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Sadly, History Repeats Itself - Revival Is Another Colic Casualty


by Bob Funkhouser

Many times throughout the history of this breed (and probably several others) we lose a stallion just about the time he finally has enough offspring on the ground that are old enough to show and prove themselves. The twice Amateur Fine Harness World’s Champion of Champions, Revival (Sultan’s Santana x Amazing Grace DSF by Supreme Spirit), recently joined the list of top-producing stallions who died unexpectedly at a somewhat young age. He was just 15.

“It just takes a long time for a stallion to prove himself. It’s a long process,” said his last trainer Melissa Moore, who has been a part of Revival’s life for many years.

Revival was a unique animal in many respects. First, he started out his career with Nelson Green as the 1991 Reserve World’s Champion Kentucky Futurity Weanling for owners/breeder’s Don Spear and John Scheidt of Stonecroft Farm, Shelbyville, Ky. Then he made a more-than-successful transition into the performance division, one that would see championship after championship at the highest levels.

There have been others that have won world and national titles season after season for a span of 11 years, but very few. Even fewer were the number of stallions who have pulled this off.

“He was unique. We could breed him and show him at the same time,” said Moore. “I think it made him better and there aren’t many stallions you can say that about. He was so sensible and had an incredible heart. Everything was so easy for him; it wasn’t manufactured.”

The master herself, Donna Moore selected Revival for William Shatner at the 1994 Lexington Junior League when Jim Koller drove him to the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Stake for Stonecroft. Under the Stonecroft banner he had a winning debut at Indy just a few months before. Revival was already a gifted young performer but by the time Moore finished working her magic he was a harness horse supreme. His animation and regality were as consistent as dogwoods blooming in the spring.

As a four-year-old he won Lexington’s open stallion/gelding class. Revival was also Rock Creek’s open champion that year. Now ready for his amateur driver, Revival started a string of Louisville titles in 1997 that would continue year after year.

He was crowned the Amateur Gentlemen’s Fine Harness World’s Champion for five out of six years between 1997 and 2002. In ‘99 he was both the amateur gentlemen’s world’s champion and the Amateur Fine Harness World’s Champion of Champions. He would duplicate that feat winning both titles again in 2002, his last year showing. In addition to his world championships, Revival had a Reserve World’s Champion of Champions win and four Reserve World’s Championships to his credit.

"He was a very charismatic colt," remembered breeder John Scheidt. "From early one he looked like he knew he was special.

"There was a great story that goes with his birth. We have a large bank of windows in our kitchen that looks out onto the fields. Don [Spear] was out of town and I was on the phone with him and Amazing Grace (Revival's dam) was casually walking by and all of a sudden her water broke and I immediately starting seeing feet. I told Don I had to go as Grace was literally foaling. I ran outside got her halter and got her to the barn. Two minutes later Revival was on the ground. I've never seen a birth go so quick and easy.

"He was truly a grand horse," Scheidt continued. "Of the six foals we had by him, one was a world's champion and two were reserve world's champions. He didn't get the chance to breed a lot but this looked to be his year.  One of his daughters that we kept, Joyous, is one of my favorite mares. In fact, she just had a beautiful bay colt by I'm First. Thank goodness for frozen semen as we are planning on breeding CH A Sweet Treat to him this year."

Since his show ring career ended Revival stood at stud under the direction of Bob Battaglia in Scottsdale, Az. Because of his many years in the show ring he wasn’t bred heavily. The American Saddlebred Registry shows him having 83 registered get through the 2005 season. He was also bred to several National Show Horse mares over the past few seasons.

As his bloodlines would indicate, Revival was proving to be one of the top, upcoming sires. In fact, he was ranked thirteenth on Saddle Horse Report’s 2005 World’s Champion Sire Rating. The world’s champion performer and sire was represented at Louisville this past year by three world’s champions: Our Fallen Angel (World’s Champion of Champions Three-Gaited Park); Gothic Revival (World’s Champion Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding); and Mother Mary (World’s Champion Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure National Futurity). All three of these were bred at Melissa Moore’s Sunrise Stables. Some of his other world and national title holders have included Holy Grail, Square Dance, Joyous, Riva Mac, Been To Paris, Galad, Monsignor, and Radiant Revival.

His offspring have possessed much quality and bloom, much like their sire. That again comes from his pedigree. On both the top and bottom side of his papers in the third generation you find World’s Grand Champion Valley View Supreme on the sire’s side and Golden Thunderbolt (Anacacho Denmark x Reverie’s Desdemona) on the dam’s side. In those first three generations, six Open World’s Grand Champion titles are found, beginning with his sire Sultan’s Santana, as well as five different mares that are designated Broodmare Hall of Fame (BHF).

It’s no wonder Revival turned out to be the show horse and the sire that he was. It doesn’t always work out crossing two horses of superior lineage but this time the best of those families all came together for an outstanding individual. He was blessed with the intangibles like a tremendous heart and desire to please.

“He was the epitome of a fine harness horse,” said Melissa Moore. “He always paraded, he was a joy to work and he was very kind. Revival will be remembered as one of the greats.”

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