Mr. Morgan Freeman, Great Horseman and Man of God.
It is hard to believe that one person can have as much impact on an individual as Morgan Freeman had on my life. When I met Morgan as a young man, I immediately knew that there was something different about him. My family was not wealthy and I am sure it was obvious to Morgan. We could not afford the type of horses that he had on his farm. Morgan looked into my eyes with respect and dignity as we walked and talked. Morgan combined stories of great horses with stories of great men from the bible. He combined the two with a fluency and ease that I still admire today. At the time I did not know what it was that set Morgan apart from other men, but now I know; the Holy Spirit.
I made up my mind of two things that day as we pulled out of his drive. I wanted to be a good man like him one day, and I wanted to own good horses like him one day. These two goals are what have fueled the majority of my life.
My passion for good horses is what caused me to study hard in school and get a degree. Morgan use to tell me that he just raised and bred the type of horses that he liked and enjoyed. He was grateful that enough other people liked the same type of horse for him to earn a living. I think that I would rather not own horses at all, than have to look out my window at some of the other types of horses.
It is hard for me to explain in words how Morgan lived his life. Morgan was for real and his words matched his actions. Christianity gets a bad wrap today because, people often say one thing and live another. I can remember Morgan saying, "The world needs to see something different in our lives. People want our horses, because they are beautiful and they can see that, but what do they see in us?" Morgan Freeman was a great man of God, who loved God and was filled with the Spirit of God. Morgan had a useful knowledge of scripture that flowed off of his tongue like honey. Morgan used his life, his horses and his words to encourage everyone who came his way. Morgan had many, many stories and sayings that he used to prove a point or teach a lesson.
When my wife Julie and I moved to Oklahoma, I renewed my association and friendship with Morgan. Julie and I spent many weekends with Morgan, so we could be around him and listen to his stories. I felt like I just gained strength from being around him.
Morgan left his home in Arkansas when he was 14 years old on a load of cattle going to Texas. His father told him that he would never own anything except a saddle and a pair of boots (the horse would always belong to someone else). Morgan lived his dream as a cowboy and was sent from the ranch in Texas to one in northern Oklahoma. At the age of 16, he gave his life to the Lord. On his first pay day, he rode three miles in freezing rain to pay his tithes at the local church. When he walked in the church, he stood his slicker in the corner because it was frozen stiff. Morgan had a fifty-cent piece wrapped in (2) one dollar bills. That was from his month’s pay of $25. He then got back on his horse and rode back to the 300 head of momma cows he was in charge of.Later in life Morgan risked everything when he bought Blondy’s Dude. He was working a minimal job and raising a family. He put the legendary stallion in the back yard, inside a three-strand barbed wire fence. People came from all over to see the fool that paid $5000 for a horse. That horse went on to earn him over $100,000 a year for some 14 years and set all kinds of records. You can read the rest in the history books and Legends book about Blondy’s Dude. I will not re-tell that story. I just wanted to tell you about my friend.
Morgan died last year, (2003),at the age of 88 and I really miss him.
This is the letter I sent to the 2000 year AQHA Hall of Fame Committee when I nominated Morgan and Blondy's Dude for he Hall of Fame.
Dear Committee Member
I would like to congratulate you on being selected to sit on this honorable committee. I am sure that you have dedicated a lifetime in order to receive this status. I understand that the AQHAs success would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all types of people, some in the spotlight and some out. One of these people who was not always in the spotlight, but has dedicated a lifetime to the American Quarter Horse is Mr. Morgan Freeman.
I understand that Morgan served eighteen years as an AQHA judge and probably has done much more than I have heard about. I am sure that many of the members on this committee are much more familiar with Morgan and his impact on the AQHA than myself; that is why I wanted to testify about the areas of his life that I know firsthand. I know the tremendous wisdom and foresight with which God blessed Morgan to earn a living in the horse business, and to propel Blondys Dude into the record books forever.
I was 16 years old when I met Mr. Freeman at his home in Skiatook, Oklahoma while on a trip it visit relatives. The strength of character, morals and wisdom that I recognized in Morgan is a standard that I adopted and strive to live by every day. Morgans way of life and doing business have been unequaled in my experience with breeders and sellers in the horse business or any other business organization. Morgan always puts people first and horses second. For those of you who know Morgan, you can testify to these facts and for those of you who have not been blessed to know Morgan, I strongly encourage you to make an effort to do so.
You may be wondering who in the world this John Magness is to be nominating someone to the AQHA Hall of Fame. You may be right. I was raised poor and fatherless in the Appalachian Mountains of southeast Ohio, but have always dreamed of owning the type of great Quarter Horses I witnessed at Morgans home in 1981. This dream is what inspired me to earn a college degree. Morgan inspired me to strive for a greater way of life. I am now a high school business teacher in Anadarko, Oklahoma, and take every opportunity I have to teach our youth the importance of character, morals and making the right choices. By the time you read this letter we will have our second child (boy or girl) named Morgan.
I hope that you will be inspired to vote for Morgan Freeman and Blondys Dude. Morgan is 85 years old and I pray that he receives this honor while he is alive to enjoy it.