Posted February 7, 2002

The Walking Horse Owners’ Association held its annual convention February 14-15 at the Nashville, Tennessee Airport Marriott. This was the first time WHOA had chosen a Middle Tennessee location for its convention, and the decision proved a good one as the association saw its largest ever turnout.

The first order of business at the General Membership and Board of Directors meetings was to announce that Wayne Henry had been reelected to the president’s post. Marie Brundige, John Eldridge, Ronnie Spears, Ron Sharp and Robert Whitmire were all reelected to three-year terms on the WHOA Board of Directors, with Judith Burgess the only new three-year member. Reports on WHOA’s financial status, the new Register Of Merit (R.O.M.) Program and the Judge’s Committee were positive.

In addition to the General Membership and Board of Directors meetings, a Plantation Pleasure Seminar was also conducted. A panel comprised of Mag Ranft, Julie Szymanski, Marilynne Orr, Roger Hand, Bill Reed and Chairman of the Pleasure Horse Committee Jean Baum broke the Pleasure horse into seven categories. Films were viewed to enlighten the audience about the criteria that is expected of the seven different divisions of Pleasure horses.

The annual dance closed out the weekend of activities and lightened the mood as many danced beyond the midnight hour to the sounds of a sensational band.

The highlight of the weekend, however, was the dinner and presentation of the National High Point Awards. With the concept of the National Horse Show Commission now being the sole governing body for the industry, the National High Point Awards have gained in prestige.

Topping the list with nine High Point wins and three end-of-the-year honors were the horses and customers from Ramsey Bullington Stables. Within the Bullington line-up, the Bob Parks Family was the big winner. Bob Parks himself was voted Amateur Sportsman of the Year, while his mount, Jubilee’s Rising Star, was voted Amateur Horse of the Year. In addition, this duo claimed high point honors in the Open Amateur and Amateur Stallion and Gelding divisions. Bob’s other mount, Jubilee’s Star Wars, topped the Three-Year-Old Amateur High Point division.

Oldest son Newton and his horse, Pride’s Mr. Strideaway, championed the Juvenile 12-17 division, while Strideaway himself was voted Juvenile Horse of the Year.

Trainer of the Year honors were awarded to Bud Dunn, while Dark Spirit’s Rebel was voted Aged Horse of the Year for owners Mr. and Mrs. Frank Neal.

Accumulating the most points (1545) to be named Overall High Point Walking Horse was the Plantation performer, Pride’s Foolish Pleasure. Owner/trainer Linda Smith accepted the award.


Rounding out the activities in February was the Murray Farm Sale in Lewisburg on the 29th. The sale featured the absolute auction of Barbara Harvey’s Shady Oaks Farm. The highly regarded breeding stallion, Pride’s Sunrise, ranked as the top selling entry of the day. The sire of What A Sunrise and Impressive Sunrise, this beautiful stallion was purchased by Ken Willis. His son, a two-year-old full brother to What A Sunrise, The Sun Riser, filled the number two position and became the new property of Joanne Curred.

With 100 entries filling the sales agenda, sale manager Ray Beech reported a top five average of $14,760, while the top ten boasted an average of $9,760.

Sara Margaret Renfroe

Sara Margaret Renfroe, Troy, Alabama, died February 14 at the age of 73. Mrs. Renfroe was an avid horsewoman, who won numerous awards and trophies in Walking Horse Shows throughout the South. A successful breeder of champion horses, Mrs. Renfroe owned several large farms in Pike County.

F. Stephen Hall III

F Stephen Hall Iii, of Canton, Georgia, formerly of Atlanta, died February 14. Hall and his family have been long time Georgia Walking Horse enthusiasts. Stephen, as a youth, was a popular exhibitor on the Georgia scene. One of his favorite mounts was the now Classic Horse, Sweetpea.


For the tenth year, the Walking Horse Report offered its readers the chance to voice their opinion as to the industry’s best from the previous year in a number of categories.

Russ Thompson Stables was the readers’ choice as the Best Overall Barn. In addition, Danny Wooten of Russ Thompson Stables was voted Assistant Trainer of the Year.

Headlining the Thompson banner were the Arthur Gordon family-owned Gen’s Fire N’ Ice and Ebony Go Boy’s Dream. Fire N’ Ice was voted Amateur Specialty Mare or Gelding of the Year, while Dream was named Juvenile 11 & Under Mare of the Year.

Topping all stables with nine award winners was Carl Edwards & Sons Stables. Their Readers’ Choice winners included: Generators Sundrop, Three-Year-Old Amateur Stallion for Crowley Farms; Pushin’ In Dixie, Four-Year-Old Mare or Gelding for Buck and Hawkersmith; Generator’s Silver Lining, 15.2 & Under Mare or Gelding and Ladies Mare for Crowley Farms; Generator’s China Doll, Aged Mare for Crowley Farms; Hometown Favorite, Aged Gelding and Amateur Gelding for former owners Buck & Hawkersmith; and Pride’s Ringleader, Amateur 60 & Over for Dr. and Mrs. W.H. Hill. Slim Moore rounded out the Edwards winners by being named Groom of the Year for the sixth time.

Trainer of the Year honors were again awarded to Bud Dunn, while Steve Hawkersmith was named Amateur Exhibitor of the Year. Kathy Brown was voted Juvenile of the Year, and her Ebony’s Backwoodsman claimed the Juvenile 11 & Under Gelding of the Year. The North Carolina Championships was voted the Best Multi-Night Show of the Year, while the Moneytree Classic was named best One-Night Show of the Year. Once again, Pride’s Generator was voted Sire of the Year.