The Saddlebred Record and Louise Gilliland
Published Date: Aug 03, 2018
The American Saddlebred Registry extends a sincere thank you to long time breeder/owner/exhibitor, go-to person for horse color questions, ASR committee member, former ASR board member and volunteer extraordinaire Louise Gilliland of Winsdown Farm, McAlester, Oklahoma. Each year, Louise spends hours of her own time diligently researching the show records of great American Saddlebreds of the past to ensure these deserving horses receive their champion (CH) designation and become members of the prestigious Saddlebred Record program.
One of the roles of the Saddlebred Record is to identify and honor the outstanding performers of the show ring. Upon earning enough points at USEF-licensed Saddlebred competitions and being approved as a Champion, a horse is awarded the permanent "CH" prefix to its name on ASR records. American Saddlebreds competing in the performance, park, show pleasure, and country pleasure sections must earn 15 points. Only 3 points at a single show are allowed. Only 3 points won in "In Hand" classes count toward the total of 15 points required to earn CH status. See the Saddlebred Record Champion rules and exceptions on the ASHA website.
Once Louise finds a horse that has earned enough qualifying points for champion status, she submits her research for review by the Registry. Little to no show records were digitized prior to the 1960s so the majority of her research entails poring over show results in the backs of old magazines and books, limiting her searches to those publications she can procure or borrow. This year was a bit easier as Kim Skipton was able to provide her with some very comprehensive material covering many of the years from 1911 through 1922, from both the American Saddlebred Museum’s archives as well as her own personal collection.
Louise painstakingly records not only the shows where these horses won qualifying points for champion status, but also compiles all their other show records that she can find. This not only gives a much better historical record, but also brings to light how many years these “iron horses” of the past showed, how many shows they made each year and how they traveled coast to coast in eras where travel was not nearly as easy as it is now. She has documented nine great horses from the past that qualified for champion status including five world’s grand champions, one Hall of Fame broodmare, a world’s champion broodmare sire, a second dam of several world’s champions and a remarkable gelding that had wins coast to coast across four divisions. Featured below, in the first of a weekly series featuring each of the new champions as researched by Louise, is the 1915 Five-Gaited WGC Astral King, soon to be CHAstral King.
Astral King 2805 (WGC, RWGC)
Astral King was the 1915 World’s Grand Champion Five-Gaited horse. He was known as an incredible show horse with a career that spanned seven years starting in his two-year-old year. In addition to his World’s Grand Championship win at the Kentucky State Fair he won championships at major shows such as Illinois State Fair, Iowa State Fair, Mexico, Missouri, and the Missouri State Fair. Born in 1906, Astral King was a chestnut stallion bred by Allie Jones. In addition to his outstanding show career, he sired World’s Grand Champion sire Astral Peavine (sire of WGC Astral White Sox [shown as Delaine Hour], RWGC Hell And Maria, Hall of Fame broodmare Ruth Roland [dam of WGC Startling Kalarama], and many more). Astral King was sired by WGC Bourbon King and out of Miss Carrick (BHF) by Highland Denmark. He had just two owners, his breeder Allie Jones of Kentucky and James Houchen in Missouri. Astral King was primarily shown by Allie Jones and Trev Anderson. Louise verified 20 qualifying points for champion status, with an additional six wins where the total class count could not be verified.