Smith’s Ginger was a popular breeding stallion long before joining the ranks of the original Registered Rocky Mountain Stallions. J.B. Smith of Decoy in Knott County Kentucky was an admirer and long time breeder of the stout little horses eventually to be called Rocky Mountain Horses. He and his sons would make the long trip to Sam Tuttle’s farm to purchase young colts that would trained to work and ride and eventually be sold to the people in the surrounding counties.
On one occasion, John B (one of J.B.’s sons) fell in love with a little sorrel three stocking colt running on the ‘Black Mare’ as Sam called her. Upon an inquiry J.B. was informed that this colt was special and that he had not entertained the thought of selling him. Rather he planned to keep him as a breeding stallion. Regular colts were selling off the farm at that time for $100. J.B. and his sons made three trips to Sam Tuttle’s that summer to look at the Little Red Colt as he became to be known. On the final visit the deal was struck and $150 was passed between the two horse men and the Little Red Colt at the age of 3 months was off to the mountains. J.B. paid 50% more for the Little Red Colt, an investment that would pay the family back handsomely over the 28 years that Smith’s Ginger stood in Decoy, Kentucky. John B got his colt and a bit of history was preserved for the fanciers of today’s Rocky Mountain Horse.
Upon arrival at Decoy, Ginger was separated as John B put him in a small log barn just up the hollow from the rest of the horses. Smith’s Ginger was cared for by John B. until his marriage and John’s words to his dad were “I’m going to be as good to you as you were to me. I got to leave so the Ginger horse is now yours.”
Smith’s Ginger is known today for his fine Rocky Mountain mares; however Ginger was bred as much as 200 times in one season according to Ray Smith. The people wanted the smooth gait, excellent temperament and pleasing eye appeal. Those qualities are still popular today in the Rocky Mountain Horse. The RMHA database shows only 21 registered horses sired by Smith’s Ginger, however, many a breeding program was started with a Smith’s Ginger mare.
Some of the famous mares produced by Smith’s Ginger include: J. B Smith’s Queen, Paul Watson’s Brandy, Lucky, Ginger’s Classic Rythum, Smith's Blackie and many more. Noted horses from the Smith’s Ginger mares are Blue Rain, Diana’s Blue Star, Sambo, Blue Mountain Rumbo, Tricky McGuire, Nuncio’s Cruiser, Buckwheat, Tim’s Mtn Jet, Hershey’s Eaze, Tim’s Mtn Son and Boaz and many more.
A note to remember about J.B. and his breeding program, J.B. favored the red horses. Smith’s Ginger’s first chocolate offspring was taken back to Sam Tuttle. Sam’s instructions to J.B. were to hold on to the chocolate colt ‘It will bring you a fist full of money’. J.B. sold the chocolate colt to Sam that day. Maybe there’s a lesson there.
Ginger lived to be 28 years old passing away in 1991, however his blood lives on in the many great horses that are descended from him.