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Owen Fullen , our “ Profiles ” subject for October , is shown with two of the many fine walking horses that are worked and shown by amateures Kenny Dickson and Kendall Armstrong at Evans Stables , Athens , Tennessee .
This month our “ Profiles ” article is about a most unique Tennessee Walking Horse operation , the Evans Stables , Athens , Tennessee , owned and operated by Mr . and Mrs . Owen Fullen . Here is one of the major Walking Horse Stables of this area and it is comprised completely of amateurs . At the time of this writing there were three principal ) amateur Walking Horse enthusiasts using the facilities of the Evans Stables , Mr . Fullen , Mr . Kenny Dickson and Mr . Kendall Armstrong .
Mr . Fullcn , a 51 year old “ athlete of a man ” is better known to people in this area as “ Lip ”. This nickname , as I get it , comes from his mannerisms in talking in that he has a friendly tendency to make his point in any conversation . Owen Fullen has been interested in Walking Horses for only six yealrs . In 1958 he decided he wanted a good horse to ride and ended up in a well-known stable in Murfreesboro . Here he purchased a Blue Roan stallion with good blood and some excellent training . He has never regretted the purchase of this horse , even though , as he put it . . . “ he cost a lot more than I had intended to spend .”
Owen was born and raised in East Tennessee , in and around Athens . He attended Chattanooga Central High School where he excelled in football and other sports . He is married to the former Freda Small , and they live in Athens where he is owner and operator of a Funeral Home . He is a licensed embalmer and funeral director for the State of Tennessee .
On returning to Athens after purchasing his first registered Walking Horse , Owen was faced with a problem he really hadn ’ t thought too much about . He had a good horse but no experience ... or barn ... or trainer ; and his horse spent his first night in East Tennessee tied to a tree . It was here that a young man named Kenny Dickson came to the rescue . Kenny had always loved horses and had owned and shown them for some time . Mr . Fullen imposed on him to take his horse for a while . This started a long term friendship that is still going strong .
In 1959 a well planned training stable was constructed . These amateurs were planning ahead . They constructed a stable with 10 stalls , an automatic cooler , and office and the other trimmings that it takes to make a good show barn . Today they are training 6 horses that they show and have several good prosepets coming along .
Kenny Dickson , a long time employee of Mayfields Dairy in Athens is married and has 2 children . His wife Bobbie and sons Steve , 8 years ; and Mitch 6 years , share his love of horsesand both the kids ride . Kenny graduated from Englewood High School and still resides in this town where he is now a rural mail carrier .
In discussing the over-all record of the stable , Owen stated that “ Kenny Dickson should get much of the credit for what success we have had . He is a quiet-type that just knows how to get along with horses . What he knows about training Tennessee Walking Horses he has learned the hard way .”
The other training-riding member of the Evan ’ s Stable operation is Mr . Kendall Armstrong . He joined the others in 1960 and is considered as capable an amateur trainer as anyone around . Kendall , who has worked in the Mayfields Dairy plant for several years , lives in Athens with his wife Doris and 4 children . The Kendall Klan consists of twin girls , Caren and Sharon , 8 years old and two boys , Terr )', 7 years and Douglas , 5 years . Here also is an enthusiastic horse-loving family .
These three amateur horsemen share the same ideas about the Tennessee Walking Horse business . From their standpoint the most important element is “ showing ”. As Owen put it , “ We show before all judges , anywhere . We do not pick our shows and judges ”. Their feelings are mutual regarding modern training methods in that they say to compete , the amateur must learn the techniques of the professionals . Most trainers , they say , are doing an excellent job with their stock , and little abuse exists in their area .
With regards to current judging methods , this trio feels that the biggest problem is the “ swap-out ” as opposed to rank bad judging . To the amateur who tries to compete in some classes with the pros , this is a keen issue . They admit they don ’ t know the answer .
In talking about the future of the Tennessee Walking Horse business Owen Fullen stated that it will be great if we don ’ t price horses too high . We should give more people a chance to get into this sport , and high-priced
horses naturally limit the people who can afford it .
Our thanks to Owen Fullen , Kendall Armstrong and Kenny Dickson for setting aside thier crops and spurs long enough to tell us the Evan ’ s Stable story ; ... a story of amateurs with a genuine love for Walking Horses and a keen desire to learn more and compete better .