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Seaton reflects on flag horse role



By Sadie Fowler

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. — Bud Seaton is no stranger to the show ring and certainly doesn’t need much practice, but he made a trial run Wednesday with new Celebration flag horse White Diamond Dollar to prepare for the pair’s debut performance, which will take place at next week’s Fun Show.

Besides the Celebration, The Fun Show is the only other time the official flag horse and Seaton perform each year. The Fun Show will take place May 24-27 at the Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville.

“It’s an honor to carry the flag,” he said. “It’s a bigger deal than some might think,” adding he appreciates the crowd’s appreciation of opening ceremonies during the 11 days in August each year.

Seaton met the horse’s trainer Dick Peebles inside the arena Wednesday morning as a small crowd gathered for a sneak preview. Celebration CEO Mike Inman announced last week he’d hired the three-year-old mare, owned by OK Walking Horse Farm/Dr. Bob and Curtice McCloy, last week.

Inman said finding the perfect replacement for the big and white gelding Counterfeit Dollar, the horse that carried the flag for many years and is also owned by the McCloy family, was no small task. Coincidentally, both horses are further connected to each other via bloodlines tied to Generator’s Silver Dollar.

Seaton, who has guided the flag horse for nearly 25 years, with the exception of the last couple years following Counterfeit Dollar’s replacement, resides near Murfreesboro. He enjoyed his first ride about the mare, which went off without a hitch.

“This is my first time seeing her,” he said, as Peebles’ trailer pulled onto the grounds Wednesday morning. “She sure is pretty, isn’t she?” Despite her young age, White Diamond Dollar is grand in stature, gentle in nature.

“She’s bred to do what she’s doing,” the trainer said. “When we started riding her it was clear right away that she likes doing her job and likes making everyone happy. She’s a big baby.”

Sweet in nature, the mare’s power came alive when Seaton hopped in the saddle. Sired by Out On Parole and out of a Silver Dollar mare, the new flag horse seemed as seasoned as any veteran performance horse when she and Seaton took the rail.

“She’s nice, real nice,” said Seaton, following the ride. “Yeah, boy.” He said he wouldn’t have been surprised if she was a little nervous carrying the flag for the first time, since it could be a distraction to any horse, despite their age — however the mare wasn’t bothered a bit.

Seaton began his role of riding the flag horse in 1994 after a career training horses. He said he was nearing retirement when asked if he’d be interested in the job, thus the timing was right.

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