Reference: Origins of the Palomino Tennessee Walking Horse

The Origins of the Palomino Tennessee Walking Horse
by Harold Dean Givens
Copyright 1991, Voice of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Lewisburg, Tennessee
Reprinted with permission from The Voice

The well known mount of Roy Rogers, Trigger Jr. (registered Allen's Gold Zephyr) was the most famous of all yellow horses. He was foaled in 1941, the produce of Barker's Moonbeam and Fisher's Gray Maud.

Many theories exist why golden horses with white manes and tails are called "palominos." Palomino is a moderately common family name in Spain. It is not improbable that someone having this name owned a golden horse with a white mane and tail. This horse could have been called "el Caballo de Palomino" (the horse of Palomino) which was eventually shortened to palomino. Another possible origin suggests the name came from "paloma," the Spanish word for dove or pigeon. A third possibility is that the name was taken from a certain Spanish grape, said to be golden in color.

Palominos have ancient origins, proof is evident in various art work: Rembrandt's "The Rape of Europa," painted in 1632, depicts four palomino horses; the painting "Hunting in Lo Tai" portrays an emperor of China astride a golden palomino. There are historical references before the sixteenth century of the palomino. Cortez brought palominos from Spain to Mexico in 1519 and used them during the invasion.

Palominos in the United States before 1900 were found mostly in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. They were frequently designated "flaxies" or "claybanks" and were called their "Sunday" horses by the cowboys and ranch men who rode them.

The offspring of palominos range in color from cremello, yellow, perlino, grulla and dun to buckskin as well as the usual black, bay, brown, chestnut, sorrel, gray, yellow, white and various colors of roan. They have a distinctive golden colored hair (like a newly minted gold coin) with white, silver or ivory manes and tails and particular white markings. Some breeders believe their coloration was inherited from the Spanish Barb.

The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association originally registered the palomino horse as yellow. In May 1990, the TWHBEASM changed the color code back to palomino. From the origin of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' AssociationSM in 1935 through 1947, there were only two and one-third percent yellow of all the horses registered.

Golden Lady (#350031), foaled in 1913, is the oldest registered yellow horse, being the second yellow horse registered by the Association. Her breeder was J. D. Posten, Bunker Hill, Tennessee, and she was the property of B. C. Hunter and Son of Lewisburg, Tennessee when she was registered. She was the dam of eleven foals with the following three being yellow: Golden Girl (#350019), mare, foaled 1923, by Hunter's Allen F-10; Golden Sunshine (#F-44), stallion, foaled 1925, also by Hunter's Allen; and Yellow Jacket (#360141), stallion, foaled 1936. B. C. Hunter and Son were the breeders of all three.

Golden Girl, out of
Golden Lady, was the first yellow horse registered by the Association. She produced five foals, two of which were yellow: Giovanni's Golden King (#370401), stallion, foaled 1937, by Giovanni, C. B. Whitworth, breeder; and Golden Girl II (#470575), mare, foaled 1946, by Head Man, Porter R. Rodgers, breeder.

Golden Sunshine F-44 (gelded in 1929), also out of Golden Lady, was the only yellow foundation horse out of 115 foundation horses recognized by the TWHBEASM.

The Tennessee State Fair Horse Show in Nashville was the largest walking horse show prior to the Celebration, which was begun in 1939 in Shelbyville, Tennessee. In 1932, Golden Sunshine was second in the Tennessee State Fair Championship Class. (Rambling Boy, a sorrel full brother to Golden Sunshine, also a gelding, won this same show in 1929.) Their sire, Hunter's Allen F-10, a golden chestnut, won the stallion class five times and the championship once at the State Fair. He sired six sons and daughters that won nine State Fair Championships from 1912 through 1938.

Last Chance, the sire of Yellow Jacket, was sired by Hunter's Allen F-10 in 1931. Last Chance was chestnut with both hind socks, strip, and flax mane. An exceptional two-year-old show horse, he went on to place fifth in the 1939 Celebration's Four-Year-Old and Over Class. Additionally, he placed fourth in the Get of Sire Class that year.

Simmon's Mollie II (#410641), foaled in 1914, is the second oldest yellow horse registered by the TWHBEASM. Her breeder was J. W. Simmons of Spencer, Tennessee. She foaled only one yellow colt on record (black legs, mane and tail), Hendrixson Bonnie (#410642), a mare sired by Roan Allen F-38 in 1929. Her breeder was also J. W. Simmons.

Hendrixson Bonnie was an outstanding contributor of palomino offspring, producing eight yellow foals out of twelve: Allen's Red Eagle (#390381), stallion, foaled 1935, by Red Eagle; Pleas Hillis, breeder; Buck Allen (#410831), stallion, foaled 1938, by Roan Allen's Joe, C. C. Grissom, breeder; Goldust Maid (#411054), mare, foaled 1941, by Hall Allen; Yellow Girl Allen (#421325) mare, foaled 1942, by Lee White Allen; Hendrixson Mt. Fox
(#442761) stallion, sired in 1944, by Billie Wilson; Golden Mack H. (#451889) stallion, foaled 1945, by Last Chance; Handy Boy (#461926), stallion, foaled 1946, by Last Chance; Sunny Boy H. (#520634), stallion, foaled 1948, by Last Chance. John A. Hendrixson was the breeder listed for all the foals from '41-48.

Mandy B. (#410632), foaled in 1915 and also bred by J. W. Simmons, was the third oldest yellow horse registered by the Association. Records show she produced one black mare in 1929 for Mr. Simmons, Simmon's Dollie (#410644) by Roan Allen F-38. Simmon's Dollie produced the two following yellow fillies by Allen's Red Eagle for Mr. Simmons: Mary Eagle S. (#452679), foaled 1941, and Allen's Honey Lou (#442188), foaled 1942.

Della Ersary was an early producer of yellow foals in the College Grove, Tennessee area, having foaled the following four yellow foals: Usrey's Della III (#441650), mare, foaled 1925, by Hall Bowers (by Hal Summer F-7), B. A. Usrey, breeder; Della's Golden (#400944), mare, foaled 1929, by Hunter's Allen F-10, J. W. Covington, breeder; Golden Allen (#350174), mare, foaled 1933, by Pruitt's Allen, Ben Ersary, breeder; Cream Puff (#350174), mare, foaled 1935, by Major Allen, J. V. Hyatt, breeder.

Golden Allen produced only one chestnut foal; Cream Puff did not produce any foals.

Usrey's Della III produced four foals, two of which were yellow mares: Della Mack (#410173), foaled 1938, by Allen Red, and Twilight Twinkle (#443513), foaled 1944, by Norris Allen. Lucille P. Maxwell was the breeder of both foals.

Della's Golden Patricia produced eight foals for J. W. Covington, five of which were yellow. The first, Allen Parader (#400945), a stallion, was sired by Golden Parader in 1937, the others were by Brantley's Roan Allen Jr.: Golden Juanita (#411057), mare, foaled 1941; Golden Anita (#432189), mare, foaled 1943; Golden Tornado (#442817) stallion, foaled 1944; and Golden Rosita (#453279) mare, foaled 1945.

Knowles Rocksey (#390771), a yellow mare foaled in 1928, was bred by Daniel Knowles of Sparta, Tennessee. She produced only five foals, all were yellow: Queen White (#450862), mare, foaled 1933, by Tennessee Valley Allen; Hendrixson Yellow Goldie (#390772), mare, foaled 1937, by Pettit's Allen; Mountain May (#430452), mare, foaled 1941, by Allen's Red Eagle; Rambler Golden Boy (#443998) and Spiller's Gold Ace (#460148), both stallions, sired in 1944 and 1945, both by Wilson's Rambler.

Golden Sensation (#441207), a yellow mare foaled in 1935, was bred by George B. DeAtley of North Middleton, Kentucky. Her sire was Goebel Copperbottom, untraced, and her dam was Kentucky Girl, untraced. She produced Taxpayer (#420050), a yellow son.

Oakwood's Golden Millions (#390097), a yellow mare foaled in 1936, was bred by Pleas Hillis of McMinnville, Tennessee. She produced four foals two of which were yellow. A mare and stallion, respectively, were foaled in 1943 and 1944 for P. J. Fisher: Miss Golden Millions, by Fisher's Wilson Allen, and Golden Millionaire, by Allen's Supergold.

In studying pedigrees of early yellow horses registered by the TWHBEASM, some are called copperbottoms; they also trace to Mountain Slasher F-59, who traces to Copperbottom.

Paul K. Fisher, Souderton, Pennsylvania, advertised in the 1946 Blue Ribbon magazine as being the world's largest breeder and dealer in yellow horses. He sold Trigger Jr. (pictured on the lead page) to Roy Rogers. Trigger Jr., registered as Allen's Gold Zephyr, was the most famous of all yellow horses. He was foaled in 1941; his sire was Barker's Moonbeam (#380497) and his dam was Fisher's Gray Maud (#420776). He was bred by C. O. Barker, Readyville, Tennessee. Barker's Moonbeam was sired by Golden Sunshine whose dam was Golden Lady. All were palominos.

The following yellow horses placed in the Celebration from 1941 to present: Golden Juanita (#411057), Yellow Fever (#442564), Invader (#442644), Sun's Golden Girl (#490657), Mary Gold R. F. (#520560), Golden Perfection H. (#561309), My Palomino Pal (#590653), Go Boy's Yellow Chance (#632226), Goldfinger (#633371), Rising Sun GLL (#641625), Delight's Desert Gold (#675688), Arthur J. Chance (#622617), Golden Boy, Senator's Sunbeam (#721636), R. Golden Man (#754985), Senator Solid Gold (#796621), The Platinum Blonde (#820691), Goldie Wilson Allen (#715245), Gold Country (#842127), Dapple's Gold Dream (#783856), Gold Fever (#701959), Crystal Creme (#814074), Gen II (name changed to Generator's Golden Boy, #880616), and The Genstar (#890304).

(Note: Mr. Givens has done extensive research and has complete shows records on each of these animals including placings, class, and year. We regret that limited space prevented their inclusion, but, if you're interested, he'd be delighted to supply you with this information.)

Of these previous twenty-three yellow show horses listed, thirteen trace to Golden Lady and twelve to Simmon's Mollie II. Three of them, My Palomino Pal, Goldfinger, and Arthur J. Chance are by John A's Chance and one, Golden Perfection H., from his dam. He was also the sire of Ann Last Chance, the dam of Go Boy's Yellow Chance, Rising Sun GLL, and Senator's Sunbeam. Furthermore, he was the sire of the second dam of Senator Solid Gold and Gold Country. John A's Chance traces to Simmon's Mollie II.

The following five Celebration ribbon winners had yellow dams: Nancy Ann Hendrixson (#451888), Midnight Gold Sun (#481220), Mr. Trouble (#501357), Champagne Lady Diane (#696266), and Go Boy's Creme Chance (#741177).

The following three buckskin horses received Celebration ribbons: Mr. Trouble (#501357), Las Vegas, and Go Boy's Cream Chance.

Shadow's Royal Flush (#667465), who had a buckskin dam by John A's Chance, was a black stallion that won five Celebration ribbons.

John A. Hendrixson, the breeder and owner of
John A's Chance, was also the breeder of three yellow horses that were Celebration winners.

Vance Paschal, 84, a life-time breeder and dealer of yellow horses, said that John A's Chance was the best yellow breeding stallion he had ever seen. Mr. Paschal of Readyville, Tennessee, was the breeder of two yellow horses that were Celebration ribbon winners.

Chance's Gold Dust H. (#685726), owned by McAllen Finley, is the only known yellow stallion still living by John A's Chance.

Yellow horses were in Spain in the 16th century. They were brought to Mexico, then on into the western United States. They later reached middle Tennessee, becoming intermingled with our native horses, resulting as one of the colors of the Tennessee Walking Horses.

With such a low percentage of all walking horses being yellow, palominos have had a good show record. The records indicate that most of the yellow show horses trace to Golden Lady and Simmon's Millie II. John A's Chance sired more yellow show horses than any one sire. His ancestors, close relatives, and descendants exhibit outstanding show records. These records give weight to Mr. Paschal's statement.

With the popularity of color increasing in the Tennessee Walking Horse, the breeding and raising of yellow horses should become more and more an integral part of the industry.




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