Ebony's Bold Courier
was a sprightly three-month-old chestnut colt at his dam's side on the
pastures of Ronnie Spears' Stables near Tullahoma, Tennessee, when his
half brother, Ebony's True Grit, and Joe Fleming won the Celebration
at Shelbyville in 1975. He was foaled there on June 9, 1975. Spears
had bought his dam, Ann's Merry Gal, the previous November from Billy
Hale of Gallatin, Tenn. She had been bred to Ebony Masterpiece, the
famous sire and 1962 World Grand Champion which Hale also then owned.
The colt had inherited, along with other attributes, the star marking
of his sire.
"He was an outstanding colt, a good moving colt," Spears recently
recalled. The colt, then named Bedford County, was sold as a yearling
in May, 1976, to Dr. and Mrs. Roger Bates of Waycross, Georgia, who
continued to back him as Ebony's Bold Courier for all of his seven
years in the show ring. "We believed in him all the way," Frances
Bates said; "we never lost sight of the fact that he had all the
credentials of a World Grand Champion."
There were great successes and deep disappointments along the seven
year trail to the most coveted title of the Walking Horse world. Under
the guidance of Carl Edwards & Sons Stables, Dawson, Ga., Bold Courier
won the 1979 Four-Year-Old World Grand Championship at the
Celebration. He took a third in his first appearance in the
Celebration Big Stake of 1980 and a sixth in the World Grand
Championship of 1981, both with Gary Edwards in direction.
The chestnut stallion was moved to Ronal Young Stables in Lewisburg,
Tenn., at the conclusion of the 1981 season and then transferred to
Joe and Preach Fleming's J & P Stables only days before the 1982
Celebration when a conflict became apparent with Young's commitment to
show Shaker's Professor. Joe Fleming's short-notice presentation of
Bold Courier at the 1982 Celebration resulted in a ninth-place tie.
The year that followed brought about dramatic, changes in the team.
The first inkling of the "new" Bold Courier came at the Montgomery
post-Celebration show in October, 1982, when Fleming and the bold
chestnut stallion were named Reserve Grand Champions of that
prestigious show. In Atlanta, in the spring of 1983, the duo again
signaled it was a team to be reckoned with by winning the Reserve
Grand Championship of the Trainers' Show.
Splashing through the rain of the final night at the 1983 Spring
Celebration Fun Show, Joe Fleming and Ebony's Bold Courier staged a
flawless presentation to win the blue and the following of the crowd.
|Then, a few
weeks later, the duo captured the highest prize money ever awarded
in a Walking Horse Class with their $15,000 win at the Herman A.
Hayes Memorial Horse Show in Vienna, Missouri. A temporary setback
at the Belfast, Tennessee, Horse Show against several Celebration
contenders saw Fleming and Bold Courier tied third. However, this
seemed to spur the duo to greater efforts in the Over 15.2
Stallions preliminary on the first Saturday night of Celebration
'83. They became World Champions of Division A of the class,
setting the stage to be a crowd-favored contender the following
The roar of the crowd that greeted Fleming and Bold Courier when
they entered the ring for the Grand Championship Stake followed
them around the ring throughout the performance. Their course
around the famed show ring could be followed by the crowd's
reaction. They were clear-cut favorites of the crowd and received
the first-place votes of all three judges for a unanimous victory.
Ebony's Bold Courier, 1983
World Grand Champion at the 44th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse
National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee, makes his victory
pass with his trainer and rider Joe Fleming up.
Placed third, sixth,
ninth and first in four consecutive years of Celebration Big Stake
performance, Ebony's Bold Courier was retired from show ring
competition as World Grand Champion of 1983.
What else, except for a successful career at stud, is there?