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Richard Francis "Dick" Wallen - Obituary

Richard Francis "Dick" Wallen, 93, America's most famous horse trainer, of Sioux City passed away on Sunday, January 11, 2015 at the Westwood Nursing & Rehab Center after a 2nd hip replacement followed  by several health complications.

Funeral services were Saturday, Jan., 17, 2015 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Rev. Roger Linnan officiated. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation was Friday, Jan., 16 with the family present from 6:00 - 8:00 P.M. and a Vigil service at 7:00 P.M. Friday at Meyer Brothers Colonia l Chapel.
Dick was born a middle and twin son out of 10 children (5 girls and 5 boys) to Harry and Eva (Adams) Wallen in Independence, KS on February 10, 1921. In the 1930's, Dick's father Harry Wallen moved his family to Sioux City where he was hired by the Abu Bekr White Horse Mounted Patrol to train trick horses. When Harry passed away in 1941, Dick at the age 20, took over as head trainer. Dick married Marilyn Jean Sweeny December 15, 1941 in Sioux City.

In 1942, Dick enlisted into the U.S. Army. After training, he was sent to Europe for the duration of WWII,
where he served as a drill sergeant. While stationed in Sicily, Italy, he bought a 3 month old jenny donkey from a farmer and named her "Edda Mussolini" after Mussolini's daughter. Dick trained Edda to perform over 30 tricks. His commanding officers were so impressed with the performance that they
promoted him into "special services" to entertain the troops and the wounded  in the hospitals. Dick and "Edda" performed over 750 shows in Europe. When the war was over in 1945, Dick was able to bring "Edda" back to the U.S. where he traveled for 2 years putting on their shows. Through the years, Dick gave generously of his time and talents by performing free shows for hospitals, schools, orphanages, nursing home and fund raisers.

In 1941, Dick opened his own horse training stables, training countless champion horses and riders. In 1957 and 1958, he was voted "Most Popular Trainer" for ISHA (Iowa Show Horse Association). Dick was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Iowa State Fair and also the Hall of Fame for the UPI-IA (United Professional Horsemen's Association).

Dick hosted 57 years of horse shows at his stable. He and his children and customers would go to the 20+ horse shows per year and he would still find time to judge a lot of shows himself. Exhibitors loved showing under him as he was known to be a "fair and square" judge. Dick also served as a coach and manager in 2002 for our team at the Saddle Seat World Cup Olympics in Jjohannesburg, Africa.

In 1998, Dick trained 10 Pinto American Saddlebreds to rear and walk on their hind legs for Michelle Macfarlane. They performed at the closing ceremonies at the Olympics in Nagano, Japan. After the Olympics, the Japanese Racing Association purchased Silver Lady, Silver Flask's full sister for a performing high school horse. Other trick horses have gone to Dolly Parton's theme parks in Missouri, Tennessee and North Carolina. Melinda Moore owned a Wallen trained white horse named Snow Man. Still many others have gone to circuses and individual entertainers.

Internationally famous for his trick horses, Dick will always be remembered for his signature trick: a horse sitting up in a chair waving their front legs in the air. He will also be remembered for his National Show Horse "Power of Love". In the 1990's "Power" was 5 gaited World Champion for 5 years; his record has never been matched.

One of Dick's very favorite rides was in  1980, winning the World Championship on "Bermuda Triangle", in the three-year-old 5 gaited class in Kentucky out of 22 head. Dick was so happy to be a Shriner with the Abu Bekr White Horse Mounted Patrol. He proudly carried the American Flag for over 70 years for many parades including the Nixon Inaugural Parade and 2 Rose Bowl Parades.

Dick was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, The Riverside Masonic Lodge, White Horse Mounted Patrol and the American  Legion-Monahan Post # 64.

Dick is survived by his wife, Marilyn with whom he has celebrated 73 years. His children: Linda Wallen of Kankakee, IL, Rick Wallen of Marshall, WI, John Wallen of Sparta, MO, Debbie Wallen of Trinidad, CO, Robb Wallen (Betsy) of Temecula, CA, James Wallen of Louisville, KY, Jeanne Trizila (Terry) of  Sioux City, Brent Wallen of Sioux City; 1sister: Bernadine Bovee of California; 8 grandchildren: Christy, Michael, Matthew, Becky, Nick, Alex, Carrie and Austen; several great grandchildren.

Dick was preceded in death by his parents; 4 children: Kathy Rae, Randy, Monty and Jody; 8 brothers and sisters.

Memorials may be directed to STARS (Special Troopers Adaptive Riding School) or The Shriner's Children's Hospital.

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