from The Miniature Horse, February 1998)
Gold! Throughout history, man has desired and pursued gold. It is no
different in the horse world. The gold sheen, the snowy white mane and
tail have been an elusive element in horses. The palomino horse has been
celebrated in myth, legend and recorded history from manís earliest
beginnings. Since man first domesticated the horse, the golden horse has
been highly prized by emperors, kings and queens.
Palomino horses are found among the finest bloodlines of breeds from all
over the world; their appeal is international. In Shetlands, one name
stands above the rest for golden color: Realization.
Scott Uzell wrote in The Journal: Realization 24304, bred and owned
by Colonel Leon Robinson of Dunkirk, Ohio, lived but 11 short years
(1944-1955). However, during that span, Realization put Dunkirk on the map
and turned Robinsonís Pony Farm into "the fountainhead of palomino
Realization was aptly named, for he was indeed just that Ė the
"realization" of Col. Robinsonís dream of producing a strain
of palomino Shetlands.
Although it was his beautiful golden color that brought him fame, a look
at Realizationís background reveals there was much more than just color
to his credit. Realizationís sire and dam, Radiant Leon and Marilee M,
were both cream-colored ponies bred by W.H. Sloppy of Marshalltown, Iowa.
Sloppy was renowned as the originator of the Linnwood family, a strain of
predominantly silver dapple, white mane and tail Shetlands.
Radiant Leonís sire, Hesitation Leon, a silver dapple bred by Sloppy,
was a son of Jolly Boy Polk. Among Jolly Boy Polkís other progeny were
Blondie Ann, the dam of Crescentís Copper Penny and Crescentís Golden
Penny, Strawberry Ann, Hillswick Houdini, the dam of Little Masterpiece,
and Bonnie Bride, the dam of Hillswick Oracle (purchased by Vern Brewer in
1959 for $35,000) and the great-grand sire of Rowdy!
It is easy to see how Realization came by his talent as a stud. He sired a
trio of famous full brothers out of Red Lady Bug. One, Ver-Kenís Golden
Ken, made quite a name for himself as the sire in the hands of Ken
Reisinger of Eldora, Iowa, and The Real McCoy brought $10,000 at auction
in 1957. The third brother was a magnificent palomino stallion by the name
of My Golden Toy who sold for well over $50,000 in the 60s.
At the 1952 Ohio State Fair, My Golden Toy, as a two year old, won Grand
Champion Stallion honors. Highly regarded British Judge Albert Hargreaves
said he had never seen anything like him. My Golden Toy was later sold to
Bill Marks of Winchester, Virginia, who by 1958 was selling foals by My
Golden Toy for $5,000 at weaning!
It is a credit to the great sire Realization that, 43 years after his
death, another "Gold Rush" had taken place through one of his
grand-get, Gold Melody Boy.
In 1961, William Dalton of Hendersonville, North Carolina, bred Lightning
Bug to Ginís Melody. Lightning Bug was bred by Col. Robinson and
sired by Realization out of the great producing mare, Daffodil. Lightning
Bug was a striking palomino with a strip and hind socks. Ginís Melody
was a sorrel mare with a blaze and three socks, a mare rich in the Larigo
breeding, another successful line of champions. The mating produced on
June 19, 1962, a golden palomino colt Dalton named Gold Melody Boy.
William Daltonís son, Danny, of Timber Ridge Farm in Tennessee,
continues: Dad was a Shetland breeder specializing in palominos which
evolved from midget Shetlands to miniatures. He would guarantee a palomino
foal when allowed to study the pedigree of a mare and select the stallion
to which she was bred. Lightning Bug was one of the stallions he used to
produce this popular color.
"We had two sales, the first in 1963 at which time Lightning Bug,
Gold Melody Boyís sire, sold for $1,125. Gold Melody Boy was in the sale
as a yearling, but did not sell. The second sale was in 1968 and was the
first event ever held at the Western North Carolina Agriculture Center in
Fletcher, NC, where many miniature shows and sales have since been held.
More than 100 palominos of all breeds and several midget Shetlands were
offered in this sale."
In the late 60s and early 70s, Dalton said Gold Melody Boy was bred to
their mares and also used by J.C. Williams, Dell Tera Farms, NC.
"During those years, Dad and J.C. would buy a herd of ponies
together, then divide them, keeping the smaller ones and selling the big
ones. One such trip even included a llama and a dead horse. It had a heart
attack while being loaded!"
Dalton said several horses sired by Gold Melody Boy were registered with
an unknown sire and dam because at that time "it was not cool for a
miniature to be related to a Shetland."
1972, Lloyd Johnston was looking for a palomino stallion. Williams told
him about Gold Melody Boy and the possibility of buying the stallion. On
October 7, 1972, Gold Melody Boy sold to Johnston for $775.
Daltonís last foal crop by Gold Melody Boy was 1973, and Johnstonís
first foal crop was the following year.
is kind of ironic that Dad was the judge of the 1983 AMHA National Show
when Booneís Little Buckeroo was named National Grand Champion Senior
Stallion. This Gold Melody Boy grandson had a big role in starting a
miniature revolution," Dalton added.
Wayne Booker, of Old Mulberry Hill Farm, said his bloodline started when
he went to a miniature horse sale in the early 80s. While at the sale, he
heard about a local lady who had beautiful palominos. The woman was
difficult to locate, but he was finally successful only to find she had
nothing to sell. He inquired where she had found her beautiful golden
miniatures, and was told William Dalton of Peaceful Valley Ranch, NC.
"That was the start of my friendship with a fine gentleman and
renowned horse breeder not just of Shetlands and miniatures, but of all
breeds." Dalton acquired his original Shetland stock from Robinson,
who in the late 40s bred the incredible Realization, the foundation head
of a dynasty of the highest quality palomino line during the Shetland
heyday (approximately 1948-1961).
Realization sired My Golden Toy and Lightning Bug, sire of Gold Melody
Boy. Dalton purchased Lightning Bug and an inbred son of My Golden Toy to
his full sister, which produced Little Toy. Little Toy and Lightning Bug
were the "golden key" in Daltonís breeding, according to
"I purchased two palomino mares: a palomino filly and a 33" son
of Little Toy from Dalton. Over the next several years, I purchased
another cremello stud and ultimately bought my Gold Melody Boy son, Gold
King. This was all before the Gold Melody Boy bloodline became so
immensely popular. I remember Dalton was amused and pleased that I wanted
both the Shetland and the miniature registration papers. Of course, during
that era most people did not want a connection made between the miniature
horse and the Shetland pony. I am a very small breeder and much of my
success with my Shetlands and miniatures has been because of the
friendship and knowledge Dalton graciously shared with me," Booker
According to the AMHA Studbook, Gold Melody Boy produced 34 registered
offspring, 8 stallions and 26 mares. Of the 8 stallions, only 4 are alive
or have produced any foals since 1985. The 4 who remain, trace offspring
all over the country and form the foundation of many successful breeding
programs. The names are familiar: Roan Ranger, owned by Joe Spino and Al
Glass of S & G Miniatures, Chapel Hill, TN; Wittmaacks Mickey Mouse
and Johnstons Gold bar, both owned by Judith Kurth of Alameda Farm,
Lufkin, TX, and Johnstons Gold Boy, owned by Jane and Randy Walls of
RoseHill Ranch, TX.
These stallions have done phenomenally well siring show horses. Roan
Ranger has sired an AMHA National Grand Champion Stallion, Skip A Star;
Reserve National Grand Champion Stallion, Johnstonís Starlight Ranger,
and National Grand Champion Junior Stallion, NFCs Sugar Boy. For AMHR, he
produced two-time National Grand Champion Stallion, Gingerbread Farms
Rapid Transit. Wittmaacks Mickey Mouse has produce a National Champion,
Sterling Silver, and numerous Top Tens. Incidentally, the dam of the '97
National Grand Champion Junior Stallion is a Mickey daughter! Johnston's
Gold Bar has produced several Top Tens himself. Johnston's Gold Boy has
produced daughters who are proving themselves to be superior dams of
Gold Melody Boy daughters have been priceless treasures in breeding
programs. Among the most familiar is Johnston's Vanilla, owned by Lowell
Boone of Indiana. She has secured her place in history by producing
Boone's Little Buckeroo (featured as the "Sire of Significance"
in the May-June issue).
Examine the pedigrees of the horses bred by the Johnstons and Wittmaacks
and you will find they used inbreeding and ine breeding extensively. The
offspring they produced have a certain "look" that shows
tremendous type, elegance and balance. This bloodline has passed these
qualities on for generations and will continue to do so, because many of
the farms that have miniatures from this line are practicing the same
principles of breeding today.
Gold Melody Boy was owned and loved by the Daltons, the Johnstons, and the
Wagners of Flying W Farms, where he died at the age of 21 in 1983. The
story could have ended then, but in the late '80s and early '90s, Charles
Penland, of SweetWater Farm, Greer, SC, was buying miniatures from all
over the country and ended up with a few Gold Melody Boy offspring. He
like them so well he began researching and located the Wittmaacks who had
many of the line left. Penland was able to purchase a few, but the
Wittmaacks were not interested in selling the entire herd... until
Wittmaack was diagnosed with cancer. At that time, Penland purchased all
their horses and asked Norma Wittmaack to trace the horses she and the
Johnstons had owned and bred.
Many advertisements were placed in publications offering to buy horses
bred by the Johnstons and Wittmaacks. This tactic proved to be very
successful. Another lucky break came when Jane Zebus, of Cedar Grove Farm,
leased Roan Ranger from Fredericka Wagner for one year. Penland purchased
Janeís herd (all the mares were bred to Roan Ranger) and was able to
keep Roan Ranger for the remainder of the lease. At the end of the lease,
Roan Ranger was sold to Joe Spino and Al Glass and came to his final
destination. Penland bred all the horses he acquired for many years until
he began selling these horses to breeders around the country. The rest is
history! He has Sired:
Gold Melody's Gold King, Johnston's Gold Bar, Roan Ranger, Johnston's Gold Boy