Legs was a bay mare with four stockings (probably sabino). She was
foaled in April, 1911, out of Nell Dement F-3 by Allan F-1. She was
a big mare, standing 15.2 hands and weighing in at 1,200 pounds.
years of less than satisfactory results of breeding Nell to four different
studs, Dement selected Old
(Allan F-1) to cross with Nell. Dement purchased Allan F-1 from his good
friend, J.R. Brantley, in 1901 for $140. Allan died at the Dement farm
near Normandy on Sept. 10, 1910, having produced only one colt from Nell. The result was Merry Legs F-4,
foaled in April of 1911. She began her show ring career as a weanling under the direction of Henry Davis and
was undefeated. Nell Dement died at the age of 28 and foaled her last colt at 26.
was referred to by many fans as "the greatest show mare that ever lived."
Murchison of Wartrace fondly remembered Merry Legs. "She did one thing
that mares do not do nowadays. She would foal a colt in the spring of the
year, then Mr. Dement would wean that colt two of three weeks before the State Fair in Nashville and would
enter her in the show, where she would win first place."
In 1914, Merry Legs became the first
three-year-old to not only win the Three-Year-Old championship, but also the Grand Championship Stake at the
Tennessee State Fair. The only three- year-old to match her title was Merry Legs’ granddaughter, Dement’s Merry Legs
II 360021 in 1936 with Floyd Caruthers, trainer.
“Those who knew Merry Leg’s F-4
during her heyday, recall unmatched action in the show ring that enhanced
her prowess as a versatile performer. Then, the fact that her
offspring have given the breed masterpieces of perfection adds to her
glory as a brood matron of unlimited quality.” - Jimmy Joe Murray
“Merry Leg’s F-4 was a straight-going
mare with no amble whatsoever. She had lots of head motion, a good
long neck, perfect ears and large eyes. Her canter was perfect, and
her flatfoot walk and running walk were truly as great as any ever
displayed by Tennessee Walking Horses. Anybody could ride her,
because she had perfect manners, and was a gentle as could be.”
“Merry Legs F-4 was without doubt the
greatest show mare I’ve ever seen,” asserted Davis in 1946. (Biography
of the Tennessee Walking Horse by Ben A. Green.)
On at least
one occasion MERRY LEGS was bred to GREY LAD, whose sire was BRAMBLETT, by
BUFORD, by BOONE’S GREY JOHN. From this cross MERRY LEGS foaled a filly
colt named SNIP. SNIP was later bred to
CHANCE, and the resulting foal was SNIP’S CHANCE. After Albert
Dement’s death, SNIP’S CHANCE was purchased by W.S. “Audie” Dean of
Rutherford County, Tennessee. Dean bred the mare to
MIDNIGHT SUN on several occasions but was
not pleased with the results, therefore he decided to breed her to his own
stallion, WILSON DEAN. From this cross came the famous “four sisters,”
whose offspring made Walking Horse history. From these four mares came
SUN’S HERO, JOHNNY MIDNIGHT, MIDNIGHT IKE, MACK K’S TRIGGER, DELIGHT’S
CHANCE, DELIGHT’S SUNBEAM, DEAN’S BOSS MAN, and the incomparable
SUN’S DELIGHT D. the World Grand Champion
Walking Horse in 1963. SUN’S DELIGHT and BUMIN AROUND are the only World
Grand Champions to trace to MERRY LEGS through GREY JOHN blood. (p. 79.
The Echo of Hoofbeats
by Bob Womack)
Dement-bred Walking Horse out of Merry Legs F-4 and by
Hunter’s Allen was
the stallion, Last
350034. Mrs. Olive Caruthers Diekroger credited Dement and his belief in
Last Chance with returning
her husband Floyd Caruthers to the show ring.
"It was Dement who persuaded Floyd to start training again,"
she said. "He called Floyd and asked him to
train Last Chance. Dement had good horses and many consider
him to have been a Master Breeder."
Last Chance was the
last colt foaled by Merry Legs F-4 before she died of colic at the age of
21. As the
announcer read a tribute to Albert Dement at the Columbia Horse Show a few
weeks after his death in March
of 1940 Last Chance was saddled and led around
the ring without a rider, followed by close friends, show
officials and members of the Breeders
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
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.
Because 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.
FOUR STOCKINGS, STRIP.
TRUMAN POLLOCK MARE