Grand Dam of World  Champions

Merry Legs was foaled in April of 1911, the daughter of Nell Dement F-3 and Allan F-1.  MERRY LEGS was a big mare, standing 15.2 and weighing 1200 pounds. She was described as,  a straight-going mare with no amble whatsoever. She had lots of head motion, a good long neck, perfect ears, and large eyes.   Her canter was perfect, and her flat walk and running walk were truly as great as any ever displayed by Tennessee Walking Horses.   Anybody could ride her, because she had perfect manners, and was gentle as could be.   MERRY LEGS' tail was never set, but those who saw her said she carried it as if it had been.

MERRY LEGS' dam, NELL or NELL DEMENT F-3 (9027 A.S.R.) was almost as illustrious a plantation show and broodmare as herself. She was a real good looking chestnut of 1902, bred by Mark L. Smith of Wartrace, later of Nashville. She was by Donald F-6 from a daughter of STONEWALL JACKSON (72 A.S.R.) F-53...

NELL was one of the horses that Dement would show carrying a glass of water in one hand as evidence of the smooth ride she was giving...

She was very perky and game. Cured of bucking in her youth, she remained spirited and stood no foolishness. Once at the State Fair, a Nashville girl borrowed her for the musical ride, a popular horse show feature in this section for many years. Fifty or more couples were competing that time to be the best dressed and best mounted. The music didn't bother NELL, but her rider's spurs did. After shaking her head and lashing her tail for some time with rising indignation, the mare galloped to the gate on the race track where the show was held in 1925, threw her dressed-up rider, then calmly waited to be remounted.

As a weanling, Merry Legs was shown shown by Henry Davis and was never defeated. Her wins include county fairs and colt shows at Murfreesboro, Tullahoma, Shelbyville, Winchester, and Fayetteville. Davis later recalled,

"Joe Crawford and I were partners in 1913, and we showed horses together in Middle Tennessee. We were making plans to attend the shows that spring and summer and stopped by Mr. Dements farm on our way to Winchester, where the first show of the circuit was scheduled. We borrowed MERRY LEGS from Mr. Dement and tied her with some other horses we were leading. She was a two year-old at that time and had never been broken."

After arriving at Winchester, Davis spent the next two days breaking MERRY LEGS to the bridle and saddle. In the show that followed she won first and continued to do so throughout the circuit. That fall at the Tennessee State Fair she won her class and placed second in the Big Stake. She accomplished all this in spite of the fact that her tail had been chewed off by calves at a point well above her hocks.

In 1914, MERRY LEGS repeated all her previous wins and added an important one to them.  At the Tennessee State Fair she not only won her class but also placed first in the Big Stake.  She was the first three year old to win the Stake at the State Fair and no other three year old won it until 1936, when her grand-daughter LITTLE MERRY LEGS, with Floyd Carothers up, repeated the feat.

In 1915, MERRY LEGS was taken to Kentucky by J. G. Miller. She won every show in which she was entered. That fall she was shown again at the Tennessee State Fair and won the Stake. Z. R. Pickens, one of the outstanding early Walking Horse trainers, rode MERRY LEGS in dozens of shows and was never defeated. Later, Floyd Carothers showed her in Middle Tennessee without defeat. Many of her latter campaigns were made after she became a broodmare.

As one admirer said, "MERRY LEGS was without a doubt the greatest show mare I've ever seen.  Why, I've seen her win first places at shows while one of her colts was left in the stall."  Bob Murchison of Wartrace remembered, "She did one thing that mares do not do nowadays (1946):  she would foal a colt in the spring of the year, then Mr. Dement would wean that colt two or three weeks before the State Fair at Nashville and would enter MERRY LEGS in the show, where she would win first place."


Bud Allen, one of Merry Leg's good sons

NELL, the dam of MERRY LEGS, was noted as a high spirited mare that was always ready to travel. MERRY LEGS was just the opposite.  She was described as "lazy and trifling," plain in conformation, and slow in gaits.  Such a description can be misleading.  While it was generally agreed that MERRY LEGS was not a highly animated animal, it was almost unanimously agreed that she was an unusually good walking mare.  The degree of MERRY LEGS' sluggishness was illustrated when one of her riders was asked if she would trot or pace if turned loose.  The rider's answer was, "Neither. She would stop."   When the well-known trainer Jim Miller showed MERRY LEGS he usually gave her a half-pint of good whiskey to boost her spirits.   The whiskey, assisted by two often-applied spurs, kept her wide awake and up in the bridle.   The old mare had a tendency to brush her front fetlocks with the opposite foot, but corrective shoeing remedied this situation.


In spite of her success in the show ring, MERRY LEGS experienced defeat on many occasions. Most of her defeats occurred after she was middle-aged and had colts by her side.  John Taylor's DASH defeated MERRY LEGS at the 1921 Tennessee State Fair as did LITTLE DUTCH.  DASH, interestingly enough, was sired by RED ONSILUER, grandson of ONWARD, the grandsire of ALLAN F-1.  Most Walking Horse people believed MERRY LEGS was mistreated in the above mentioned class, and accredited the loss to the fact that the judge was a Kentucky gaited horseman who knew little about what a "plantation walking horse" was supposed to do.   In 1924, Joe Yowell showed MERRY LEGS to fourth place in the Stake Class at the Tennessee State Fair behind a host of first rate entries from across the state.

One of the unusual aspects of MERRY LEGS' show career was the number of riders who exhibited her successfully.  Besides Yowell there were Floyd Carothers, Jim Miller, Henry Davis, Joe Crawford and Z. R. Pickens.

The greatness of MERRY LEGS as a show mare was matched by her potency as a broodmare. She was the dam of thirteen foals, seven mares and six stallions; the names of the foals are given as: 

PROGENY CHART FOR MERRY LEGS F-4

MAUDE DEMENT by MORELAND'S PRIDE by MONTGOMERY CHIEF
MERRY KING by MORELAND'S PRIDE by MONTGOMERY CHIEF
MAJOR ALLEN by MITCH by ROAN ALLEN by ALLAN F-1
BUD ALLEN by MITCH by ROAN ALLEN by ALLAN F-1
GRACE DEMENT by ROAN ALLEN by ALLAN F-1
SILVER FIZZ by ROAN ALLEN by ALLAN F-1
A black filly by GIOVANNI by DANDY JIM 11
MERRY BOY by ROAN ALLEN by ALLAN F-1
SKIP by SLIPPERY JIM by GIOVANNI
SNIP by GREY LAD by BRAMLETT
A brown filly by HUNTER'S ALLEN by ALLAN F-1
A black stallion by HUNTER'S ALLEN by ALLAN F- I
LAST CHANCE by HUNTER'S ALLEN by ALLAN F-1

Sun's Delight D. and Delight Bumin Around are the only World Grand Champions to trace to Merry Legs through Grey John blood.

Merry Boy Last Chance Sun's Delight D. Delight Bumin' Around

Merry Legs was bred to Hunter's Allen F-10 on at least three occasions.  Two of the foals died as yearlings.  The one that lived was Last Chance.

MERRY LEGS gave birth to three foals sired by ROAN ALLEN F-38MERRY BOY was the third colt from that cross.  The black roan stallion was foaled at Wartrace in 1925, and remained the property of his breeder, Albert Dement, until approximately 1935.  MERRY BOY was another product of Dements experimental breeding program, and if the program had produced no other animal its existence would have been more than fulfilled in this great sire.

If you wish to print off this pedigree, click HERE to load a black and white copy

 
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