Supreme Sultan - History, Pedigree,
Artwork of Supreme Sultan by Patricia Crane

Supreme Sultan,Saddlebred Stallion who changed his breed.  
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The Saddlebred Stallion "Supreme Sultan", altered his entire breed for the better.

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Supreme Sultan, a Saddlebred red chestnut colt was born in the spring of 1966 and would change the future of an entire breed of horse, worldwide.  The breed is the American Saddlebred.

A grand video tape of that time shows Sultan trotting freely  across his paddock, almost bursting with his unique  and incredible presence with his great heavy tail well arched, and his naturally high motion making him seem to almost float above the ground with no obvious effort at all. This signature ability and style was also captured in many photos. Of course the impact of standing beside him was breath taking. The great ones always seem to know they are great.

Life size Supreme Sultan Bronze Monument A year before his death, the Ruxer's commissioned the sculptor Patricia Crane to create a 1/5 scale bronze portrait of Supreme Sultan, trotting in precisely this natural and breath taking way. Following the great horse's death the same sculptor created the life size portrait that marks the stallion's grave in front of the Saddle Horse Museum in Lexington, Kentucky. After completing the one and a half year project, which was a labor of love, the sculptor was told no one else would ever be commissioned to sculpt Sultan again. As anyone who knew Alvin and Hilda Ruxer, or who currently knows Bob Ruxer can attest - their word was and is for real.

The Supreme Sultan Monument was unveiled on September 25, 1985 to immortalized the great stallion and to serve as the frontis piece for the Museum. Often this bronze portrait is the first introduction of the American Saddlebred to the thousands of visitors at the Kentucky Horse Park. At the time all this was being created, many asked what this particular stallion was chosen to front the museum rather that other greats, like Wing Commander or the official foundation sire, Gaines Denmark. Supreme Sultan was chosen because he was the first Saddlebred of the modern era and he did the most reshaping of the future of the American Saddlebred of the future.


Sultan at Ruxer Farms

Supreme Sultan trotting freely. The majesty of Supreme Sultan Supreme Sultan at Ruxer Farms
Avis Photo Mike Fenton Photo Avis Photo

A few of Supreme Sultan's World Grand Champions of the show ring:

Supreme Sultan daughter Supreme Sultan WGC son Supreme Sultan son, top ranked breeding stallion
1981 thru 1987. Photo by Shiflet
1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, Sargent photo
Sultan's Santana, WGC Fine Harness 1982
Jamie Donaldson Photo

Sons of Supreme Sultan who have produced World Grand Champions

Supreme Sultan son, his successor at Ruxer Farms Supreme Sultan son, also a top breeding stallion. Supreme Sultan son, champion and famous sire.
Sultan's Royalty Supreme Heir, Avis Photo Sultan's Great Day. Photo by Stuart Vesty

Commissioned art works of Supreme Sultan, by Patricia Crane

Supreme Sultan pastel sketch by Crane Supreme Sultan pastel head study by Crane. Supreme Sultan and Alvin Ruxer, pastel by Crane.
Pastel - Sultan at Liberty
All Photos this row © Patricia Crane
Pastel - Sultan head study Pastel - Alvin Ruxer & Sultan

Supreme Sultan bronze at Kentucky Horse Park with visitors. Supreme Sultan clay and sculptor Patricia Crane. Supreme Sultan 1/5 scale bronze portrait by Crane.
Sultan Bronze in front of the Saddle
Horse Museum. Ross Millin Photo.
Patricia working on life size clay of Sultan
© Patricia Crane
Original 1/5 scale bronze
Photo by Davis Images.

Supreme Sultan resin sculpture portrait by Crane.

The Supreme Sultan: Saddlebred: Resin Horse Sculpture, 1/5 scale may be purchased from this linked page. To visit the page, click the link.

This resin study is a reduction by the sculptor, of the life size bronze that graces Sultan's grave site and which also stands by the front doors of the Saddle Horse Museum.

To view the page of this site that displays Sultan's life size bronze, click here - Life Size Horse Sculpture.

The horse was bred by Alvin Ruxer of Jasper, Indiana. Ruxer Farms was standing Sultan's sire, the stallion Valley View Supreme who was also of historical importance. When Valley View Supreme died at the young age of 15, Ruxer was completely sure that this one colt was the one to carry forward the fame of the farm and the one to further improve the Saddlebred breed. The young Sultan had been sold to Barlite Farm in Texas, but was re-purchased and returned to Ruxer Farms where he remained for the duration of his life, never again for sale to anyone for any amount of money.

Supreme Sultan as a young stallion. Supreme Sultan was very refined in build but combined great power, with great spirit and heart; he also had very naturally high action with a neck that could reach for the stars. His hock action was so marvelous that he sometimes suffered cramps, he "went so high", with no length of hoof at all. He began his show ring career as a two year old and was a stakes winner. However the night prior to his two year old stake at the 1968 Kentucky State Fair, Supreme Sultan was bred to the mare Society Dianna and a breeding career that was nothing less than phenomenal had begun. From this first breeding the Reserve World Champion, and appropriately named Freedom Hall was produced. Other noted champions that came from this same cross were the stupendous Sultan's Dianna and the World Grand Champion Three Gaited, Sultan's Starina.

No one could have backed a great horse any better than Alvin Ruxer, who immediately built a herd of the very finest of mares and who also promoted Sultan consistently and well. He always believed in his horse and his promotion was not only wise but heart-felt. Supreme Sultan crossed incredibly well with all types of mares, produced repeated winners in all divisions and his success as a breeding stallion has yet to be equaled (as a study of the record books substantiates). The legendary Imperator was Sultan's first World Grand Champion!

Even more importantly, Sultan produced sons who were highly successful at stud, consistently producing more champions. Anyone familiar with Saddlebreds would never be able to imagine what the breed would be like today without the ongoing influence of Sultan through his sons Sultan's Santana, Supreme O' Lee, Radiant Sultan, Sultan's Great Day, and Supreme Heir to name only a few.

As early as the age of six, Supreme Sultan topped the futurity sire ratings of Saddle & Bridle and produced his first performance World Champion, Sultan's Santana. He topped the sire rating by the time he was eleven years old, the youngest stallion to ever do so, and led both general sire and futurity. He also sired World Grand Champions in all three major areas of Sadldebred show ring performance: Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited and Fine Harness. As if this weren't enough he is also the only stallion to have sired own immediate successor on the General Sire Rating.

Sultan's sons and daughters were talented and beautiful, a hard combination to beat. They were also very intelligent and easy to get along with. They quickly became favorites with trainers and riders throughout the world.

After battles with colic, Supreme Sultan was euthanized in 1983 at the age of only seventeen. In his later years his point lead over other sires was tremendous. In 1979 he had twice the points as the tallion behind him in second place and even the year of his death, three times the points. The year of his death, he had sired 84 horses who were show winners in Sire Rated shows, including 21 five-gaited horses, 42 three-gaited horses, 11 in fine harness and 10 pleasure horses. The points from only the five-gaited, or from only the three-gaited would have been enough to put him at the top once more. It is of course impossible to say what records he could have established had he lived, but no guessing is needed to know the tallies would have been in the "never to be seen before or since" category. 

The immediate successor to Supreme Sultan on the top sire rating, the year of the great Sultan's death, was naturally the second place stallion. This was his own son Sultan's Santana who also became the first Saddlebred to sell for one million dollars!

Supreme Sultan is said to have benefited from many things: excellent bloodlines of course, great mare crosses, an exclusive use of IA so as to breed 200 mares a season, and all that excellent promotion thorough the genius of Alvin Ruxer.

It is true that his sire was a great sire. Valley View Supreme is the only stallion to ever have become Three Gaited World Grand Champion. Valley View Supreme was by Genius Bourbon King and out of Diana Gay, by The Genius, making him a line-bred Chief descendant tracing closely to Bourbon Genius.

It is true that His dam, Melody O' Lee, is listed in the Broodmare Hall of Fame. She produced four ribbon winners at the Kentucky State Fair! She was by Anacacho Denmark by Judy O' Lee (x Leatherwood King, a full brother to The Genius and Bourbon Genius). Her third dam was by American Ace.

The crossing of Supreme Sultan with mares sired by the great Wing Commander was said to be a golden cross, a combining of the elegance of Sultan with the many times proven performance qualities of Wing. It is true it was a cross that produced winner after winner, but it is also true that Sultan crossed with almost any bloodline and produced winner after winner and he sired winners in every Saddlebred division. There was more. Sultan was a most superior individual with his own unique characteristics and gifts.

Throughout his entire career as a stallion, he had one breeding manager, Bill Caldwell. It is safe to say Mr. Caldwell "knew" his horse, and this is what he had to say about Supreme Sultan.

" He was like a human - he had more guts and courage than any horse I've ever seen. He was a show horse the minute he was born. His colts were nice working horses. They'd all try for you. They were
also finer and prettier than the average Saddlebred at the time.

Others described him as a very kind horse, but always read to show-off. The Sultan was also always the gentleman. Supreme Sultan line bred world grand champion. align=right width=

Years in the future, in 2004 and again in 2005, at the World's Championship show held in Kentucky each year, the offspring of Supreme Sultan won in all three Word Grand Championship divisions on stake night. In 2005 and 2006 the World Grand Champion Three-Gaited horse was Manila Thrilla, a line bred Sultan offspring.

Sultan more that any other stallion  helped set the standards for a new era in Saddle Horse history, with the wonderful colts and fillies that parade across the globe today as the Modern Saddlebred.

We hope you enjoy our small tribute to a very great horse. As Bob Ruxer, Alvin's Ruxer's nephew, previous trainer, and current owner of Ruxer Farms said of the Sultan: "There is little I can say. He was a fantasy - bigger than all of us..."

Top header: photo by Avis

Much of the breeding and history information in this article was generously provided by Ross Millin and his full
article may be read at Many, many thanks to Ross, because his article was the base, and
the gentle spur to add my own words and images. Dr. Millin's generosity is grand and consistent !

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© All Photos and Sculpture Copyright 2000 - 2018, Patricia Crane.