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Reprinted from VOICE Magazine
A dream began when a beautiful palomino mare, Lady Moonbeam L. met a handsome stallion, Ebony's Sunny Boy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  Their union produced a set of twins:  Sunny Boy's Dianna and Sunny Boy's Apollo.
Sunny Boy's Apollo - click here for illustrated pedigree. As they grew and developed, Sunny Boy's Apollo began to act too much like a young stallion, and his owner, Laird Harman of Riner, Virginia sought a new home for him.  Mr. Harman contacted Sis Osbourne of the TWHBEA and wanted to be put in contact with someone who might be interested in a palomino stud colt and would be willing to keep and train him in the natural, flat shod way.  Sis contacted Knight's Pals to see if we would be interested.  The next thing we knew, we were on our way to Virginia and brought the colt home to Hermitage, Tennessee.  Oh, what a beautiful Sunny Boy!

It was our plan to keep Sunny Boy as a stallion and use him for breeding.  He was so pretty and of such good bloodlines.  He began his basic training with Carol Tosh, who was training at 20/20 Farm at the time.  He was the subject of a video, "How to break and train a colt."

Sunny Boy learned his lessons well and was no problem to start under saddle.  He grew more handsome every day, but it soon became evident that he had more things on his mind than lessons.  With Joe Kovalick in the saddle, Sunny Boy was set in his gaits and made to push and pull to the best of his ability, even though he had other things on his mind.  He went through two teachers before the decision was made to geld him and use him purely for pleasure.  

Sunny Boy spent several months at the well known Derickson Farm in Stanton, Kentucky, and it was there at their annual plantation clinic that he was started in his canter.  With Herbert in the saddle, and H. T. directing, he picked up his canter on the correct lead the first time, both first and second way of the ring.  

Oh, how proud of him I was.

Upon discovering what a sharp, quick mind he had, I decided to enter him in the Versatility Program as a three year old.  As he continued to develop, fine tuning his gaits and cues, it became evident that he thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of competition - especially in the game events.  He was sharp, quick, alert, and eager to learn.  We began to work on barrels, poles, western riding, trail, reining, and, last of all, jumping.  Through the hard work of day-to-day training, and with suggestions and direction from friends and professionals, Sunny progressed remarkably.  Then came my broken wrist, which slowed me down, but not Sunny Boy.  Wayne Hackney picked up the reins and taught him roll backs, spins and driving.  Thanks, Wayne, for filling in the gap.

Training Sunny

When we started in versatility events, the opportunities were few and far between here in middle Tennessee.  Now, we at least have our annual Versatility Day in conjunction with the Celebration each year.  An especially rewarding occasion was when Sunny Boy became the western riding champion at the 1994 Versatility Show.  PWHAT realized the need for such classes and began adding versatility events to its monthly fun days, thanks to our good friend, Shirley Davis.  We still don't have enough of these opportunities here in our area, but our Heydays are growing and show managers are adding more of these classes.

How well I remember the exhilarating thrill of our first jumping competition in 1994.  Oh what a thrill and how exciting it was.  Sunny Boy loves it too.  My appreciation goes out to Cathy Hackney for jumping instructions and encouragement.

Sunny Boy bends these poles with exuberance and runs the barrels with speed and accuracy with good friend, Carol Coppinger in the saddle many times to perfect these events.  It never ceases to amaze me that horse people here in Tennessee don't realize our Tennessee Walking Horses can do these things. 

Sunny Boy has been the subject of our Christmas card as a reindeer;  been The Lion King in a costume class;  met important dignitaries from the world over at Belle Meade Plantation; and ridden the trails from the Daniel Boone National Forest, Big South Fork National Reservation, to our own Bucksnort Trails here in Tennessee.  He is a versatile horse.

What a thrill it was in October of 1995 to realize our dream and goal of becoming Supreme Versatility Champion.  I sent Sunny Boy's record in for tabulation and was thinking we still lacked a few points here and there which we hoped to gain in the remaining shows before the deadline.  The phone rang on October 11, 1995, and Sis Osbourne asked, " Are you sitting down?  You and Sunny Boy are the Supreme Versatility Champions."

Sunny Boy had excelled in trail, barrels, poles, western riding, English, model, e-z rider, water glass, endurance and in promotion of the Tennessee Walking Horse.  It was truly a dream come true.  I cried with joy, I kissed Harlan, and went to the barn to kiss Sunny Boy and tell him he didn't ever have to go to another horse show if he didn't want to.   He said, "That's okay.  I want to;  it's in our blood."

He's right.. we love it.

Along with my thanks and appreciation to all the above mentioned, much appreciation goes to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association for giving us the opportunity, to our many friends and teachers who helped us along the way (you know who you are), and especially to our favorite groom (husband Harlan) who always got us there on time to participate and a big hug to Wayne and Cathy Hackney.

The TWHBEA Versatility Program offers a great opportunity to show what our great breed can do.  I encourage you to enter your best friend/horse in this program and share the pleasure, joy and excitement it brings.

A dream did come true....... once upon a time.

Please contact us for more information.

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Last Updated on
Monday, July 18, 2005 11:46:24 PM

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