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UPHA Tom Moore Hall Of Fame - Phil Price

Editor’s Note: The following speech was read by Sandy Sessink Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010 at the UPHA/AHHS Convention.

When I was a very young teenager, I was at a horse show and saw a man riding a horse that stopped me in my tracks. I don’t remember who the horse was, but I most certainly remember the way that horse wore the bridle, the way he waved his legs, and the very confident way the man rode that unbelievable horse.

His quiet hands, soft seat and seemingly invisible one to one communication with the horse created the most harmonious vision of intense horse power I had ever seen. He was a handsome man and it was a beautiful Morgan horse. It was a vision that blew me away.

I was an impressionable kid, and I was curious to learn more about what it took to create that picture. That curiosity lasted all the way into my college years, and when I decided that being a commercial artist paled in comparison to the thought of being a horse trainer, it was Phil Price at Carrousel Stables from whom I wanted to learn the ropes.

Phil Price was born into the horse training world. His mother, Addie, and her family owned and bred Belgians. His father, Owen Price trained all kinds of ponies; harness ponies, saddle ponies, parade ponies, whatever ponies did. So, Phil was involved in many different aspects of the show world during his childhood. Phil did it all and was a big part of the family’s Columbus area stable.

When Phil became of age, he went into the Navy. But his stint was shortened by the fact that his father Owen suffered a broken back during a fall from the hay loft. Phil came home to help with the family business. And soon after, the Price family hooked up with a group of Morgan owners who built Carrousel Stables in Bellevue, Ohio.

By the early 1970’s Phil Price was the winningest horse trainer in the Morgan World. Carrousel Stables was the largest training stable in the country. They consistently brought the most horses to every show they attended. And, more importantly, they brought home record numbers of blues for their clients everywhere they went. By 1975 an addition to the barn was necessary, and within weeks of the last stall going up Carrousel Stables was boasting 75 horses in full training.

Those days saw Phil Price winning the World Park Saddle Grand Championship four times, twice with Big Bend H-Bomb and twice with Pinehaven Renaissance. When Phil Price gets his hands on a good horse, he is one of the best at maintaining that horse for many years. Pinehaven Renaissance is a good example of this. Winning the two, three and four-year-old World Championship to start with he then went on to his World Grand Championship wins in 1982 and 83.

Phil did the same thing with Overlook Timbalier in the park harness division. His two-year-old, three-year-old and four-year-old World Park Harness Championship wins prefaced the three times Phil drove him to the World Park Harness Grand Championships in 1982, 1984 and 1985. Overlook Timbalier was the kind of horse that you can’t appreciate in a two dimensional photograph. He had more bounce to the ounce than your average Mexican jumping bean, and his cocky personality warmed the audience’s heart every time out. Timbalier is the perfect example of another one of the things that makes Phil Price so good. He has a unique ability to bring out the best in a horse without taking away that individuality that can make that horse great.

Phil Price’s tutelage provided many opportunities for assistant trainers who went on to big futures in the horse business. Tim O’Gorman, Shirley O’Gorman, Mike Tunstall, and Sandy Sessink all spent quality time at Carrousel Stables. Phil provided inspiration to make us all want to do it right, a collaborative attitude which made us feel included in the overall process and the encouragement to go beyond our given assignments, as well as beyond Carrousel Stables.

As the Carrousel days were coming to a close, Phil became involved in Saddlebreds. He was successful for many years operating Edgewood Farm, where he worked Morgans and Saddlebreds. And, he spent a few years out on the east coast training Morgans. Currently, he runs his multi breed training stable out of the beautiful facility L’Ambiance Farm near Dayton, Ohio.

If you know Phil Price well, you know that he is a man of firm beliefs. He has lived by his convictions, come hell or high water, his entire life. Ask Phil about his thoughts on the demise of the Morgan Park horse, or the effect of the Morgan Grand National on the grass roots of the breed and you better order another drink and get comfortable because you’re about to witness a man’s undying passion for what he believes. You will never find a more faithful believer in the collective, collaborative advantages that a multi-breed organization such as UPHA has to offer.

Past UPHA President Lonnie Lavery says this of our Hall of Fame recipient: "During my two years as the President of UPHA Phil was indispensable as a confidant, advisor and problem solver to myself and the board of directors. His commitment to the UPHA sometimes made me question mine. His good humor and easy way saved many a board meeting from the wrath of Lavery.

Though many people do not know this, he and Jimmy Miller were instrumental in making the transformation of the old American Royal into today’s UPHA/American Royal National Championships, a reality. Without their help, I doubt any of us would have much reason to be in Kansas City in November these days."

No one in the Morgan business ever gave more meaning to the word ‘Showman’. His style and confidence have been the inspiration that created the desire in many young trainers. Often imitated, but never duplicated, he is now being inducted to the UPHA Hall of Fame. Congratulations to my inspiration, Phil Price.

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