Sam Brannon, 78


Samuel M. Brannon, 78, husband of Marie Kirk Brannon, passed away at his home on Tuesday, December 31, 2013. Mr. Brannon was born on March 7, 1935 in Norfolk, Virginia.


At an early age Sam gravitated to Saddlebred nursery Carolanne Farm. Guided by Harold Childs, H. C. Barham and Jimmie Thompson, he learned the look of a quality horse. At 15, he became assistant to Glenn
Lanning at Maddux Whitley's in Asheboro, North Carolina.  When the world-famous Biltmore Estate was chosen as a locale for the Grace Kelley's last film "The Swan," Sam performed in the riding scenes. After stops in South Carolina, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Sam finally settled into Georgetown, Kentucky, just outside Lexington.


Sam was inducted in the UPHA Hall of Fame, the World’s Champion Horse Show Hall of Fame in 2005, and the ARHPA Hall of Fame in 1994.  He trained and presented many legendary world and national title winners for every division of the industry that he loved: including but not limited to Mighty Houdini, WC CH Dixie Aristocrat, WCJackie Boyd, Society's Crown Jewel, Indiana Peavine, Three-Gaited Reserve World's Grand Championship Flavor Taste,  Junior Five-Gaited WC CH Lily Merrill, Flavor Taste,  Precious Princess, CH Grape Tree Limelight, CH Dream Hill's Ann Thompson, CH Princess Blanchita, Dunhaven's Inspiration (Hackney), WC CH Valley Witch, Fine Harness World's Grand Champion CH Reata's Virginia Wolf, CH Wind-Sir, CH Buck Creek Precious Princess [Broodmare Hall of Fame], CH Sea Of Secrets, CH Hayfield's American Beauty, Eyre Lad, Speed Limit, WC Magic View, WC Autobahn,  WC Cross Bow, RWC Magic Moonrise, WC Stop the Music, WC Party Punch, WC Mayday Mercury, WC Unclaimed,  and RWC Aragon.


Sam also enhanced the scope of the American saddlebred industry in various ways outside the show ring. He was instrumental in organizing the saddlebred’s first trip overseas to Equitana in Germany.


In addition to his wife, Mr. Brannon is survived by his children, grand-children, and many wonderful friends.


There will be a reception celebrating Sam’s life. Saturday January 4, 2013 between 2 and 5 at Heaven Trees Farm behind Keeneland (2714 Elkchester Road in Lexington, Kentucky.