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Letter To The Editor

Dear Bob,

I had a moment of inspiration and wrote this piece about Moore. You know what we all thought of him. This shows that when he was young, he also made errors as we all do. There are many stories, but here are a few.

My thoughts about Tom Moore: 1. American Saddlebred shows will never be the same after the death of the Tall Man. He was so superior to the rest of us when it came to showing, training, or doing any task with a horse. I always said that there was him and then the rest of us.

2. In 1956 I was nine-years-old. I would follow this young, handsome trainer from Illinois around like a puppy dog. At the Chicago International show that year one of his grooms was cooling out Mr. America (my favorite horse). Tom sat this nine-year-old kid on his back as the groom walked the horse. I can remember this as if it was yesterday. Later he told me that it was Valley View Supreme that he sat me on because Mr. America was a very irritable stallion.

3. I remember him riding Bo Prophet at the Tattersalls sale. He asked him to rack and placed the reins around his own neck as he flew up and down the sale barn. My God could that man ride and show a horse. I became so taken with him that my every conversation about horses was about Tom Moore. It became so bad that my mother had to caution me to,"Not speak of Tom Moore so much because your father is an excellent trainer too." Seems that J.R. (Ragsdale) had become a bit jealous.

4. He shared many of his show ring experiences with us. I will tell you one of the more amusing ones. Early in his career he had a gaited stallion named Easter Night. He was high in the ribbons in the stallion stake at that year's Kentucky State Fair. Wing Commander won the class and was the favorite to win the championship on Saturday night. Earl Teater came to a very young Tom Moore and asked him,"Boy, are you going to show your stud back on Saturday night?" Moore replied,"Yes sir!""You don't think that you're going to win?" Earl asked."I'm going to do my best," Moore said. ÒWell, if you don't mind I would like for you to help me out. You see, there are a few fellows that are planning to rough ride me Saturday night and I need someone to help keep them off of me. Are you in?" Earl asked. Tom agreed to help Mr. Teater because he was Tom's idol and he was extremely honored by his request.

Earl drew a pattern of the ring in the sawdust with his whip. He always was the last one to enter the ring in the championship but on this night he wanted Tom to follow him into the ring and be ten feet behind him and ten feet away from him towards the middle of the ring at all times. Tom agreed and away they went. Tom said that Easter Night was a very fast gaited horse but you didn't realize how fast Wing was until you had to follow him. Well, he did very well the first way of the ring. He kept all the others away from Earl and Wing. By the time the announcer said canter, Easter Night was becoming extremely tired and Tom was having to really get into him to keep up with the fleet footed Wing. By the time the announcer said reverse and trot, Tom had lost any mouth that he might have had. He said that when the announcer said walk, Earl would stop Wing like a reining horse. After the trot on the reverse when the announcer said,"Let your horses walk please," Earl pulled Wing up and Tom crashed into him as he had lost all his mouth. He spun Wing Commander around 360 degrees, almost knocking him down. Earl said,"Boy what in the world are you doing!! Get to the other side of the ring and leave me alone."

Tom said that he was truly embarrassed. Wing Commander won the championship and Easter Night was out of the money.

5. Tom Moore will be missed. He has influenced all of us that enjoy the American Saddlebred in countless ways. I just wanted to share my thoughts with you.

Carter Ragsdale

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