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Montrose: Saddlebred Beauty and Style


Saddlebred foundation sire Montrose.

An early Saddlebred founding sire.


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Montrose, foaled in 1869, was exceedingly beautiful in a time when beautiful horses were numerous. His beauty was judged to be outstanding. To begin with, his coloring was such that it caught the eye, being a mahogany bay, 15.3 hands, with two white hind ankles and a little white on his right front coronet. But this was the smallest factor in his beauty. According to those who saw or knew him, his eye was exceedingly large and beautiful and there was an indefinable, indescribable something about his presence that defies words.

The body of Montrose possessed perfect proportions and he had great finish and quality. He was masculine but “fine”. Being breathtaking standing still, he also had perfect motion. While he was every bit the stallion, with a stallion’s vigor and fire, his refinement of line was exquisite and the length of his neck and its carriage was untypical as compared to that of others in his time period.

According to those who saw or knew him, his eye was exceedingly large and beautiful and there was an indefinable, indescribable something about his presence that defies words. With the long neck, came a clear cut head , thin ears carried forward, and a large sloping shoulder. He had great finish and quality.

Montrose had a very kind disposition, but earned the reputation of being “hot”. His rider Jasper Offutt encouraged this hotness, so one might say the stallion had but learned his training well.

He was the apple of the public’s eye as well as of professional horsemen. No other show horse of his time occupied the center of the stage for so long or so continuously. He won big time as a 3 year old and continued to be a champion throughout 18 years of showing. He was the first Saddlebred to sell for $5,000.00 - very big money in his day.

As a sire, Montrose was also an outstanding success, attaining higher ranking with each new generation foaled. It was said by many that whenever you saw one of his colts you didn’t have to ask who the sire was, he stamped them so well as his own with his beauty and peacock style. His progeny were always beautiful, stylish, talented with their gaits, and sold for more money than those of any other stallion of his day. His influence on the Saddlebred breed was substantial, with too many individuals and too many generations to list here. A few of his progeny whose names still ring bells today are: Poetry in Motion; his great siring son, King Lee Rose; Guided by Love; Poetry in Motion, Joe McDonald; Stella French and Forest King.

Montrose traced through an unbroken line of 14 Thoroughbred dams to the Burton-Barb mare. His sire was Diamond Denmark, by Gaines’ Denmark, by Denmark, the foundation sire of the American Saddlebred breed. He was bred by E.K. Thomas, the father of Claude M. Thomas, president of the American Saddle Horse Breeders Association.

When the stallion was twenty years old, many wrote the owners, Jack and Tom Harrison in Missouri, asking if they would bring the age stallion to the St. Louis fair so he could be seen once more. Montrose won easily with great brilliance of performance, beating a ring full of very high class and much younger horses.

Few have had such a brilliant career. In 1893 Montrose was sold for the 12th and last time to Garrett Brothers of Kentucky. Both Montrose and his old rival Black Squirrel were taken back to Kentucky and a monument was erected in memory of both stallions. Montrose died in 1897.

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