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The Life and Times Of CH Ramses

by Bob Funkhouser and Amanda Dellinger

Born from royal lineage at Ruxer Farms, CH Ramses had a 13-year show career shown as a harness horse, a gaited horse, a park horse, a show pleasure driving horse and finally a park horse again. The son of Talent Town and twice Reserve World’s Champion Five-Gaited Mare CH Candle Dance had an incredible headset and a bold trot to go with an expression that said, “I love what I’m doing!” He died this summer and left a hole in the hearts of those who had been close to him.

The impressive young stallion began his career with Mike McIntosh driving him to a fourth place finish in the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding class before going on a few weeks later to win the ASHA Three-Year-Old Fine Harness National Sweepstakes for owner/breeder Bob Ruxer. A string of trainers followed, showing him in harness and as a gaited horse. That group included Tom Moore, Jim Koller and Ron Hulse before Bill Schoeman took him from harness to park and earned a reserve world’s championship in 1997.

John Biggins was the next trainer of the talented stallion and Biggins had an incredible run with him, including winning the 1999 park stallion/gelding qualifier and open park championship at Louisville before selling him to Mrs. Alan R. Robson who won a Show Pleasure Driving World’s Championship under the direction of Tom Ferrebee. Ramses returned to Biggins and the park division, winning the national championship at the American Royal in 2001.

“I told Bob [Ruxer] that he needed to be a park horse. Everyone that had him tried to rack him,” said Biggins. “I didn’t think he liked to rack and his headset was so magnificent that I thought he looked like a great park horse. As soon as he started showing park he started winning.”

In 2002, he returned to the American Royal under the Jacob family’s Werk Way Stables ownership and captured the national championship again. It was a great year for Brooke Jacobs and Ramses as they won several championships including Lexington Junior League.

Next the Dellinger family and trainer Steve Old became a part of Ramses’s life. He became more than another horse for them, he was part of the family, especially to Amanda Dellinger. The following are memories of their time together.

“When we were planning on going to look for horses with Steve Old, our trainer at the time, we had the current UPHA directory with us so we could call different barns in Kentucky to schedule visits,” explained Dellinger. “He was pictured on the back with Brooke Jacobs. The picture was of them on the Red Mile and it was beautiful. I remember jokingly thinking this was the only horse I wanted to see. Kevin and I had seen him show that year at JD Massey and became instant fans. Little did we know watching that class would be just the beginning of our journey with Ramsey.

“It was Christmas time when we made it up to Werk Way Stables. He had been let down for the winter right after his Royal win in the open park championship with Brent. When he came out of the stall for us to see, he was fuzzy, with keg shoes on, and clearly enjoying his time off. There he stood in a work bridle waiting on me. The second my foot hit the stirrup I was in love. I could have just sat there and been satisfied, but in the great spirit of trying out horses I had to do at least one gait. I remember the first step at the trot taking my breath away. Even without show shoes he could stick his knee in the air and I wasn’t use to that. He was a perfect gentleman for me though it was obvious he was confused about this disruption in his playtime outside. We came back again for a second ride that week in the show bridle. Again, his patience was incredible. I knew in my heart he was the one and prayed with all my heart that he would be my new partner.

“When he arrived at our barn, the Jacobs were so kind and obviously loved him so that he came with his own personal care package of animal crackers. He loved those cookies. It became a tradition of ours to have the box of animal crackers hanging on his door at the shows so as I passed by he would get a cookie.

“My first show with him was at the Dixie Cup in Conyers, Ga. I remember it was the first time putting on the tux and I was scared to death. As I sat there waiting for the gate to swing open I just kept thinking how I must have been dreaming. Everybody at the barn shared in my anxiety and actually physically followed me around the entire ring that first class. Kevin’s advice to me over our years showing were to ‘sit tight and don’t get in Ramsey’s way.’

“He always knew when it was time for a horse show. Though he always gave 110 percent at home, his excitement to perform really showed when we arrived on the show grounds. The louder the crowd got, the bigger he got.

“He thought very highly of himself and it seemed like when other horses were in “his space” he would puff out his chest in an effort to challenge them. His presence even reached out to the warm up ring where he would accumulate an audience even before the class began. The last time we showed at Southeastern Charity in 2006, a gentleman watched him from a distance as he marched down the rail of the warm up ring and shouted repeatedly, “yeah boy.”

“Kevin only got to show him once, at Lexington, 2006 during the horrible thunderstorm and the class was dismissed from the ring. He said it was wonderful even though he could hardly see Ramsey’s head in front of him. The straight-aways at Lexington were probably his favorite ring, though his gave me his all wherever we were. He also loved the burst of cool air at the Kentucky State Fair as you trot down the ramp.

“Every time we showed I felt reassured he would never give me less than his all. It was so wonderful to sit on his back with his neck stretching up so high I couldn’t see over the top of his head and know I was going to be taken care of. He was a guardian angel for me. On a good night in the show ring it seemed as though he could fly—and now he can.

“He will always hold a special place in my heart. There was never something we asked of him that he didn’t try his hardest to do. When we made the move to Andy and Lynda’s he made the trip with us. We fully planned on showing one final year in 2007. Ramsey had lived his entire life with a partially paralyzed throatlatch on one side. After being brought back to work, we realizing that this breathing difficulty was becoming a bigger problem. He was too important to me to push and have something happen to him so we all made the decision he had done his job and deserved to have the favor returned to him. He retired alongside other Hollow Haven champions of the past and found great friends in the retired show horses and new weanlings. “Andy and Lynda took expert care of him for the next year and a half. You could even see his play dates from the front door of their home. They recognized how special he had been for me and did everything possible to make sure he enjoyed his retirement.

“We showed a lot. . . we won a lot. . . and lost too. Showing him was the icing on the cake. Having him as a part of my life was even more special. He was more than a horse… he was my partner. I loved him and still do. Some people question an animal’s ability to feel love. I have no doubt and confidently can say he loved me back. He is a hero in my eyes. I feel he exemplifies that, from his grand presence and talent, his patience, and his courage to be the star that he was.”

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