DELIGHT AND DILEMMA: THE ALBERT
Plantation Showcase, October 1995.
Among all of these though, his (Albert Dement's) favorites were
the American Saddle Horse mare, Nell Dement a flax sorrel, and her
stocking-legged daughter by Allan named
Merry Legs. When the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders'
Association was organized in 1935, these two mares were accorded
foundation status as Nell Dement F-3 and
Merry Legs F-4.
As a young mare,
Merry Legs was highly competitive in
the county fair show circuit of her time. During her years in the
ring, she won over forty blue ribbons at the major showcases of
the day. The first man to truck Tennessee Walkers, Miller Hogwood,
remembers one State Fair plantation championship in which his
Uncle Albert was exhibiting Merry Legs.
In that more relaxed atmosphere where ringside regulations were
rather loose, Albert Dement requested his groom to hand him a
glass of water. Balancing the glass in the palm of his hand,
Dement neck-reigned Merry Legs around the ring as the audience
went wild. The paid left the arena with the State Fair Grand
As a brood mare,
Merry Legs produced a total of thirteen foals by many of the
leading sires of the period. Albert Dement sought to produce the
perfect breeding stallion through Merry
Legs, and as she grew older began his final experimentation
with the golden chestnut stallion,
Hunter's Allen, at stud in Lewisburg, Tennessee. The first two
foals from this cross died as yearlings, but in the spring of
1931, Merry Legs dropped a chestnut colt with two hind socks, a
strip, and a flax mane.
Merry Legs was twenty years old when this foal arrived, Dement
called him Last Chance, a name that proved prophetic when the bay
mare died of colic the following year. The foal so pleased Dement
that he was retained as the head herd sire of the Dement breeding
program. After Albert Dement died on March 16, 1940, a tribute to
his achievements was presented at the Columbia horse show. Last
Chance was led around the arena, saddle empty, as friends and
associates circled the ring behind the classic stallion, moving
slowly while the announcer listed Dement's many contributions to
the breed he helped create.