Danney Joe W. F 1697 By Josephine Cozean Styron
I t was Saturday night, the last session of the 1967 Show and Celebration. Earlier in the evening, two World Grand Champions had been announced: Golden June, owned by O.F. Nichols, was the WGC Two-Year-Old; Zane Grey, owned by Dale Esther, was the WGC ThreeYear-Old. But, the most thrilling class was yet to be won.
Who would be the winner of the senior division? The world grand champion senior stakes class was made up of the first five winners of the senior mare and gelding and stud classes. This was the most desired win of them all, but the class had been grueling; the judges had worked the horses for over an hour.
As the crowd stilled, Rondo Prock made the announcement: Danny Joe W., a four-yearold stallion owned by Dale Wood and ridden by Paul Thompson had been chosen as the World Grand Champion Senior Horse! Danney Joe W. made history that September night, twice. For the first time, the same horse had been crowned the World Grand Champion in both a model class and a performance class during the same show. Danny Joe W. also shared history-making honors with his sibling, Golden June, that night. It was the first time two newly declared World Grand Champions in the final performance class had the same dam. No one should have been surprised. Danney Joe W.’s mother, June F1043, had been a successful show horse, winning both performance and model classes. And, Danney Joe W. had the names of great horses right there on his registration papers: his sire was Golden Rebel T. F1503, and on down the line were the names of Dare’s Trigger, Cotham Dare, Golden Governor, Diamond Duke, and Betty Fox. Danney Joe W. was a gorgeous horse, standing 15.3 hands and weighing close to 1300 pounds. He was a deep golden dappled palomino with a white mane flowing nearly to his knees and a tail that touched the ground. He was of the older, stockier Fox Trotter type, and he was big and powerful. It would seem that he was born to be a champion. But, it almost didn’t happen. When Dale Wood’s father Otis had bought June, he hadn’t known she was in foal. In 1963, when Danney Joe W. was born, he was gangly and so pale, he was nearly white. Reportedly, it was only through the intervention of Mrs. Wood that Otis let the colt live. Otis wanted to show June, so Danney Joe W. was raised on a bucket while his dam went on to win the Central Ozark Horse Show Association High Point Fox Trotting mare class. Otis sold June a year later and offered the colt to the buyer, who turned him down, saying, “Why would I want a white colt?” Dale Wood ended up buying the engaging young horse from his father in 1964. Danney Joe W. was as adept at working cattle as he was at winning performance classes. He was also making a name for himself as a stallion. In 1972, a daughter of Danney Joe W.’s was purchased by Californians Chuck and Linda Wright. The mare, Golden Celebrity, had so impressed the Wrights that they made a deal with Dale Wood to bring Danney Joe W. out to California to stand at stud. The couple soon were taken with Danney Joe W.’s intelligence, gentleness, and willingness to work. The Wrights discovered that his beauty and his ability to remain unflappable amid surrounding chaos made Danney Joe W. the perfect choice as a parade horse. Parade horses have to withstand objects thrown by crowds, loud blowing horns, fireworks and more. Danney Joe was able to calmly carry a rider he may have never seen before through just such a scene. Consequently, Danney Joe W. became the horse of choice for many politicians in parades, including the Rose Bowl Parade. Danney Joe W. returned to the Woods farm after seven years in California, working as a ranch horse and breeding stallion. MFTHBA member Linda Vishino recalls a story about Danney Joe W. during this period of time: “Dale Wood’s health had deteriorated, so Danny Joe W. wasn’t ridden and became a pasture ornament for over a year. One day, the hired farmhand came to Dale’s bedside to inform him that one of the heifers was sick, and he couldn’t medicate her by himself,” said Vishino. Dale, who was very ill with cancer, dragged himself out of bed, and had the farmhand saddle Danney for him. “He showed Danney the heifer, roped her, got off of Danney, and went back to bed while Danney held the rope tight for the hand to medicate the cow,” said Vishino. Although Danney may sound like the perfect horse for any rider, he wasn’t. A few people who tried to ride the stallion recalled that he could be stubborn and unwilling. There may be a reason for this, according to Vishino. Vishino is the owner of a direct Danney Joe W. son, Danney’s Pride of Princess S. The Danney Joe horses are “thinking horses,” she said. They “will do whatever you need, unless it’s stupid. If you ask them to do anything that could get them hurt, they’ll flat refuse. And, if you push them, you’ll have your hands full.” After Dale died, his widow let two brothers, Wilmon (Otis) Self and William (Buck) Self, take the big stallion with them to Louisiana to stand at stud. After three years, Amos returned the now 28-year-old Danney Joe W. to Dale’s widow. In his life, Danney Joe W. had sired around 200 foals. He sired his last foal at the age of 28, and died shortly before his 29th birthday. In many ways, Danney Joe W. was the epitome of what we all want our Fox Trotters to be. The MFTHBA Educational Film of 1975 features the versatile stallion. In it, he demonstrates his gaits along a country road and expertly works cattle. Danney Joe W. did everything, and he did it with style, grace, and beauty.