History of the American White Horse
Who Was Old King?
1936: Caleb (Cal) married Ruth Hackenberg Thompson and Hud decided to drop out of the horse business to pursue ministerial ambitions. Cal & Ruth continued breeding and promoting the horse now known as the American Albino horse. They developed the White Horse Troupe as their main tool of promotion and toured throughout the United States and southern Canada. They and their horses became known internationally. They sponsored a training and riding school for underprivileged youth from which they selected gifted children to travel as performers in the troupe. Most of the riders were in their late teens although a few were between ages five and twelve. Some of the features of the famous troupe were: Six horse tandem roman ride, five horse roman teams, both teams jumping hurdles with a rider standing on their backs; high and broad jumping including jumps over convertible cars and over human hurdles; high schooled acts (both dressage and trick) and wildest rescues of damsels in distress from "runaway" stages. The performers rode their horses bareback and had some specialty acts in which the horse was ridden without bridle or saddle over the hurdles. Jumps averaged 3 feet in height with the high jumps being five feet in height.
The Thompsons and their troupe showed with such famous personalities as Gene Autry, Red Ryder, Minnie Pearl, and Tex Cooper. Some of Old King's progeny went on to be movie stare and mounts for important dignitaries. One horse was sold to a prince from India. Another named Constitution was provided for Admiral Haley to ride in the Victory Parade in Now York City following the end of World War II. Another portrayed Thunderhead in the movie of the same name. Emperor Hiro Hito's mount Silver Tip, although not a descendant of Old King's (he was a California bred cowpony, was registered in the AAHC). (continued)
1908: Owned by Professor William P. Newell of Illinois, Old King was true white, pink skinned and had dark brown eyes (as do 90 percent of his progeny). In size he stood 15.2 hands and weighed about 1200 lbs. He was of a very stocky, well muscled with a broad chest, deep girth, sloping croup, strong straight legs, heavy crested neck, thick, long and wavy mane and tail, broad between the eyes, well shaped ears, intelligent and gentle. Versatile, he was trained for riding, parading, driving and high school routines. He also had the ability to pass his qualities on to his progeny. His foal crops when bred to colored mares was 50 percent white, 50 percent colored. His descendants achieved 75-80% white progeny.
He was purchased by Caleb R. and Hudson B. Thompson of West Point, Nebraska in 1917 to be the foundation of a new breed of horse they hoped to develop. With Old King as a sire and Morgan mares (a few with mixed bloodlines), and using very select, scientific inbreeding methods the brothers were successful in their dream. Old King contracted swamp fever in 1922 and eventually passed away from its effects in 1924 at age 18.
This may be the only surviving image
of the Line Sire, Old King
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