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Legendary Show Horse Zippos Tiger Bar Passes Away at Age 32

We are heartbroken to report that Zippos Tiger Bar, one of the industry’s legendary show horses, has passed away at 32. His last home before his passing was with the Alderman family in Wisconsin.

Aubrey Alderman shared some thoughts about her beloved horse.

I’ve tried sitting down to write this a couple of times, but seem to be at a loss for words as tears fill my eyes. Writing a final goodbye isn’t easy. I’ve dreaded this day forever and was slightly convinced perhaps it would never come. However, it was finally time…

Butch, my family and I promised to give you the best life until you told us you were ready to go. The selfishness in me was hoping you’d keep on going forever.

Butch taught more in life than I could’ve ever imagined. I will never forget the first day I met him a little over 12 years ago and every day we spent together after that.

You were my teacher and my best friend.

You taught me from the beginning, and I’m convinced you stayed here to watch me ride through college. You were my favorite thing to come back home to.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all the peppermints I collect from restaurants to give you. But, what I do know is, there was a bucket of peppermints waiting for you before you entered the endless green pastures.

I could go on for days about how much Butch changed my life, and I will cherish him forever. There will never be another quite like Butch.

Foaled in 1989, Zippos Tiger Bar was bred and raised by Reynolds Inc. in Lexington, Nebraska. The gelding was by the late Zippos Mr Good Bar and part of the stallion’s first foal crop. Originally purchased by the late Rodney Miller, Butch was then bought by Ann Admonius and sent to Troy Compton to begin his riding career.

In 1991, Troy Compton and Butch won the Two-Year-Old Western Pleasure at the Tom Powers Futurity in Berrien Springs, MI and the duo would go on to win the Tom Powers Triple Challenge. In 1992, the pair would win an AQHA World Championship in Junior Western Pleasure when the gelding was just a three-year-old.

“Butch was the horse that made me,” Troy Compton remembers, who trained him from the very beginning. “We were doing something different in the western pleasure in the 90s, and Butch was a part of that. He was one of the first horses that had the deep smooth hock, and he did it with style.”

Compton continues, “He is one of the most talented horses I’ve ever ridden. He had a big personality and had great homes over the years. He found the right home at the end of his life, and I’d like to thank the Alderman Family and Jim McKillips for taking such good care of him.”

Zippos Tiger Bar saw winning performances with Troy Compton, Ann Admonius, Joetta (Meredith) Bell, Joe Jeane, and Aubrey Alderman.

In 1994, Joetta Bell won the 12-14 Youth Western Pleasure on him at the Congress. “He was one of the greatest pleasure horses of all time, and I had the gift of riding him when I was so young. He taught me what that great feel is like at a very young age and frankly, set a standard for all of my future horses that was nearly unattainable. After riding Butch, nothing felt comparable. I’m thankful for the ride. Troy and I were so close and had such a fun time together riding Butch.”

In 2009, Butch was purchased by the Alderman family and returned to Berrien Springs 18 years after winning the Tom Powers Futurity and won the Walk-Trot with young Aubrey Alderman. In 2014, we spoke to Aubrey about how much Butch means to her: “Obviously, he’s my best friend, and it’s like having a celebrity as a best friend. People are always coming up to his stall at shows to pet him, telling me stories I’ve never heard, so I’ve gotten to meet a lot of new people just from having Butch.”

Zippos Tiger Bar completed his show career in 2014 with Aubrey by placing 12th in Youth Hunt Seat Equitation at the AQHYA World Championship Show when he was 25 years old. Butch was then retired on the family farm of Jim McKillips in Beloit, Wisconsin. He would earn multiple Congress Championships in Open and Youth Western Pleasure. Throughout his 23-year show career, Butch earned over 885 AQHA points in Open, Youth, and Amateur classes, competing in eight different events.

Our sincerest condolences go out to everyone involved with Zippos Tiger Bar’s amazing life. Please view a slideshow below of Butch over the course of his career and retirement.