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The History of the Stonewall Sporthorse

The origin of the Stonewall Studbook began with a focus on show horses in the 1960’s.  The emphasis turned to racing in the 70’s and 80’s, although many horses that left the track then began show horse careers.  Over time, the toll of MS took Michael Muir out of the saddle and turned his focus to carriage driving and the world of draft horses and warmbloods. 

Some of Michael’s early stallions brought six figure prices and had million dollar stallion careers.  The next important stallion had a humbler beginning. Charlie Degas, the purebred Percheron foaled in 1973, became the foundation stallion of the Stonewall Studbook and an important influence in the development of the Stonewall Sporthorse.

Charlie Degas

Charlie Degas, SSB F-#1

Charlie Degas was the product of a noted Percheron breeding program in Ohio with strong Canadian influences.  He was sold as a weanling and began a show career in the southeast where he became a grand champion in hand and began a successful career as a stallion.  Over the years he changed hands several times, coming West and his fortunes declined.  In the fall of 1989 he was brought looking battered and beaten beyond his sixteen years to an auction by a disreputable horse trader.

He attracted no attention from potential buyers.  Michael was not in the market for a new stallion but kept returning to gaze at this forlorn horse.  There was something about him that spoke of a noble past.  His exceptional quality was apparent if you could look past the dull hair coat, ribs showing and tattered mane and tail.  The sole bidder was the killer buyer at about 50 cents a pound.  A noted Percheron breeder whispered to Michael, “I’ve seen you looking at that horse.  I hope you know that he is a really fine stallion.”  Michael raised his hand and Charlie Degas was his.

Brought to Winters, California, Charlie Degas blossomed and plans were made to put him to stud. His first crop for Michael surpassed all expectations. The Stonewall Sporthorse was born and Charlie Degas entered the stud book as F-#1.