Skip to content

Remembering The Touch



by Kasi Hensley


The Touch carried Chad Way to the winner’s circle as the youngest trainer to capture the World Grand Championship. He surpassed Doug Wolaver as the young trainer by only 6 months!



At 26 years of age, just shy of his 27th birthday, the walking horse world has lost one of its most memorable champions, The Touch. The flashy black stallion passed away due to complications with colic on Monday, Mar. 9, 2015. At the time of his death he was the oldest living World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse.

Joe C. and Peggy Martin bred and raised him under the name Grey John’s Touch on March 20, 1988. Martin also owned both The Touch’s sire, Another Grey John and his dam, Spirit’s Ebby.

In 1991 Hoil and Nancy Walker acquired The Touch. Nancy had enjoyed watching him from his tapes as a coming two-year-old.

The Touch was considered by many the dark horse of 1993 competition. The team of The Touch and Chad Way had a total of nine outings for their 93’ season that netted them prestigious titles at shows such as Belfast, Bethesda and of course The Celebration.

On that thrilling night on the 28th  day in August Way and The Touch had a “planned” delayed entrance. “I just kind of wanted to wait and let everybody watch for him,“ Way said. “The security guard kept calling me to 'c’mon, c’mon'. I was coming on but I was doing it real slow. I knew he was right. I kicked him up big when he came in the gate. That’s what really got things started.”


Hoil Walker, Lucille Powell and Nancy Walker join The Touch, Chad and Amber Way in the winner’s circle.



“He was just about perfect,” Hoil said. “He never made a mistake from the time he came into the ring. It was the biggest thrill in the world for us. It was what we have always wanted.” Well, it was almost perfect. Hoil Walker is very superstitious and he was not pleased to note that The Touch was the 13th horse to enter the show ring for the class.

The duo earned their spotlight ride amongst 16 other competitors. They were announced as the 1993 World Grand Champions with a unanimous decision with a record crowd at The Celebration with 29,131 fans cheering them around the ring.

The fall of 1993, The Touch began his breeding career at S.W. Beech’s. From there his was relocated to Twin Hills where he was under the direction of Tommy Martin and then David Williams. Williams, a well-respected stallion manager, dealt with The Touch for the greater part of his breeding career. “In The Touch’s first crop of colts (1997) he sired the Two-Year-Old Stallion preliminary World Champion, Retouch with Tim Gray and the Two-Year-Old World Grand Champion Touch Me Not with Rodney Dick. Touch mares have also gone on to do well,” said Williams. Williams stood The Touch at Twin Hills, Black Hawk Farm and Rising Star Ranch.
He lived out the final chapter of his life with Jamie and Eddie Holbrook of Rutledge, Tenn. “He was a fun horse to be around and he was a people’s horse. We currently have a few mares in foal to him that we have high hopes for, said Jamie Holbrook. The 1993 World Grand Champion “Touched” a lot of lives during his time. His legacy lives on through his champions in the ring and his daughters in the pasture.


The Touch had a lengthy and very successful breeding career that carried him to Twin Hills, Black Hawk Farms and Rising Star Ranch. His first crop of foals netting the Two-Year-Old World Grand Championship and the Two-Year-Old Stallion World Championship.

More Stories

  • Latest Issue 6 21 21

    Read More
  • Be mindful of leadline participants

    The Tennessee Walking Horse industry is fortunate to have participants that range from small children to those that have experienced a full life. Many of our participants first introduction to the Tennessee Walking Horse is through our leadline classes... Read More
  • Obituary – Mary Ella Burke

    Mary Ella Burke of Wildersville, Tennessee, passed away Friday, June 4, 2021, at the age of 82. She is preceded in death by her husband, Earnest F. Burke, her mother Beaulah Johnson and father Ray Johnson... Read More
  • Walking Horse Owners Association presents the Charles B. Howard Memorial Fund Scholarship

    The Walking Horse Owners Association is honored to announce the Charles B. Howard Scholarship program for the year 2021-2022. Affectionately known as “Charlie”, he would want to help a career minded student to reach their potential and proudly present these first awards... Read More
  • Live from Liberty Lions Club

    ReporTV will provide live streaming coverage from the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show, Friday, June 18, beginning at 6:00 pm... Read More
  • The Money Tree Classic never disappoints!

    The WHTA Auxiliary has exciting news to announce! The MTC is proud to announce the addition of the Billy Gray Two Year Old Challenge, sponsored by David Williams... Read More
  • WHOA Cookeville Summer Classic horse show

    The Cookeville Summer Classic Horse Show will be held at the Hyder-Burk indoor arena on Saturday June 19 at 2390 Gainesboro Grade, Cookeville, TN. Casual show attire of a shirt with collar, long pants and boots is required... Read More
  • Obituary - H. Cloyd Philpott

    H. Cloyd Philpott, Jr. 84, of Lexington, NC passed away on Tuesday, June 8. A Memorial Service for Mr. Philpott will be held on Thursday, June 17th at 2pm at the First Presbyterian Church which is located at 15 West 3rd Ave, Lexington, NC... Read More
  • Christmas In July announces added money for Extravaganza classes!

    The Christmas In July Show to be held June 29-July 1, at the Bedford County Agricultural Center in Shelbyville will offer additional prize money in its extravaganza classes featuring two-year-olds and two other classes ending nightly sessions. In total, four classes will be paying $1000 first place money... Read More
  • Obituary – Mike Janeway

    Mike Edwin Janeway was born on August 1, 1944, in Maryville, TN. He was the son of Oscar Wiley Janeway and Mildred Montgomery Janeway. Mike’s involvement with horses began when he was an infant, because his grandfather, James Calvin Montgomery, always had horses... Read More