In 1991, Swayze bought Tammen, an Egyptian Arabian stallion, from Tom McNair and during the next year the stallion was honored with several halter championships. “Over the years, it happened–people gradually started seeing that I am serious about this and I care more about the horses than my little image. I am accepted now, so going Grand Champion there was like a big event for me,” Swayze said about winning at Arabian Horse Association’s U.S. Nationals.
Swayze owned more than a dozen purebred Arabians and became an active breeder. Tammen, Swayze’s 1982 Grand Champion stallion, sired 175 foals. A popular photograph of Swayze with Tammen, who died in 1999, was made into a poster and established as a youth fundraiser during the early 1990s. The poster continues to help fund AHA Youth Programs. To request a poster, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (303) 696-4500.
Although Swayze’s bond with horses started as a child, he did not fully realize the potential relationship with a horse until later. “When you get a bond happening with a horse, it’s interesting. I was raised a cowboy and did some rodeo and stuff and thought I was a horseman–found out I knew nothing. As I have gotten into these horses (Arabians), I have realized how far you can go with them,” Swayze said in a 1994 interview.
Swayze’s star power helped bring attention to the Arabian breed and his passion for the horse earned him respect in the horse community, officials from the Arabian Horse Association said.