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KSF World’s Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame Inductions


The following individuals were inducted into the Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame on Saturday night:

Carter Cox


(l. to r.) Bill Munford, Karen, Carter, Betty 
and Leslie Cox, Scarlett Mattson


Carter Cox began in Tennessee with a pony purchased by his grandfather, but his attention centered on neighboring Saddlebreds. He worked summers at Blythewood Farms under David Neil, then for Garland Bradshaw. During college [a Masters in agricultural economics], he worked for Eddie Barham.  He served the U. S. Army in counter intelligence in Korea. Later, he worked at Cynthia Wood Stables in California under "Bud" Kinney, and then opened his own training operation. 


Carter and his wife Karen moved to Kentucky in 1982, opening their Woodstock Farm in 1983 in part of the late Garland Bradshaw's Danville facility. Since then, the farm has produced top youngsters year after year that have gone on to countless World's Championships.  The horse operation is a family affair: Karen has won World's Championships, daughters Betty and Leslie breed and show, and Betty won the Equitation Triple Crown in 2003. Stallions that stood at Woodstock include the Easter Star Forrest, Flame Of Denmark, World's Champion sire Sultan's Starmaker, and now Dr. Simon Fredricks' Simbara's Rising Son. 


Fredricks says of his trainer of 16 years, "It all came together when I got to Danville and Carter Cox.”  He is quick to point out that his successes have been based on mutual respect with Carter as a friend and advisor. Most especially, Carter has started the offspring of the most prolific dam of World's Champions in our history – Fredricks' Hall of Fame Broodmare Denmark's Radiant Society [dam of CHA Sweet Treat, CHRejoice, CHSimbara's Samba Jamba, The Great Gaspar, Simbara's Cara Mia and Simbara's Exclamation – to name only a few]. Carter has owned such outstanding broodmares as Southern Royalty, Supreme Jewel and Tillie O'Toole. Just a few of the top horses he has owned, shown, trained or sold include: CHBe Happy, CHCagin Martini, CHCallaway's Capitol Reporter, CHCourageous Flower, CHFrench Silk Stockings, CHRed Hot!, CHStarmaker's Bouquet, CHStarmaker's Southern Star, CHStonewall Parfait, CHBiras Creek, Coming Out, Gone East, Simbara's Audacity, Starmaker's Delight, Starmaker's Silhouette, Sugar Pine and Timely Affair - plus the multi-titled road pony Reedann's Old Spice. His unwavering attention to details, along with his expert horseman's eye, has made him sought after as a judge.


Carter is a staunch supporter of the industry, serving the ASHA in many capacities on committees and on the Board of Directors. In addition, he has made invaluable contributions to the World's Championship Horse Show as a dedicated member of the Advisory Board. The show would be minus many a winner without the efforts of Carter Cox, and it is with considerable pride in his achievements that he is welcomed into the World's Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame.



James R. Koller


Jim Koller with his sons Kenny (left) and Steve (front)


It has been 12 years since Freedom Hall shook with cheers for CHOnion and Jim Koller. That night a man and a horse worked together in perfect harmony to achieve the highest award possible for the American Saddlebred show horse – the Five-Gaited World's Grand Championship.


Interviewed in the ring, Jim said, "What an honor it is to be up there on the wall with the Bradshaws, Teaters and Robys. I've wanted this all my life. It is something I've dreamed of since I was 13 years old looking through the grates." Afterwards, proud son Kenny donned his dad's hat, and the coat still bearing number 590.


As a young man, Jim had trained at George Gwinn's in Kentucky, Mrs. Roth's Why Worry Farm in California, Blue/White Stables in Indiana and, most importantly, worked for Garland Bradshaw in Kentucky. More top horsemen have attended "Mr. Garland's" university than any other. Jim owned Koller Farm in Barrington, Illinois, and then in Simpsonville, Kentucky, where he stood Duke Supreme, and is currently located in Northfield, Illinois.


Just a few of the important horses Jim showed, trained or sold include: fine harness – CHBroadland's Patrician Lady, CHBuck Rogers, CHThe Homecoming Queen, CHKalarama's New Sensation, Revival, Rhythm's Jewel and CHVintage Lace; three-gaited – CHAttache's Three Of A Kind, CHBrenda Supreme, CHFreedom Hall, CHHot Fudge, CHSea Of Wonders and CHYou Are Love; five-gaited – CHBlue Chipper, CHBoucheron, CHCallaway's Forecaster, CHGarland's Dream, CHSee The Sights, CHTrink To Me Only and Battersea. In addition, Jim has judged the most prestigious shows in the country, including the World's Championship Horse Show.


Breeder/co-owner of CHOnion, Carl Fischer [who shared the magic moment with co-owner Jane Mueller], told The Year In Review, "He's a horse that any horse trainer with less patience than Jim Koller would have ruined. The first time Jim rode him as a three-year-old, he thought he was a star if he could just make him shine. The horse always had a lot of ability. It was just a matter of putting it all in the right place."


In accepting the UPHA Trainer's Award, Jim praised the backbone of the industry: "The owners are the most important people in the business. It's a wonderful honor and I'll treasure it the rest of my life. It's an honor not to just win, but to be able to show against other trainers – to be able to show a horse and be competitive."


This has been a better sport, and surely a more exciting one, for his contributions to it, and we welcome Jim Koller to the Kentucky State Fair's World's Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame.



Rex and Shirley Parkinson



Scarlett Mattson, Rex and Shirley Parlinson, and Bill Munford

Rex Parkinson is especially appreciated for his sense of humor, and we suspect wife Shirley discovered a way to create 30-hour days for themselves in order to accomplish so much for the benefit of so many.  Many pages would be necessary to list their contributions to the Saddlebred, Road Horse and Pony and Hackney elements of our industry.

Rex was raised in Illinois, the son of a harness horseman, and Shirley had her first ride on a horse at 10 days of age. Rex showed his first horse in 1937 and Shirley in 1942. After three years in the Army Air Force during World War II, Rex opened his stables in Peoria, Illinois. He met Shirley, they married in 1951 and moved to their present location in Decatur.  Daughter Vicki was born in 1953, and the family business continued in operation through 1995.


Just a few of the outstanding Saddlebreds trained include: Winged Victory, Lady Ballerina, Beau Jacque, Moonshine's Flier, Mr. Ridgewood Genius, My Magical Mood, Mystical Mood, Springtime Fantasy [CHBurning Tree's Fantasy], CHArabesque [BHF], World's Grand Champion CHTechnistar, Gay Lover and Look-A-Here [CHRambling Stonewall]. World's Grand Champion ponies included: Miss Sensation, King's Gabriel, Whiplash, Aisle Party, Reedann's Starfire, Bold Spirit and Slingshot. Rex also stood Reserve World's Champion and World's Grand Champion sire Rhythm Spirit. The road horse division includes: World's Grand Champions Sundown Lad, Non Stop and Shoeshine Boy.


Rex held a USEF judge’s card for 45 years and was given the Outstanding Judges Career Award in 1998. A two-term president of the American Road Horse and Pony Association, he was voted into their Hall of Fame in 1985. The United Professional Horseman's Association named him to its Hall of Fame in 1994. He also served as a board member of the Illinois American Saddlebred Futurity, Mid-West Hackney Association, Midwest Charity Horse Show and the Illinois State Fair.


Shirley's contributions have been equally valuable. She served as secretary of the UPHA for 18 years and received the honor of having an annual UPHA award named for her – the Shirley Parkinson Achievement Award. She was given the UPHA Distinguished Service Award in 1996 and named to the UPHA Hall of Fame in 2000. She served on the boards of the Mid-West Hackney Association and the American Hackney Horse Society, and was on the USEF Hackney Harness Pony Committee for many years.


Together, Rex and Shirley were named UPHA Trainers of the Year in 1989. They have contributed greatly to the quality of the entries at the World's Championship Horse Show and are welcomed into the Hall of Fame with deepest appreciation.


Editor’s note: All three profiles were written by Cynthia Hecht, Historian/Archivist for the American Saddlebred Horse Association, Inc.


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