Missouri Fox Trotters From the Past…Cotham Dare . ..
By Janet Esther
Cotham Dare F-10 • From the September 1984 Journal ©MFTHBA
In 1947 an Ava, Mo., druggist named Clyde Norman paid $1,000 for Kentucky bred Cotham Dare F-10 and brought the stylish stallion to Missouri. Cotham Dare created quite a stir in Douglas County at a time when it took a pretty good horse to bring $50. He was the last registered American Saddle Horse to have major influence on Missouri Fox Trotters and his pedigree carries the names Chester Dare 10 and Rex McDonald.
Cotham Dare was foaled at Mayfield, Kentucky on May 9, 1941. He was registered to N.D. Cotham. He was the result of a wealthy owner of fine Saddle Horses allowing his favorite nephew to select a mare, pay the stud fee, and keep the colt. When Cotham Dare was 18 months old, one of his handlers struck him in the eye with a lead rein. Believing the eye was permanently damaged, Cotham sold the young stallion for $300. Eventually Dare’s eye returned to normal.
Exactly how Cotham Dare reached Arkansas is unclear but his fame as a Fox Trotter reached Ava, Mo., when he was standing at Mountain Home, Arkansas. At that time he belonged to T.J. McCade, owner of the Ford Motor Agency in Mountain Home.
Lawrence Barnes and his father traveled from Ava to see the stallion with intentions of buying if the information they’d been given proved correct. After seeing the stallion they were definitely interested in buying him so they asked the price.
Both men could see the owner was dead earnest when he said, “$1,000,” so they concealed their shock the best they could, said he had a dandy horse, and left. Then Clyde Norman bought him. The following year Mr. Norman helped organize the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association.
In 1948 Charlie Rowland of Norwood, Mo., gave $1,250 for the stallion with the understanding that Mr. Norman pay the $50 to register him in the new Association. Cotham Dare was registered as F-10 on May 10, 1948.
Charlie Rowland was a great admirer of endurance in a horse. Cotham Dare’s great-grandsire, Chester Dare 10, was reputed to have pulled a buggy 30 miles on a muddy road to a horse show which he won.
One time Mr. Rowland rode Cotham Dare from Norwood, Mo., to Mtn. Home, Arkansas, in less than two days. He stayed overnight in Gainesville, Mo., and rode into Mtn. Home at 3 p.m. on the second day. His plans to ride back home were dashed by the threat of a February storm, so he hired a truck to haul them home. The speedometer registered 110 miles on a direct route. Counting the 14 miles traveled on a wrong road their first day and the 10 mile detour to see Bull Shoals Dam, which was under construction, Cotham Dare had covered 134 miles on the trip and did it easily.
In 1949, the Rowlands planned an extensive pleasure trip through the western United States. Since there was no one to properly care for their stallion, they decided to take him along. They outfitted their new pickup with camping gear and loaded Dare in his horse trailer. In those days there were still stock pens along the railroad lines and they frequently used these for Dare and camped nearby. Mrs. Rowland recalls that he never failed to nicker when he first heard them stir in the mornings and was always eager to hop into his trailer.
They took. Dare through Yellowstone and on into California where Mrs. Rowland rode him in a parade. He had style to burn and a crowd inspired him. There were 98 other horses in the parade but Dare had the eyes of the crowd. They traveled on into Oregon and Washington. Dare caused a sensation wherever they went.
Altogether the trio journeyed 8,000 miles. Gasoline was cheap back then. But they lacked only $2.50 paying for all of their fuel out of stud fees. An unexpected development was mare owners who saw the Fox Trotter wanting to breed to him.
Cotham Dare was stricken by what may have been a twisted intestine in 1955. The 14 year old stallion left behind many offspring to carry on his line and an indelible memory in the minds of the men and women who saw and admired him.
From the September 1984 Journal