Armed Secret Treasure
"Ohhh, Treasure...." said Norma Lee Grimsley, of Stonewall Walkers, as she thought fondly of the moments her and Armed Secret Treasure spent on her farm together. Norma had bred him and sold him and his half brother as colts to an older couple who wanted them as trail mounts. Those folks spent a lot of years enjoying these geldings all over the country. Even though it was 15 years later, I could hear the tone of day dreams in Norma's voice as she thought back of this exceptional horse.
Armed Secret Treasure and I's first time together on cattle, my second time team sorting. This video exhibit's this horse's tremendous athletic ability, adaptability, and willingness to please. Neither one of us had a clue what we were doing, but he sure made it look easy- and feel easy!
AST came to us not by choice, but by fate. My husband and I had spent years growing up with quarter horses and other stock horses. We knew nothing of gaited horses, but had friends who enjoyed them, particularly the Walking Horses. One friend had known these geldings when they were with the older couple and had found them a new home when the older couple sadly aged out. They had spent 5 years in the new home with wonderful folks, green to horses, and later wrought with their own tragedies and unable to continue physically caring for them. Enter our friend Linda, a long time lover of the breed, and particular guardian angel for these two, I guess you could say. She started in on us at a trail ride trying to convince us we needed this pair of TWH geldings (click here to read more about our journey with the breed). She kept at us all weekend and it turned out to be a particularly bad weekend for my husband and other stock horse riders. So by the end of it all, I asked him if he wanted to go look at a pair of Tennessee Walking Horses, and he said, "YES, Please!"
As AST sauntered up from the pasture, all I could think was "Oh my Lord, no." I saw this horse at face value, through the eyes of a stock horse owner and farrier. He was paddle footed, low heeled, forging, and well... not the prettiest animal I had ever laid eyes on. But, his brother was a handsome little dude, the price was right, and the situation begged for someone to give these guys their next leg up in life. They lived a wonderful life in their current home, but due to health issues with the owner they could no longer stay and needed someone to work with them after a long time off. My husband and I agreed to trial AST and his brother. The first time we gaited down the road, we looked at each other with grins on our faces like two little kids on their first ponies, and we were sold.
As we began trail riding these boys, we found them to be the sanest animals we had ever ridden. Smart, forward, fun loving, friendly and sane we thought these were the two most special animals in the world- as most first time Walking Horse owners think! We soon found that most of the breed carried similar characteristics. But the one that was hard to repeat was that gait! AST would gait if you stood on your head in the saddle.... and maybe I should make a video to back that up one day lol.
Armed Secret Treasure escorting Barry Woods on our wedding day.
Barry and Charlotte Woods at Roman Nose Hill Trail Ride on our pair of TWH brothers bred by Norma Lee Grimsley.
AST has continued to impress us, time and time again, over and over throughout the years. We think so much of this horse, we can't even begin to tell you. Though he cannot physically influence our breeding program, because of him, his disposition and gait are the goals we strive for in our program. They are simply unmatched and he will forever be the horse we measure all horses against. We have had him strung up in 4" vines, tangled in barbed wire fences, found him straddling the spare tire in the horse trailer, had explosions and wrecks with colts and insanity happen all around us, but you can always trust this guy to make a decision to save himself- but here is where he differs from many- AND you!! This horse will literally step up under you and pick you back up if you are coming off his side. I have nearly split so many trees with him (because he can move faster than I can think and I have too much fun trying to keep up!) but he will double over himself to keep from dumping you. Once, he and I went down on a trail ride at a pretty brisk clip and found bad footing. He went down so quiet and calmly that we just skidded sternally until we came to a stop. I stepped off, he got up, and my friends had no idea anything had happened until they heard me standing in front of him asking him if HE was okay. You see, he worked hard to keep from going over on his side and trapping me. This horse has literally tore himself apart to keep from injuring us. He is a once in a lifetime horse, truly. If he was a stallion, he would be our herd foundation sire, with certainty.
Not only does this horse have an outstanding mind, he has the gait to match. AST can go from a walk, to flat walk, to running walk, to rack, to lope without missing a beat, each one smoother than the last. You won't notice the change except the sound of his hooves and the wind on your face.
AST comes from a Dangerous Calculation, a son of Gen's Armed and Dangerous. We have found this line to be particularly easy to get along with, sane, and friendly. This horse is one of the reasons we found The Tennessee Stud WF to be our pick for the sire of our 2022 foal crop!
Quick, smooth, and sane- everyone that rides this horse becomes a TWH fan, and a lover of this guy. No sorry, NOT FOR SALE! Unfortunately, there will never be another Armed Secret Treasure, but we hope our program will make many more like him available to the public! We enjoy sharing this magnificent horse with others and will continue to do so as long as the good Lord is willing.
Our friend taking AST for a spin at our wedding. She wasn't appropriately dressed to lead a horse to us, so she decided to mount up and ride him over!
Below: Some of our other friends taking AST out for a ride over the years.