|Gray Barham was born April 18, 1907, one of 14 children born to Byrd & Bert Barham of Milan, Tennessee. Gray began his education at an early age as an employee of Christian Barham. He was taught methods of horse care and training during his 20 year apprenticeship at the Barham Farm, and it is there he also learned the art of tail straightening, for which he would later gain a legendary reputation. While working for Christian Barham, he exhibited a horse for the first time at the age of 18.
Several well known trainers employed Gray over the next years of his career, giving him the opportunity to hone his skills and gain considerable knowledge. Green Stables (Clarence Center), John Seville, Jim McCullough and John Harrington were all employers of Gray in this period of his life.
Beginning in 1942 Gray operated his own training stable in Canfield, Ohio. He spent 11 years there honing his skills and gaining a name for himself in Northeast Ohio. In 1953, Gray joined the Mesmer sisters at Sandy Knolls Horse Farm in North Jackosn, Ohio. Together they operated a public training stable and breeding farm. He remained at Sandy Knolls for 32 years. Gray spent 45 years, over half of his life, in Northeast Ohio.
Gray left a loving legacy after his death on October 8, 1987: his sons, Herbert, Owen "Skip" & Kenneth Barham and daughters Maggie & Aletha, along with many other family members who are proud of their connection to this loving man.
Many young horsemen apprenticed with Gray, including: Jack Pepe, Charles Wilson and Willie C. Glover. Some of the horses associated with Gray include: Moon Maiden, Bold Strutter, Best Dressed, Dainty Blossom, Crescent Genius, Reverie's The Maestro & Grassland's Rancher.
Gray was a member of the American Saddlebred Horse Association, American Horse Shows Association, UPHA* & the NAACP
Gray was honored during his life with many awards, and was also recognized posthumuosly. Included among these awards:
*United Professional Horseman's Association