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Rock Walker



A Caring Friend . . . A Talented Horseman . . . A Gentle And Kind Man . . . A True Showman

by Diana Davidson

 

Rock Walker was born on Jan. 23, 1956, in Salt Lake City, Utah to Bud and Jackie Walker. The Walkers relocated to Malibu, Calif., in 1964 when Rock was eight and brother Garn was 11. Bud Walker sold western wear on the road, and then opened a western store in Santa Monica. This is where the family began to meet horse people, and young Rock and Garn really got their start showing. Rock and Garn’s first trainers were Don and Arline Benchoff who had an all-breed stable and trained in all disciplines.

 

Rock Walker and big brother Garn in 1960.

 

Rock started showing in 1965 in western on his horse Tubby, who was part-Morgan. Rock and Garn then rode with Jack and Linda Baker and started riding stock horses and equitation on the open circuit. Rock was in the spotlight in 13 and under equitation. Bud and Jackie would come to the shows on the weekend and support the boys. They grew up with lots of the other kids who went on to become stock and cutting horse trainers. They were also really fortunate to be associated with lots of the hunter trainers too, as Rock showed jumpers for a while. When Rock was into something, he gave it his all.

 

The Walker brothers in the show ring

in the early days –

Garn with Chubby and Rock with Tubby.

 

Not too much later, Garn decided to become a trainer and instructor. Garn Walker Stable first opened in Livermore, Calif., and Rock came to help Garn and then-wife Susie during the show seasons for four or five years in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

 

“Rock was very fortunate to have a great deal of natural talent and have learned enough from experience to start training on his own. He really enjoyed the English and driving as well as western. Rock started his own training operation with Chris Farrington who had some Morgans,” Garn remembered.

 

“Rock always loved horses. The horse business gave him guidance and helped him find his capacity. He did well and it was gratifying. He certainly found his niche,” Garn added.

 

“It was so nice for me to see how well Rock was doing and how fortunate he was when he was in his heyday. It was a time when I had stopped training, and I saw Rock really thinking about his career and learning and becoming successful. He certainly was not an overnight success,” Garn continued. “Rock had the ability to make a good horse great, a mediocre horse good, and a bad horse okay.”

 

 Garn, Susie, and Rock Walker enjoyed

working and showing together in the

late 1970s and early 1980s.

 

“Years ago we had to take anything we got and from that we learned a lot. Rock and I didn’t always have the best and we really learned to make a horse. Rock was a great judge and this reflected in his horsemanship. He always had a great eye and appreciated a nice horse.

 

“Rock always cared about horses, people, kids and clients. He gave so much of himself that sometimes there wasn’t much left for him. He was fortunate that at such a young age, he accomplished so much and even though he’s gone so soon, he still accomplished so much. The longevity was there and it gave him direction and motivation that he needed.

 

“I remember when we were kids showing, I had to work all the horses to work off day fees, while Rock palled around with all the kids. He was always very popular. When I turned 16, I would drive to the shows and take care of Rock. The two of us and the two horses would load up and go to the shows.

 

“We always had a special bond as brothers. Our lives were different but that bond was always there, especially when he first started training he would call and get advice and if he got in trouble I’d help him work it out until he figured it out on his own. We had lots of great times, showing from local horse shows to Oklahoma. Rock just loved to show and people loved to watch him show. His show ring presence was just a part of him, once he developed the confidence in himself, he had the natural talent and it all came together. He had many friends from all walks of life. He was such a giving and caring person from old to young and rich to poor. Rock was a good son to our parents, brother to me and uncle to Elizabeth. Rock led a full and productive life,” Garn concluded.

 

Rock Walker’s first major victories in the Morgan industry came while training at Moonriver Morgans in Pedley, Calif., owned by Helen and Corky Carroll from 1978-1985. It was there that he brought out such champions as Funquest Berrybox, Reposado Morning Joy, Triton King Tut and Valiant Patriot. The Carrolls and their daughter, Londa, were like a second family to Rock. Rock became the godfather to Londa’s daughter, Erin. Rock returned to spend some time with the Carrolls after his accident in 2003 as he regained some strength and courage.

 

After leaving Moonriver at the end of 1985, Rock first opened Rock Walker Stables at a public facility in San Juan Capistrano. At this time Rock was training Alderwood’s Meteor, Precious Moment, Triton King Tut and Waer’s Major Monte to name a few.

 

Alderwood’s Meteor was one of Rock’s

top-winning western horses in the 1980s.

 

It was at this point that Robert Hughes moved to California from Michigan, and Rock and Hughes formed their industry-leading partnership. Rock Walker Stables remained in San Juan Capistrano for two years and continued in Goleta (near Santa Barbara) for an additional four years. Their next stop was in Menifee for an additional five years where they were joined by Debi Perkins Jeppesen, before the Oceanside location that was the final home of Rock Walker Stables.

 

The roster of world champions trained and presented by Rock Walker Stables from the mid-1980s and into the 21st century is legendary. EVF Mahogany Miss, Precious Moment, Hyland Acres Command, Futurity French Command, Miss Teakwood, Stoneholm Taliesin, Dancity Infatuation, Rum Brook Mirage, HVM Daring Genius, Ava, Charlestown Eclipse, Med-E-Oka French Riviera, Dancity After Midnight, Simply Maserati, Kim’s Bellegante, Rum Brook Immortal Mystic, Dancity Sojourn, Dancity Gracious Remark, And The Beat Goes On, HVK Obsidian, Lamborghini In Black, Smith & Wesson, Havenwood Sonata, Elation, HVK Classic Design, HVK Flash Back, Mizrahi, Versailles and RLH Simply Striking are just some of the world champions who showed from under the famed blue and black banner.

 

“When I first met Rock, he was so outgoing and fun. He had such a bubbly personality,” Bob Hughes remembered. “Rock was great with people, I was always so amazed that he could talk to anyone. I thought he was one of the best judges there was and he had a really good eye for a horse. He was so honest and oblivious to the people when he judged. Rock was great with amateurs and clients and working with people. He could ride and stay with any horse.

 

“Horses meant the world to Rock. He certainly had some favorites - Havenwood Sonata was one of them and HVK Flash Back. When he got attached to a horse, he really got attached. He always wanted to win the Western Pleasure World Championship and it was such a meaningful achievement for all of us when he won in 1999 with Sonata.

 


The 1999 Western Pleasure World Championship

was a momentous victory for Rock

as he rode Havenwood Sonata to the roses.

 

While Rock Walker’s life on this earth may have ended tragically on April 24, 2007, his memory will live on through the many people and animals whose lives he touched.

 

  

 

It was my privilege to know Rock Walker when I was teaching riding for Frank DePolito in California during the 1985-86 school year.  I had so much admiration for Rock, both as a trainer and as a show coach.  I thought he was one of the very best.  Once I moved back to Missouri I kept up with Rock through Frank and Feo, who worked for me while I was in California and went on to help Rock and Bob after I left.  It gave me great pleasure to see Rock win so many classes at the Morgan Grand Nationals when I was back there judging equitation.  I had Rock's ride on Simply Maserati (I believe it was in 1996) at the Morgan Nationals videotaped and I have shown it to my students every year since.  I use it as an example of a trainer doing a great job showing a horse and looking very nice while doing so.  I will continue to show that video but it will only make me sad to think that someone with such great talent to offer to the horse world is no longer with us.  

- Gayle Lampe

 

 

Simply Maserati and Rock Walker - 1996

 

Rock was a great personal friend of mine and we share many ups and downs during the 30 years that we knew each other. Our parents were also very good friends and our moms spent many hours at the shows, watching us and watching over us.

 

Over the years my mother I and had several horses with Rock and Bob all of the following were national and or world champions: Trust In June, Precious Moment, Carlyle Witch Hunt, Carlyle Kaboom, Fox Creek Drambuie, My Chelsea.

 

Rock was a consummate professional who I feel honored to have been associated with, but more than that he was a great personal friend who I shared many of my most important life experience with. I will miss him, the sense of humor, the great smile, his kindness, Bettina is watching over him now.

- Lexie Ellsworth

 

 

 Rock Walker with My Chelsea and Trust In June – 1990s

 

The Galatz family had horses with Rock in the very early 80s. Leesa and Lara spent many weekends with Rock and the Carroll family at Moonriver Stables.  We shared many very happy times together. Rock became a good friend and remained a good friend throughout the years. We will cherish those memories.

- Elaine Galatz

 

I saw Rock for the first time at an Arab show, with his feet about a foot from the ground, but riding to "win" the class!  When I started coming to the Morgan shows, he was an ever-present showman, most notably in the winner’s circle. He was a gentleman to everyone he met, he made you feel special and was always interested in your life and how your partner or children were and what they were doing with their lives. He loved to read and discuss books. He was an excellent cook and made it look so easy. He was fantastic with communication and sales within the horse industry. It was during the time I worked for them that I was privy to the wonderful scrapbooks his mother had put together for him, that showed the many years of horsemanship that helped mold the trainer that he had become.  Together Rock and Bob raised Rock Walker Stables to the top of contention, winning an amazing amount of world titles with Rock either riding or driving. After his auto accident, his presence was surely missed in the ring, but Rock had an inner drive that would bounce him back on his feet over and over again. He was a feisty brother, a giving and caring uncle, a kind, loving, and caring friend and he will truly be missed by everyone. 

-Penny Lakatos

 

There is so much history to Rock Walker the person. There are so many for whom he was a great horse trainer and he had so many world champion horses that people will never forget. There was High Pass Duke, Reposado Morning Joy, Funquest Berrybox, Valiant Patriot and so many more. I myself had grown up in the Morgan horse world when Rock was just starting out, I saw him accomplish so much. 

 

Rock and I were friends for 29 years. We stayed close to Rock even after he stopped working at Moonriver. It’s still a shock to me that he is gone. Rock was an awesome friend and believed and understood horses. Rock really believed in me and that meant so much to me. He took me and my little horse and made us one of the best pairs showing at the time. Sometimes when I think of Rock, I think of a rock for all he has been through and he sure proved to be a rock.

-Londa Carroll

 


Rock Walker and one of his early show ring champions.

 

I am still really struggling with this loss. Rock’s life, though tragic at times, had highlights many of us would envy. I believe there are many who will remember his achievements in the horse world, but that was only a small portion of the man I knew and adored. He had sensitivity towards people, horses and dogs. He had passion about those he loved and the work he chose to do with horses. He had a brilliant sense of humor many never saw. He was able to be a team player when needed and could handle people with the skill of a diplomat. He had strong organizational skills. He loved hot cars and beautiful flowers, neat clothes and tiny keepsakes. He loved to collect things, but I loved most his collection of pigs!

 

More importantly, he had a beautiful soul and managed to see the best in most every situation. He loved with abandon, he felt emotion with every fiber of his heart. Sadly, this gentle soul was just not strong enough to handle the ugliness of this world. I can only pray he has found peace in a better more gentle place. I miss him.

-Anne Judd

 

 

Rock Walker and Dancity Sojourn – 1989

 

Michael and I were both very fond of both Rock and Bob. They were actually responsible for getting Michael back to training horses back in the 80s when Rock had broken his leg. Michael worked for them when they were located in Goleta.

-Kevin Michael

 

I have known Rock since he was barely out of teenhood, but I was immediately drawn to him because of his love of all things western, one of my first loves in the show world. He was funny, gifted, handsome and articulate, and was above all else, appreciative of keen, fair and spirited competition in the show ring. He loved to analyze the technical aspects of what made a great western pleasure horse or a great bridled horse - he did, after all, live in California, home of some of the great early trainers and technicians of the modern show western horse, be they pleasure, trail, reining, working cow horse. For Rock, the winning western horse was a work in progress, was graceful and had talent to be a star coming down the rail and into the lineup. Rock's horses knew their job, performed properly, were turned out impeccably, but by the same token, he tipped his hat to competitors who were able to achieve those same goals.

 

As time went on, he took that fascination of techniques of western training into the Saddle Seat disciplines and the record reflects his success in that realm as well.  Rock was a student of horses - not just their talents but their minds, their hearts, their abilities. Rock was always fair and gracious, as a fellow professional and peer, and he was a pleasure to judge or with whom to judge. Additionally, he was the kind of competitor who made a steward's life go well!

 

Rock's talents in all things equine were stellar, and I always mourned that he was not able to overcome some of the daily challenges of life's ever-present speed bumps.  As a mother of four boys, I felt I understood the challenges of accomplishment, tempered with temptations, desires and goals, but mitigated with concern, caution and compassion. We had many a talk about what it takes to succeed versus what could happen in the interim. 

 

That I was able to enjoy Rock's company, chat about all things equine and witness some of his great rides and training accomplishments, will be a cherished memory forever.

-Janie Blue

 

 

Funquest Berrybox and Rock Walker – 1980s

 

Rock’s death has left a hole in my heart. One always holds out hope for some good news about a person who was so talented and tormented at the same time. I choose to remember Rock from all of our good times when I lived in California and his visits to Kentucky.

 

I knew Rock when he had one horse in training and a dirt floor to sweep. He created his career with talent and good word-of-mouth as people discovered him. When he partnered with Bob Hughes the duo was unstoppable but Rock and his kind and sweet attitude never changed.  My last California memory is of Rock waving good-bye as I drove off to Kentucky with tears in my eyes. Every time we got together after that it was like we were never apart.

 

Rock's talent as a showman was undeniable. Although tall, he never seemed to detract from a horse "a la" Tom Moore. No one ever said Tom and Rock were too big for a horse.

 

Everyone should try to remember the good parts of Rock Walker.

- Avis Girdler

 

 

Rock Walker and Robert Hughes - 1989

 

My connection with Rock spans 20-plus years. The opportunity to know him in depth was facilitated by our mutual friend, Frank DePolito, a patient and compassionate fellow who generously invited me to join his Saddlebred training team in Southern California. Gayle Lampe, of William Woods fame, was there on sabbatical instructing the likes of Bettina Bancroft, Elisabeth Goth, Dale Duffy, June Whitlock and Ed Goodstein - a California cast of charismatic characters.

At that time (circa 1986), Rock and Frank were interrelated and life was good!  My term of endearment for Rock was "Rock-O, Sock-O Puddin' N Pie" which was contracted to simply "Rock-O, Sock-O" - easier to announce each time I saw him and only a tad less embarrassing for Rock. Our parting phrase was always a collective, "I love you."

 

When Rock was situated in Pedley, Calif., in association with Helen Carroll, a gal with a proclivity for eye mascara. Frank, Gayle and I attended Easter festivities at the training stable. The host and hostess had placed 25 scratch-off lottery tickets in plastic Easter eggs and buried them throughout the less than pristine property. As one of the little Mexican kids unearthed a couple of treasures from the farm's manure pile, I surmised that was Rock's humorous method of keeping those scratch offs from being discovered. That little kid and I had ourselves quite a field day and life was good!

 

A 20-year gig produces an expansive variety of life experiences, each with an emotional tag. Perception is, indeed, the key - we were on the outside looking in while our friend, Rock, was on the inside looking out. Interpretations can easily erode an experience when we observe things as "we" are instead of as "they" are.

 

What I know for sure is that the last words Rock and I exchanged were, "I love you"...for this I am forever grateful and life is good!

-Conky Price

 

I was in California visiting Avis Girdler in 1984 and enjoying a horse barn tour with her. Having a background in Saddlebreds I had a limited knowledge of Morgans and no idea who Rock Walker was. We pulled into the parking lot at the stable and this guy wearing a huge cowboy hat came riding up to us on this cute little western horse. Well, when he finally got those long legs off the horse he already had the hat off and his hand out to shake my hand. I felt like I became an instant friend! It was at that point when I saw his face light up with that smile. His eyes even smiled! I started asking questions about the horse and found out it was a Morgan and not a quarter horse! Since then I have run into him back in Kentucky several times and we always laughed about that first meeting. It's that picture of him taking off that cowboy hat that I'll always remember and carry in my mind's eye...whata' guy...whata' talent...what a smile!

-D.D. Dutel

 

My memories of Rock go way, way back, I first remember him driving a horse for Garn and Susie Walker. He had a hat too big and his thumbs up, but he was the cutest thing, my next recollection was at Pomona, Calif. He was standing outside the warm-up arena, without a shirt on, (it was extremely warm). I remember thinking, wow, what a gorgeous human being. Over the years we had several horses with him, in the early 80s we had our gelding Tomeri Mr. Big Stuff, and he and Rock won many championships in hand. Through the years RWS became a true championship stable. I remember one OKC when we still had the grand parties, Rock wore a white tuxedo, and again, he was "wow" gorgeous. If it had not been for Rock, I would not have my beloved Med-E-Oka French Riviera. For that alone I am indebted to him. He was a big part of our grandson, Tommy, beginning in riding. Tracy Fietz commented on how Tommy reminds her of Rock in the saddle, that is a pretty high compliment. Sue Gilliam and I often remarked that Rock was one of the most beautiful human beings inside and out that we knew. In my mind he was and always will be very dear and beautiful. We had some great times, and those I remember very fondly. He is missed.

-Teri Brisco

 

 

Rock Walker with Med-E-Oka French Riviera
and Teri Brisco - 2000

 

Rock was a man with a passion for horses. Over the years Rock had a dramatic influence in all aspects of the Morgan industry as a trainer, a teacher, a businessman, a breeder, a judge, a mentor and a friend to many. He was generous with his knowledge, time and talent. He approached our horses with exceptional skill, great compassion and love.  He has left an amazing legacy of kindness, gentleness, tremendous enthusiasm and spirit. He will be sadly missed but always remembered. Good-bye my friend.

-Tracy Fietz 

 

We will remember Rock as a talented horseman who made a big impact on the West Coast and throughout the Morgan world. In the busy business of horse shows he always took time to say hello. He will be greatly missed.

-Tim, Jean and Ryan Arcuri

 

Rock was a talented horseman, excellent judge and a gentleman. I always enjoyed the opportunity to work with him. I will miss him.

-Cindy Mugnier

 

As long as I can remember being in the Morgan breed, Rock was always here showing nice horses. He was such a good horseman with any discipline. He had some of the most beautiful western horses and yet he trained and finished many world champion English and park horses. Rock always looked great riding and driving. He was a handsome man. More than a talented horse trainer, he was a kind human being. Rock always had a smile and a hug and kiss for everyone. He was a good sport, he had a sense of humor and he was someone I looked forward to seeing at the shows. We have missed Rock for a while now on the West Coast since his car accident, but now my heart is saddened by his passing. 

-Missy Hanover

 

We would like to say what a great loss this is, not only to the business, but to people in general. Rock was always a class act whom we respected as a person and as a horse trainer. He will be truly missed.

-Lynn and Kathy Peeples

  

What I will always remember about Rock Walker was how I felt about him the first time I judged with him. At first I just thought he was the most handsome man on earth. But, then spending a week with him like that I also noticed how thoughtful he was with every little thing he said and did. He was such a gentleman, yet we had such fun goofing around too. My week at Northampton with Rock Walker will always go down in memory as a favorite good time for me.

-Sandy Sessink

 

It saddens me a great deal. Of all the people that I met in the Morgan world I can't remember any as gentle as Rock. I constantly have to remind myself of the phase, "there by the grace of God go I." Hopefully, now he has found some peace.

-Fred Braden

 

Pete and I have such fond memories of Rock as a person. He was so much fun to be with, we spent so much time laughing. It is testament to he and Bob that their clients have been with them for so long. We came into Rock's life when we were changing our breeding program around. It made it so special that we selected lots of breeding stock together – like HVK Tiz Flaire and HVK Classic Design. Rock was such a fun-loving person. The last time I saw him was my first year showing Victorian Lady. Rock was on the rail encouraging me, and it made me feel good. He meant a lot to Pete and I. We loved him.

-Sandy Hendrick

 


 
Rock Walker and HVK Flash Back - 2000

         

Before Linda and I had horses in training with Rock and Bob, we saw Rock show Kim's Bellegante as a two-year-old. We said to each other, now that is the type of horse we want to breed. We then bred to Bell Flaire. After we saw how well the Bell Flaire horses showed and performed under Rock and Bob, we decided our Bell Flaire filly would go there to be trained, if they would take her. Rock and Bob agreed and we placed her in training with them. Our dream came true, when Rock drove RLH Simply Striking to the World Championship Three-Year-Old Futurity Park Harness. To this day, that is one of our biggest highlights with our Morgan horses.  One of his pictures driving her to victory is above our home desk and another on the shelves next to our bed. We will never forget that moment.

         

In 2003 after his accident, we were returning from Far West and Linda had shown Psyche after being off training while having two foals. Rock was in the hospital after one of his many surgeries, but could take calls. Rock always loved Psyche. He told us that Psyche would always have a place with him and Bob for "she was part of the family". We were telling him how Linda was so excited to show her again, and Rock's reply was: "Did she walk for you?"  Psyche never really liked to walk (and still does not at age 14). We were so happy Rock could remember that after all he had gone through. Psyche still wears a RWS halter.

-Richard and Linda Hawkins

 

 

RLH Simply Striking and Rock Walker - 2001

 

I will always remember Rock as a kind and encouraging person and trainer.  During the time I had a horse in training with Rock Walker and Bob Hughes, Rock played a great role in being positive while we worked to improve my performance.  He was never embarrassed, critical or upset when we didn't do as well as we should have, and always made me feel a part of the family in the barn. Rock was always willing to listen and give advice.  He was a good-hearted person and someone I will miss.

-Lisa Ale

 

Rock was such a dear, sweet and warm man. The memories that come back the strongest to me are his hugs; the way he could just lean down a bit and wrap those long arms around you and give a feeling of warmth and happiness. He always seemed happy to see people, to be around people. He had a way of looking at you when talking that made you feel like you were being listened to, and that your time with him was important.

 

I remember first meeting Rock, and being a bit taken aback. He was a very handsome and successful trainer, and I was just another reporter new on the scene. I had watched him for several years show western, park and pleasure horses with such ease and grace and style, he was someone I truly admired. He immediately put me at ease and spoke to me with such warmth I felt like a friend. And that never changed.

 

I remember being at the Blackridge Sale, when he was recovering from the accident. At first I was taken by surprise by his scars, but soon was talking to him and realized it was not the eyes that looked at me in conversation that made the difference, but the feeling behind them that made me feel special when talking to him. It was his inherent lack of pretension, the lack of entitlement that made Rock so good to be around.

 

I will miss him greatly, and the Morgan world lost and talented and good man.

 -Howard Stump

 

My first memory of Rock is my mother introducing him to me as Rock: a wonderful California trainer with the best butt in the horse business!  With an introduction like that, how could you not love him? Rock always had a smile for you when you came out of the ring. Even if you had a crappy ride, he was always there to give you a kiss and make you smile. Rock loved the horses, so I know he's probably already ridden Skywatch and driven Noble Flaire! Take care my friend, you will always have a place in my heart. 

-Jane L. King

 


 
Robert Hughes, Jane King and Rock Walker - 2001

         

I choose to remember Rock Walker as the smiling polite professional that I saw show over 25 years ago at the Morgan Classic in Pomona, Calif. He was one of the first people to come and introduce himself to me and compliment me on my work. Being so early in my career I knew I had a very long way to go (my pictures really stunk) but as was back then and throughout the time that we began to be friends he was always positive and honest. I don't remember if too many people realize just how great a showman/horseman he really was. I will never forget those great days in So-Cal watching Rock ride his butt off in those sunglasses he sometime wore.

         

One of my pet peeves of the show horse industry has always been how some people choose not to ever say anything when receiving a ribbon after the class from the ribbon presenter or ringmaster. In all my 25-plus years of photographing shows that Rock attended I never witnessed him not acknowledge that person with a kind smile and a thank you, no matter what the ribbon color. It sounds like no big deal to some but to me it spoke volumes about Rock, always trying to make people feel good no matter what his mindset may have been.

 

Rock I know you are in a much better place. I will miss you.

-Howie Schatzberg

 

I have many memories of Rock through the years. Many of them of him showing some of the breed’s greatest horses, some of them back at the barn away from the arena. My mom had bought a horse for me and my sister by the name of Ponderosa's Magnum. Rock particularly was fond of that horse when he had him in his barn as a show horse. He won nearly all the in-hand classes on the West Coast with him as well as many Open English Pleasure classes in addition to his wins with his junior exhibitor/owner Jennifer Smithson. But as time goes on, so do kids off to college and Jen brought the horse back to El Cajon to board at our place. She had me get him out and exercise him while she was away and we liked him so much we bought him. But he was a horse that was very akin to a certain style of training that I quite didn't have a good knowledge of. I asked Rock if it was all right to come up and observe him and Bob Hughes working horses for a week and he said no problem. Through the week I was able to watch some of the styles they used that I learned and could use with Magnum. Their help and tips worked great with Magnum and he worked very solid from there. Rock cared enough about the horse to make sure I knew some of Magnum's little tricks in training the horse so that my sister and I could show him and do well. He always freely shared his knowledge knowing it wasn't a horse he expected to have in training, but it was Rock's genuine desire to see the horse do well under with his news owners, me and my sister. Rock always inquired about the horse each year after that. Asking how he was, did Magnum still let out a funny wimpy whinny after work begging for a treat and more importantly that I was most certainly giving him his treats! Magnum is now 26-years-old and still continues to beg for his treats!

-Debbie Uecker-Keough

 

Rock was one of a kind. Anything he did with a horse looked smooth and

effortless, I was always so impressed with that. No one looked better while showing a horse than Rock, and when Bob and Rock would show an in-hand horse together it was the neatest thing to watch. As good of a horseman as Rock was, he was an even better friend and person. Rock was one of those friends that you felt comfortable telling anything to because you know he would be supportive no matter what. What made him more amazing is that he could be this kind of friend and person even as he was battling his own issues throughout his life. I hope that he now has found the peace he so deserves.

-Mark Bodnar

 

I remember showing at the Grand National and seeing Rock Walker Stables through the years and quivering in my boots wondering what Rock had up his sleeve next. It was always a thrill to witness him show a horses, he was fierce and genius, he was a real showman!

         

At Bobbin Hollow, Rock is thought of everyday. In October of 2005, I bought a horse named SpringMill Navigator from him out in California, and he brought this big gelding to Oklahoma and showed him in the Open Park Harness World Championship, we both knew that the horse was not ready to show, but he said, "What the heck, lets give em' something to talk about." Rock would tell me over and over again about how wonderful this horse was and how he believed in him, I thought Rock had fallen off his rocker, but he really did know this horse was special. Navigator came into both of our lives for a reason and to this day he is my absolute favorite horse in the barn, he is my teacher who makes me a better trainer and a wiser instructor, this is all because Rock believed in this one animal and he made me a believer too, so thank you Rock Walker! You are in our thoughts everyday, may you rest in peace." 

-Lark Rene' Henry

 

I knew Rock since I was 18 years old, shared many stories when we cross paths either judging or catching up while showing horses in OKC. He was a great horseman and a great person.

-Woodrow W. Henry III

 


 
Rock Walker made his final trip
in the Oklahoma coliseum on the
lines of SpringMill Navigator in 2005.

 

A private family memorial service for Rock Walker is being held in Salt Lake City. A celebration of Rock’s life will be held at the Morgan Medallion Regional in Santa Barbara in August. The family asks that donations in Rock’s memory be made to the AMHA Educational Charitable Trust.

 




 

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