Skip to content

A Tribute To Colonel H.L. Coleman




 

Colonel H.L. Coleman
On April 12, the Walking Horse Industry lost one of its strongest long-time and best loved supporters when Colonel Harold L. Coleman passed away at his home in Clemmons, N.C. after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. For more than 40 years, Coleman was a leader in the industry, especially in his home state of North Carolina.Coleman and his beloved daughter, Debra, were introduced to the Walking Horse industry in the fall of 1966 with the purchase
of noted Alabama show pleasure contender, Missouri Go Boy. Little did he know what was to come, how great a role the breed would play in his life when Debra began competing the following spring aboard the black gelding with immediate induction to the winners’ circle. This
was the start of a monumental relationship with the breed for the Coleman’s, amassing double-digit worked crowns as the next four decades unfolded.It was watching Debra show and win all over the country that brought Coleman his greatest pleasures and triumphs in a life filled with successes in virtually every one of his endeavors. His pride and joy in her varied accomplishments were unparalleled. In the early 1970’s, reigning three-time World Champion gelding, Shadow’s
Sterling, was purchased from the Edwin Hubbard family and Debra’s domination of amateur ranks began. This team campaigned both from Burke and Kenneth Myers Stables in Winston-Salem and David Polk Stables in Clemmons.While showing under the Myers banner, the Coleman’s also experienced the heartbreak of their great junior stallion contender, Copy’s Perfection, being diagnosed positive for Equine Infectious Influenza. They also knew the thrill of victory under trainer Jack Johnson as their spectacular young chestnut mare, Delight’s Satin,
won the Two-Year-Old Filly World Championship.Also, in the early 1970’s, Coleman’s long-time association with David Polk Stables began with the purchase of then unknown Delight’s Shadow S. “Tarheel”. In their show ring debut as a team, Debra rode Tarheel to a reserve 15.2 and Under Amateur World Championship, which was a prelude to countless successes to come. She also won many open amateur titles aboard a powerful black stallion, Ace’s King Coal, in this period, including at the Spring Fun Show. Former three-time World Champion, My Fair Lady, also carried Debra to many wins in the late 1970’s.It was at the 1977 National Walking Horse Trainers’ Show in Louisville, Ky. that the Coleman’s assumed ownership of the legendary Darling Delight, who was just then becoming heralded as one of the greatest mares the breed had ever produced. It was after Polk had gained the aged mare title and owner Paulette Simpson had
directed the black beauty to the Amateur Mare Championship that the Coleman brand was stamped on the mare that was the talk of the show and who was to be the toast of every show ring she entered. Darling Delight and Polk had an undefeated season and were accorded the crown of Aged Mare World Champions, and following year continued in unbroken blue ribbon vein as Debra took the mare to the top of the amateur world. Beginning with the Amateur Grand Championship at the Statesville, North Carolina Tar Heel Classic, the beautiful girl aboard the show-stopping mare amassed blue ribbons all the way to the Amateur Mare World Championship. Plans were for them to campaign toward the Amateur World Grand Championship the following year, a goal most thought easily with reach of the team’s capabilities until dreams were dashed with the untimely passing of Darling Delight.Nothing however would stop the father and daughter combination and eventually a deep walking, head shaking roan gelding named Mighty Man’s Rascal was attained for Debra and the amateur titles continued to flow in endlessly. The roan powerhouse and his talented exhibitor were among the first and few to defeat the team of Mister Delight H. and Lynne Utter Northrop, who had taken more than 20 World Championships in ladies’ ranks. Several World Championships ensued for Debra and Rascal, with the team’s career highlighted by winning the Ladies Amateur World Grand Championship, the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association Ladies’ Horse of the Year award and
retiring the challenge trophy in the over 15.2 gelding class at the Celebration. This horse was referred to often as the greatest gelding of his era and was probably the Coleman’s all-time favorite contender.After Rascal’s passing, the success story gained yet another chapter with the renowned roan gelding The Snow Job. Already a three-time two-year-old Celebration winner at the time of his purchase through Ramsey Bullington Stables, The Snow Job captured world titles as a three and four-year-old, as well as several world championships in open amateur gelding ranks with Debra at his reins. Debra currently campaigns the flashy former World Champion mare, Sunrise At Midnite, under the banner, and the duo has claimed ladies, 15.2 and under and open amateur titles at most of the Walking World’s major showcases. Just as nothing pleased Col. Coleman more than seeing Debra win, nothing warmed the heart of one of the greatest
horsewomen to come from North Carolina than having her father cheer for her from ringside.
Coleman exemplified many of the most noteworthy attributes of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed he loved for so long and so well. Longevity-his was a more than 40-year love affair with
the breed and all of the people who are part of it. Loyalty-owners come and go as a matter of course for many trainers, however Coleman appreciated the job trainers such as Ramsey Bullington and David Polk, both of whom he was a customer of for close to 20 years, and
Chad Williams most recently. Versatility-both Coleman and daughter Debra enjoyed all aspects of the Tennessee Walking Horse from owning their own barn, producing a plethora of world champions, breeding, trail-riding and participating in all aspects of the industry, with long-time involvement with the TWHBEA, WHOA, and North Carolina Walking Horse Association. Affection-he was loved by all whose lives he touched and enriched. Another trait Coleman was to become know for was serenity. Most are familiar with the prayer known as the Serenity Prayer- “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” As his amazing life unfolded, Col. H.L. Coleman was indeed endowed with serenity, courage and wisdom not only where the Tennessee Walking Horse was concerned, but in all aspects of his life.He will be tremendously missed but never will be forgotten.

More Stories

  • Equine Obituary – Watch It Now

    It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of Watch It Now due to complications from colic... Read More
  • South Central Kentucky Walking Horse Association cancels banquet

    The South Central Kentucky Walking Horse Association has canceled their annual banquet for 2021. The association hopes to host their banquet in 2022. For more information, contact Frankie Jo Bradley at 270-6460-7957. Read More
  • APHIS posts 2020 enforcement activity summary

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has posted their fiscal year 2020 enforcement activity summary... Read More
  • Museum to receive 1946 copy of Blue Ribbon magazine

    The Walking Horse Report recently received a copy of a 1946 Blue Ribbon magazine.  The copy was sent by a Report subscriber Robert Smith in Elma, Wash... Read More
  • NAS makes recommendations regarding inspections

    The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) released their report, “A Review of Methods for Detecting Soreness in Horses,” earlier today. The committee has been working on the report for over a year with their first meeting happening in October 2019... Read More
  • USDA to host virtual training for HIOs

    The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services has informed the industry’s Horse Industry Organizations that it will host a virtual training this year due to ongoing conditions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.  Read More
  • Kentucky HIO makes plans for 2021

    The Kentucky HIO recently announced updates for the 2021 show season. The HIO will lower horse show affiliation fee to $50 and maintain the $6 inspection fee per horse this year... Read More
  • Get the news…FAST

    It has been a year! The Walking Horse Industry remains strong and our supporters continue to dedicate their time and efforts to ensuring our future. Sales have seen record-high numbers and barns continue to bustle with the talk of the “next great one.”  Read More
  • WHTA seeks new office manager

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) has posted an opening for its office manager position. The WHTA will begin taking applications immediately.  Interested applicants should send their resume to the WHTA at PO Box 61, Shelbyville, Tenn. 37162. Read More
  • Obituary – Dr. Gordon DePoyster

    Harold "Gordon" DePoyster, 78, of Greenville, died Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 3:00PM at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Dr. DePoyster was born October 5, 1942, in Muhlenberg County. He was a dentist and a member of First Christian Church in Greenville... Read More