Midnight Sun (horse)

Midnight Sun (1940–65) was one of the leading sires of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed, and a two-time World Grand Champion in 1945 and 1946. He was trained by Fred Walker and lived almost all his life at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee.

Midnight Sun
Midnight Sun TWH.jpg
Midnight Sun
BreedTennessee Walking Horse
DisciplineShow horse
SireWilson's Allen
GrandsireRoan Allen
DamRamsey's Rena
Maternal grandsireDement's Allen
CountryUnited States of America
ColorBlack, no markings
BreederSamuel M. Ramsey
TrainerFred Walker
Major wins
World Grand Championships, 1945, 1946

Midnight Sun sired approximately 2,600 foals in his life, one of which became the three-time World Grand Champion The Talk of the Town. Of the horses that have won the annual Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship since 1949, only four were not of Midnight Sun's bloodline.

Life and winningsEdit

Harlinsdale Farm, the longtime home of Midnight Sun, as it appears today.

Midnight Sun was foaled on June 8, 1940, out of a mostly Standardbred mare named Ramsey's Rena, and sired by the stallion Wilson's Allen. He was a solid black stallion who matured to just under 16 hands (64 inches, 163 cm) and weighed 1,350 pounds (610 kg), unusually stout for his breed.[1] His original name was Joe Lewis Wilson.[2]

Through his sire Midnight Sun was a great-grandson of Black Allan, also known as Allan F-1, who was the foundation sire of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. Midnight Sun's half-brother on his sire's side, Strolling Jim, became the first ever National Champion in 1939, and three of his other siblings were early champions as well. In 1944 Midnight Sun was bought by Wirt and Alex Harlin for $4,400 and taken to their Harlinsdale Farm.[2][3]

Midnight Sun was trained by Fred Walker.[1] He became the first Tennessee Walking Horse to win the World Grand Championship title when it was first awarded in 1945, and he followed up that win with another World Grand Championship the next year, in 1946, making him the second repeat winner after Haynes Peacock, his half-brother.[4][5] At the time, the stake carried a purse of $1,000.[6][1]

Midnight Sun was known for his calm disposition; it wasn't uncommon for stablehands at his home, Harlinsdale Farm near Franklin, Tennessee, to let visiting children ride him bareback, so they could say they rode a two-time world grand champion.[1] In 1956 he was bought by Eleanor and Geraldine Livingston at the Harlinsdale Farm dispersal sale, for $50,000. The Livingstons stipulated that Midnight Sun be kept at Harlinsdale under the same routine he had had for most of his life.[1] He continued to stand at stud on the farm until his death,[2] and was handled and groomed nearly all his life by Red Laws, who died within a year of the horse's death. Midnight Sun was never turned out, and Laws once said, "Somebody had hold of him all his life."[3] In all, he lived at Harlinsdale Farm for 21 years.[4] Midnight Sun died of colic on November 7, 1965, and was buried at Harlinsdale Farm, where his grave is still visible today.[1]


Midnight Sun has been described as the single most influential Tennessee Walking Horse sire and a sire of sires. Since 1949, only four horses not of Midnight Sun's line have won the Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship, the breed's highest honor.[1] Midnight Sun sired five horses who won the World Grand Championship:[7] Midnight Merry in 1949;[8] The Talk of the Town in 1951, 1952, and 1953;[9] Sun's Jet Parade in 1957;[9] Setting Sun in 1958; and Sun's Delight D. in 1963.[10] One of these, The Talk of the Town, was the first three-time World Grand Champion. Midnight Sun was also great-grandsire of I Am Jose, the second three-time winner.[11] Most of the leading Tennessee Walker sires in recent years have themselves been descendants of Midnight Sun, most notably his son Pride of Midnight, who took his father's place as Harlinsdale's lead sire after the older horse's death.[12] Midnight Sun sired approximately 2,600 foals in his lifetime,[13] and during his stud career earned his owners close to $100,000 a year, mostly through the then-new use of artificial insemination (AI).[3] Through his offspring, he has also influenced the Racking Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse breeds. For many years, a life-size statue of Midnight Sun, commissioned after his death by his former owner Geraldine Livingston, stood at the TWHBEA headquarters in Lewisburg, Tennessee.[14]


Pedigree of Midnight Sun[15]
Wilson's Allen
Roan Allen Black Allan Allendorf
Maggie Marshall
Gertrude Royal Denmark
Ball II
Birdie Messick Black Allan Allendorf
Maggie Marshall
Nellie Walking Dan Allen
Minnie Ready
Ramsey's Rena
Dements Allen Hunters Allen Black Allan
Kate McCrady Brown Hal Jr.
By Crames
Dena Bell Buckle Bow Bells
Leta Wedgewood
Daisy Mc John Covington's Hal
By Galson

†Denotes inbreeding


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Tennessee Walking Horse – Midnight Sun #410751, home page by Walkers West". Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Midnight Sun Statue Departed From T.W.H.B.E.A." Walking Horse Club Ky.
  3. ^ a b c "Book Review: The Echo of Hoofbeats". Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b Johnston, Joe (2014). Franklin: Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781439647714.
  5. ^ "The Tuscaloosa News – Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  6. ^ "The Horse and Its Heritage in Tennessee".
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-12-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Tennessee Walking horse - Midnight Merry #461829 home page by Walkers West". www.walkerswest.com.
  9. ^ a b "Tennessee Walking horse - Sun's Jet Parade #510676 home page by Walkers West". www.walkerswest.com.
  10. ^ "1963 World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking horse, Sun's Delight D. home page". www.walkerswest.com.
  11. ^ "Tennessee Walking horse – I Am Jose #20806071 home page by Walkers West". Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Westwood Farms Reference: Pride of Midnight HF". www.westwoodfarms.net.
  13. ^ "Middle Tennessee Horse Breeding".
  14. ^ "The Tennessee Walking Horse".
  15. ^ "All Breed Pedigree: Midnight Sun". Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  • Warren, Margaret Lindsay, "Midnight Sun", Western Horseman, April 1966

External linksEdit