Coin's Hard Cash
Gibson. Published in The Blue Ribbon 50th Annual Edition.
is the story of a woman who gave up an established partnership
and a thriving pet shop business in Atlanta, Georgia to go it
on her own; a woman who, with out the help of anyone, made the
decision to invest $600,000 in a horse -not just any horse,
but Coin's Hard Cash, the 1987 World Grand Champion.
Walking horse saga of Bonnie Cady began 18 years ago at a
Georgia Tech foolball game when the 1970 World Grand Champion,
Ace's Sensation, made an exhibition ride during halftime. The
crowds were cheering as if their team had just pulled off an
so exciting watching Ace's Sensation," Bonnie recalls. "I had
never seen a walking horse, but I knew that very moment thai
one day I would own one."
spent the next couple of years mulling the possibility of
purchasing a walking horse, and, in 1972, decided to make her
first move by buying her own brood mare. Within a few months,
her first marc was standing in a breeding line to be bred with
... you guessed it, Ace's Sensation.
says that she spent several years 'fiddling' with breeding and
raising her own colts before finally giving in and purchasing
a show horse. Pride's Easter, in 1979.
although Pride's Easter never made it to Celebration stardom,
he was the key that unlocked the door -there was no turning
back —Bonnie Cady had caught the fever.
few short months after purchasing Pride's Easter, Bonnie's
daughter, Cynthia, purchased a show mare named Country Girl
and the mother-daughter duo quickly became a familiar sight at
shows throughout Georgia and Tennessee. "We both enjoyed
showing so much that I decided to expand my interest in the
industry," Bonnie said of her humble beginnings. "It was a
gradual process, but I just continued adding brood marcs to my
purchasing Go Boy's Caretaker in 1981, Bonnie spent the next
six years concentrating on her growing pet shop business. At
this point, raising colts and showing horses was still just a
gone over to sec Larry Edwards to negotiate a deal for a horse
trailer," Bonnie said. "They didn't stop with the horse
trailer, though, and began trying to sell me a horse."
first, I was just playing along with them. I really had no
intentions of purchasing any more show horses. Not right then
anyhow," she continued. "Then, they took me over to sec Coin's
Hard Cash -a horse I had watched dominate the winner's circle
at the Celebration since the time he was two years old. My
willpower was gone."
started negotiating with Herb Murrath of Stone Mountain,
Georgia in February of last year, and by June had finalized
the $600,000 deal transforming her 'hobby' into a full-time
business practically overnight.
makes someone spend more than a half million on one horse?
just something I wanted," Bonnie said. "Coin's Hard Cash
seemed like a role model walking horse to me —I really felt
like he had everything a walking horse is supposed to have."
turned out, Bonnie's instincts were right about Coin's Hard
Cash. In fact, it was within two months of the purchase that
she was posing in the winners' circle with the 1987 World
Grand Champion and Rider/Trainer Larry Edwards. Bonnie's first
blue ribbon at the Celebration turned out to be 'THE' blue
a dream come true," Bonnie said. "I don't think I have ever
been so high."
winning the slake in 1987, Bonnie has plunged headfirst into
the walking horse business. She has traded in her 40 and 85
acre farms in Georgia for the 318-acre Horse Hub ranch as well
as a 521-acre cattle operation called Rich Valley Farms near
Shelbyville. She currently owns approximately 100 horses, five
of which are show horses in training. As for Coin's Hard Cash,
he has been retired from the show ring and is keeping Bonnie's
breeding business in full swing.
Cady's next goal? To raise an offspring that can win the title
of World Grand Champion. "Now, let's see, my first colts
should be born this fall and they'll need to be around five
when they compete in the big stake," said the 51-year-old
free-spirited business woman. "Yes, I guess you would say my
next goal is 1993."
with her gumption and business sense, she might just make it
Who knows? She might even be at the reins.
Both Sides of the Coin — Cady and
nothing short of a miracle.
least, that's the way Rider-Trainer Larry Edwards sees his
1987 World Grand Championship victory at the reins of Coin's
like a fairytale come true," said the Dawson, Georgia native.
"All the odds were against us, but we made it... we really
it's not that Coin's Hard Cash was considered an underdog in
the competition. Quite the contrary as this bold-walking,
high-headed black stallion was pegged early in the season as a
definite contender for the ultimate in Walking Horse titles.
His trainers, Larry and brother Gary, knew that Hard Cash, who
had been making his presence known at the Celebration since
the age of two, was a force to be reckoned with.
was the big problem? Why was everyone so surprised when Coin's
Hard Cash was crowned champion walking horse of the world?
the first five days of the Celebration, everything was going
fine. Hard Cash had already won the Division A Aged Stallion
Over 15.2 Class and was looking great during his workouts. Our
confidence was running high," Larry recalled during a recent
phone interview. "But, then, on the morning of the sixth day,
our hopes were shot down just like that."
morning when we went to check on him in his stall, we found
that he was unable to move," Larry continued. "He appeared to
be lame in his right front foot and we knew we would be unable
to work him." Refusing to give up, the Edwards brothers sat up
with their prized entry for the next three nights.
admit to doing a lot of praying knowing that their time was
rapidly running out. "I'm telling you, things were really
looking bleak. We were not able to put a saddle on him
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday," Larry said. "All the
other trainers were stopping by our stalls and telling us that
we may as well 'forget it' and go on with our other horses. In
all honesty, I was starting to agree with them ... until
Saturday morning, that is."
Saturday morning, just hours before the big performance, the
Edwards decided to put a saddle on Hard Cash and try him out.
After all, they had stayed by his side and doctored him for
four days. It certainly seemed worth a try.
really a last ditch effort," Larry explained. "We put the
saddle on him, crossed our fingers, and rode him for five
minutes. Much to our surprise, he looked great and we were
back in the race."
certain that his streak of bad luck had to be over, Larry
Edwards entered the Celebration show ring Saturday night to
the cheers of some 25,000 fans. The fact that Hard Cash had
only been worked five minutes in the preceding five days
didn't appear to bother the rider in the least.
Hard Cash had it in him," Larry said. "He is undoubtedly the
smartest horse I've ever worked with. He has so much natural
ability the fact that he had only been worked for five minutes
before the show did not really matter."
first few laps around the ring. Hard Cash showed the crowd
what he was made of. He rounded the historic oval of the
Celebration with his head held high as if he could smell
victory. Little did he, or his rider, know that there was
still one more hurdle to clear before the victory pass. The
bad luck wasn't over yet.
Cash threw a shoe from his right front foot, the foot which
because of a center crack had plagued him all week. Before he
could continue his battle with his competitors, he would have
to beat the clock. According to Regulatory Committee rules,
Celebration farrier Louie Staton only had 10 minutes to
replace the thrown shoe. If he didn't. Hard Cash would be
eliminated from the rest of the competition.
heat of camera lights and the tick, tick, tick of the stop
watch hovering over his head, Staton went to work. And
although the official Celebration farrier admits to being
extremely nervous over the situation, he made it with just six
seconds to spare.
really didn't have any idea we would make it. I mean, we had
had so many problems I had almost given up," Larry said. "It
was a miracle. The Man up above helped us out that night —that
I know for a fact."
the rail, tensions were run ning high as 13 stallions gave
all-out performances. But, when the dust settled and the
results were in, Hard Cash and trainer Larry Edwards were
Hard Cash was foaled on May 18, 1982, bred and raised on the
famed Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee. His bloodlines
trace back to Pride of Midnight H.F. and, ultimately. Midnight
Sun. Hard Cash was purchased as a year ling by Reese and Steve
Smith and Bill Freeman, all of Franklin.
of the following year, his two year old season, the beautiful
black horse attracted the attention of Larry and Gary Edwards
and soon became the property of Herb Murrath of Atlanta. He
was purchased by Bonnie Cady in June 1987.
under the masterful training hands of the Edwards brothers,
owners of Carl Edwards and Sons Stables in Dawson, Georgia,
winning became a sort of tradition for Hard Cash. Not only did
Hard Cash take the Two-Year-Old Stallion Class and the
Two-Year-Old Stake at the Montgomery Southern Champion ships
during his showing career, but he was also named
Three-Year-Old and Four-Year-Old World Champion in 1985 and
Cash's World Grand Champion ship marked a first for the
Edwards brothers as he was the first horse under their
direction to gain this honor. It had been 37 years since their
father, the late Carl Edwards, had ridden to the 1950 World
Grand Championship aboard Old Glory's Big Man.
one of the greatest feelings I have ever had, and, was most
unexpected," Larry said before hanging up the phone. "It was
nothing short of a miracle."