The American White Horse

The White Horses Arrive at HARPS

A quick update:

Our lovely white horses are doing quite well this spring.  They are shedding their thick winter coat and beginning to look slick and gorgeous!  Crystal and her filly from last year have found themselves a wonderful home, and are living a life of luxury filled with love and treats!  She was with foal when we brought her here from Monmouth, and have just been informed that she has delivered another beautiful little filly.  The photos have been posted, and you can see they are the picture of health.  Apollo has also been adopted and found a little girl who loves him and can't wait for his training to begin.  Sugar Cube, was the first of the white horses to be adopted and is doing quite well.  As for the rest of the white mares, they will remain on the farm and begin training this spring.  Royal Lightning and Snowman (formerly known as Egypts Miata, or Bid) have caught the attention of Tommie Turvey and KarenTurvey-Marshall, Equine Extremists and Trainers in Sterling Illinois.  The white horses well known for their gentle demeanor, willingness to learn and athletic ability are the perfect fit for the Turvey's training program.  For more information on Tommie and his sister Karen visit www.equineextremist.net .   We will be transporting Royal and Snowman soon, and will certainly keep everyone updated on their progress in training.

HARPS received a call from a gentleman who needed to find homes for 'some white horses' as soon as possible due to illness in the family. Upon futher investigation, we discovered that several of these white horses were in fact, descendants from the White Horse Ranch in Nebraska, and for those of you who remember the Lone Ranger, Silver was an American White Horse.In the 1930's, Caleb and Ruth Thompson opened thier hearts and the White Horse Ranch to children with less than ideal family lives, and strongly believed that all children regardless of their background could benefit from being around, and learning from the horses. Donna has always believed the same, so it would appear that these sweet gentle horses will continue on their path that began so long ago in Nebraska, here at HARPS. Donna always says that there are angels among us; they seem to appear when we need them the most. As we prepared to leave for Monmouth Illinois to transport the White Horse Herd back to HARPS, we discovered that the brakes on our truck that pulls the equine ambulance were gone, and could not be repaired in time. Now, we not only needed a truck right away, but a trailer as well. A phone call later, one of our angels provided us with both. Thank you Jim, and Mike Fitch. Meanwhile, horse trainer Kevin Wescott was already on his way to Monmouth from his ranch in Nebraska to assist us with rounding up the horses, three cattle, one pony and a llama. Kevin's unique gift and gentle way with horses is quite something to observe, and we hope to entice Kevin out to the farm for a clinic-we'll keep you posted! Bright and early Wednesday morning, Donna, Ronda, Jean, Kevin, Linda, Megan and Jane were walking amongst the white horses, covering the 15 acre pasture to herd them to the area where the trailers were waiting. Loading the mares, fillies, stallions and llama went smoothly with thanks to all of our wonderful friends. With two of the three trailers on thier way home to Barrington, we were ready to load the last two stallions and track down the cattle. You wouldn't think that finding a longhorn steer, a cow and a bull would be so difficult, but they were quite crafty and found themselves the perfect hiding place. After over an hour of searching, Kevin came through again, and herded them toward the trailer. Early Wednesday evening, the first trailer load of the white horse herd arrived at HARPS farm.  Three trailers in all transported the herd from Monmouth Illinois, while Kevin transported the 3 cattle and one pony back to his ranch in Nebraska. 


The White Horse, sometimes called the albino horse, is what the White Horse Club calls Dominant White. It can be any horse, most typically, Arabian and Morgan cross, that has a white coat with pink skin and dark eyes - black, brown or blue. In 1908 the first white horse, Old King was born. Owned by Professor William P. Newell of Illinois, Old King was true white, pink skinned and had dark brown eyes. He was a very stocky, and well muscled with a broad chest, deep girth, sloping croup, strong straight legs, heavy crested neck, think long and wavy mane and tail, broad between the eyes, well shaped ears, intelligent and gentle. Not only beautiful, he was versatile; trained for riding, parading, trick riding and driving.

He was purchased by Caleb R. and Hudson B. Thompson of West Point, Nebraska in 1917 to be the foundation of a new breed of horse they hoped to develop. With Old King as a sire and Morgan mares (a few with mixed bloodlines), and using very select, scientific inbreeding methods the brothers were successful in their dream. Old King contracted swamp fever in 1922 and eventually passed away from its effects in 1924 at age 18. In 1936 Caleb (Cal) married Ruth Hackenberg Thompson and Hud decided to drop out of the horse business to pursue ministerial ambitions. Cal & Ruth continued breeding and promoting the horse now known as the American Albino horse. They developed the White Horse Troupe as their main tool of promotion and toured throughout the United States and southern Canada. They and their horses became known internationally. They sponsored a training and riding school for underprivileged youth from which they selected gifted children to travel as performers in the troupe. Most of the riders were in their late teens although a few were between ages five and twelve. Some of the features of the famous troupe were: Six horse tandem roman ride, five horse roman teams, both teams jumping hurdles with a rider standing on their backs; high and broad jumping including jumps over convertible cars and over human hurdles; high schooled acts (both dressage and trick) and wildest rescues of damsels in distress from "runaway" stages. The performers rode their horses bareback and had some specialty acts in which the horse was ridden without bridle or saddle over the hurdles. Jumps averaged 3 feet in height with the high jumps being five feet in height. The Thompsons and their troupe showed with such famous personalities as Gene Autry, Red Ryder, Minnie Pearl, and Tex Cooper. Some of Old King's progeny went on to be movie stare and mounts for important dignitaries. One horse was sold to a prince from India. Another named Constitution was provided for Admiral Haley to ride in the Victory Parade in Now York City following the end of World War II. Another portrayed Thunderhead in the movie of the same name. Emperor Hiro Hito's mount Silver Tip, although not a descendant of Old King's (he was a California bred cowpony, was registered in the AAHC). The Thompsons found it necessary to develop a system of recording progeny. Thus in 1937 the American Albino Horse Club (AAHC) was incorporated to record the progeny of Old King. The first horse registered was Old King's grandson, Snow Chief 2nd who set the standard of excellence for the new breed. Ranch breeding records had been kept on the foundation mares' and Old Kings progeny. Snow Chief 2nd sired 66 foals before having a winter accident on an icy spot in his paddock resulting in a broken neck. However, he had left a breeding legacy in his son, White Wings, who sired 108 foals, all but three being white. White Wings was the star performer in the Thompson's White Horse Troupe and knew about 50 tricks. He was so gentle he was exhibited many times by a ten-year-old girl performer.