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In Memory of

#837548
1983 - 2007

Lad's Black Buster walking under side-saddle, rider Maryan Zyderveld - year 1992 - place: Woudenberg, province Utrecht
Lad's Black Buster walking under side-saddle, rider Maryan Zyderveld   
Year 1992 - place: Woudenberg, province Utrecht

This is my "old Hero" Lad's Black Buster - who's 22 years old now and he's been my horse for 19 years!  Bred in Germany, and imported to the Netherlands in 1986, Buster also has Racking Horse papers (RHAA, Alabama), which I applied for through an intermediate who saw him rack here in Europe. Buster can rack and he can walk and I've got pictures of him at three years old, not being ridden yet (and unshod), showing him at a walk, at a rack and at a trot. For him, a  rack is obviously natural as well - I just compare him with Roan Allen F-38, who is described as executing a very fine rack as well as a splendid walk.

Please click on the photos below to enlarge them.
1992 Utrecht with me up - quite dark but still nice - no shoes again
1992 Utrecht with me up -
quite dark but still nice - no shoes again

I used to train him regularly on the lunge line and then I let him trot, on the Dutch command "draf" which he knows well, to let him use those muscles and make himself long and relaxed (with at times his nose reaching to the ground).  These are some pictures of Buster under side-saddle, which I did quite a lot with him. Buster was also shown under side-saddle and a friend of mine even showed him jumping under side-saddle!

Now Buster is a very spirited horse with lots of stamina but he can be lunged with just a halter on, and and you can hold  him with just your little finger. Once a little girl of five years old, asked me whether she could lunge my horse too. I let her do it and even stepped out of the ring. There was this child, lunging my stallion all on her own! 

Lad's Black Buster with rider Linda van der Horst in the year 1988 - background: Landgoed (= estate) Vollenhove, province Utrecht, the Netherlands - as you can see: no shoes! Buster has got a "ring-eye" on the left, his right eye is more pigmented, and pics from his left side often show white like here.
Lad's Black Buster with rider Linda van der Horst in the year 1988 - background: Landgoed (= estate) Vollenhove, province Utrecht, the Netherlands - as you can see: no shoes! Buster has got a "ring-eye" on the left, his right eye is more pigmented, and photos from his left side often show white like here.

Things do change with other horses around though, for  he's mighty interested in mares. He can be ridden within any group, as I often did, but at a show or any occasion with foreign horses, it's very difficult to let him relax enough to do a walk, he'll be too tense for it and will readily go off in a rack. Now I do enjoy a rack, but a nice lofty rack covering lots of ground! When Buster used to be trained and was well muscled, he surely could do such a rack!

This is Buster with me up - my "classic picture!" - Linda standing - Buster with ribbon on headstall - seems to be happy with himself too!
This is Buster with me up - my "classic picture!" - Linda standing - Buster with ribbon on headstall - seems to be happy with himself too!
Buster with Linda up - informal so-called "rat-catchers" costume - no hat there, no face net and hair not tucked-up!  Buster was never taught to park, but usually he put himself in a nice stance, without being asked!
Buster with Linda up - informal so-called "rat-catchers" costume - no hat there, no face net and hair not tucked-up!  Buster was never taught to park, but usually he put himself in a nice stance, without being asked!

The photo below of Buster in western gear was taken by Ellen Vierhaus, Stephan's wife and partner in their horse-business. They are well-known gaited-horse trainers. In 1991 Buster was staying at their place for the breeding season. He was mainly used to cover "German Trotters" (this registry is built up of about 90% Standardbred blood). These "Trotters" are often gaited, and that's exactly the main activity of Ellen and Stephan Vierhaus: training and selling German Trotters as gaited riding horses. The crossbreds TWH with Trotter are registered with a German Registry-Book (Rheinisches Pferdestammbuch). I still have Trotters now and again to breed to Buster or Leroy.

Buster can be ridden with virtually any type of bit or without bitting, also on a halter with ropes attached. Seven years ago he had an accident in his stable-box. He's usually quiet in the stable but there was a mare in heat and probably at night he had been rearing. I came there at four o'clock p.m. and found him standing at the rear of his box (he always came to the door normally), with a little saliva with bubbles drooping from his lip and he hadn't touched much of his hay and pallets. So I knew something to be wrong (typically - nobody had noticed anything before - I must admit here I'm a vet so I've got that advantage).

Lad's Black Buster with western saddle and bosal, rider Stephan Vierhaus - location: Borken, Germany - year 1991 - no shoes again!
Lad's Black Buster with western saddle and bosal, rider Stephan Vierhaus - location: Gangferde-Vierhaus, Borken, Germany - year 1991 - no shoes again!

Further I noticed a little bit of swelling on his lower jaw, no blood or open wound. Also, I saw scratches on the metal above his stable door, and that was such a type of door running over wheels with this (dangerous!) longitudinal opening over the door. So, obviously, he had been rearing, got stuck in that opening with his lower jaw, and had it broken - my most probable diagnosis.

So I got a halter, loose enough to let his lower jaw free, got Buster up the horse trailer and drove him very carefully to another vet with X-ray apparatus. He made the X-rays and there it came out that his lower jaw was broken threefold and complicated (several small fragments). We decided to treat him "conservatively", that is, without surgery (too much risk of bone infection and other complications) and this turned out to be right.

Here's Buster playing (in front of the tomatoes) - must have been at 20 years old.
Here's Buster playing (in front of the tomatoes)
 - must have been at 20 years old.

Buster's jaw healed very well. After healing he again ate everything, but during his recovery,  he was fed several buckets of nourishing "porridge" a day, for several months. I couldn't turn him out on grass (or anywhere) or feed him any hay or give him straw in the stable! Any force on his jaw should be avoided! Couldn't use a bit, didn't have a bosal, just a hackamore - which of course couldn't be used because of the strap under the jaw.

So I lunged him (with the little finger!) and rode him out on a halter. Couldn't stay in a riding pen as this really was not enough for his high spirits (and both Buster and I quite dislike it). Later I bought a side-pull, could put it on loose, no pressure on the jaw but just on the nose-bone, and rode him with this all the consecutive year. Then it was Spring again and Buster was getting more interested in the mares, so I started with a mouthpiece again as passing other horse-riders in the woods with just a side-pull on a stallion became a bit insecure.

Buster with Dunja
Buster with Dunja

After all this informal info on Lad's Black Buster, on which I could ramble on quite a long time, here some more formal info:

Like his sire Kings Delightful Lad, who was the very first Tennessee Walking Horse sire in Europe, Lad's Black Buster became a nestor of TWH breeding in Europe. His bloodline did and does well, to name some examples:

Buster's daughter Buster's Sunny Skies was 1999 European Lite Shod Champion.
A full sister of Buster is dam of the stallion Cloudchaser's Mr. Sugar, this stud was European Versatility Champion in 2004. In 2005 Mr. Sugar repeated this feat and also became Overall Champion at the Alpenrod European Championship! 

Buster himself became European Champion Racking Horse at the IGV championships in 1989 (Internationale Gangpferde Vereinigung - see: Links "Verschiedene Gangpferderassen"). Also at an IGV competition Buster got first place of the gaited horses under side-saddle. At another occasion he was second after a participant with an American Saddlebred. 

Lad's Black Buster did his bit to promote the Tennessee Walker in Europe: he was shown at numerous shows in the Netherlands and Germany. At the Equitana in Essen, Germany he was shown twice and he even showed his presence and gait at the Americana held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. 

Strong points of Buster during showing and competition were that he could be ridden very well under side-saddle, showing off that his gait is so very suitable for a lady, also that he liked to jump and could even be shown jumping under side-saddle, and surely his formidable stamina, making him a competitor to be reckoned with at long distance rides. A real versatile horse with a smooth gait! 

Lad's Black Buster
Lad's Black Buster at the State Stallion Inspection at Ermelo, NL.

Info for prospective breeders: 

Lad's Black Buster is one of those few studs without influence of that most prolific sire of the breed: Pride of Midnight H.F.; nothing against Pride of Midnight but surely if you've got a mare with much Pride of Midnight influence, you may consider an outcross (of course within the breed) with this stallion boasting valuable old bloodlines with much influence of Roan Allen F-38, Hunter's Allen F-10 and even Merry Legs F-4! 

Buster's size at the withers is 1,55 meter (15 hands, 1 inch). Buster's color is smoky, that's black with dilution factor making a buckskin out of a bay and a palomino out of a chestnut. With a black horse this dilution factor is hardly or not visible.

Buster may also inherit the spotted factor sabino as he's low-grade sabino. His daughter Buster's Sunny Skies is medium-grade sabino. As spotted factors, especially overo, can go along with the lethal white factor, an inherited disease which is fatal shortly after birth, Buster was DNA tested on "overo lethal white". He proved to be "negative" meaning that he cannot pass this disease to any foal. Even foals by Buster, out of mares carrying the lethal white factor will not get this disease. 

Desert Gold Avis Golden Moonbeam Midnight Secret Clarks Red Allen
Allen's Shamrock 1945 and 1946 WGCh Midnight Sun Wilsons Allen II