Today we look back at how Hardin-Simmons University became known for its Six White Horses.
The team of horses started as a promotional gimmick to support the “world famous” Cowboy Band. As time progressed, the horses gained a following of their own. Dr. William O. “Doc” Beazley led the team of Six White Horses around Abilene, and together they met countless kids while attending parades, schools and vacation Bible schools.
Dr. Beazley believed that the horses were a great way to connect HSU to the rest of the Abilene community, which led to him writing a children’s book about the horses. Kids and parents alike would always ask if there were only six white horses. Thankfully, for the health of the animals, new horses were always being trained as the old ones would grow too old to perform and have to retire from the spotlight..
“The problem we have all the time is finding horses with the disposition that can work with children, can be hauled and look good,” Dr. Beazley said in 1990. The horses never did disappoint with their love for children and performance, and in 1972 Texas Gov. Preston Smith commissioned the riders of the Six White Horses “Ambassadors of Good Will.” The Six White Horses might have started as the Cowboy Band’s hooved sidekicks, but they have ultimately become a staple of HSU and West Texas culture.
The Six White Horses are housed at the Bill “Doc” Beazley White Horse Center located at 2802 Grape St. Debbie Jones, the current director, took over the program in 1998.