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Forrest Allen Gibson Passes




Forrest Gibson lining CH The Lemon Drop Kid
at the Sunny Slope Dispersal Sale


Mr. Forrest Allen Gibson, age 86, of Cumming passed away Tuesday July 31, 2007.  Funeral services will be 1:30 pm Friday at Midway Community Church with Pastor Joe Creighton officiating.  Interment will be in the Georgia National Cemetery.  The family will receive friends on Thursday from 6 pm until 9 pm at Byars Funeral Home.  Survivors include wife Martha Ann Gibson of Cumming, three sons Forrest II and Valerie Gibson, Doug and Jenny Gibson, Wayne and Theresa Lewis all of Cumming; two daughters Dawn Lewis of Cumming and Tina Graham of Dallas, Georgia; 11 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. 

Byars Funeral Home & Cremation Services is in charge of the arrangements, 678-455-5815.

(Editor’s note: The following is a reprint of the presentation of Gibson’s induction into the ASHAG Hall of Fame in 2004.)

This young man began his career at the early age of approximately 4 years of age, when his dad would take him over to visit the well-known Longview Farms in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.  You see, his dad’s farm was just across the road and it was nice to go visit the Longs and see all the beautiful horses. 

Mrs. Loula Long Combs and her father, R. A. Long owned Longview Farms and Mrs. Combs took a special interest in this young man.  Each time he came to visit, Ms. Combs would take him by the hand and tell the groom to get him a stool so he could groom the horses.  It was shortly after this that he had his first ride on the famous World’s Champion Chief of Longview.  It seems after Lonnie Hayden, the trainer, had worked Chief he would get off and let the young man ride him to the barn. 

Oh, to have those experiences during the days of glory. 

At the early age of 15 years old this young man made his professional debut.  He was at a show and something had happened with the Trainer and he was asked to take the horses in the ring to show.  Winning several classes for the owner, he began his love for the excitement of the ring and winning with horses.  

But his Mom and Dad had other plans; he was a star athlete playing basketball, football and track.  He won a basketball scholarship to college and was studying for a teaching career. He was playing basketball for one of the pro teams in Kansas City.

In 1941 while World War II was raging strong, Uncle Sam came calling and this young man decided he wanted to serve his country.  He joined the Navy, during his last year of college.  War is not an easy time and his ships were bombed and damaged all during this time, but he survived and came home in 1945.

Glad to be home, but not feeling the young man he was when he left, he did not go back to finish college, but joined the Rodeo, showing under the name of “FROSTY.”   Of course, this did not set well with his Mother.  She came to watch her son one time and passed out due to all the excitement. 

As things started settling after the war, offers started coming in for training and showing horses.  

While at a Harrisburg, PA horse show, he met a young lady who caught his eye.  She was helping out a friend working in the concession area at the show.  They spoke a couple of times, then one morning he came in and had his hat cocked to the side and when the young lady came back from break, he tipped his hat and started a conversation.  Then he came back that afternoon and asked her out.  Well, I can tell you it was not long until he proposed.  And it goes like this, “How would you like to jump in a double harness and trot through life together?”

Traveling though life as a horse trainer working from California, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and on it goes; he moved his family with him on each move.

Working at such wonderful barns as Longview Farms for Ms. Loula Long Combs,  Shellcrest Farms, Sunny Slope, Simmons Stables, Grey Stone Manor, Pin Oak Stables, Jones Valley Farm, Red Oak Stables and on it goes.  Showing horses from the West Coast all the way to the East Coast. Shows like Madison Square Garden and the American Royal in Kansas City.  Showing such great horses as CH The Lemon Drop Kid, Chief of Greystone, Day Dream, Parading Lady, Stonewall’s Betty Lou, and Steppin On.  He was at Sunny Slope two times, the second time he showed the CH The Lemon Drop Kid the last season with Sunny Slope.  After the death of Mr. Christy, he got all the horses ready and he drove the Kid through the dispersal sale. CH The Lemon Drop Kid is the only horse to be on Sports Illustrated magazine’s cover.  

One time they took 22 head to the American Royal in Kansas City from Sunny Slope Farm and he was showing in a junior harness class and they pulled five horses out for a workout.  Well, he pulled to the inside and at the same time Jay Utz did too, and that young horse just stepped right up in Jay’s buggy.   Needless to say they both had their work cut out at this point.

He worked with Tom Davis and he remembers Tom telling him when they working the horses, “Now you boys don’t cut no donuts with them horses.” 

Once while riding a big Walk Trot horse for Ms. Neal out of California at a show in Topeka, Kansas, the horse was working real fine, winning the class, then all of a sudden it whirled and the next thing he knew he was meeting people.  It was embarrassing as heck, but a good ride until that happened.  

He came to Georgia at the request of Dr. Kilday down at Claxton, Georgia.   Then from there to Sy Waters in Statesboro, GA., and on back to Tennessee working for John Crawford’s farm in Wartrace, TN until Pete Reeves of Pete Reeves Stables called him to come back to Georgia and work with his road horses and Saddlebreds.  Also he worked for Ron Harris of Red Oak Stables a long time and Ron and his daughter won many a blue ribbon.

There were other barns as well as other horses; I guess it gets in your blood. It seems that an old horseman never retires.  There is always another horse or rider that needs them.

 



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