Denny Emerson: ‘I’m a fan of Bold Ruler’

King Oscar displays great jumping talent. Photo courtesy Horse Collaborative.

King Oscar displays great jumping talent. Photo courtesy Horse Collaborative.

BY DENNY EMERSON—I’ve been a Bold Ruler line fan since well before he sired Secretariat. King Oscar, (pictured left) in 1996 at Rolex Kentucky, was by Right Of Light, by Tyrant, by Bold Ruler. I’ve found them to be tough—sometimes tough minded, too—but if you can get that working for you, instead of against you, hang onto your hat!

Nasrullah, by Nearco, Bold Ruler’s sire, was the “source,” so I’ve read and been told, of the famous/infamous Bold Ruler temperament.

In as unlikely a place as Wyoming, many years ago, an old rancher had his entire herd descending from Nasrullah, through Bold Ruler, Nashua, Never Bend, and other greats.

His comment to me: “They can be sons of bitches, the Nasrullahs, but if you can make them YOUR sons of bitches, no day is ever too long for them.”

Loyal Pal had 123 starts and Silver Comet had 85. Photo © Tamarack Hill Farm, and courtesy Horse Collaborative

Loyal Pal had 123 starts and Silver Comet had 85. Photo © Tamarack Hill Farm, and courtesy Horse Collaborative

Maybe the toughest Nasrullah horse I ever owned was Loyal Pal, (pictured left) by Caro, by Fortino, by Grey Sovereign, by Nasrullah.

Loyal Pal raced 124 times. He won 22, was 2nd in 26, and 3rd in 23, so, “in the money” 71 times.

He won or placed in 20 stakes races. In his final start, at age 8, he was running in a Grade 3 Stakes. The harrow raking the track had turned, and left a ridge. Loyal Pal tripped on the ridge at high speed, and broke a bone in his pastern, which was the only thing that stopped his amazing career.

It’s probably more than just coincidence that the two stallions I’m helping promote, Formula One and Beaulieu’s Quissini, are both descended from Bold Ruler. Any stallion who could sire Secretariat is my kind of horse!

Formula One photo is © Tamarack Hill Farm and courtesy Horse Collaborative.

Formula One photo is © Tamarack Hill Farm and courtesy Horse Collaborative.

Like Formula One, (pictured left) Griffin descended from Bold Ruler through his son, Bold Bidder. Of the horses I rode around Rolex over the years, Griffin was the one to make it most feel like a Pony Club course.

I always thought that if I’d had Bold Ruler’s descendant, King Oscar, when I was in my 20’s or 30’s, instead of in my mid 50’s, I might have really gone somewhere with him. He was a big talent, but I was pretty busted up by then.

For several years when a stallion’s offspring are still young, the “jury is out” on what kind of athletes they may become.

This was the case with Formula One, but almost “overnight” his foals are out there all over the place doing the job. He’s an Irish 3/4 Tb that I bought in Co Clare as a yearling. He and Winsome Adante share the same grandsire, Beau Royale, who was by Auction Ring, by Bold Bidder, by Bold Ruler.

Beaulieus-Quissini, by Quidam De Revel. Courtesy of Ferme Beaulieu Farm and Horse Collaborative

Beaulieus-Quissini, by Quidam De Revel. Courtesy of Ferme Beaulieu Farm and Horse Collaborative

Beaulieu’s Quissini (pictured left) is the “other” (along with Formula One) stallion we are involved with, also a Bold Ruler descendant.

The day Bold Ruler was foaled, April 7th, 1954, I was practicing with my pony, Paint, for my first ever riding competition, which would be the Stoneleigh-Prospect Hill School Gymkhana, 16 days later. So, for almost literally all my riding life, I’ve been a fan of this horse.

Not many may remember that Teddy O’Connor’s sire was by Anticipating, by Bold Ruler, by Nasrullah.

Denny Emerson rides Griffin at Groton House in 1994. Photo Courtesy Horse Collaborative

Denny Emerson rides Griffin at Groton House in 1994. Photo Courtesy Horse Collaborative

Nasrullah is a sort of a latter day “Justin Morgan,” in the way his bloodlines are “everywhere.”

About the Author: Named “One of the 50 most influential horsemen of the Twentieth Century” by The Chronicle of the Horse, Denny Emerson was elected to the USEA Hall of Fame in 2005. He is the only rider to have ever won both a gold medal in eventing and a Tevis Buckle in endurance. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and author of How Good Riders Get Good, and continues to ride and train from his Tamarack Hill Farm in Vermont and Southern Pines, NC.

About Horse Collaborative: The Horse Collaborative is a new platform for horse people to connect and share with friends. Since launching in 2012, the Horse Collaborative has quickly cultivated and connected a passionate international community of horse lovers, athletes, equine professionals, hobbyists, dreamers, and people who just think horses are cute.

— Photo and story reprinted by Off Track Thoroughbreds with permission of Denny Emerson and the Horse Collaborative.

10 responses to “Denny Emerson: ‘I’m a fan of Bold Ruler’”

  1. Conny van Heeckeren van Kell

    Fantastic and very interesting article, loved to read it !!!

    And if anybody is interested in a stallion with lots of Bold Ruler blood, from fathers and mothers side look at: http://www.volfonic.com a very interesting thoroughbred for the eventing sport with a great character and will to please.

  2. Lizzie Dickerson

    There was an absolutely outstanding series about Thoroughbred sire lines in Equus magazine this past year by Dr. Deb Bennett, and the Nearco line was discussed. An absolute must-read.

  3. Caa

    Thanks for the article and the your testament to the Bold Ruler line. For 26 years I was blessed to have one, Gun Rule, by Irish Ruler, by Bold Ruler. Smart, athletic, hard working and attractive; he was clearly stamped by his grandsire. Even the horses five or more generations out have shown the strong topline and extra muscling in the hindquarters. The best temperament, and a true joy to ride. I plan to look to this line when I’m ready to get another.

    1. Conny van Heeckeren van Kell

      Here is your chance: the stallion Volfonic xx, lots of Bold Ruler blood, from fathers and mothers side,

      fantastic caracter etc etc. extremialy interesting for the eventing sport.

      Have a look at it and be surprised : http://www.volfonic.com Kind regards Conny

  4. Jean

    Bold Ruler is one of my favorite sire lines for so many reasons. Soon he will no longer appear in a 5x pedigree – but he’s still so influential. My other favorite is Buckpasser – LOVE him and perhaps more of a broodmare sire, but you can still see the Buckpasser eye and head of his offspring – and hopefully the talent as well. Sad to say I don’t hear him mentioned nearly as often.

    1. Conny van Heeckeren van Kell

      Look at; http://www.volfonic.com THE stallion with lots of Bold Ruler blood !!!

  5. Carolyn McDonald

    Thanks for this article Denny. I remember several years ago, researchers in the UK found that a valuable dam bloodline had been lost. If my memory serves me right, the view was that breeders were concentrating too much on the sire lines. Do you have any knowledge of this? I inherited my great grandfather’s Bruce Lowe General Stud Book Volume XVIII printed in 1898 and treasure it!

  6. Joan

    Great article, Denny. Thanks so much for the good press about Thoroughbreds.

  7. Jodi Sargent

    Denny Emerson would love my horse! My OTTB, Playing Lit, has Bold Ruler, Nasrullah and Secretariat in his bloodlines.

  8. tbdancer

    My OTTB gelding, Echo Dancer by Eastern Echo and out of Cherry Lady by Bold Lad, son of Bold Ruler, is a bit more tractable than many Bold Ruler offspring–though he requires patience because if he thinks he’s being rushed, he can be a handful. He has a wonderful heart that is FULL of “try” and he s absolutely gorgeous. I’ve had him since he was 4 and he’s 21 now. My vet says he looks 10 and acts 2. I’m a fan of Bold Ruler, as well. Puts a lot of bone on his babies.

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