I think one of the reasons I find the Hancock horses so interesting is the strong opinions people have of them. Some sixty years after the death of the horse that started it all, they are a prevalent and potent bloodline that overall has not changed much, in looks or athletic ability. Joe Hancock was a freak of nature, much like his grandsire, Peter McCue.
When it comes to the temperment of the Joe Hancocks, a lot of things come into play. Joe himself was said to be quite the gentleman. There is nothing written or retold that indicates he posessed a rank attitude or a tendency to buck. In his get, a few indicators start to pop up that some of them might have the inclination. But a person has to take into consideration WHAT Joe was bred to during his breeding life at the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas.
Of the 155 registered get of Joe Hancock, nearly all of them were out of mares of Unknown parentage. Most likely these mares were mixes of mustang-type, TB and Morgan horses as much of that area used Army remount stallions to improve the local stock. Few ranches rode their mares at this time, so broodmares were often selected based soley on having riding-type conformation. Kind temperments and tractability just weren't real high on the list of considerations. This double dose of "cold-blood" probably brought out some traits in the resulting cross that might not have shown up if Joe had been selectively bred to pedigreed mares.
In spite of this fact, it seems that every Hancock that got the chance, proved it's capabilities. Stallions and geldings became sought after in the rodeo arena and the mares produced more consistently good using horses. It didn't really seem to matter what they were bred to either.
One of the chief complaints is that all Hancocks these days seem to be in-bred and line-bred...a huge mish-mosh of nothing but big, coarse horses that all go back to Joe Hancock. A lot of this can be contributed to one family(of people) who rodeoed to win and when they looked around what they saw people winning on was Joe Hancock horses.
But Joe Hancock did not have to be in-bred or even linebred to leave an effective mark in the race or performance horse world...or even the halter world for that matter. Quite frankly, a little of Joe went a long way. And that is most remarkably seen by the impact that his mares have made, even in modern families. The problem is we seldom recognize it, because these horses are not roan, not rank and certainly not ugly.
A typey daughter of Joe Hancock named Anne Jo...
Anne Joe produced ROM Performance Offspring, Race ROM offspring and race money earners, NCHA money earners and Halter point earners.
Another noted daughter of Joe Hancock was Joan...
Joan(pronounced JoAnn) was owned by Walter Merrick and produced the likes of Hot Heels(X Midnight Jr). Hot Heels gave us Bar Heels and Bob's Folly, full brothers by Three Bars. She also gave us Johnny Do It and Mona Leta, a full brother/sister duo by Leo. As well as Mary Sunshine by Top Deck. All were reknowned race horses of their time, running AAA or AAA+.
Joan also gave us Steel Bars by Three Bars...
Steel Bars did run AA on the tracks but was bought from Walter Merrick specifically to become a halter horse. He won the 1957 Hi-Point Halter Stallion Award(the equivalent of today's World Championship). His son, Aledo Bar turned right around and won the Award in 1959. Steel Bars is still found in many modern halter and performance bloodlines...
Noted reining horse and sire of reining horses, Colonels Smokingun, APHA also registered as Colonels Smoking Gun, AQHA...AKA Gunner. Gunner's dam is a grand-daughter of Aledo Bar by Steel Bars. It's a ways back there, but good horses come from good horses and the Hancocks are noted for being hard stoppers.;)
I didn't want to make each post too long, so I still have to tell you about MY favorite Joe Hancock daughter...her impact is felt in spades in the barrel horse industry!!