship. All of these wins have come in the park pleasure division in both open and amateur competition, and all under the directions of Southern Serenity Ranch in Cedar Grove, Tenn. The gorgeous, grey stallion has entered the ring 62 times during his career with 58 wins. A feat that many owners only dream of for their contenders.

Originally co-owned by Steve and Pat Wilson and Charles Baldwin, Ray Baldwin broke Lined Up At The Ritz, who later was sent to Sammy Day with his first foot. Within 60 days, Day said he had a lot of natural talent and they were offered a substantial amount of money for him as a padded horse. Day recommended to the owners that they send him to Howard Hamilton since he had so much natural talent.

At the time, Howard was on the lookout for a new show horse for Sandra Johnson. Hamilton and trainer Patrick Thomas took him for a month trial and realized there was something special about him. That Christmas Bill Johnson purchased the two-year-old stallion for his wife Sandra. It was quickly decided that the park pleasure division would be bested suited for him because he had so much natural walk about him. “He's the same every day,” says Hamilton.  

In 2008 Sandra made her first show ring appearance with Lined Up At The Ritz at the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration and together they won their first world championship in the Owner-Amateur Four & Under Wester Park Pleasure class. Later in 2010 the dynamic duo returned to the big oval, this time walking away with the Owner-Amateur 50 & Over Park Pleasure World Championship, followed by the Owner-Amateur Park Pleasure World Grand Championship title. The Johnsons were undefeated with the talented stallion during their ownership.

With the show ring success, Lined Up At The Ritz was beginning to have a huge fan club and in 2012 Fred Rowan, another customer at Southern Serenity, decided that he wanted to purchase the impressive stallion. During that season Lined Up At The Ritz had an undefeated year capturing blues at the Columbia Spring Jubilee, Money Tree Classic, PC Splash, North Carolina Championship, East TN Trainers Show and Tunica Fall Classic, all with trainer Patrick Thomas. Also that year, Thomas aided in adding the Riders’ Cup Four & Over Park Pleasure Stallions World Championship to Lined Up At The Ritz’s growing resume.

At the end of the 2012 season, Rowan made the decision to partner with Jim Nichols so that Lined Up At The Ritz could be shown in both the open and amateur division. “I loved the horse from the first time I laid my eyes on him. He had a special look in his eye; a presence about him of a champion,” stated Nichols. Thomas and Nichols certainly had a successful season in 2013 claiming top honors in 17 classes and adding two more world championships and two world grand championships to his ever-growing resume.

He is the most natural horse I have ever dealt with. The combination of his natural ability and amazing trainers is what attributes to Lined Up At The Ritz’s success,” expressed Nichols.

Thomas and Nichols would continue their winning streak in 2014 capturing 14 blue ribbon victory passes, including another world championship with Nichols in the Owner-Amateur Park Pleasure class and another world grand championship with Thomas in the Riders’ Cup Park Pleasure class. Nichols added that every time in the saddle with this amazing horse is a memorable moment. “He gives everything he has each time he goes around the ring. He is all business when the gates open,” claims Nichols.

As the years continued, Lined Up At The Ritz amassed more and more fans. In the summer of 2015 one of those fans, Lisa Baum, became intrigued with this gorgeous animal that had such an impressive show record and natural ability. With the encouragement of Lauren Hamilton the Baum’s decided to add Lined Up At The Ritz to their show string line up. A good decision it certainly has been! 

Baum has shown Lined Up At The Ritz 16 times and 16 times has been victorious! In just two short years, this team has also been able to add two world championships and two world grand championships to their list of top honor. They currently hold the Owner-Amateur Park Pleasure World Grand Championship title; a repeat of their first season together in 2015. “He has found his forever home,” exclaims Baum.  
Baum recalls her most memorable moment with Lined Up At The Ritz being her 2015 world grand championship ride. This ride was memorable for so many reason. Not only because it was their first as a new team, but it was actually Baum’s first spotlight ride in her show career. It will always be a moment she will never forget!

After speaking with several owners and trainers of Lined Up At The Ritz it is clear that all of them comment on his unique personality. Lauren says, “Lined Up At The Ritz is so friendly to everybody and other animals, he even took care of a litter of kittens. He's so gentle and kind. Every day is a good day for Lined Up At The Ritz.”

"He's the best natured horse you could ever meet! He's pretty special," expressed Howard. When you walk into Southern Serenity, Lined Up At The Ritz is stabled in the first stall, ready to be greeted. "He's a good way to start and end the day!"

“No matter if he's showing, exhibiting, or letting different people take turns up in the saddle, he's the exact same. There's so many wonderful moments through the years with Lined Up. He has been a part of our family for years, but probably the best memory of him is just watching him make dreams come true for so many riders and he's done it for a long time,” says Hamilton. “He's the true definition of a horse of a lifetime!”
For this and many, many more reasons, the Year In Walking Horses is dedicated to Lined Up At The Ritz. 

Click here to view our feature in the Year In Walking Horses book.