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Spirit of Midnight
SIRE of Champions 

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Spirit Of Midnight and Steve Hill

SPIRIT OF MIDNIGHT came to the Celebration in 1959 and in a class of 52 two year-olds, won second behind SHADOW'S HEADMAN.  In 1962 he came back to Celebration and won third behind MACK K's HANDSHAKER and EBONY MASTERPIECE, both future World Grand Champions.  In 1963, SPIRIT won third in the Aged Stallion Class behind SUN'S DELIGHT and TRIPLE THREAT, both future World Grand Champions.  

Although SPIRIT never did win the Grand Championship, he did furnish his trainer, Steve Hill with some pleasant moments. One such incident involved Steve's close friend Pluck Miller. As Steve remembered the incident he, Steve, was riding SPIRIT at the barn when Pluck Miller drove up. Like most horsemen Pluck had some suggestions to offer as to the proper training routine. Pluck yelled out, "Steve, flat walk the horse, you hold him too tight, let him relax."

Steve knew some things about SPIRIT that Pluck didn't know. "I had a big long bit on him and it was already bent straight. I had two curbs on him so if one broke he couldn't take to the woods, so I said, "Get on him Pluck, he's working good now, show me how to ride him."

Pluck liked the idea and replied, "Yeah, let me ride him." Pluck was anything but an amateur when it came to riding horses, having ridden most of his adult life. The thing was, Steve didn't tell Pluck to hold his feet away from SPIRIT. 

Spirit of Midnight with proud friends.

Pluck mounted the horse, put his feet close to the stallion's side and off they went into the wild blue yonder. As SPIRIT made his way around the ring Pluck's feet gripped tighter and tighter, and the tighter he gripped, the faster SPIRIT went. As the horse rounded the corner Pluck yelled "Let me off, let me off. Catch him."

From the sidelines Steve counselled "Don't fight him, just relax and let him do his thing." All the time the horse was getting faster and faster. Pluck kept yelling, "Stop him! Stop him!, now come on.. this is not funny." 

Steve then told Pluck to take his feet away from the horse's side, lighten up on the reins and say WHOA! The horse responded as Steve believed he would. "Now I want to see you take him around the ring in a running walk," Steve instructed Pluck.

Pluck replied, "I'll quit telling you how to ride him, I wouldn't ride him again around that ring for anything." 

During his career, SPIRIT OF MIDNIGHT was the 1960 Dalton GA Stake Champion; Lebanon Stake Champion; Manchester Stake Champion; Lexington Jr. Champion; 1961 Murfreesboro S/G Champion; and  New Orleans Stake Champion.  He sired 785 foals and died in 1974.

If you have a story or photos of Spirit of Midnight that you would like added to this page, please forward them to Walkers West.



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