Frank T. Hopkins
(photo courtesy -
American Heritage Center,
University of Wyoming)
"Even if most riders today don't know who he was, his knowledge and experiences have been the basis for established concepts and proper horse keeping in the world of modern distance riding. He always took care of his horses first."

Gretchen Patterson
North American
Trail Ride Conference
Region 4 Judge
Frank T. Hopkins'
show-riding gear: hand-tooled,
walrus-hide boots by Shipley
(heels lined with baby kangaroo
fur for trick riding); and bridle,
made by Hopkins himself, inset
with mother-of-pearl, and used
only in parades.
(photo courtesy -
American Heritage Center,
University of Wyoming)
"Frank Hopkins breaks down barriers of time
and place, from Wyoming and Vermont to Aden and Arabia, from then 'til now. He gathers in the world. And along with himself, Frank T. Hopkins still causes us to dream about adventure and a beautiful horse outstripping the wind."
 
  Biographer Charles B. Roth considered him the "supreme rider." Famed western historian J. Frank Dobie listed him in his homage to the country's best and last true mustangers, and Albert Harris dedicated two chapters to him in his famed book, Blood of the Arab.

According to the U.S. Remount Service Journal of 1936, he competed in and won over 400 long-distance races, including a legendary 3,000-mile endurance ride across the Arabian Desert in 1890 on his mustang stallion, Hidalgo.

Now a popular Touchstone Pictures' movie has been based on his life and legend.

Still, few have ever heard the name Frank Hopkins.

Welcome to the official tribute site to America's great distance rider and early-day champion of the mustang horse.

This photo, taken on the D. Stillman Estate in 1951, is the last known
photo of Hopkins, mounted, before his death that year. At 86, he still had a great seat!
(photo courtesy - American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming)

On this site, sponsored by the Horse of the Americas registry and the Institute of Range and the American Mustang (IRAM), we will get a glimpse into Hopkins' life and career as recounted in books and articles by such historians as Dobie and Dr. Ruy D'Andrade; we will also share excerpts from Hopkins' long-lost, unpublished typescripts; and today's mustang preservationists, distance riders, old-time cowboys, authors, and historians will share thoughts on Frank T. Hopkins and how his legend and legacy continues to inspire.

Many trail and endurance riders have long wondered if Hopkins' own words on horsemanship and distance technique have survived in any form. In our Spanish Mustangs area, "Hopkins Horse Sense" will make those words available and might provide some insight into how the man related to White-Y, Dunny Joe, Blueskin, Darkie, Chenanko, Hidalgo, and other "Indian ponies" he cared for and competed on.

Frank T. Hopkins' shaking hands with Bud Tobel, his opponent,
after a hard riding contest, which he won. The horse is "Gypsy Boy," descendant
from the little indian mare "White Y." This stallion weighed a little over 900 and
Mr. Hopkins claimed he had the best set of running gear ever placed under a horse.
(photo courtesy - The Horse, March-April 1935)

Distance riding has changed dramatically since the late 1800s when Hopkins was a model of humane horsemanship in a sport of "hard drivers" and dead horses left in ditches. Today, distance racing is a whole new game and we'll visit some of the best representatives of the equestrian sport.

As conservators of America's first true horse (Spanish Mustang, Barb, Cayuse, Original Indian Horse, whatever name we give him) and his rightful range land, we wish to pay tribute to the man who was, above all things, a proponent of mustang preservation and promotion at a critical time, and so we'll share historical and genetic research on the breed that Hopkins called the most significant animal on the North American continent.

Special thanks to Dr. Deb Bennett, Director, Equine Studies Institute, Dr. Sponenberg at Virginia Tech, Dr. Paul Hutton at the University of New Mexico, the HOA, the Spanish Mustang Registry, American Indian Horse Registry, American Paint Horse Association, the National Cowboy Museum and Western Heritage Museum, the Brislawn family from Wyoming, Dayton O. Hyde and his Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, and to our relatives in the Oglala-Lakota Nation, South Dakota. Pilamaya!

Extra special thanks to natural artist and graphic designer, Natalya Zahn, for all the great work. And to Mack Brislawn of Laramie who has put more miles on his truck than a Hopkins ride, following the FTH trail and sending us rare photos, brand registrations, and other materials.

This site is a tribute to the legend and lore of Frank Hopkins, and a celebration of the horses that he rode then, and we ride today.

In the words of our fellow Mustanger, Tom Hebert, "Frank Hopkins breaks down barriers of time and place, from Wyoming and Vermont to Aden and Arabia, from then 'til now. He gathers in the world. And along with himself, Frank T. Hopkins still causes us to dream about adventure and a beautiful horse outstripping the wind."

Fire the starting gun.
Welcome to Frankhopkins.com
 
  

this site sponsored by
The Horse of the Americas Registry,
& IRAM - the Institute of Range and the American Mustang

email:info@frankhopkins.com