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Saddlebred Museum Still Seeking Info on Historic Black Horsemen

World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Joe Louis,

aboard his American Saddlebred show horse,

MacDonald’s Choice

(1938 Life Magazine photo)



Lexington, Kentucky ­– The 2007 Exhibit at the American Saddlebred Museum, Out of the Shadows: Bringing to Light Black Horsemen in Saddlebred History, will feature the many contributions made by African Americans to the industry. While the response to this exhibit has been exceptional, more help is still needed from the Saddlebred world.


We need information, including stories and photos, on black horsemen from the late 1800’s up through the 1970’s. Any film footage (video, 16mm or 8mm) of these horsemen would be a wonderful addition to the exhibit. Tack, riding apparel, trophies and ribbons are needed to round out our displays. We would also love to have oral histories on noted black horseman put to paper. Please share your stories with us. You may donate either your original items or copies of the items to the Museum’s permanent collection. You may also loan the items to us for the duration of the yearlong exhibit. If there was a special horseman of color in your life, take the time to gather items you might have pertaining to him and send it to the Saddlebred Museum.


Did you know that world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis owned and showed American Saddlebreds?  From innovator and racial barrier breaker Tom Bass to notables such as Gray Barham, Bentley Mays and Bethel Ward, black horsemen have had a huge impact on Saddlebred history. Without these men the horse world would never have seen show ring stars and world’s title holders Belle Beach, Stonewall Parfait, Stonewall’s Crescendo, Glenview’s Mandala and many more. Please help us share these greats with the 900,000 plus visitors who come through the Kentucky Horse Park gates each year.


Out of the Shadows will run from February 16, 2007 until December 31, 2007. The American Saddlebred Museum, located on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park, is open daily 9-6. Admission to the Saddlebred Museum is included with the purchase of a Horse Park ticket. To help with this exhibit please contact the Museum at (859) 259-2746 ext. 312 or


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