Two weeks ago, Bobby Morrison of Olive Hill, Kentucky, passed away due to a massive stroke. I was privileged to work with Bobby in the 1980s when he trained some amazing Saddlebred horses while he lived in Braddyville, Iowa.
There are many trainers who can produce a champion from a well-bred horse of championship quality. However, Bobby had the unique ability to take a “not-so-special” horse – some with a poor background, and even lame – and make it into a champion.
I had the unique privilege to work with him while he produced several great horses. We often experimented until we could solve a particular problem. We became very good friends and had great respect for each other’s skill.
One of the most memorable was a Fine Harness Horse named “Vanity’s Showcase.” She became World Champion in 1984. She repeated that feat again other years after he sold her. I also worked on “McClure’s Super Star,” “McClure’s Super Supreme,” “Elegant Example,” “Undeniable,” “Leather and Lace” and “Charmer” in addition to many young horses.
“Leather and Lace” had a lameness that involved a sore heel that several veterinarians and farriers were unable to solve. The shoe we designed did the trick (see P3 pg 763). Working together, where others had given up, we were able to get her sound and see her win Reserve World Champion at Louisville the following year.
“Charmer” was a beautiful but difficult Palomino show horse with a bad attitude that Bobby was able to turn around and make into a Champion Parade Horse.
Bobby was known for his ability to cure a foundered horse using a flexible heart bar shoe and his own remedies. Sometimes he had as many as a dozen horses in his barn being treated for this condition. He was ahead of his time in many ways.
I enjoyed my association with him tremendously. He taught me much. He knew what he wanted me to do to help his horses give their best performance. He would specify angle, toe-length, and shoe weight. Shoe designs were often unique. He was a great mentor and friend to me. He will be missed.
Butler Professional Horseshoeing School
495 Table Road
Crawford, NE 69339
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