1963-Voice Of The Tennessee Walking Horse 1963 July Voice - Page 10

July, 1963 8 Introduction—This is a new article for the VOICE. It is designed to be about people and not horses and to introduce outstanding people in the Walking Horse business with opinions regarding the business to be expressed freely. The opinions expressed herein do not neces­ sarily represent the editor or his staff. MR. REX WATTS- We met Mr. Watts for the first time at the Chattanooga Pilot Club Horse Show, where he was judge of the Walk­ ing Horse classes. 1 learned from talk­ ing with him that he was about as active as a trainer can be. He had shown a 2-year-old in the Carolina’s that afternoon and had flown over to Chattanooga to judge the evening show. On describing our idea of this new article, to be about people rather than horses, Mr. Watts stated that he thought it was an excellent idea and was delighted to be our first subject. Rex Watts resides in Hudson, North Carolina with his wife Grace, daugh­ ter, Brenda, who is a high school math teacher and son Rex, Jr., who will enter college in the fall. He was born in Wilks County, N. C., and was raised in Hickory where he attended grade school and high school. He was a three year letter man in 3 sports while in high school. Rex served in World War II in Italy with the U. S. Infantry as a Platoon Sargeant. It was after the war that Rex got into the horse business. While attending Lenoir College in Hickory on the G. I. Bill, he, like many trainers, began training at night in his spare time. He first used stable facilities at the Catawba Fairgrounds in Hickory and for many years was located at several places within a 25 mile radius of the town. One im­ portant note which Rex pointed out to us was that he has several people who have had horses in training with him for 15 or 20 years without interuplion. To the writer, this indicates that here is a reputable, hard working man who is a definite asset to the business. Rex has shown Walking Horses since 1916 and has had many of the finest horses shown in the powerful circuit of the Carolinas and Virginia. While working and showing horses himself, he has not overlooked the amateurs and has taught many chil­ dren to ride and developed them into top juvenile and amateur riders. Mr. Watts has been operating public stables in Hudson since 1959 and was in Newton, N. C., for 13 years prior to moving there. To the writer, a good indication of a successful trainer is his record and reputation as a judge. Rex Watts is reputed to be one of the finest. In the past 18 years he has judged over 200 shows in both gaited and Walking Horse classes. He has judged shows as far west as Los Angeles and as far South as Miami and has many of the top shows including the Tennessee State Fair to his credit. When asked what his plans for the future were, Rex stated, “I plan to stay in the Walking Horse business for I believe the sport is growing by leaps and bounds and I feel that the next 10 years we will see the greatest boom the horse business has ever experienced. Riding for pleasure and amateur showing is just beginning as a big field and there are more people looking for good horses for this purpose than in all the years I have been in the business.” When asked direct questions about the vari­ ous phases of the Walking Horse busi­ ness, Rex made no hesitation in indi­ cating his feelings. On the question of current judging methods Mr. Watts said, "I feel that on the whole there is more consciencious judging than ever before because more people know more about horses and the finer points of showing since the Breeder’s Associa­ tion rules are well circulated in all shotv circles.” He also had some defi­ nite ideas as to how we might up­ grade the business. "It can be up­ graded by better selling of horses in that we sell horses for the price and purpose they are to be used for. Don’t sell horses that are not suited to green riders or sell horses to be ridden by children that are too much for their limited experience to handle.” The area of the business most neglected, according to Rex is the pleasure horse field. He pointed out that “the pleasure horse field is being neglected because Loo many horses are kept in training too long- in an attempt to make show' horses out of them. Many more should be gentled and taught to do 3 easy gaits without weighted shoeing so more pleasure horses would be available at a pleasure horse price.” We stuck our neck out and asked him w’hat he thought about current training methods and he stated, “The methods of today are faster than ever before as they must be to develop young horses to be ready to show as 2 year olds.” Our thanks to Mr. Rex Watts for allowing us to delve inLo his back­ ground and to get his thinking of various phases of the Walking Horse business. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR EXPERIENCE MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS I HAVE PROMOTED, SUPPLIED AND SERVICED THE BEST INSURANCE FOR SHOW HORSES AND REGISTERED LIVESTOCK AVAILABLE REST AT EASE WHEN YOU INSURE THE "RICHARD WAY" SEE, CA