If there was ever such a thing as a gentle giant, it was undoubtedly Peggy Knaus’s 1998 Bay Overo Stallion All Time Fancy, who she called Nike. The stallion by CF Wicked Willie and out of Forced to Be Fancy–with his beautiful long trot and the personality of a puppy–earned his heavenly wings on October 19, 2022, leaving behind a legacy as handsome as he was; he changed the APHA industry, the expectation of how Hunter Under Saddle stock horses could move, and the lives of many who have been blessed to know him and his offspring, especially the lives of the Knaus family.
When Peggy was looking for an all-around horse for a customer in 1999, the trainer who had All Time Fancy at the time suggested she take a look at the youngster while at the Paint Congress. She did and liked what she saw. It took her about two weeks to find a partner with whom to purchase him. She had him paid for, vetted out, and in the trailer before she realized he wasn’t a gelding.
“I had no intention of owning a stallion. I never saw myself as a breeder. Keeping him for me wasn’t something I considered until I learned he had testicles and understood just how special he was,” Peggy says. “I thought he’d be a western all-around horse, but he just never quit growing. It was really his intention to become what he did, and I’m so thankful he picked us to take this journey with him.”
As Nike continued to grow… and grow… and grow…, Peggy rode him to many wins as a two-year-old and a junior contender in the Hunter Under Saddle. He would eventually stop growing at 17’1, but it was more than his height that made him turn heads. His long, flowing trot was a sight to be seen, but perhaps even more outstanding was his canter. He had no thoroughbred influence in his pedigree, so his canter had more stay than the typical Hunter Under Saddle horse at the time. He was shorter backed, lower hocked, and stronger hipped than anything else in the pen. And he loved to show.