McCurdy Plantation Horse Association


The McCurdy Plantation Horse

Registry
156 Foundation Mares
33 Foundation Stallions
337 Pedigree Registered
45 Appendix
5 Geldings

There are three types of Registration in the McCurdy breed and they are as follows:

 1) Foundation Mares and Stallions are those horses that have been performance registered, i.e. they were inspected, video and ridden by at least one Registry director before being approved by the Registry board.

2) Pedigree Registered horse is a result of the cross of two foundation horses (McCurdy Stallion X McCurdy Mare) or two pedigreed registered horses.


3) Appendix Registrations are the result of crossing a Foundation McCurdy (stallion or mare) to another registered gaited horse (TWH, Missouri Fox Trotter, Racking, and Rocky Mountain. Breeds with termino are not allowed: ie Peruvian Paso or Paso Fino.).  The first generation cross is registered as a 1/2 McCurdy.
One outcross is allowed and is registered as 1/2 McCurdy or Appendix McCurdy.
 

History

The McCurdy Plantation Horse Breed was developed by the McCurdy family of Lowndesboro, Lowndes County, Alabama, in the late 1800's and the early 1900's. The McCurdy family were plantation owners, and needed well-gaited, durable horses to oversee and work the land. When the Tennessee Walking Horse Registry was established in the early 1930's, the McCurdy family registered their own horses as Tennessee Walking Horses (indeed, several McCurdy-bred horses are in the original Foundation registry of the Tennessee Walking Horse). Over time, as their reputation and prominence grew, others began breeding their stock to McCurdy family horses. Thus developed in Lowndes County and throughout Central Alabama, a breed known simply as the McCurdys, or McCurdy Walkers.

   
Versatility

Plantation-era people needed a horse that was versatile in use, comfortable to ride, of calm disposition, and dependable. The early McCurdy horses filled this need in every respect - they were often ridden 20 - 30 miles a day to oversee the plantation work or into town, hitched to a wagon, plow, or buggy, herd livestock, foxhunt, bird hunt and transport children safely to school.

McCurdy Plantation Horses have a very calm, easy-going temperament that makes them unequaled as personal and family horses. They excel at many tasks such as trail riding, field trialing, driving and working livestock. Back in the days when horses were the primary mode of transportation, McCurdy's were especially noted for their endurance and stamina.

Many McCurdy Horses are known to have natural "cow-savvy" or cow herding instincts. Many have excellent dispositions for children to begin their riding experience. Their calm dispositions, combined with an easy, comfortable gait produces enjoyment and confidence in novice or young riders that results in life-long love affairs with horses.

    
Description

The McCurdy Horse ranges in height from 14.2 to 16 hands, averaging 15 hands. Generally refined in appearance with a rounded hip and broad chest, short back, heavy manes and tails, and good bone describe the conformation.

The color gray is prevalent among the breed. There are also many bay roans and red roans. Solid colors of chestnut, sorrel, bay and black complete the palette of colors. White markings below the knee and on the face are common.

      
Gaits

McCurdy Plantation Horses are naturally gaited. Their natural saddle gait is commonly referred to as "the McCurdy lick." It is a straight forward, lateral, four-beat, single-footing gait that is extremely smooth.

They also perform the flat walk and running walk, the natural rack, and an ambling stepping pace.

In all cases, it is a very smooth, comfortable gait that literally can be ridden all day without rider fatigue. The McCurdy is noted for giving a safe, secure, smooth ride in any terrain or condition.

     


McCurdy's Doctor F-79 

The McCurdys of Alabama

The Tennessee Walking Horse, July, 1948

Ed S. McCurdy on McCurdy's Fox. This pic was taken in 1935.

Since the early pioneer days of our country residents of various areas of the United States have been prone to favor certain types of horse flesh. In some sections, draft horses are popular and in other sections light horses meet the fancy of horse lovers. Needless to say, draft horses are used primarily for farm and heavy drayage work; and usually the light horses are strictly pleasure mounts.

However, the development and breeding of Tennessee Walking Horses many, many years ago in the blue grass section of Middle Tennessee gave to the people of that section a light horse that could be used for heavy farm work and at the same time be used as a pleasure animal. As a matter of fact, many of the better Tennessee Walking Horses have at one time or another been used for farm work; and they are so adapted that this type of work made them easier pleasure mounts.

Moore's Dick Taylor, Wiley Kirby, up, owned by A. B. Moore of Marion Junction, Alabama. Picture taken in 1910.

A section that has long been famous for its good saddle horses is Central Alabama, and in this area has been developed some of the finest Walking Horses of the past 50 years. As Allan F-1 and Roan Allen F-38 are outstanding contributors to the blood of Walking Horses in the Middle Tennessee, so are the McCurdy horses so regarded and respected by a large number of veteran horsemen in Central Alabama.

The McCurdy horses of Central Alabama had their beginning as the result of the efforts of the late Ed S. McCurdy of Lowndes County. The fountain head of the McCurdy horses in Alabama was McCurdy's Doctor F-79, which for a number of years was owned and head of the stud on the farm of Mr. McCurdy and his brother, George McCurdy. McCurdy's Doctor F-79, according to the registry of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' Association, was a gray horse, foaled May 5, 1905, and bred by U. Daily of College Springs, Tennessee. The sire of this outstanding Alabama Foundation horse was W. C. Bill Oats, by Dick Taylor X-186, by Charles O'Malley; his dam was Nancy McLain, by Slipper Jim, by Pat Malone F-27.

In the early 1900's Messrs Ed S. and George McCurdy purchased McCurdy's Doctor F-79 from Dr. Jim McLain, who now lives near Montgomery, Alabama. The sire of McCurdy's Doctor, W. C. Bill Oats, was a popular stallion in certain sections of Alabama and he is named after Mr. Oats who was at one time a senator in the great state of Alabama. The horse, Dick Taylor X-186, was also outstanding in Central Alabama as a plantation Walking Horse. Quite a number of fine horses were sired by him. Some 50 or more years ago the horse, Charles O'Malley, was taken to Uniontown, Alabama by some horse traders who said they purchased him in Tennessee. They sold the horse to J. F. Conner.

Although McCurdy's Doctor sired many outstanding horses which enriched the plantation Walking Horse blood of Alabama, possibly the most outstanding of his sons were John McCurdy and McCurdy's Fox. John McCurdy died several years ago, but McCurdy's Fox still stands at the Ed McCurdy barn at Lowndesboro.

Members of the McCurdy family have dealt with horses all their lives and for the past 80-odd years the area around Lowndesboro has been noted for its horse enthusiasm manifested by the McCurdys. About 1865 Mr. Lewis McCurdy and Mr. W. D. McCurdy operated as McCurdy Brothers at Lowndesboro in the breeding and racing of standard bred horses. One of their most famous stallions was McCurdy's Hambletonian, and this horse was known as one of the greatest sires of his time, having a good trotting record. Another outstanding stallion of that day which the McCurdy Brothers owned was The Tramp, by Jaybird, which they were reported to have sold for $10,000. Later they also owned Dr. Long, which was the fastest four-year-old in his class in the race season of 1918. These brothers had adjoining plantations near Lowndesboro and on the farm of Mr. Lewis McCurdy, who was the father of Ed and George, there was a regulation race track and excellent show barn for that day and time.

Although Ed and George McCurdy were interested in the breeding of trotting horses in the early days of their youth, the blood of McCurdy's Hambletonian, The Tramp or Dr. Long was never intermingled with that of the plantation Walking Horses which later was the progeny of McCurdy's Doctor F-79. This famous Foundation Sire was bred by Mr. Ed McCurdy to some of the finest plantation Walking mares of Central Alabama and for many years have been sought by the leading breeders of that section.

Mrs. E. S. McCurdy still resides on the plantation which is operated by her and her two sons at Lowndesboro. It is at that farm that McCurdy's Fox now stands and he is stabled in the same barn which was famous in the olden days as the home of outstanding trotting horses. Mrs. McCurdy's husband was born at Lowndesboro on May 28, 1874 and passed away on September 21, 1946. He spent his entire life breeding and racing horses of the highest type, having inherited his love for horses as a result of being born on a plantation whose chief livestock interest was the development of good horse flesh.

Typical of the esteem in which folks of Central Alabama hold for Mr. Ed McCurdy is this item which appeared on the editorial page on the Advertiser in Montgomery in about 1940.

"The McCurdy's, of Lowndesboro, have for several generations been engaged in raising and handling horses. It is said that Ed McCurdy before he was 24 hours old was taken on horseback by his father over to his grandfather's house for exhibit. Ed McCurdy has spent a large part of the more than 60 years since that time in the saddle. Last week he was sitting sideways on his horse watching the loading of some hay. A sudden noise frightened the animal and the horse jumped out from under him. Mr. McCurdy's left arm was broken in three places by the fall. Which proves that a horse will sometimes fool the best and most experienced horsemen."

Still on the McCurdy plantation is a 20-year-old gray mare, Dixie, which Mr. Ed McCurdy rode for 15 years prior to his death. This mare is by McCurdy's Doctor, and she is representative of the type mares which were sired by McCurdy's Doctor. Most of the McCurdy horses are gray, however, there are quite a number of bays and sorrels. They are of average height, heavy manes and tails and all of them have easy backs. Chris Heinz of Selma, who is responsible for contributing the larger portion of information for this article, says, " The best idea that I can give as to the conformation of the McCurdy horses is to look at the picture of Robert E. Lee's Old Traveler and you will see a near duplication of McCurdy's Fox, and most of the offspring of the old horse are very similar."

Perhaps one of the greatest authorities on the development of the McCurdy horses in Alabama, is W. N. Rahn of Hayneville, Alabama. Mr. Rahn, who is well-known blacksmith of Central Alabama and who knows more about doctoring horses than "lots of vets," used to shoe McCurdy's Doctor and on many occasions saved his life by doctoring him. Mr. Rahn said this Alabama Foundation horse was just about the greatest saddle horse he rode. Incidentally, the 71-year-old Mr. Rahn was born and reared in Hayneville and has been shoeing and doctoring horses for over 50 years. On one occasion, he said, McCurdy's Doctor had tetanus. He cared for the old horse through the period of dangerous infection and the horse soon pulled through all right.

The horse people of Central Alabama will forever remember the name McCurdy and Mr. Ed and Mr. George McCurdy who meant so much to the development of high-type saddle horses in their area. During more recent years McCurdy mares have been registered in our association registry and have been bred to registered Tennessee Walking Stallions. Their offspring develop into excellent Walking Horses and show horses.

The conformation after crossing registered Walking Horses with registered McCurdy mares results in colts with good heads and necks, backs, good legs and excellent fineness. Today in Central Alabama, McCurdy mares are highly respected and are much sought after by a number of Alabama breeders.

There aren't many sections of the United States more thoroughly appreciative of good Walking Horses than the horse people of Central Alabama. Many of them still recall the breeding activities of Mr. Ed McCurdy and his McCurdy's Doctor F-79, and with much nostalgia recall that this grand old sire of Alabama Walking Horses died at the State Fair in Montgomery in 1928 after having been ridden the 20 miles to the Fair from the McCurdy plantation. 

Too much tribute cannot be paid to the McCurdys who, in their section of Alabama, were as highly regarded as the Dements, Walkers, Hunters, Brantleys and other equally famous pioneer breeders from the Nativity of the Tennessee Walking Horses in Middle Tennessee.

 

 

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