Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Need For Speed

You guys touched on a subject that is near and dear to my heart! The need for speed in my family's breeding program. My step-dad used to say that "There is no such thing as a horse that is too fast". I have to agree! Cutting horse and probably Working Cowhorse people may disagree with me on this point...There is such a thing as a horse with too much "cow". Having a horse that will watch a cow is important to us, but too much of a desire to work a cow makes it awful hard to get things done. So we try to select bloodlines that are "cowy" but not so aggressive that they can't think of anything except getting into the dirt and working a cow back and forth.

But about that "bred to run" thing...
It has always amazed me how two sires, noted for their speed and for producing speed became the "magic cross" that created an entire line of ssssllllloooowwwww moving horses. Individually, they sired Triple A running horses. Crossing their bloodlines produced Triple A running horses. And yet, most of the AQHA show world rides their bloodlines in the slowest class possible-Western Pleasure.

I'm talking about Three Bars...

And Leo...
Boy, they don't look much like modern day Western Pleasure horses do they? But their blood created one of modern day Western Pleasure's most notable founding sires, Zippo Pat Bars...
ahhh...humm....A Triple A Race Horse!!!

And heaven forbid...Some fool crossed that running horse on one of those nasty foundation-bred mares and created, Zippo Pine Bar...
Pardon my sarcasm, when it comes to how a lot of people perceive foundation bred horses. The Quarter Horse started out being bred for one thing and pretty much one thing only...speed! Those guys back then, liked a good looking horse as much as we do today, but they certainly did not discriminate against an ugly sucker, as long as he/she was fast enough to win. That is why you see lots of line-breeding and in-breeding when you start looking back at bloodlines. These guys were trying to "fix" a certain characteristic and that was speed. People are still doing the same thing today...people pick a few bloodlines that work well for what they want them too and they continue to cross those lines trying to "fix" certain characteristics...cutting horses, reining horses, western pleasure horses...color breeders. We aren't any different now that they were 100 years ago. I just don't think we are as good at it as they were back then.

Anyway...
Apparently, by the time Zippo Pine Bar's foals took over the western pleasure ring people were realizing that this "fast horse going slow" thing was working. The best breeders probably also were noting that fast and foundation were going hand in hand. So the next generation of pleasure horses created included Zippo Pine Bar's son, Zips Chocolate Chip...
I really like this horse's bloodlines. They took "run" and added even more. Zip's dam's pedigree includes Jaguar(AAA), Leo, Flying Bob and Chubby right there in her first 5-generations. Well, heck, everything on that mare goes back to foundation running stock.

Now Zippo Pat Bars would have been renowned for creating a line of western pleasure horses if the only one he had ever produced was Zippo Pine Bar, but he didn't stop at just one. He proved that is wasn't just a fluke by creating a multitude of western pleasure greats. He also produced; Superior Halter offspring, NRHA money earners, NCHA money earners, race money-earners, and on and on and on.

Another notable son of his is The Invester...
The Invester's dam was an intensely line-bred Peter McCue mare. She was also a grand-daughter of King-P234. Now there is often a misconception that King horses can't run. Honestly, the reason this happened was because King's offspring and descending lines were noted "cow-horses". By the time King became famous, a lot of the spotlight was off of the race-track and in the arena and show ring. Crossed back on running stock, the King-bred horses could run. But that is a story for another day.;) However, Peter McCue was a race-horse and he begat race horses. If you look at the bloodlines with Peter McCue, you find that they crossed these horses back on themselves to the point where most breeders were probably holding their breaths that they weren't gonna get a 2-headed, 6-legged monster. They wanted to "fix" the speed that the Peter McCue line produced.

Now, I don't think that Zippo Pat Bars' legacy was an accident. People obviously thought at the time that this cross of Three Bars and Leo was a good thing. I think they also realized that certain crosses, what we now consider foundation bred, were a good nick. Because Zippo Pat Bars was born in 1964 and the very next year this stallion was born...
The ever-flashy...Sonny Dee Bar.

Sonny Dee Bar is a product of the magic Three Bars/Leo cross on the topside(He is a great-grandson to both of them) and out of a heavily Midnight Jr.-bred mare(He is a great-grandson, twice, of Midnight Jr.). It just doesn't get any better than that in my book.

So what does all of this have to do with my little speed demon???
Well, it opens a lot of doors. Since I don't do barrel racing futurities, Shooter and I have a few years to fill in before he goes on to see if he will be or wants to be a barrel horse. Maybe I can garner a few Western Pleasure points on him before we crack open on the cans.

I love old cowboy sayings and this one seems appropriate for today...

"It is easier to ride a fast horse slow than it is to try to make a slow horse fast!!"

12 comments:

Andrea said...

We have a few Sonny Dee bar horses here and they are cowy!! Funny huh? And I always tried to stay away from Leo horses because they tended to have a bit of a loupy side. That racing blood I guess!! LOL!!!

I was always told when I was breakinga colt that you had to go fast before you could go slow!!

Fun post!! I love AQHA horse history and pedigree.

kdwhorses said...

I loved this past, great history, thanks so much!

I agree, speed is awesome!
I love the quote, and give it a hearty AMEN!! Like this Grey horse, there was nothing fast to him! I did finally find a pretty medium lope on him, but had to push to get it! LOL!

Paige said...

This is one cutting person that will agree with you about how too muc cow can be a pain in the ass---it can make them damn near uncontrollable to get them trained well enough to show.

Dialed back a hair, is perfect for me.

I do not need speed. I need quick. Insterestingly, barrel people are snapping up Slybabies because they think they have both--guess we will soon know, as they are coming of age to find out. I am glad to see it though--jsut because he is bred to cut through and through does not mean those same attributes cannot be used in other fields

fssunnysd said...

Love the retrospective! I poured through old AQHA magazines (back when they were an inch thick & full of all sorts of fun stuff) as a kid, and boy do those pictures bring back memories. Friends and I would sit around and discuss the merits of various bloodlines (can you say 4-H horse paper projects?) and heckling one another about our favorites. Of course, most of us had ponies & grade horses of no particular breeding, so it was a pretty fruitless discussion in the end - lol!

Interesting though, all the yelping about the "new" breeding now versus the old foundation style, when the serious bloodline folks are still testing the waters for the next successful, repeatable cross for their chosen discipline. You hit the nail on the head there.

cdncowgirl said...

This is the kind of post that reminds me that I wanted to e-mail you! lol
I'll be sending one tonight :)

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Andrea-Leo's certainly do have a tendency to be loupy. We have several(all the the same mare-she was Leo3) and they can be the pits. They are reactive and can be overly irritated by the dumbest things. But they are all performers, so I grit my teeth and work with it.;)

K-Pleasure horse!LOL.

Paige-I looked at Sly's bloodlines-most people will see Doc Bar and say cutting, but Doc Bar was a fluke too. His sire was Triple A and his dam was a ROM racing mare. With 5 crosses to Lightning Bar and 2 crosses to Sugar Bars right there on his 5-generation pedigree-there is no reason why Sly's foals shouldn't be able to run. Also, the barrel racing world may love it's long and lean TB-type horses, but barrel racing isn't a straight track and they have found out that if you don't put some "cow" back in the bloodlines, they can't rate and turn a barrel good enough. Nor do they hold up as well! I would love to hear that Sly's babies are doing well in the barrel racing world-please keep us posted.

Sunny-I did the same thing-LOL. uhhh-Guess I am still doing it.
There are "modern" bloodlines that I love and TB's out there that will nick beautifully with QH's-I just don't think they are going to find any "undiscovered" magic crosses. Go back a few generations on any successful horse and you will find that the same bloodlines pop up time after time. See back then only successful horses were bred, sometimes it was a "conformation be damned" deal, but irregardless of how awful the horse's conformation, if they were successful at something, people figured it was worth repeating.

I'll be looking for ya Cdn.;)

Paige said...

Oh I know Doc Bar was a fluke--I was referring to the rest of his pedigree --everyone on there is a cutter and/or producer. He has a roping sister and a sister who makes reiners for Tim McQuay too. My favorite of them is Docs Haida, who has world championships in cutting and western pleasure of all things--

It all comes together to make them so versatile---one thing I would not expect to see them do is rope as they just wont have the size, but I know of one that does have it and that is where she is headed. No telling sometimes what you might get, no matter how well planned it is

Laura said...

Great post - it is fun to read about the AQHA bloodlines - it is hard to find this stuff elsewhere online!

I find it hard as a new-ish horseperson to decipher bloodlines, because everyone thinks that their horse is well-bred.

A lady at the barn has 2 colts with Doc Olena and Smart Little Lena bloodlines. What about Doc Bar? What is the history there? If you were looking for material for another post, that is!

:-)

Paige said...

Doc Bar was bred to run, but could not get out of his own way to do it--could nto run his way out of a paper bag. He ended up in the right hands, and accidentally, history was made in the cutting world.

His best cross was on Poco Lena, who is truly a heartbreaking story--google her, you will cry. They had two babies, Doc O'Lena and Dry Doc and they both won the futurity and went on to change the cutting world forever.

Adventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

Great post. I love bloodline talk and as always, it comes back to form to function. I love and respect horses that cross over to multiple disciplines. Shining Spark bred horses are a good example and his amazing dam Diamonds Sparkle. Reining, cutting, WCH, roping, versatility events, you name it, they could do it. They are good solid, athletic horses. Todays horse sports have become so specialized that the horses have to be typey to compete at top levels. I love foundation bred QHs and appreciate the influence that they have had on todays horses but generally speaking, a horse that still has up close FQH lines can not compete at an international level in western pleasure, reining, cutting, wch, etc. BUT for the needs of 99.9% of people they are jack of all trades and the kings of versatility. Hollywood Dun It is a top reining sire and he heavily influenced the reiners of today but if he competed today rather than 15 or so years ago, he would not have gone beyond regional competition. Horses have evolved with time, but not always in a good way.

Thank you so very much for your comments. I really am taken aback by all the support my blog friends have given me. Your thoughts really are appreciated.

tiller said...

call me

Train Wreck said...

Girl you need a forum! Holy crap what don't you know!! Great info! We have a Doc o' Lena mare.