We specialize in foundation bred Missouri Foxtrotter

Mr. Barnes

Judella Burton

I’d like to share some memories of Mr Lawrence Barnes with you.  No history of the Missouri Fox Trot Horses & Association would be complete without including Mr Lawrence Barnes.  I had the good fortune of becoming acquainted with Mr Barnes in the mid ‘70’s after I acquired a fox trot stallion named Rambling Red.  Mr Barnes had formerly owned Red so I gave him a call.  He seemed thrilled to hear from me.  Truth be known, it was probably Red he was thrilled to hear from, but that was okay.  It didn’t seem to matter one bit to him that I knew nothing about fox trotters.  He made it clear that I was more than welcome anytime.  So began one of those life altering relationships we horse people can be blessed with.  These wonderful horses bring us together and we remain bound in friendship for a lifetime.

Lawrence Barnes was born September 24, 1910 to Uldena Kester Barnes & Lincoln Barnes.  Lawrence was driving a buggy on his own by age two.  At age 4 his family (his parents & two sisters, Gussie & Naomi) left Missouri and moved to Oklahoma.  I think his favorite picture of all time was the one of his family moving to Oklahoma in a covered wagon pulled by two fox trotting horses.  That picture, taken in 1914, showed a young Lawrence sitting in the wagon with his father as the wagon crossed Beavers Bridge.  It was a pleasure to listen to this story and look at the picture each time I visited with him.

The family lived in Oklahoma for 13 years, then moved back to Ava, Missouri where Mr Barnes attended high school.  Lincoln Barnes, his dad served as sheriff of Douglas County.  Young Lawrence drove for his father as he solicited votes and then continued to travel with Lincoln as he criss crossed the country side in his capacity as sheriff.   Lawrence would be by his side learning how to deal with people and getting to know his way around the back roads.  Later in life this knowledge really benefited  Mr Barnes while he served for decades as the MFTHB  Association secretary.  He took it upon himself as secretary of the association in the early years to scour the country for fox trot horses and encourage the owners to register them. 

Mr Barnes was 86 years old when he took me on a flying tour of southern Missouri fox trot country.  Now when I say ‘flying’ I don’t mean an airplane, I am referring to his driving of those crooked Ozatk Mountain roads.  He had a reputation for his driving and he earned it!  He knew those roads like the palm of his hand and he also knew where every barn was that had ever had a fox trot horse in it.  He could tell you every horse’s name and history and a lot of names and history of their owners too.  He showed me the barns where the great stallions, Blankenship Diamond and Yellow Jacket had lived.  He showed me where the Silvey’s lived who had the Old Skip/Hamilton bred horses and told me their stories.  We visited with Mr Rollen Clarkson and his horses and I got to listen to the two of them swap stories of the old fox trot horses.  Mr Barnes had bought Rambling Red from Mr Clarkson as a yearling.  Both of these men ran large cattle ranches and were renowned breeders of fox trot horses. 

We were so disappointed that Ms Gertrude Wilson was’t home that day.  We were both in great anticipation of the stories she could tell us of the esteemed old foundation horses such as the Burr Quick horse, Blankenship Diamond, the Hodge horse, the Charles Simmon horse and the Copeland horses, all of which her family had affiliation with thru the years.  Mr Barnes was especially proud that his horses had ancestors from the horses bred by the Wilson family.  He referred often to the ‘ole Rowdy horse’ and Rambler whom he felt contributed a lot of good qualities to the fox trot horses.

Mr Barnes lived six years in Borger, Texas during the 1930’s where he worked in the oil fields.  He was very athletic and attended Southwest Missouri Teachers State School where he was on the track team.  He was also on a farm club of the St Louis Cardinals baseball team for a while.  He taught in a one room school from 1934-35.  He very much enjoyed his profession of teaching and coaching.  Math was the main focus of his teaching but he also taught business subjects, driver’s education, and served as a counselor for two years.  He retired from teaching in Ava.

Mr Barnes served in World War II.  He volunteered with the Navy on the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.

  Mr Barnes was a lifelong bachelor.  He settled on a large ranch on the outskirts of Ava where he managed a good size cattle and horse breeding operation.  That was back in the days when you built your own farm buildings.  The barn he built was really good size, sturdy, and of his own design.  The stalls for his stallions were really big and roomy and lined the opposite wall of the training/exercise area from the mare stalls and hay storage.  He made good use of his training area.  He was a natural with the horses.  He would let a stud out of the stall with no halter on.  His only control of the horse was his voice, body language, and a whip.  He would walk beside the horse, talk and make a motion with the whip to signal the horse what to do.  It was beautiful to watch. 

  He also built a show arena on his ranch.  This is where the area horse shows were had for several years before the MFTHB Association purchased ground and built an arena on the other side of town.  Mr Barnes was dedicated to the Fox Trot Horses and the MFTHBA.  He did everything he knew to do to help both.  He excelled in his breeding program for the Fox Trot Horses.  He loved the fox trot horse for what it was and always sought out the best of the old bloodlines.  At the mention of trainers he would always chuckle and say “And here I have been all these years breeding horses that don’t need a trainer.  They just naturally fox trot when the owner gets on them and rides”.  He did not overpriced his horses.  He thought these horses should be affordable to everyone.  Mr Barnes had several great fox trot stallions.  Major L, Vicki’s Red Man, Gold Man, Rambling Red, Zane’s Dude, Old Paint, Paint’s Dude, Sissy’s Chief and Barnes’ Red to name a few. 

  Mr Barnes didn’t make the mistake of giving the studs all the credit for a good foal.  He was just as diligent about having great mares for breeding.  ‘Vicki’ was his favorite brood mare and he built his breeding program around her and her daughters.  She was sired by Blankenship Diamond and out of a mare by Paul David’s Dan x a Blankenship mare.  Mr Barnes stated many times that Blankenship Diamond was the greatest natural Fox Trotter in the country.  He wanted to keep a major influence of Blankenship Diamond in all his breeding with Mitchell’s Trigger and Yellow Jacket following close behind.  Vicki’s Flossy was his second ‘Vicki’ mare.  She was sired by Mitchell’s Trigger and out of the original ‘Vicki’.  Vicki 3 was a daughter of Vicki’s Flossy and sired by Gold Man.  Gold Man was by Golden Rawhide x Roxie M who was by Yellow Jacket by Ozark Golden King.  Major L and Vicki’s Red Man were both out of Vicki 3.

  From these horses Mr Lawrence Barnes has left the fox trot breed a legacy of wonderful natural gaited, sweet tempered, big hearted, athletic horses with which we can continue a great breed of horses.  That being the Missouri Fox Trot Horse.

  Mr Lawrence Barnes was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the MFTHBA on September 12, 1998.  He died at age 89 on September 7, 2000.


Burton Foxtrotters

4597 U S 62 E, Beaver Dam, KY 42320