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“Mr. Blue Ribbon” Hershel Talley Alabama’s One Man Hall Of Fame



The legend of the late, great Hershel Talley is one which all Alabama Walking Horse enthusiasts - even those who never saw this man in the saddle or had the privilege of meeting him - are well versed in, for his career as a trainer spanned some 60 years. It is one most of the old timers know and is one that everyone should know.

After ten years of increasingly declining health, Hershel passed on February 27, 2002. He battled insurmountable health problems that would have taken a man of much lesser determination many years earlier. Despite all this, his many hospitalizations and operations, he still insisted on attending as many local shows and other horse functions as possible. It was difficult for him to be there...but he HAD to be there...for next to his love for his family, horses were his life.

Anything Hershel Talley loved, he loved with the greatest of passion, and another of these was his church, Lystra Baptist Church, where his funeral service was held March 1, 2002. He was active in every possible way, a deacon, choir member, and inspiration to other members...just as he was in the Walking Horse industry. Hershel was at the first meetings of and one of the organizers of both Walking Horse Trainers' Association and of the Alabama Walking Horse Association.

He fought for his life valiantly during the last few years just as hard and with just as positive an attitude as he fought for any challenge presented to him in the showring...and the final, ultimate, heavenly horseshoe of roses is now his, always and forever. He passed with his lovely wife Dorothy (nee' Smith) of 54 years and daughters Priscilla Talley and Nanette Talley Clark at his side at the age of 81. And in those 81 years, Hershel Talley was one of the greatest, and all too much unsung, heroes, of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.

The beautiful, stirring tribute that his daughter Priscilla wrote, that Liz Kyle Riehl read, at Hershel's service was the most fitting of memorials to this great man, great husband, great father, and great horse trainer. Hershel was a man who made it to the pinnacle of his profession when times were much different and much harder to do than they are now...and he did it all with the greatest of class and distinction...and hardest of work.

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