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Which Bloodline Most Influenced Today's American Saddlebred

interviews by Kenny Mills
Posted February 19, 2002
To understand where we are today, we must have knowledge of the past and in this case, an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses different sires have given the modern show horse. Saddle Horse Report randomly selected a group of trainers and breeders from across the country and asked their view of the past.

Ed Perwein - Bellville, TX Supreme Sultan, he did so well as a breeding stallion and his offspring have done so well...

Fred Sarver - Aroda, VA

There have been many lines that have been influential, but to pick one stallion it would be Edna May's King. From him came Anacacho Shamrock and Anacacho Denmark. From those two horses came two families of great horses still affecting the industry today. The effect of Edna May's King has been so tremendous. Lots of great gaited horses were direct disciples of the King line and the Anacacho line.

Gil Romito - Addison, IL

Wing's Fleet Admiral comes to mind but you are going to get two distinct differences in opinion. From the older crowd you will hear Wing's Fleet Admiral and Wing Commander... and from the younger crowd you will hear Supreme Sultan. Wing horses were larger boned, had more stamina, rougher looking and harder to train. The Supreme Sultan line of horses was more amateur oriented. They were finer, had less stamina, just as athletic, just lost it in the workout though. However, they were easier to train. The industry has changed in the past 30-40 years in a way that horses needed to be easier to train. Used to be that trainers would come and buy prospects and show them at least until they were five or six years old before they were ready for an amateur. Now for the prices we pay for horses, amateurs want to show them at two and three.

George Nash - Leola, PA

Wing Commander produced so many world champions. He was a great breeding horse, a foundation breeding horse, he sired many strong world champions that were gutsy and game and had no quit in them.

Bob Ruxer - Jasper, IN

For us Wing Commander, Supreme Sultan, and Valley View Supreme lines have been most influential. They have kept us going for almost 40 years. Merging those bloodlines has been most consistent for our breeding operation. With crossing lines you need quality and athletic horses to be successful. We get the looks and refinement from the Sultan lines and the gameness and athleticism from the Wing Commander line.

Jean McLean Davis - Harrodsburg, KY

If you go way back I would have to say Edna May's King. He produced the best gaited horses, but he sired all divisions with game horses. He was a great, great breeding horse. I had a friend who showed Edna May's King, his name was Revel English. He was the first amateur ever to win the Five Gaited World's Grand Championship. Also just to note a few examples, Edna May's King sired Anacacho Denmark who sired a mare named Daydream who twice won the big stake [Five-Gaited World's Grand Championship].

Melissa Moore - Versailles, KY

I would say Stonewall King and Wing Commander lines have been most influential. Wing Commander has been huge for gaited horses. He has given many of today's lines the stamina needed to be competitive. Now on the Stonewall King side his line can be found to be a little more refined and prettier, but still with the stamina and gameness needed. And of course Sultan lines have had a major impact. Our stallion, Revival, is crossed three times to the Sultan line. Sultan horses are great for walk-trot or harness divisions and some gaited also, but I have to say Stonewall King and Wing Commander are best for gaited. I just love Stonewall King and when I see it in the bloodlines I try to breed to it to ensure its place.

Don Judd - Land O'Lakes, FL

In my mind it would be Supreme Sultan. Good or bad he has been most influential. They have been good for me,easier to work and train and a little prettier. I worked for Ruxer when Supreme Sultan was there as a breeding stallion and I bred mares every day almost. I also worked with Sultan's Santana when I was at Castle Hills Farm.

Anne Stafford - Cleveland, TN

I think what has been most influential is bigger numbers (more mares bred to a stallion), sometimes good or bad. Depending on who has a stallion and their economic background can determine whether he is bred heavily or limited. If a stallion shows as a young horse and then is bred heavily we won't know for two to three years if he is really a good breeding horse. So that is how popularity plays into our breeding also. Our blood lines are shaped by who has the horse and what mares they are bred to. It is not only the stallion that plays into it, it is the mare, training, nutrition, and veterinary care. It is a total package.

Ron Hulse - Center, MO

I have to say Anacacho Denmark has to be the strongest positive influence. I base that on the pedigrees he is found in. In the top producing stallions and mares in our industry he is found in all divisions. You can find him in Supreme Sultan and Yorktown. His horses have become outstanding performance horses. Supreme Sultan was very positive. He made workable and prettier show horses. Then there is Wing Commander, he gave us both positive and negative traits in our horses. He gave stamina and athletic horses, but there wasn't always the best of quality.

Donna Moore - Versailles, KY

For me, I like King's Genius and Edna May's King... and then there was Society Rex but we lost his line. Sultan's Great Day brought back the Stonewall King line. I really think the influence depends on where you were located. Wing Commander and Genius Bourbon King were the two most influential. They were prolific sires of sires and broodmares and I think that is so important for the broodmares. Stonewall King's mares were so wonderful. Wing Commander put gameness and athleticism in his horses where Genius Bourbon King gave them a beautiful top line and refinement. I am partial to Stonewall King, he has been good to me.

Virgil Helm - New Bloomfield, MO

I would say I like the Genius Bourbon King line. They are a pretty horse and very trainable. I am also real partial to Mountain Highland Memories and I would have to point out that Courageous Admiral bred horses have been good lately. However, I must say that the most positive effect of a stallion would be Will Shriver and his sons and mares. They are all good and trainable show horses.

Jim Aikman - Indianapolis, IN

Well, we had five stallions in our history. First was Cameo Kirby, who was a full brother to Anacacho Denmark, and also sired The Lemon Drop Kid. He was followed by Evening Cloud who stayed with us three or four years but wasn't all that effective in our breeding program. After him came Hide-Away's Fire Fly Supreme, who was very line bred back to King Genius and Bourbon Genius on both sides. He gave me five world's champions and he died at the age of 18. Next came Wild Country. He was flooded with Bourbon Genius in his bloodline, and in the time he was here he provided us with many world championships. So for those reasons the King Genius and Bourbon Genius line has been most influential for me. But also another important note, we never at any one time had more than eight broodmares, but we always bought the best broodmares in the country. In our history we have had 21 world championships.

Wendy Johnson - Simpsonville, KY

Well, I would start my answer by saying New Yorker has been most influential, if you look at percentages. For as few get as he had on the ground his percentages were amazing, especially his broodmares. There are not many of them left but I love his broodmares. I like the substance of his horses, they are many of heart. They are athletic, game and honest show horses. His broodmares also just always produce show horses. It doesn't matter what they are crossed with they still produce. But basically the New Yorker horses are just show horses and that is what we are all trying to raise! They just keep proving themselves generation after generation.

Jim Stewart - Columbia, MO

I feel Stonewall King and Supreme Sultan. Stonewall King's horses are game and lots of motion, but that blood line is almost gone. I think that in the past 20 years I have found the Wing Commander and Supreme Sultan cross to be most effective. Wing Commander put the heart and motion together and the Sultans gave them their refined looks.

Dick Boettcher - Kirkland, WA

I personally think the Wing Commander and Supreme Sultan lines have been the most influential. The reason for saying that is we have crossed that blood so much that numbers and quality have affected our industry. Wing Commander gave them their go forward and Supreme Sultan gave them their looks. You couldn't beat the golden cross. But I would say the most influential current producer is Supreme Heir and you can trace him back to Supreme Sultan and Stonewall King. Personally we had the best luck with our stallion Stonewall Beau Peavine who was by Stonewall's Golden Dream, by Stonewall King.

Lewis Eckard - Hildebran, NC

I feel Anacacho Shamrock and Wing Commander. It always put a little more head and substance in them, they were so very trainable. Now a days there isn't much pure blood left. Oh and we have bred so much to Bourbon Genius for their beauty. But the judging standard today is so very different from years ago. Today they are looking for more quality and refinement. I must also say that most of the good racking horses came from the Wing Commander family. The problem with the Bourbon Genius line is they are a little straight legged behind and racking is not always so easy for them. I have always been real fond of Stonewall King as well and one more recent producer I like is Denmark's Bourbon Genius. He is one of my favorites. From the older blood, I must add that Anacacho Denmark made the mares and Anacacho Shamrock made the show horses.

John T. Jones - Union, KY

I would have to say Will Shriver and the Callaway Hills operation have been most influential. His horses were over achievers and gifted and trainable. Also Supreme Heir has been pretty good to me. I have had great luck with great horses on an individual basis. But I must also say that I have had many great hoses by Radiant Sultan.

Marion Hutcheson - Rossville, GA

Wing Commander-heart, Stonewall King- same, Valley View Supreme- pretty. For us Mountain Highland Memories is the line of the future because of its trainability. This line has been an excellent out-cross for today's predominate bloodlines, both complementing and enhancing good qualities of them. Judy Werner - Waterloo, IL

To answer your question is almost an impossibility for me. To name horses as the most influential in a breed that represents such a diverse gene pool as the American Saddlebred means leaving out horses that deserve to be mentioned. That being said I decided to concentrate on the breed as we know it today. I was able to narrow my choices to a handful of horses and will cast my final vote for CH Anacacho Shamrock and King's Genius. The influence of these two horses is dominant in today's show ring through the blood of our highest ranking stallions and producing mares. They are both very prepotent and lucky for us the cross of these two lines creates a wonderful individual. I have to admit it was very hard for me to leave Stonewall King out of the picture. He has added so much to the female line of so many of our current and past champion producing sires...

Kim and Peter Cowart - Statesville, NC

For us it comes down to Stonewall King and Wing Commander. Even today's stallions like Will Shriver, Supreme Sultan,and Supreme Heir can be traced back to those lines. I think Supreme Sultan made our horses prettier and Will Shriver brought back our rack and gameness. But as long as we have been training horses we would have to say Will Shriver and Supreme Sultan have made the most impact.

Marty Mueller - French Lick, IN

Well in my time I had five to six good horses, I mean like champion horses, but the funny thing is I think they all were the only get from their sires. This is because of where they were from. A lot of good horses were from Kansas and around that area but they were not popular. But if they would have been in Kentucky they would have been so popular. I would have to say the Genius Bourbon King line has been most influential. They had a look about them that other horses didn't have. I could make every one of them a show horse or make them as good as they could be. I also liked the Stonewall King line. They were just great horses going by their results. He stood in Missouri with many good horses in an old barn. And don't forget about King's Genius where all this gut, motion, and gameness came from. He was also a great horse.

Dr. Alan R. Raun - Cumming, IA

I don't think there is one line that has been the most influential. Anacacho Denmark and Anacacho Shamrock have been very influential. Anacacho Shamrock has been noted for his gaited horses and their gameness, then you have Anacacho Denmark who added some beauty to our horses and especially carried through to his mares. A stallion we had that was a wonderful horse for us was Stonewall's Main Event. He was a top performance sire while we had him. But I would have to say Stonewall King, Genius Bourbon King, Anacacho Shamrock and Anacacho Denmark would be my top four choices for line(s) that have been most influential.

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