STERLING BULLET; STILL IN THE OLIVER FAMILY
by Franne Bradon
The year was 1923.
had recovered from the Great War and had entered a
decade of affluence. Automobiles had become common,
womenís skirts were shorter, and a period of
In 1923, a
Marshall County farmer named R.H. Clark purchased
a two year old sorrel stallion prospect. The colt
was sired by Major Allen, a son of the noted show
mare Merry Legs, both
bred by Albert Dement of the Normandy
community in Bedford County. The dam of the sorrel
colt was a daughter of Denmark Allen, later know as
Roan Allen, making the colt a linebred Allan colt.
offered the young stallion at public stud. With few
telephones and no magazines to run advertisements,
he did as other stallion owners of the time. He had
stud posters printed and posted them at places where
the mare owners gathered. The young stallionís
bloodlines spoke for themselves. Mares began coming
to Red Allenís court.
Twelve years passed. In
April of 1935, a group of gentlemen met at Lewisburg, Tennessee,
near Clarkís home.
Their intentions were to organize a registry to
record the pedigrees of Tennesseeís native saddle horse that was so
different from the Saddlers north in
Kentucky. The gentlemen,
however, decided not to use the already familiar
term plantation horse, but to coin a term indicative
of the unique movement of the horses that they were
breeding. They named the infant registry the
Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders Association of
Two years later, in 1937,
R.H. Clark registered his sorrel stallion with the
Several of the horseís
offspring already had been registered by this point.
Clarkís Red Allen continued to be promoted by word
of mouth and stud posters
The stout red stallion
outlived his master. Upon Clarkís
death in 1939, Clarkís
daughter Sarah Clark Oliver inherited the old
stallion. Her husband, Herman Oliver, was a farmer,
breeder, and trader who supported his wife and sons
through the products of the family farm. His
philosophy being that everything was for sale, he
insisted on showmanship at all times, that nothing
would be presented to the public unless it was in
the best of condition. Only one animal escaped
Oliverís sales list. Sarah Clark Oliverís fatherís
stallion died the property of Mrs. Herman Oliver.
Although Herman Oliver did not keep a son of Clarkís
Red Allen to continue the legacy of those bloodlines
within his breeding program, other people did.
The majority of grand-get of old Clarkís Red
Allen, though, can be attributed to a son who was
bred and kept all his life by one of R.H. Clarkís
Jesse Clark raised a dark
red colt by his fatherís stallion out of a mare
named Lizzie Allen, a daughter of Hunterís Allen
F-10. Foaled in 1937, this colt was registered as
Red Bud Allen. As a two year old,
Red Bud Allen was
broke to ride, and even made a few shows under the
training of Zolly Derryberry.
Jesse had a special relationship with this
very intelligent stallion, not only
riding him and using him in the stud, but
also teaching him tricks. During his life,
Red Bud Allen sired 145 registered foals. The vast majority
were bred in the heyday of the young breed during
the mid to late forties, after the death of
Clarkís Red Allen.
During the final years of his life, he bred
very few mares, as the times had turned to the
padded show horse, black was the color in vogue, and
the bloodlines of the padded horses were those in
demand. In the last years, when the old stallion was
in his late twenties, he sired only five foals.
Three of those five were out of a bay mare named
Merry Manís Star.