Saddlebred World Loses Charles D. Smith
Published Date: May 17, 2019
The American Saddlebred Horse Association is saddened to share the Hall of Fame trainer Charles D. Smith has passed away. Smith’s impact on the American Saddlebred and the show horse industry is incredible, and we are grateful to him for all the people and areas he influenced in his years of training and in his retirement.
Smith enjoyed success wherever he hung his hat from the sunshine state to the bluegrass; he turned out great horses. Smith led four top operations across the country and developed many champions during each tenure.
In Clearwater, FL, he managed Randolph Farm training World’s Champions Glen Raven (36193G*), Party Doll (58163M*), and King Creole (40602S*) to name just a few. From Florida, life took him to Houston, Texas in 1966 where he ran Tri-Oaks and trained the winning combinations of the Lyons Family. There he put together the World’s Champion title-winning teams of successful teams of Melissa Lyons and CHThe New Look (42121G*) and Dana Lyons and Our Anne Marie (63507M*). He also developed Last Revenge (48337S*), CHJames L (37518G*), Miss Lori (60630M*), and many other winners while in Texas.
After six successful years in the Lone Star State, Smith went north to Kentucky. His first stop was at the famed Rock Creek Riding Club in Louisville, KY in 1972. He trained the champions Far Cry (59606G*) and Cedar Creek Mr. Go (52689S*), as well as the World’s Champion winning Hackney pony Fury’s Blossom and roadster Dizzy Blonde.
In 1975, Charlie opened his own operation was one of the firsts at the beginning of the public training barn era. On a picturesque 158 acres in Simpsonville, Kentucky, Charlie built a state of the art training facility in the name of Charles D. Smith Farm. Here he guided the careers of world’s champions Elation Gtr (89704M), CH20Th Century Fox (76069G), CHCedar Creek Farewell (54418G*), CHToo Much (66613G*), Patricia Murphy (84815M*), CHRhythm 'n Jazz (93777M*), CHSpencer County (72664G*), CHThe Phoenix SM (75163G*), the roadster Bomb’s Echo, and many more. With the greats that he developed for others under the Charles D. Smith Farm banner, he himself guided world’s champion title winners in the two and three-year-old fine harness and brought home the Reserve World’s Grand Championship title with CH The Pheonix SM.
Smith did a tremendous job for his clients and profoundly influenced the American Saddlebred industry. Many of the Amateur and Juvenile riders he prepared for the ring are still actively involved and successful industry today. Pat and Cathy Clark, John Wrather, Kaye Bowles-Durnell, Susan Swope, Heather Stumler, Celeste Burns, Carolyn Garrett, Camille Whitfield, Georgia Herpin Baker, and Kim Skipton are just a few of the great Charlie Smith training alumni still dedicated to the industry today.
In addition to pairing great horses with great clients, Smith also had an excellent talent for breeding and sales management. He managed top breeding stallions Secret Society (36602S*), Secret Selection (42505S*), World’s Champion sire CHSensational Spirit (57552G*) and was instrumental in advancing the breeding program of W. Clyde McCoy with the studs Sultan’s Contract (68286S) and High Rise Spirit (61918S*). Charlie himself bred winners Hollywood Glitter (124558M), Raging Storm Raging Storm (90969G), Born Leader (90900G), and many others. He owned and sold world’s champions CHWell Chosen (68813G*), Mac's Danish Harmony (62411S*), CHTwilight Mist V.F. (88133M*), and CHApple Cider (60869G*) to name a few. With his partner Jim Skipton, he founded S & S Venture Farm which owned and sold the world’s title holders CHOak Hill's Desert Rose (78132M*), Commanders Wings (56229G*), Only Forever (86245M*), CHMagic Supreme (53836G*), and more.
Not only was Smith a successful trainer and breeder, but he also gave back to the industry. Developing great people as he did great horses, Smith contributed to the careers and industry knowledge of Don Bridges, Johnny Lucas, Kris Knight, Hoppy Bennett, Janet Blagden Barber, April Dunaway, Kathy Capsuto-Walker, Gary Garone, George Schmid, and many others. He also was instrumental in the founding of the UPHA, UPHA Classics, and served the organization for many years in major roles.
Smith was honored for his professional accomplishments and contributions to the industry with three Hall of Fame inductions Rock Creek Horse Show Hall of Fame in 2012, Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame in 2017 and lastly inducted in the Tom Moore UPHA Hall of Fame in 2018.
Smith retired from train horses in the mid-1990s to spend more time with his late wife Peggy and their four grown children, Suzanne, Pam, Johan and Jack. In recent years, Smith made his home in Destin, FL, but had begun to travel more visit horse shows. He enjoyed getting back to the industry he loved with son Johan making appearances at horse shows in Murfreesboro, TN and Tampa, FL.