Legends of Zydeco

Tom Bass: The Legendary Horse Trainer

Tom Bass was one of America's premier equestrian riders and trainers. He was born in Missouri and was raised by his grandparents, Presley and Eliza Gray.


At an early age, Tom was exposed to horses and began to develop a deep respect for them. After years of working and caring for a number of well known show horses, Tom decided to open his own horse training stable. Before long, Tom Bass' stable was regard as one of the best stables in the country. Horse owners from across the country brought their horses to him to begin their initial training.


Despite the harsh racial conditions of the country during the late 1800's and early 1900's, Bass became known as one of the world's top horse trainers and equestrian showman. He was the first African American to ride in the American Royal Horse Show, and he won countless prizes on famous American saddle horses such as Miss Rex and Belle Beach. He was so famous in fact that he was invited to show Miss Rex at the Royal Horse Show in London, England.


Bass is also famous for inventing the Bass bit, a mechanism designed to protect a horse’s mouth during training. It is still widely used today.

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