Sire of Champions

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HUNTER'S ALLEN was foaled in 1909, the property of John Black of Noah, Tennessee. Black was the man who also bred the immortal broodmare MAUDE GRAY. HUNTER'S ALLEN was a rich golden sorrel, off hind stocking, star and snip, with a long mane that always gave a wavy appearance. His extraordinarily long tail touched the ground even when he was in action. With the exception of ROAN ALLEN F-38, no individual stallion did more to establish the Tennessee Walking Horse than this show horse and sire.

It is an unfortunate fact that stallions tend to become lost to history unless they, in turn, beget other outstanding sires. This tendency is especially true in the history of Walking Horses, since the industry has historically put its emphasis on stallions. Because of this situation, ROAN ALLEN F-38 remains a dominant figure in the minds of Walking Horse breeders while HUNTER'S ALLEN'S influence has become buried in the female line of registration papers. Out of the 215 foals sited by HUNTER'S ALLEN, only 31 were stallions, and 2 of them were gelded by the time they were registered.



HUNTER'S ALLEN was sired by ALLAN F-1.  His pedigree on his dam's side is more difficult to follow unless the reader is willing to accept on faith the information included in the Walking Horse Registry. According to the Registry HUNTER'S ALLEN'S dam was ALLIS F-85, by PAT, son of CUNNINGHAM'S COPPERBOTTOM. The second dam is listed as NELL by MOUNTAIN SLASHER F-59 by MORRILL'S COPPERBOTTOM. MOUNTAIN SLASHER'S dam was supposedly by a son of the famous Thoroughbred, TIMOLEON. At least some information is available on the animals included in this pedigree.

ALLIS, HUNTER'S ALLEN'S dam, was owned by Dr. J.E. Childress who lived on Panhandle Creek in Coffee County. The mare was named for Alice Osburne of Fairfield, Tennessee. Just why the spelling of the name was changed to "ALLIS" is not known. Dr. Childress used ALLIS to make the rounds of his medical practice in Coffee County since many of the homes involved were inaccessible except on horseback.

Standing an unusual sixteen hands tall, ALLIS is described as "well made, strong, and good looking," with a long, heavy mane and tail inherited from her sire, a horse known locally as PAT.  ALLIS' dam died when the colt was only four weeks old which necessitated the orphan being raised on a bottle.  The Childress family often recalled that ALLIS stood perfectly content and ate all she desired, then turned quickly to kick at the person who had fed her.  ALLIS was broken when she was a three year-old and soon developed a fine fox-trot under saddle and a bold trot to the buggy.

ALLIS acquired a reputation for being lazy, a characteristic that was blamed on her sire, PAT.  The sluggishness in the family may have come from the one-fourth Norman draft blood that was accepted by some people as a part of PAT'S pedigree. 
PAT first appeared at the Childress home one night pulling a whiskey peddler's wagon. Dr. Childress liked his looks and swapped another horse and two cows for the stallion. The doctor was well pleased with his trade until it became obvious that neither PAT nor his offspring cared for work.  When this circumstance was recognized the stallion was traded off never to be heard of again. It was many years later, when the Walking Horse Association was investigating the pedigrees of its Foundation Stock, that someone ventured the information that actually PAT was the son of CUNNINGHAM'S COPPERBOTTOM, a stallion that had once stood at service in the Beech Grove community.

In 1907, when Dr. Childress moved to Manchester, Tennessee, he sold ALLIS to John Black.  ALLIS was then about seventeen years-old. The following spring Black took ALLIS to the farm of James Brantley to be bred to ALLAN F-1.  In later years Black commented on the fact that when he arrived at the Brantley farm he saw a young roan stallion being ridden up and down the road.  The roan stallion was no doubt ROAN ALLEN.  After HUNTER'S ALLEN was foaled in the spring of 1909, ALLIS was again bred to ALLAN, but before the next foal came, the mare was sold.  Her fate is unknown.

Black evidently was not too impressed with the little sorrel colt from ALLIS. When the youngster was only one day old, Black took ALLIS to the creek for water. The colt wandered off and fell from a bridge onto a flat rock. For a few minutes it lay motionless as if dead, but Black didn't worry since he believed it the ugliest colt he had ever seen. The incident proved insignificant, and soon the wobbly legs of the colt were propelling it toward its mother.

HUNTER'S ALLEN went under many names during his career.  The first of these was LITTLE ALLEN. Under this name he was sold to J W. Davis of Beckman's Mill, in Coffee County.  Davis ran a country store at the nearby village of Walkersville, and when LITTLE ALLEN was old enough to work in harness, Davis drove him alongside a pony to deliver groceries.  As a coming three year-old the horse was sold to John G. Walker who kept him until February of 1917, when he was sold to Bright Hunter of Farmington, Tennessee.  It was from the Hunters that the famous horse received his registered name.  

HUNTER'S ALLEN was never able to shake a reputation for meanness.  Even when a very young horse his handlers had to take special precautions when he was taken out in public.  The day the Walkers purchased the sorrel stallion, he was hitched to a wagon, but he was wearing a yoke to keep him from jumping fences.  He was often-times difficult to catch in the stable, and sometimes it was next to impossible to get him out of the stable once he was caught.  Many people who saw HUNTER'S ALLEN exhibited in horse shows remembered his bad behavior during these events.

HUNTER'S ALLEN began his show career in the county fair circuit of Middle Tennessee.  According to the Hunter family, HUNTER'S ALLEN made his Tennessee State Fair debut in 1912.  In that event the sorrel stallion won first.  The next year HUNTER'S ALLEN returned to the State Fair and again won first, this time defeating ROAN ALLEN ridden by French Brantley.  Both HUNTER'S ALLEN and ROAN ALLEN had been loaded on the same boxcar in Wartrace for the journey to Nashville, site of the State Fair.

Old-timers in the Walking Horse business often spent many hours arguing over the relative merits of ROAN ALLEN and HUNTER'S ALLEN.  Although such arguments never resolved the issue as to which was the better horse, there is one aspect of them that proves interesting today.  At the time these two stallions lived, no premium was placed on a crooked or " sickle" hock.  The fact was that such hocks were frowned upon.  Many horsemen believed HUNTER'S ALLEN was the better horse for the simple reason that his back legs were straight, with little or no angle at the hock.  On the other hand ROAN ALLEN was noted, and oftentimes criticized, for his crooked back legs.  In view of each horse's ultimate fate within the breed, the contemporary student cannot help but wonder if ROAN ALLEN'S crooked hind legs gave him an edge over his straight-legged half-brother.

In 1916, HUNTER'S ALLEN won the Stallion Class at the Tennessee State Fair, and in addition won the Walking Horse Championship.  In 1917 he won the Stallion Class.  He was not shown again until 1924 when, at the age of fifteen, he won the Stallion Class at the State Fair in Nashville for the fourth time.  In 1926, HUNTER'S ALLEN was entered in the Bedford County (Shelbyville, Tennessee) Fair where he beat his famous son BROWN ALLEN and a son of MERRY LEGS, BUD ALLEN.  The male line of HUNTER'S Allen's pedigree gave him a background of notable Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds, Morgans, and Canadian Pacers. Assuming his maternal line to be that represented in the Registry, he traced to the MOUNTAIN SLASHERS and the COPPERBOTTOMS

George Grout wrote in the "TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE" magazine of October, 1945,

"There are at least nine sires back of HUNTER'S ALLEN that have sired horses with records better than 2:30, and there are at least two great brood mares that any horse might be proud to number among his ancestors. These two are MAGGIE MARSHALL and ALMA MATER."

In 1950 Jean Hunter, daughter of Burt Hunter, and a writer for the "NATIONAL HORSEMAN" magazine, wrote one of the more interesting articles ever published on Walking Horses.  It was entitled "HUNTER'S ALLEN As I Remember Him."  Miss Hunter not only included her own memories, but those of her father, Burt Hunter, and grandfather, Bright Hunter.  Miss Hunter points out that HUNTER'S ALLEN came along at a time when county fairs were springing up throughout Middle Tennessee, and that apparently the famous son of ALLAN F-1 made his share of these events.  The Middle Tennessee Circuit began at Murfreesboro and continued in Shelbyville, Fayetteville, Winchester, and ended at the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville.  Usually such fairs lasted three days, with enough time elapsing in between to allow owners to return home and prepare for the next event.  Since there were no trucks in those days, the only methods of transporting show horses were either by train or on foot.  Fred Walker usually preferred riding HUNTER'S ALLEN to the show regardless of the distance.  Walker believed that the ride conditioned his mount for the show.  Many times there was no choice since the locations of some shows were not serviced by railroads.

Miss Hunter says,

"On one occasion when Fred was to show HUNTER'S ALLEN at the State Fair, he rode him from Wartrace to Murfreesboro ... then hitched him double with another horse to a span and drove on from Murfreesboro to Nashville. HUNTER'S ALLEN won his class the next night.  The total distance was near 50 miles. 

On another occasion Fred Walker already had the famous horse in Nashville but decided during the week-long show to return to Wartrace to visit a girlfriend.  Walker and a friend hitched HUNTER'S ALLEN with another horse to a vehicle and made the round trip to Wartrace, returning to Nashville just after daylight.  On the following night the stallion won his class at the State Fair which, at that time, furnished the keenest competition for Walking Horses of any show in the nation.

Hunter's Allen and riders
(Submitted by Grace Larson of Hi Plains Walkers)

Undoubtedly, HUNTER'S ALLEN played a major role in popularizing the Walking Horse during the period from 1915 to the late 1930s when his get were overshadowed by those of ROAN ALLEN. During their younger years, HUNTER'S ALLEN appears far more prominent than ROAN ALLEN, both as a show horse and as a sire of show horses.  ROAN ALLEN'S dominance of the breed occurred only after his sons became established sires in the thirties.  An examination of Tennessee State Fair records will substantiate this evaluation.  The official records of the Tennessee State Fair were burned many years ago, but through the efforts of interested individuals many of them have been collected.  The existing information is a testimony to the importance of HUNTER'S ALLEN, both as a show horse and as a sire.  According to these records, the following represent the winners of Walking Horse classes in the years indicated:

1912 - HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Stallion Class
1913 - HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Stallion Class 
1916 - HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Stallion Class and Stake
1917 - HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Stallion Class
1920 - TOM ALLEN by HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Stake
1921 - TOM ALLEN, winner of the Stake
1922 - TOM ALLEN, winner of the Stake
1924 - HUNTER'S ALLEN winner of the Stallion Class BELLE by HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Junior Stake TOM ALLEN, winner of the Championship Stake
1925 - MARY ALLEN by HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Stake
1926 - A gelding from a HUNTER'S ALLEN Mare, winner of the Stake
1927 - MARY ALLEN, winner of the Stake
1928 - SPRINGTIME by HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Stake
1929 - RAMBLING BOY by HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Stake
1930 - MAYTIME out of MARY ALLEN, winner of the Stake
1931 - MAYTIME, winner of the Stake
1932 - HEADLIGHT NELL by HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Stake
1933 - HEADLIGHT NELL, winner of the Stake
1938 - LYNNIE GRAY by NEAL'S ALLEN by BROWN ALLEN by HUNTER'S ALLEN, winner of the Stake

Interestingly enough, three of HUNTER'S ALLEN'S most prominent offspring are not in the above list. These are BROWN ALLEN, LAST CHANCE and WALKER'S ALLEN.  BROWN ALLEN was recognized as one of the most outstanding show horses of the thirties.  LAST CHANCE was an exceptionally good two year-old but did not do well thereafter.  WALKER'S ALLEN was always a formidable contender, and is considered by some horsemen as the best show horse sired by HUNTER'S ALLEN.  Two other HUNTER'S ALLEN offspring, HUNTER and QUEEN, won Junior Championships at the Tennessee State Fair.  A daughter of the old horse, LADY TURNER, was the first mare to defeat MERRY LEGS F-4.

The great broodmares from HUNTER'S ALLEN are too numerous to mention. Perhaps the greatest was ELLA 11, dam of HALL ALLEN, SAM ALLEN and PEARLE.  PEARLE established her own dynasty by foaling five outstanding stallions by MERRY BOY, the most prominent of which were MERRY MAKER, REYNOLD'S PRIDE and WHITE MERRY BOY JR.

MERRY LEGS was bred to HUNTER'S ALLEN on at least three occasions.  Two of the foals died as yearlings.  The one that lived was LAST CHANCE.  For several years it appeared as if LAST CHANCE would carry the family of HUNTER'S ALLEN forward in the male line. 'TROUBLE, son of LAST CHANCE, won the Stallion Class at the 1940 Celebration, while LAST CHANCE's daughter, NANCY ANN HENDRIXSON, won the two year-old filly class at the 1947 Celebration.  TROUBLE sired the dam of World Grand Champion MACK K'S HANDSHAKER, but, in the final analysis, the sons of HUNTER'S ALLEN were forced to surrender the male line of Walking Horse pedigrees to the sons of ROAN ALLEN.

Nevertheless, the sons of HUNTER'S ALLEN provided the breed with valuable broodmares.  LAST CHANCE sired LADY CHANCE, the dam of MERRY WILSON, five times the World Champion Mare.  He also sired GYPSY TUCK, dam of ATOMIC LADY, ATOMIC GENTLEMAN, SURPRISE ALLEN, and MARTHA WILSON.  BROWN ALLEN mares were considered among the finest in the breed.  The same was true of mares from WALKER'S ALLEN.

The blood of HUNTER'S ALLEN made its chief entrance into modern Walking Horses through MIDNIGHT SUN, whose dam, RAMSEY'S RENA, was a grand-daughter of the old horse.  Another important point of entry was through MAUDE GRAY, whose dam, MINNIE BLACK, was sired by HUNTER'S ALLEN.

Bright Hunter and his son Burt bred or owned many of the outstanding horses of their time.  Among these horses were PAT MALONE JR., ROSKIN, JOE JOHNSON, ECHO F-1 8, GOLDEN SUNSHINE F-44, MEREDITH P. GENTRY F-40, and, in later years, NEAL'S ALLEN.  Of all these great horses, the Hunters rated HUNTER'S ALLEN the best.   Bright Hunter perhaps expressed it best by saying,

"HUNTER'S ALLEN F-10 can be proud of the record he made and the good name that he has helped to mould, with his blood passing on for the benefit of the Tennessee Walking Horse tribe and the contribution that this great stallion has made."

Near his eightieth birthday Bright Hunter wrote,

"Let me wish for the entire fraternity who love, own, show, and develop the Tennessee Walking Horse, every success as breeders. In the years to come, we hope, in turning the pages of breed history, they will reflect on the achievements and the progeny this great sire, HUNTER'S ALLEN has left for all."

Hunter's Allen dominated the Tennessee State Fair up to the very year the National Celebration began in 1939.  He won the State Fair when he was sixteen.  He was featured in a movie about Tennessee Walking horses, that was sponsored by a Pittsburg lawyer by the name of R.T.M. McCready in 1929.  HUNTER'S ALLEN remained the property of the Hunters until he died in 1932.

**Please note:  All photos that are not specifically accredited otherwise, are courtesy of Dr. Bob Womack, author of "Echo of Hoofbeats."  If you have a story or photos of Hunter's Allen F-10 that you would like added to this page, please forward them to Walkers West.


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