by Renee Isaacs

Charles Stivers, who is originally from Manchester, Ky., was introduced to the Tennessee Walking Horse by his father, Charles Stivers Sr., more than 40 years ago. Stivers’s father provided for the family through the coal mining industry. The family owned a farm, named Green Briar Stables in Manchester, Ky., where they kept walking and racking horses.

Stivers showed his first horse at a hometown show at the age of four. The first horse he showed was a Shetland pony, which he exhibited many times before moving up to performance horses. Showing horses quickly became his hobby.

Stivers’s father had several horses in training with RJ and Carroll Doyle in Cynthiana, Ky. Charles Stivers Sr. hauled the wood used to build RJ’s barn from Manchester, Ky., to Cynthiana, Ky. One of the most memorable horses at Doyle Stables was Ebony’s Spring Song who was KWHA high point champion as a two, three and four-year-old. She was shown by Stivers as an aged mare before the family sold her.

I.C. Delight and Mr. Delight P were two other horses who were successful for the family during that time. Stivers claimed many high point awards and is very proud of how well they competed in the ring.

“Something memorable for me was when I watched Billy Gray ride my favorite world champion, Delight’s Bummin Around, to a World Grand Championship in 1973. Just before the show that night, I talked to John C. Miller, owner of Delight’s Bummin Around. He was in the warm up area wearing a pair of bibbed overalls, whittling. I remember this well,” said Stivers. He stated that another favorite world grand champion of his was The Pusher C G.

The Stivers family showed horses for many years before eventually finding another hobby. Archie Stivers, mother of Charles, still resides at the farm in Manchester. Stivers stayed out of the horse business for nearly 20 years before returning.

Stivers married Tracy Phillips, who is originally from Manchester, in 1985 at the age of 23. They now have three children; two sons, Glendon, age 20, Christopher, age 11; and one daughter, Chelsea, age 17. The family still resides in Manchester, Ky., and is now active in the horse business again.

Stivers feels his biggest accomplishment in life is his occupation of being self-employed. The Manchester native is a certified public accountant and owns a real estate and investment company. He has been successfully self-employed for 20 years. Stivers doesn’t have much spare time between horses, family and work, but he likes to relax and you might find him at his favorite vacation spot, Hilton Head Island.

Christopher, Stivers’s youngest son, saw pictures of his dad riding horses and decided that he wanted a horse. They purchased a pleasure horse, and the urge was back to show Tennessee Walking horses.
One of Stivers’s friends, Kenny Smith, was his first partner on a horse. You might say that Smith was instrumental in Stivers returning to the walking horse business. Smith introduced Stivers to Danny Hughes, a long time horse trainer of Russell Springs, Ky. Stivers then purchased another horse and ended up with several horses in training at J & H Stables. He enjoys the company there and admires how important the care of the horses is to the staff at J & H.

In July 2007, Stivers was back in the saddle for the first time in over 20 years. Owingsville Lions Club Horse Show, one of the largest shows in Kentucky, was his pick to debut Beyond The Glory, who is now I’m Glorified, in the Two-Year-Old Amateur Stallion class. The team walked their way to top honors and Stivers claimed his first blue ribbon on a performance horse in nearly two decades. He was hooked again, and his next move was to purchase Smoke N Cash.

Stivers’s ultimate goal is to win a world championship or a world grand championship. In 2008, he rode Smoke N Cash to a reserve world championship in the Owner-Amateur Novice Gentlemen on Novice Stallions class. Smoke N Cash was his first great horse. Stivers feels he is very fortunate to have the opportunity to show such a nice horse and plans on contending again for a world championship.

When asked what he thought the difference was between past and present in the horse industry, he replied, “Now there is too much red tape. It isn’t as fun, and I guess more than anything, it is the unknown. You don’t ever know what will happen. However, I still enjoy the Tennessee Walking Horse for its smooth gait and I have a good time participating.”

Stivers is an avid supporter of the industry and makes many contributions to many events. He was a corporate sponsor at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in 2008 and will be in 2009 as well. Not only does he support his own area, he sponsors shows in North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee with the belief that the industry is entitled support.