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Bourbon King Saddlebred Legend


A painting of the Saddlebred Bourbon King by George Ford Morris.

Bourbon King - a World Grand Champion Saddlebred and legendary sire.


© copyrighted horse article.

Bourbon King, in his day, was considered the greatest show horse of all time. This is understandable since he was never defeated in any Saddle Horse class. Years after the stallion’s death, many who had been privileged to see him perform stated that nothing to equal him had as yet been produced.

He was foaled in 1990 -- a chestnut with a star and white ankles behind, who when grown had such conformation that the lines of his body were so magnificently chiseled the living horse seemed to also be a sculpture produced by a master. Bourbon King was blessed with high intelligence and possessed many other outstanding characteristics. He could out trot the roadsters. His way of going was clean and brilliant. The speed and rhythm of his rack was utter precision lit by his own inner fire. The slow-gait was flowing, smooth and ongoing like a river runs to the sea. As a three year old he won the gaited title at Louisville and remained and undefeated as a five gaited champion. With speed and perfect action in his strong way of going, with his beauty coupled with a good disposition, he engendered awe, winning ribbons, accolades and the hearts of horsemen. The heart and style of Bourbon King were evident to such a degree that he simply “stood out” in any class he ever entered, and he competed with the best show horses of his time period, including Rex Peavine.

Yet is was as a sire that this stallion altered history far into the future. He combined within himself, within his own gene pool, the two foundation bloodline families of the Saddlebred breed,those of Denmark and Chief. He was royally bred and became the great progenitor of the Chief family.

His sire - Bourbon Chief, by Harrison Chief.
His dam -- Annie C, by King; 2nd dam a daughter of Richlieu; 3rd dam a daughter of Kentucky Chief.

The mare, Annie C was also the dam of Montgomery Chief and Marvel King, as well as others of note.

Inbred to Harrison Chief, Bourbon King proved to be phenomenal as a sire -- he “bred on” , and his progeny bred on also ! Coupled with his individual show ring brilliance, this sublime prepotency for reproducing himself to even the fourth generation is why he so rightfully is considered one the greatest Saddlebreds of all time.

Bred by R. B Young and owned for most of his life by A. G Jones, he lived to the age of 30. Staying at stud throughout his life he sired more winners each year than any other stallion during his life time. He was the leader of all sires of money winning horses at the Kentucky State Fair from 9124 to 1928. In one calendar year, at the Kentucky show, Bourbon King sired 6 winners of junior stakes, 6 winners of 3-year old classes, 3 winners of 2 year old classes, and one winning yearling ! That was only one year at the Kentucky State Fair.. Mr. Jones was many times offered high sums of money but always refused. For many, many years his sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of played a prominent and in many cases dominant role both in the show ring and the breeding world. . He consistently transmitted to his get a remarkable degree of his great characteristics, his stunning beauty and brilliance, his greatness of gaits and speed.

A list of Bourbon King important progeny would be long indeed. Here are but a very few:

His son Edna May’s King -- was the first horse to win the Ky. State Fair Grand Championship twice and was a great breeding stallion.
King’s Sport -- winner at Kentucky State Fair and a successful breeding stallion.
King’s Genius -- a many, many times winning show horse and a winner of the Stallion stake at Ky. State Fair.
King Barrymore -- a great breeding stallion, who also won many times at Louisville and the Grand Championship title twice.
Richlieu King -- won the Grand Championship and also the Stallion stake for 3 straight years.
Charming King - who was said to have a perfect trot and who won 37 times out of 42 classes, with other 2nds and 3rds.
His granddaughter Mass of Gold, was Grand Champion at Kentucky State Fair three times

The list of future generations with which Bourbon King endowed his priceless gifts is truly stunning. Six times World Grand Champion Wing Commander traced to Bourbon King on both sides of his pedigree. An incredible number of champion Saddlebreds trace to Bourbon King with many individuals having been line bred to this famous progenitor. He is truly and deservedly one of the greatest American Saddlebreds of all time.

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More about the Saddlebred:
Saddlebred Easter Cloud Saddlebred Montrose Saddlebred Rex Peavine Saddlebred Rex McDonald Saddlebred Wing Commander Saddlebred Genius Bourbon King Saddlebred Indiana Ace Saddlebred Valley View Supreme Saddlebreds in So. Africa Saddlebred Stonewall Supreme