VALLEY VIEW SUPREME

A well known photo of Valley View Supreme and the late Tom Moore by Sargent.

                     

 

 

 

 

Bourbon King

 

 

 

King's Genius

 

 

 

 

 

Princess Eugenia

 

 

Bourbon Genius

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunflower

 

 

 

Kate Haines

 

 

Genius Bourbon King

 

 

Kathryn Haines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mc Donald's Majesty

 

 

 

Silver Mac

 

 

 

 

 

Dapple

 

 

Blessed Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Twigg

 

 

 

Fair Promise

 

 

 

 

 

Razzle Dazzle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bourbon King

 

 

 

King's Genius

 

 

 

 

 

Princess Eugenia

 

 

The Genius

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunflower

 

 

 

Kate Haines

 

 

Diana Gay

 

 

Kathryn Haines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rex Peavine

 

 

 

Kalarama Rex

 

 

 

 

 

Nancy Thurman

 

 

Lady Alice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bohemian King

 

 

 

Jean Bohemian

 

 

 

 

 

Zuleika W.

The legendary Valley View Supreme has been the most influential son of Genius Bourbon King,  both in America and South Africa.  

This is his story and how certain events and a couple of people played a role in the success of Valley View Supreme's show and ultimately his breeding career -  W.P. Rogovsky, Robert Skillman, Everette Ledbetter, Tom Moore, J.L. Younghusband and Alvin C. Ruxer.

The first person in the story is relatively unknown but nevertheless played a vital role in the Valley View Supreme saga.  W.P. Rogovsky,  a Polish immigrant and tailor was interested in horses and built Fair Oaks Farm, West Chicago, Illinois, beginning in the early 1930's. When Rogovsky first saw an American Saddlebred he immediately fell in love with the breed and its beauty and started to buy up horses for his stables.

His first trainer was Bruce Robinson. (Bruce's son Louis later became a top Saddle Horse trainer, and was later training at Valley View Farm in the 1940's.)

One of the first good Saddlebreds at Fair Oaks Farm was purchased from Kalarama Farm, Springfield, Ky.   She was a filly by KALARAMA REX and out of a daughter of BOHEMIAN KING.  LADY ALICE, as she was named, was fourth in the yearling stake at the Kentucky State Fair in 1933.

LADY ALICE was gaited by Bruce Robinson but was hurt and became a broodmare.

W.C. "Billy" Mountjoy succeeded Robinson as Rogovsky's trainer in 1938. Mares from Fair Oaks were shipped all over the country to the best stallions, but apart from very beautiful foals nothing spectacular were produced.

Rogovsky sold a number of horses to George Simpson in 1941. Simpson did not last long and all the animals found new homes in various parts of the country. LADY ALICE was one of them and was sold to Robert Skillman, Detroit, Mich. Here the manager-trainer was Howard Dickey.

Skillman was a top executive of 3M Co. (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co.) He retired to Winter Park, Florida, concentrating on the breeding side of the Saddlebred business. He then purchased a top stallion, THE GENIUS, sired by KING'S GENIUS and out of KATE HAINES. This made him a full brother to BOURBON GENIUS, LEATHERWOOD KING, LEATHERWOOD GENIUS and GENIUS OF STONEYRIDGE.

In late March,1945, LADY ALICE had a filly by THE GENIUS. Her name was DIANA GAY - she showed lots of quality and was shown at the Shelby County Fair to win the weanling championship. She then went on to Louisville where she won the blue in the weanling stake at the Kentucky State Fair.  At this time B.P. Eddy, Shelbyville, Ky., was in charge of the Skillman's breeding operation.

Robert Skillman died shortly afterwards. The horses were sold and DIANA GAY went to Minton-Hickory Farm,  and then was sold  to W.P. Rogovsky for $2000 - this was a very big price for a yearling.

Mountjoy went to World War II and Bruce Robinson came back to work at Fair Oaks for a short while. Following the service in the army, Bill Mountjoy worked in several places until taking over Almaral Stables, Omaha, Neb., in 1949. He kept in touch with his former boss, Rogovsky. Rogovsky was unfortunately in poor health and men from the farming community cared for the animals at Fair Oak. Bill Mountjoy soon advised Rogovsky to sell the establishment and in March 1951 five broodmares in foal to the Supreme Ace and Society Rex were advertised but two in foal to Genius Bourbon King, Diana Gay and Lady Coventry were not among them. 

In Spring of 1952 both mares had colts, Diana Gay's colt was foaled 23 April. This was the future Valley View Supreme. Rogovsky soon realised that because of his ailing health he should sell the horses. Everette Ledbetter wanted to buy a horse trailer from him, but Rogovsky refused to sell it without getting rid of some of the horses as well. Everette Ledbetter then bought the trailer and the  two Genius Bourbon King colts.

Ledbetter had no pasture for the colts and called on Tom Moore to look at the colts. Moore bought the one out of Lady Coventry for Valley View Farm but the other one out of Diana Gay was puny and in a terrible shape, although he was extremely beautiful. Ledbetter dewormed him and with a bit of feeding he began to look better and was sold to Ray Schafer. He in turn was a cousin to Mrs Younghusband. 

Some say it was out of pity, or perhaps because he was Hannah's cousin, or even because the price was right ($100!). Be it as it may, J.L. Younghusband bought the beautiful Valley View Supreme from Ray Schafer and brought him to Valley View Farm.

Tom Moore accepted the challenge from Mr. Younghusband to start Valley View Supreme's training and in 1954 he was shown for the first time at the Midwest Horse Show, Springfield, Ill as a Two Year Old Fine Harness Champion.

 Valley View Supreme as a Two Year Old Fine Harness Horse.

(photo by Horst)

Valley View Supreme was brilliant of the hocks and he possessed beauty, expression and presence never before seen in a saddle horse. His ears often touched at the tips and he had a beautiful sculptured head.

He went on to win the Junior Stake at Wisconsin State Fair and at Indiana. Here he beat Senior Supreme who was Reserve World Champion. At the American Royal the end of the year he also triumphed.

The Valley View show string now consisted of Bo Prophet, Valley View Supreme and the sensational Mr America.

1955 started on a bang for Valley View Farm. At South Shore, Mr America was the Junior Five Gaited winner and the three year old Valley View Supreme was the Junior Fine Harness Champion.

After that it was however all downhill for Valley View Supreme in the Fine Harness division. He was reserve at Illinois, but in his age group was third. At the Ohio State Fair he was fourth in the Junior Harness and at Louisville reserve to Sweetheart of Devon driven by Frank Bradshaw. Thus Valley View Supreme's Fine Harness career ended abruptly.

Tom Moore later stated that he got to a stage where he simply did not want to wear harness and was sour much of time in the ring. Another contributing factor is that he was used as stud for the first time that year.

Tom tried to gait him but to no avail. He had too much hock action so they thought of trimming him. Tom said: "We did not want to castrate him. I always thought he'd be the Genius Bourbon King son to keep as a stud. He was so beautiful and just about perfect all over. When he was looking, you'd have a hard time getting a cigarette paper between the tips of his ears. He was also bred right to breed on. His mother was a beautiful mare, and I always kept that in mind. Mr America was my second choice, because he was a full brother to Miss America, but he couldn't get off his hocks like Valley View Supreme. The Rambler was my third choice of the three, because I didn't really care a lot for his mother, but he was a good stallion."

" Anyway", Moore continued, "I was in kind of a bind with him and had to do something. Mr Younghusband, remembered what he wanted to do years ago with Genius Bourbon King and asked, " why don't you trim him?" but I was concerned about it. He really would not have cared if I didn't show him at all."

"I called Lloyd Teater and asked him and he said that I was crazy, that 'nobody does that!' Then I called Jim Blackwell. He was with the American Horse Show Association at the time, and told me that he couldn't find any rules against showing a three gaited stallion, but that I'd  better check with the shows to make sure there were no local rules against it"

Tom Moore said that he was scared, but he got up his nerve and got out the clippers. Soon he revealed a gorgeous long neck to the Saddle Horse Industry!

In 1956, according to an article by Lynn Weatherman, the horse show fans talked about one thing only - "that crazy Younghusband and his crazy, smart-a-kid trainer, and the walk-trot stud!"

Those who were at the rail at the South Shore Country Club were the believers together with the judge on the day J. Miller McAfee. He twice tied Valley View Supreme over the reigning Three Gaited World Champion, Emerald Future.

Most of the railbirds agreed with him. It was the biggest news in the Saddlebred industry since the debut of Wing Commander!

The euphoria was short lived. Lexington Junior League Horse Show did not allow stallions to show in  the three gaited division. Moore immediately phoned the Kentucky State Fair and the then manager, Carl Garner had no objections. The prize list however only listed mares and geldings and he quickly changed it to include stallions.

Younghusband was furious with the Lexington Junior League Horse Show committee and cancelled all his entries. Most people agreed with his sentiments.

The next show was the Wisconsin State Fair where Valley View Supreme was the Three Gaited Champion with Mr America the Five Gaited Champion. Then he was off to the Illinois State Fair at Springfield where he made a poor show and was tied fourth in the qualifying class. He was better in the Championship class but got a reserve behind Emerald Future.

Then it was on to Louisville (1956) where he and Tom Moore made history being the only stallion to ever win a World Champion Three Gaited Title.

W.P. Rogovsky fortunately lived to saw Valley View Supreme become the Three Gaited World Grand Champion. He died the next year (1957).

Frank Bradshaw was looking for a horse for a customer of his, Mrs A.S. Kelley and her daughter Patsy. Mr Younghusband's auditors were complaining about his horse business and when Tom Moore told them the price of $30 000, the deal was done.

Valley View Supreme was shipped to Harrisburg, Pa, and with Patsy Kelly aboard won the junior three gaited stake and the open. Then it was on to the Royal Winter Fair, Toronto, Canada where he again won the under two and the open stake. He was then trained by Carl Webster who was the trainer at Mrs. Kelley's Buttonwood Farm.

In 1957 there are no records of him being shown. He was bred this year to several mares at Mrs. Kelly's farm.

Tom Moore, who in the meantime left Valley View Farm and opened his own stable at Rolling Green Farm, Lake Zurich, Ill., trained him again in 1958. He had wins at both Milwaukee and South Shore and remained unbeaten through the Illinois and Wisconsin State Fairs.

Unfortunately his return to Louisville was unsuccessful. Techni Star won the under two as well as the Championship with Valley View Supreme fourth. It was his last show as Tom Moore decided to rather continue showing his younger full sister, Scarlett Flame.

Mrs Kelley left Valley View Supreme with Tom Moore to stand him at stud. Hide-Away-Firefly Supreme was one of the crop of 1959 that quickly achieved fame as a no.1 futurity sire for Jim Aikman.

Valley View Supreme's tale now gets a Ruxer twist when Alvin C. Ruxer from Jasper, Indiana, visited Tom Moore's stable in 1962 to look for a walk-trot horse, De Mostest for his young nephew Bobby. Tom's stables now were located at Red Gate Farm, Wheaton, Ill.

Alvin Ruxer bought a mare instead, a beautiful daughter of Americus Denmark, named American Sunset. She did not work out as a show horse and the next spring he send her to Genius Bourbon King. The mare failed to come into season and a veterinary check showed her in foal. The previous year she was bred to Valley View Supreme but it was thought that she did not get in foal. Alvin was not too upset because he admired Valley View Supreme and had already bred several mares to him. Early March 1963 she gave birth to a beautiful filly, Sunset's Surprise on the Red Top Farm of Mrs Judson Large. He drove to Chicago to see the new filly and on his way he stopped over at Tom Moore's place to have a closer look at Valley View Supreme. Tom and Donna were away at the first Phoenix A-Z Horse Show and Alvin learned from the grooms that Valley View Supreme might be for sale. He immediately drove to Georgetown, Ky to see Frank Bradshaw and there he learned that he was indeed for sale. He offered $25000 and the deal was done before Ruxer left Kentucky. He was the new owner of Valley View Supreme.  Valley View Supreme stayed on with Tom Moore for the breeding season and he fulfilled all previous commitments.

The $25000 which Ruxer spend on the stallion was recouped very soon when Ruxer sold American Sunset's beautiful filly for that amount.

The next year the stallion was moved to Ruxer Farms, Jasper, Ind and in four short years he made Saddle Horse breeding history.

With a stud fee of $750 at the maximum he attracted a lot of high quality mares. Alvin Ruxer had his own quality band of broodmares. These include the famous Judy O'Lee (x Leatherwood King) and her daughters Melody O'Lee (x Anacacho Denmark) - later the dam of the legendary Supreme Sultan - and Molly O'Lee by Ensign Kirby. Other mares included the show mares, Bethany Belle, Anny Rooney Stonewall and Grandview's Majorette.

In 1967 Valley View Supreme had his first Word Grand Champion, Bellissima. In the World Grand Champion Three Gaited Stake there were three Valley View Supreme foals and they were: Grand Champion (Bellissima), Reserve Grand Champion (Cara Mia) and third place (Timberlane Supreme)

Bellissima and Sharon Wade winning the World Champion Amateur Three Gaited Title in 1971.

(photo by Sargent)

 

On November 28, 1967 , Valley View Supreme dropped dead from a heart attack. He was just fifteen years old. He is buried at Ruxer Farm, Jasper, Indiana. The inscription on his grave marker is as follow:

Under this sod lies a great one;

The King of show horses, the Star of the show,

To sire tomorrow's champions was his role,

If there's a horse Heaven, please God, rest his soul.

Although Valley View Supreme died young he left a legacy of champion show horses and stallions. Like his sire, Genius Bourbon King he had small numbers of get, but his impact on the breed is impossible to estimate.

The show ring had Valley View Supreme stars that shine on for years to come. Bellissima won the World Champion Three Gaited Title for three years ( 1967 - 1969) Thereafter she shine twice as World Champion Amateur Three Gaited Horse. (1970-1971)

Another incredible record was set in 1969 when three Valley View Supreme daughters, Ernistine Supreme ( x America Sunset), Brenda Supreme and Enchantment were tied first, third and fourth in the Junior Three Gaited Stake at Louisville.

Ernistine Supreme and Tom Moore.

(photo by Sargent)

 

In 1966 Valley View Supreme attained his highest position, number four on the Saddle & Bridle sire rating. He was first as Futurity Sire as well. What is even more remarkable is that he was followed as top Futurity Sire by a son, Hide-Away's Firefly Supreme, who were no 1 from 1967 - 1972. Another son,Supreme Sultan then had the number one spot from 1973 - 1975. In 1976 yet another son, Status Symbol, were number one until 1978. This 12 year record of number one spot from the same sire on the futurity sire rating is one that still stands today.

 

Some of Valley View Supreme's more notorious offspring:

Supreme Sultan

(Valley View Supreme x Melody O'Lee [ x Anacacho's Denmark)

photo by Paulette

The greatest son by Valley View Supreme out of the great broodmare Melody O'Lee. A legend, a hero and a sire that changed the look of the Saddlebred forever both in South Africa and the United States. He is to date( 2004) the only sire to have World Grand Champions in all the show divisions. In South Africa his son, Supreme O'Lee out of the Wing Commander daughter, the Royal Princess, became the most successful import from this line. S.A. Three Gaited Grand Champions, Lynn O' Lee, Atari and The Cookie Collector is from this line, as well as S.A. Fine Harness Grand Champions, Master's Moments, Never on A Sunday and Yoko's Tornado. The great Supreme Sultan is buried at the Saddle Horse Museum at Lexington's Kentucky Horse Park. A beautiful life size bronze by sculptor Patricia Crane marks his grave. A whole separate page will be in future dedicated to him and his offspring.

 

Status Symbol (Valley View Supreme x Raven Wing [ x Wing Commander])

photo by Sargent

 

Two grandsons won a further two World Grand Champion Fine Harness Titles namely:

1976 - Night Prowler ( x Status Symbol)

Night Prowler and John Conatser winning the 1976 World Grand Champion Fine Harness Title.

(picture of a painting by Walter Brown)

First Night Out (Night Prowler x Happy Twenty First)) is one of the new young stallions shining with offspring like WGC Yes It's True (First Night x Callaway's Coronet), 2001 Three Gaited World Grand Champion and  WC Ah! What A Night, WC At First Sight, WC Burn Out, WC I'm First, WC Lady Maya and WC Oscar Night to name a few.

The second grandson, Sultan's Sultana ( x Supreme Sultan) won the World Grand Champion Fine Harness Title in 1982.

A 1982 pencil sketch of Sultan Santana by an unknown artist.

Imperator ( x Supreme Sultan) the multi-title World Grand Champion Five Gaited horse is also a grandson of Valley View Supreme.

Imperator and Don Harris, a painting by Walter Brown

Sultan's Starina (Supreme Sultan x Society's Diana), a grand daughter,  won the World Champion Three Gaited title for a record of 5 years in succession!

Supreme Spirit 

(Valley View Supreme x Dream Waltz [full sister of Wing Commander])

photo by Shirley

The South African influence from Supreme Spirit came from the imported stallion Supreme Fortune (Supreme Spirit x Mizpah's Cinderella), owned by Ron van der Merwe of  Britstown. Although he never won a S.A. National title he was a most beautiful horse and some of his broodmares later bred great show horses, both leaving their mark in South Africa and in now back in the USA. 

Supreme Fortune 

( Supreme Spirit x Mizpah's Cinderella [x Beau Fortune])

photo by Jan Genade

The 1992,  S.A. Three Gaited Grand Champion, Tango's Sunbird's dam, Miss Fortune Time (Supreme Fortune x Miss Summertime) is such an example. 

Tango's Sunbird as a Two Year old with then trainer Kevin Eltringham.

photo by R.Millin

Perfect Image, a foal by Supreme Fortune out of Paula M became the broodmare of the Reserve Five Gaited World's Grand Champion and World Five Gaited Stallion, War Image (Warlord x Perfect Image). One need not seek far to see where the beauty of these Saddlebreds come from - Valley View Supreme!

War Image

 

 

Hide-Away-Firefly Supreme (Valley View Supreme x Dixiana Spring Cheer [x Bourbon Genius) was the No. 1 Futurity sire in the USA from 1967 - 1972.  He was without doubt one of the most beautiful horses of his time. Jim Aikman his owner, bred many world champions by him and later out of his offspring.

Two foals by him that were imported to South Africa were the World Champion weanling Fire Up! (x Brynfan Prophet's Delight and the Denmark Society Sue mare, Firefly's Tiffany. Firefly's Tiffany became a good broodmare and one of her foals by Hi-Wing, Firefly Wing, became a good show horse and breeding stallion.

 

Longview Supreme

(Valley View Supreme x A Sheer Delight [x King Coe])

Longview's Regent imported by Dr Jan Viljoen was by Longview Supreme out of the Supreme Sultan broodmare, A Sheer Delight. He never showed in South Africa but became the sire of the 2000 S.A. Fine Harness Grand Champion, Call Me Jack. ( Longview's Regent x Raving Beauty [ x Personality Ace])

The Saddlebred fraternity should be forever in debt to Alvin C Ruxer's vision to use Valley View Supreme extensively in his last four years as a sire to carry on the legacy of Genius Bourbon King. Although his immediate foals are few, the descendants from this offspring is dominating the Saddlebred world at the moment, and surely will continue in future generations to come! To quote Lynn Weatherman - "Blood does indeed tell! "

 

Bibliography:

Lynn Weatherman article - Like Father Like Son, Saddle & Bridle - August 1981

Lee Kaplan - American Saddle Horses in South Africa - 1972

American Horseman - 1952

copyright Ross Millin 2004