Monday, March 10, 2014

Time and Space Traveling Roan Lady

Today's post revisits, in detail, a well-loved mold in the Hagen-Renaker collecting world: the Tennessee Walker, "Roan Lady", mold # B-705. Back in HR's Monrovia era, Roan Lady was issued in matte white shaded with gray from Spring 1959 to Fall 1960. The San Dimas matte colors of matte white, doeskin, and "Roan Lady Rose Gray" (or "Hybrid Gray") were produced in San Dimas, in the years 1966-7, 1970, and just six more months for Spring 1971. There was no color selection option on the order sheets. In 1970-71, her name was dropped from the order forms and she was simply, "Tennessee Walker".

Spring 1959 HR order form

Spring 1970 HR order form

Monrovia white gray
mixed pale and dark blue ribbons in mane
Photo courtesy Ed Alcorn

San Dimas white gray with unusual cobalt blue/white mix ribbons in mane
Possibly a transition model between Monrovia/San Dimas?
Photo courtesy Nancy Falzone

San Dimas white gray
dark green ribbons in mane
Photo courtesy Jeanene Bernardin

Left: San Dimas white owned by Susan Candelaria
Middle: Monrovia white owned by Karen Grimm
Right: San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid owned by Karen Grimm
Photo courtesy The Glass Menagerie editor Susan Candelaria

San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid
pale blue ribbons in mane
Photo courtesy Jeanene Bernardin

San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid
pale blue ribbons
Model courtesy Janet Hicks

San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid
pale blue ribbons
Photo courtesy Nancy Falzone

San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid
pale yelow-green ribbons
Photo courtesy Nancy Falzone

Left: San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid with pale blue ribbons
Right: San Dimas doeskin with dark green ribbons
Models courtesy Jo Ellen Arnold

Left: San Dimas doeskin with dark green ribbons
Right: San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid with pale blue ribbons
Photo courtesy Ed Alcorn

San Dimas doeskin with unusual overspray on hind leg and croup.
Photos courtesy Jayne Kubas.

Left: Monrovia(?) true rose gray with green ribbons
Middle: San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid with pale blue ribbons
Right: San Dimas white with green ribbons
Photo courtesy Dara West

Left: Monrovia(?) true rose gray with green ribbons
Right: San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid with pale blue ribbons
Photo courtesy Dara West

Left: San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid with pale blue ribbons
Right: Monrovia (?) true rose gray with green ribbons
Photo courtesy Dara West

San Dimas "rose gray" Hybrid with pale blue ribbons
Photo courtesy Dara West

Monrovia (?) true rose gray with dark green ribbons
Photo courtesy Dara West

Monrovia (not sure because the mold looks San Dimas) true rose gray with green ribbons
Photo courtesy Dara West

Custom glaze or test by Maureen Love, with dark green ribbons
Note also the same eyewhite as the photo above it.

The glaze crawl traces back to Maureen's matte glaze that she used on her vintage customs.
The dock hairs and mane edges are meticulously hand-painted.

HR factory bisque, with mold number written on side.
Some of these numbered bisques were sent to Breyer for mold lease selection.
The HR archives had a few duplicate bisques, 
several of which were given to the handbook authors.
Photo courtesy Sally Clow

HR archive bisque custom glazed by Karen Grimm
Looks like an homage to Maureen's, even down to the green ribbons?
Photo courtesy Jeanene Bernardin

HR archive bisque custom glazed by Joan Berkwitz
Photo courtesy Jeanene Bernardin

HR archive bisque custom glazed by Joan Berkwitz
Photo courtesy Jeanene Bernardin

In the early 1990's, model horse hobbyist Debbie Uecker made unlicensed
 polyresin replicas of the HR Roan Lady model, for customizing.
This is a primered resin.
Photo courtesy Dara West

Her real portrait horse identity has evaded me for some time, and only recently has my searching yielded anything useful. I narrowed down the real horse identity to two mares shown on the Pedigree Online All Breed Database. It is common for the HR models to have shortened, marketable names that are derived from those of the living portrait horses. Exceptions to this "rule" include Nataf and Ferseyn. Disclaimer: it is entirely possible that am I incorrect in this name assignment. Roan Lady could have been an unregistered mare with a completely different identity. This identification is to the best of my abilities, with the help of the breed registry.

The two names that looked promising were Traveling Roan Lady (f. 1949) and Shadow's Roan Lady (for which no date was given), the aforementioned mare's only produce. 

I've had such wonderful luck in the past with friendly and helpful breed registry staff, and the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association was no exception. I spoke to a kind lady who searched the official registry while on the phone with me, and she provided some very helpful data. It turns out, Shadow's Roan Lady could not have been the portrait horse, because she was foaled in April of 1958. Since HR released the Roan Lady model first in Spring 1959, it is reasonable to assume the the sculpture was made sometime in (or before) 1958. This allows time for moldmaking, pouring the wax prototype, molding again, and finally, making production molds, and at least one test before orders started coming in. This means Shadow's Roan Lady would have been a weanling, not even a yearling, when the HR order forms with "Roan Lady" were first mailed. The model is quite clearly an adult mare.

Our real horse identity is, therefore, "Traveling Roan Lady". Her registered color was, not surprisingly, roan. At the time she was registered, the breed recognized roan as its own color, so there was no information about her base color. The registry representative stated that now the registry properly recognizes roan as a Modifier, not a base color. She was last recorded as owned by "a Mr. McClure" of TN, but no date given. It is common for horses to not have all their owners/locations reported to the registry by owners. At first glance, that certainly doesn't place her anywhere near Southern California, where Maureen did sketches of a mare that looks just like the model... and where she sculpted the model. I sighed, thinking I had followed a red herring.

A little Google digging, starting with typing "mcclure tennessee walking horse" started a ripple, that became tides of information. Mr. R. Mitchel (Mitchell) Mcclure (McClure) has lived in more than one state, and ended up in Westlake Village, Ventura County, at the end of his life. He was working in Los Angeles, CA sometime after 1955, so the registry's last known address for him in TN as of 1963 is misleading. He had businesses in Phoenix AZ, including a TWH stable. The car dealership business branched out to a location in North San Diego county (Mission Valley), all of which puts him within reasonable driving distance of Maureen. But, wait... it's not so simple!

Turns out, Mr. McClure wasn't just some guy with TWHs in TN, as the Registry's last record for Roan Lady indicates. The last record they have is only helpful to the date of 1963, which is when he was denied further Association services. He was, at one time, the Regional Vice-President of the California District of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors Association.

Research showed that Mr. McClure was spending part of his time working in Los Angeles by August of 1955. This car dealership history revealed the location of his Phoenix, AZ Tennessee Walking Horse stable. From 1957 to sometime before 1985, 1230 East Pierson Street, in Phoenix, was his home and stable. In the days before A.I., Roan Lady would have been bred in TN at the stud farm, in September of 1957. That leaves a gap of one year (spent almost entirely in foal) during which she may have been moved from TN to the new farm in AZ. Between LA and Phoenix, it would not be unthinkable for Maureen to have driven out to see his Walking Horses, if they were not already visiting her own neighborhood for a parade or show. I would expect they would have at least participated in the Pasadena Rose Parade, being stabled within driving distance, and being a showy, gaited breed, ideal for parades. Sadly, I can find no record of this. 

My own questions are, since the sketches of Roan Lady do not show her in foal, did Maureen see her before she was getting a belly? Did Mr McClure hand Maureen show photography that he kept in his place of business, while Roan Lady remained back in TN, being in foal? She is not drawn with show braids, after all. 

Maureen Love sketch of Roan Lady
Image courtesy of Share The Love

Maureen Love sketch of Roan Lady
From Sketchbook Horses of Maureen Love, 1990.
Used with permission of editor, Joan Berkwitz.

I hope such photographs can be found in Maureen's reference morgue, because that would clear up the last bit of this timeline. The main point is, although Roan Lady's last record shows her stabled in TN, it is quite likely she was transported out to AZ to be with his new breed-dedicated stable. Because of his denial of services by the Association, there is no death record for this mare.

Here is Roan Lady's one and only mate: Go Boy's Shadow,
the 1955 & 1956 World Grand Champion.
Nothing but the best for our Lady!
I sculpted a portrait of him, to mold in ceramic, for display with Roan Lady in the cabinet.

Fresh from his two consecutive wins as World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse, Go Boy's Shadow (1952-1978) was at stud at S.W. Beech & Sons Stable, in Lewisburg, TN. Traveling Roan Lady was bred to him around September 1957, counting back from her filly's birthdate. Mr. Beech was the defendant in a lawsuit brought by Roan Lady's owner, in a matter completely unrelated to the breeding, but very much related to horses. This controversy surrounding the owner, and his records stopping dead in 1963, have probably contributed to the difficulty in identifying Roan Lady as a portrait horse. It is not known why Roan Lady was not bred again, as there was a four-year window of her owner's continued activity with the breed association.

Traveling Roan Lady had 4 grandfoals, and it is possible to find her in pedigrees of today.

Roan Lady's only foal, Shadow's Roan Lady, had a successful last owner. Dr. Joe T. Walker, of Murfreesboro, TN, earned the respect of his community and the government, such that this House Joint Resolution was made to honor him and his deeds. 

Detail of reissue eye and braid decoration.
Photo courtesy Lynn Isenbarger.

Reissues can be readily identified by their chest vent hole.
Photo courtesy Lynn Isenbarger.

The Hagen-Renaker portrait model of Roan Lady has been reissued in several glossy colors. She is available for ordering today in a wide range of colors, which can be previewed at Ed Alcorn's comprehensive site.

This is a great sculpture time capsule of a Heritage Tennessee Walking Horse, in her prime of life. More about Heritage Tennessee Walkers, next time!

Gratitude to Ed Alcorn, Jo Ellen Arnold, Jeanene Bernardin, Sally Clow, Nancy Falzone, Janet Hicks, Lynn Isenbarger, Dawn Sinkovich, and Dara West for sharing their lovely photographs.References:

Benuish, Alison, ed. Hagen-Renaker Research Materials: 1949- Present. N. pag. Salisbury, MD: WMHC, 1995. 

Berkwitz, Joan, ed. Sketchbook Horses of Maureen Love. Privately published: Carlsbad, CA 1990. 

Berkwitz, Joan. "Roan Lady". The Glass Menagerie. December/January 1995. Color photo print.

Roller, Gayle. Hagen-Renaker: A Charlton Standard Catalogue. Third Edition. The Charlton Press: Palm Harbor, FL, 2003.


  1. I have to point out that Roan Lady was apparently also made in 1965. My Roan Lady was a Christmas present from my parents in 1965 -- not only did I document this, but a tale of my parents' sneaky trip to Dallas to purchase her appears in my mother's journals as in October 1965. :) I'm working on organizing in another part of the house right now, but I'll send a photo of my Roan Lady ASAP. Sue

  2. The Phoenix connection to the real horse (used as the TWH model) may be valid, because a person I know here in Phoenix owned the original (live) molly mule that was the model for the HR mule. So if the "real" Mule used as a model was in Phoenix, it would make sense that the "real" TWH was also located in the same area.

  3. Aloha, do you mean Bill Wolever and his mule, Big Red Loretta? I would love to interview the mule's owner for the blog. I found information that says Loretta the HR Mule was in the 1988 New Year's Day Rose Parade. That's why I wondered if Maureen sketched some of the more unusual breeds (like TWH) on site at the parade line-up, or perhaps at the equestrian center rehearsals? That parade route was in her backyard.

    Sue, really looking forward to any photos you can manage. It would be cool if you had a transcription or photo of the journal entry documenting the time. That's super! I am adding more photos to this post, today.