Willow Brook Farms really starts with Colonel James W. Fuller, the man who had the vision to assemble a number of farms in the Catasauqua area, eventually ending up with close to 1800 acres, where he eventually resided. As the President of the Fuller Company and other industrial concerns, he pursued many dreams. One of his dreams at the time was to have some of the finest horses in the country. He also at one time, just before his untimely death, purchased the largest Percheron in the world from Belgium. However, the real history of Willow Brook, its rich horse history and the breadth and depth of its breeding program is totally owed to C. Thomas Fuller.
1930 Newspaper Photo of Belgium Horse.
An American Dream
As a child, C.T. Fuller grew up doing chores on horseback on the family’s Farm. After serving in World War II and earning a college education, Fuller returned to Willow Brook with his wife Alexandra, and their three children Holly, Peter, and Victoria. In the early 1950s, the couple’s oldest daughter, Holly, began developing a fondness for horses. It was an affection that was developing quickly and what Tom Fuller ultimately credits with bringing horses back to Willow Brook.
An American Quarter Horse Breeder
Although horses were beginning to call Willow Brook home, it wasn’t until a stallion named Joe Cody came along that Fuller and Willow Brook’s place in history were secured. In 1964, Tom purchased Joe Cody and centered Willow Brook’s breeding program around the stallion. As a sire, Joe Cody’s progeny was fierce in the reining arena. The 1952 sorrel stallion sired 324 foals including 13 AQHA champions and successfully established the Willow Brook legacy that includes American Quarter Horse greats such as High Proof, Top Sail Cody, Benito Paprika and a host of others.
As an owner, Tom was connected to some 185 performers, which earned him more than 3,500 AQHA points. He developed 10 AQHA Champions and 15 all-around winners. As a breeder, his record is even more impressive with 736 foals, champions in the show arena and performers on the racetrack.
An American Authority
As a professional, Fuller integrated his passion for horses into his career as a journalist and photographer. The original publisher of equine publications Practical Horseman and Performance Horseman, Fuller was equally successful with his photography endeavors. His photography graced the cover of several editions of The Quarter Horse Journal – and his advertisements appeared on the back of the magazine for more than 20 years. Fuller also contributed greatly to the production of ‘The Horse America Made,’ a film demonstrating the beauty and diversity of the American Quarter Horse.
AQHA Back Cover from 1972
AQHA Back Cover from 1975
An American Tribute
Throughout his involvement within the American Quarter Horse Association, Fuller served on numerous AQHA committees and in 1987 was distinguished as Vice President for AQHA. In 1989, Fuller and his American Quarter Horse legend, Joe Cody were inducted into the National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame. In 1995, the famed stallion was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, and in 2001, Fuller was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame.
Click here for AQHA article on C.T. Fuller.