Friday, February 27, 2009

The Daughter's Of Joe Hancock, Part 2

Well, as you can tell, I have a real soft spot for the Hancocks. We have seven that carry the blood. The geldings are what people say they are, big and kinda coarse, but extremely athletic. We even have one who likes to buck people off. I give him a bit of a break, because he had some physical issues that probably led to him starting to buck, but it is the Hancock that makes him so good at it.;-) The mares are much prettier and thankfully smaller, but no less athletic or cowy.

So back to those Hancock mares. Through the decades they have just kept churning out good horses. Their influence has even started separate and distinct families. Like the Hancock/Driftwood nick. Miss Hancock 1 was the dam of ROM Performance Offspring and the mother of Hancock Belle. When Hancock Belle was bred to Driftwood an entirely new family emerged and to this day is highly sought after in their own right and also synonymous with Hancock breeding

Driftwood Ike...

And his full brother Speedywood. These two stallions' get and grand-get have probably carried as many cowboys to the paywindow as the Hancocks have.

The late, great Sun Frost, a maternal grandson of Driftwood Ike...
Was a well known sire of arena horses in this area long before the appearance of Christie Petersen and her amazing barrel horse, French Flash Hawk, AKA Bozo brought him into the PRCA limelight. Here's a little secret...The horse's the Cowan's raised were always considered a little on the "tough" side. These were horses that they expected to use on the ranch all week, haul to rodeos all weekend and maybe do a little match racing with too. Anything less than a "tough" horse did not hold up. They also utilized the blood of John Red, South Dakota's first AAA racehorse in their broodmare band. John Red is the son of Roan Hancock by Joe Hancock.

Another highly renowned all-around sire is Two Eyed Jack...

He sported Lady Hancock, a daughter of Joe Hancock as his maternal grand-dam.

Okay, by now you are either saying...enough already, we get it...or you have quit reading?? Hope not...

My all-time favorite Joe Hancock daughter is a mare that does not even have a photo in existence so we know what she looks like...and that is Julie W.

Julie W produced Superior Performance offspring, AQHA High Point Performance offspring(today's equivalent of a World Champion), ROM Performance offspring, Race ROM offspring and race money earners.

Although everything Julie W produced a number of greats like Flutter, Julie Croton, Lena Horn, Mora Leota, Okie Twister, Peter John and Sugar Horn, two of her daughter's managed to revolutionize or at least significantly impact a wide variety of events.

The first is none other than the diminutive...Flit... (Sorry, the picture is so small, it's all I could find on the net) Flit's get accumulated 2 ROM in Race, 3 High Point Performance Awards, 11 Superiors in Performance and multiple Superiors in Halter.

Primarily she was bred to Sugar Bars, perpetuating probably the greatest triangle of bloodline 'nick's' the equine industry has ever known...The Hancock/Leo/Sugar Bars guarantee of success cross.

Flit's greatest Sugar Bars offspring include Bar Flit and Flit Bar, at least in terms of my interests.

Flit Bar was a disappointment on the track and was never shown, but his good looks and exceptional bloodlines earned him a chance to reproduced. And boy, once the barrel racers found out what he could produce...they flocked to him and his get.

His most recognizable son, recently deceased, but whose own get have flooded the barrel racing circuit is the beautiful, Fire Water Flit... A more "foundation-bred" barrel sire you probably will never see again. A son of Flit Bar-who carried the incredible mix of Sugar Bars, Leo and Joe Hancock up close and personal. His dam was Slash J Harletta-a daughter of Harlan(sired by Hank H by King and out of the immortal Dixie Beach by Beetches Yellow Jacket) and out of a double bred-Midnight mare. This horse just makes me drooolllllll. There is not a single nick in this horse's breeding that was not proven to cross extraordinarily well with Joe Hancock. Joe Hancock bred to a Beetches Yellow Jacket daughter produced Joan. She in turn was bred to Midnight and produced Hot Heels. And the King/Joe Hancock nick is coming up here real quick.

But, Flit Bar's contribution to the barrel racing world is not based solely on FWF. Another highly renowned son is Dr. Nick Bar... Dr. Nick Bar one of the very few(he might be the second) sire to have qualified his rider for and ran at the NFR and then had his own get do the same...
Yep, it's Martha again. This mare just carries the best of ALL the barrel racing bloodlines. I covet her!!

Okay, so enough of the running horses, sort of!

Flit was bred to King P-234 twice and produced two sons-King Flit and King's Pistol...
King's Pistol ws the 1957 NCHA World Champion Cutting Horse and founded one of the first great families of cutting horses. The majority of his get went directly to the cutting pen, but he did sire one AAA race horse, Pistol Mike. True to the King family tradition, it was the produce of King's Pistol's mares that were most appreciated. Crossed on other cutting lines, they repeatedly outproduced themselves. And one of his best was was Pistol Lady 2 Be-when bred to Tanquery Gin, she produced the sensational House Mouse, who earned over $700,000 in NCHA competition. Pistol Lady 2 Be also produced Miss Silver Pistol(by Doc's Hickory), the 1985 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Champion. Miss Silver Pistol is none other than the dam of...


And just because I cannot leave out one of my favorite show and performance stallions...

Yes, the halter world and to some extent the show-performance world has been affected by this son of Juleo, another daughter of Julie W's and a full sister to Flit. It's hard to find an event that does not have some Otoe in it. He changed the halter world, affected the show world, produced some race horses and is well-thought of in the roping and barrel racing world as well. Again, we see the dynamic combination of Joe Hancock/Leo and Sugar Bars. Effectively, he could be considered a genetic equal to Flit Bar since their mother's are full sisters and they have the same sire.

I hope I haven't bored you to tears with this walk down memory lane. There is still the other aspect of the Hancocks that does involve the sons of Joe Hancock and how so many have become so heavily inbred and linebred. And how their reputations came to be...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Daughters Of Joe Hancock...

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!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Worn Out

Sorry guys, I had planned on getting the next part of the Hancock story wrote...

But walking for hours on end every day for the last 3 days is kicking my out of shape butt. My legs and shoulders are aching and all I want is a couple of ibuprofen and BED!!

This baiting by hand is turning into much more of a project than we had anticipated. Lots more holes than we thought and many, many more acres than I had origionally thought. The prairie dogs have taken over about 200 acres all told...

Yea, and this is pretty much what the noisy little buggers do the whole time we are walking. It might not be so agonizing, except that this is just the baiting process. We still have to go back and do it all over again with the poison. Grrrrr!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Much Maligned Hancocks

Few bloodlines inspire as much admiration or as much cursing or snorts of derision as the working horse line of Joe Hancock horses. Depending on what side of the fence you sit on, they are either the epitome of the working horse world or they are nothing but a bunch of big, coarsely-made broncs.

A Hancock is NOT always what they seem. Joe Hancock sired a relatively uniform set of get, big, with plenty of bone and plenty of speed...and then the family branched.

The only place I know to make any sense of this is in the beginning, with old Joe himself.

I'm sure that almost everyone has heard the stories, turned legand, some turned urban myth about Joe Hancock. It is true, he was a hair's breath away from being gelded. It is also true that he has draft blood...the consistent bone, feet and size we see on most Hancock bred horses today is no accident. On the top, Joe Hancock is a son of John Wilkins, who is a son of none other than Peter McCue. But Joe got a good dose of speed from his bottom side too. The Mundell Mare, his maternal grand-dam was also the dam of a noted sprinter in the early 1900's, named Jeff. The Mundell Mare was bred to a fine riding-type Percheron. Most of us think of modern Percherons, but it is told with authority, that this particular Percheron was Ralph Wilson's personal riding horse, used to work cattle and even match raced. I have always found it interesting and petty, that people make such a big deal about the 1/4 draft blood that Joe Hancock had when it is pretty obvious in some other founding stallions were not of the purist blood either....

Old Fred being the first one who comes to my mind. His breeding is unknown and he was origionally used as a freight horse. There is little except draft blood that will put this kind of size and bone on any horse. A smidgeon is all it takes.

But anyway, Joe Hancock was sent to race, and race he did. He was unbeatable. In his recorded race history, he was only beat one time at the 1/2 mile. His advantage was his ability to break so hard from the starting line. Those tremendous hips and powerful loin(thanks to his draft grand-daddy) rocketed him from stop to all out in one huge push. This is the trait that probably propelled the Hancocks from the race track to the arena. That and their size. Joe Hancock's size is a bit debated. Some say he was a solid 16H, but most agree he was probably between 15.2-15.3H. That is still a pretty good sized horse in my book.
Another hot topic is the look of the Hancocks. Joe Hancock himself was a good looking individual. It's true, that as he matured he thickened up and that is something we see in a lot of Hancock bred horses. The one's I have been around, keep right on growing and maturing until they are 6 to 8 years of age. That is pretty late by modern standards, now that most people want to see a fully developed 3y/o. There are several types of Hancock horse out there now as depicted by the three stallions I have pictured below. All are heavily in-bred and line-bred Joe Hancock.
I think if all Hancocks looked like this stallion, people would find little to fault them on...

But most look like this stallion...

Sadly, we also see this type...
Now, one thing I really want to point out...the red roan stallion, Drew's Hancock and the heavy blue roan stallion, Blue Apache Hancock are in fact...3/4 brothers. They have the same sire and their dams were sired by the same sire. Pretty interesting huh??

Blue Apache Hancock was featured on FUGLY(my introduction to that forum and not a pleasant experience) as everything that is wrong with foundation breeding. I have to say, the Hancock bred horses we have are bred the exact same way that his owner crosses bloodlines, and I don't think I have ever rode more athletic or intelligent horses. They are big, stout, fast and incredibly easy to train. Which is where I think a lot of people get into trouble with the Hancocks. But that is a discussion for the next post.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

An Absolutely Lazy Saturday

Oh there were several things I planned on doing today, but I got zero accomplished...except a good long nap.

I love naps! I just wished I wouldn't get the urge to have one at two or three in the afternoon. It kinda disrupts my evening rest then. But sometimes I just don't care. Afternoon naps are the best. Studies say that people who take at least two or three naps a week, even if they are only 20 to 30 minute naps, have a significantly reduced chance of having a heart attack in their lifetime. Hey, that's a good enough reason for me to indulge myself.

Napping is a family affair. I can remember taking little naps with my dad when I was a wee one. My mom used to come home from work for her lunch hour and take a quick little cat-nap. I know my grandma and grandpa(on my dad's side) used to take regular little afternoon naps. And finally, my step-dad used to come in for his lunch time and almost always took a nap before heading back outside.

Since only one person in my family has ever suffered a heart attack, maybe there is something to what the studies say. Oddly, my brother, who seldom, if ever, naps is the one who had the heart attack...several years ago. I'm kinda leaning toward the other factors in his life at the time that helped contribute to that.

I'll have three very busy days ahead of me though, so I am just building up energy. I have a limited time to get my prairie dogs fed. The weather has not really cooperated for me to get them hooked on yummy, fat grains of oats before switching to poisoned oats, that will hopefully get rid of 99% of them. They are just taking over and ruining a couple of our pastures. I worry about the horses stepping in a prairie dog hole or getting rattlesnake bit. The towns draw tons of rattlesnakes. Since our house and yard are between the two PD towns, we get more than our fair share of those buggers passing through.

After the prairie dogs have been poisoned, I'll have to farm over the towns to knock the mounds down and fill in the holes. Then if any survive, it will be easy to spot new mounds and I can use rodent bombs on those. That's all gonna kind of ruin Chris' fun of coming and shooting prairie dogs, but the neighbor has plenty and he won't mind if we placate our "redneck" side on his property.

It's time to move some of the ponies around too. Little Shooter is going to have to go to live at mom's a bit earlier than I had originally planned. I wasn't going to bring the two bred mares into town until the end of March, but after looking everyone over, I think I will bring them in within the next couple of weeks. My mare, Chunk has an obvious baby belly on her and is in very good condition, the other mare, Cowgirl, not so obvious yet if she is bred. I think getting them in and handling them regularly again, well before they foal will be better earlier than later. Both are maiden mares. It is always questionable how well those mares take to being handled or to having their babies handled at foaling time. Last year, everyone in the family got to watch Shooter being born and then to stand around and oohhh and ahhh over him, because Woofer is just fine with people around her and her baby. We don't take that chance with maiden mares. Everyone will just have to settle for a phone call and a report for the first couple of days. I am getting very excited to see the new babies. Just two and a 1/2 months until my mare is due to foal.

Oh, and I did get Shooter's registration papers back with my first pick. He is officially named, Fast Draw Dandy. The AQHA papers have changed again. I wasn't going to send in a picture of Shooter, but since receiving the new papers, they look very strange without a photo. Once Shooter sheds out and looks "pretty", I will take his glamour 3/4 shot and resend the papers in to have the photo added.

I have to say, I am looking forward to the next few days. The temps are supposed to be in the high forty's to low fifty's with plenty of sun. I'm ready for that.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Still Kickin'

Everything is back to normal on the river...well, except for where it flooded, that is going to take a few months and may never be the same as it was before.

Everything changes doesn't it?

Nothing new to post about and am kinda down in the dumps with the ups and downs of the weather. The nice days a person feels overwhelmed with the amount of things that need done, the crappy days are irritating now too.

My Honey was here for a couple of days...that is always nice. But he is off and running again, looking for work for his rigs. The crumbling economy has affected the oilfields more than anticipated. Slow-downs were predicted and prepared for...just not quite this much. Slow-downs=okay, screeching halt=:O. Most of it has to do with the failing economy, not the reduced value per barrel of oil. Even the oil giants are struggling to figure out how to proceed.

Which makes this economic recession....depression much different than many of the others that have come and gone. Usually, in times of recession the big guys still have the ability to buy out the small guys and keep right on trucking, not so this time. Lack of lending funds is crippling even large companies.

Same with the ranches around here. Seems anytime there is a recession, there is always a small rancher who ends up getting bought out by one of the bigger ranches, not so this time. There are several large ranches that are in serious trouble financially.

I was half joking on Mikey's blog one day about having to get some chickens, a couple pigs and a milk cow, but maybe it won't be a joke before this is all over??

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Big White Flooded

The Big White River is the river that borders my ranch and every year we steadily loose 5 to 10 to 15 feet of the river bank near the house. It's getting to be VERY NEAR the barns. The National Geographic proclaims this river as the crookedest river in the entire United States.

This year, she reared her ugly side and showed everyone what she was capable of. It all started last week really. The area got a heavy rain...2 to 3 inches. Normally, not a bad thing in these parts, but the ground is still frozen so rather than soak in, it all ran off...filling dams and the river. Again, normally not a problem, but the ice had not yet gone out of the river and all of this moisture wreaked havoc with the ice flow. As the ice broke up, it also jammed up on a curve and this is the result...

Above picture is ice chunks deposited in a field. The trees in the background are where the river bed is. It's a good 1/2 mile to those trees. The white ice chunks on the left are almost 2 feet thick. The brown ice chunk in the middle is 3 foot thick.

The picture below is along Highway 83. I am parked on a gravel road that is a little over a 1/4 mile away from the river(the tree line is the river). This entire field is littered with massive ice chunks. And this is the west side of Highway 83... This is a field and that is not the river at the front of the picture...this has all been washed away from the massive flooding. This new "channel" is no less than 20 feet deep. The small group of trees toward the top and left side of the picture is where someone's house stood. The ice took it out. The tree line on the right side of the picture is the river border and all of that white looking stuff is ice flow. Yep, there was another ice jam moving down the river while we watched. They had no idea which way it would go...follow the original river bed or come straight across this field and the new channels that had been cut.

I panned left of the picture above and this is the rest of the flooded field. Two more houses were flooded and a midnight rescue of 4 horses had to be executed by floodlight and with a pontoon boat. They got the horses out minutes before the ice jam hit the corrals... No one has ever seen the river do this much damage at one time. She is usually a slow eroder, not a massive flooder. Just a really weird weather combination that proved we will never control Mother Nature. This channel that has been cut is only one of two or three that were cut out. I have never seen anything like it.

We are lucky, this is below our ranch, so we haven't sufferered any damage. But they reported two more ice jams above our place that they are closely monitoring. One is moving, the other isn't. I hope they get broke up before they get near our place. We are on the high side, but still...

Interesting note...some of those ice chunks are 20 to 30 feet across and 3 feet thick...not counting the ones that have stacked on top of each other...

Mom and I figured they wouldn't be completely melted until at least the end of June. Crazy stuff!!

**Any of the pictures will enlarge if you click on them. I just couldn't get any one picture to capture the magnitude of the devestation.

Monday, February 16, 2009

He's Worth A MILLION Dollars!!

I wouldn't trade her for the world either!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bloodlines You Asked About...

I'm glad you guys enjoy the bloodlines posts. I thoroughly enjoy researching didn't really think I knew all that stuff off the top of my head did you?? LOL...No, I have to go back and research the data all the time.
Obviously, there are many, MANY bloodlines I have no personal experience with. So when it comes to those horses or bloodlines, I am like anyone else and have to go with the statistical evidence of their success. There are bloodlines that I have had limited exposure too or hear stories about from people that I know and trust.

Cdn: I am not familiar with The Barn Burner(by Impressive). I have heard the name before, but can't say that I have ever been around any of them.

The Two Eyed Jacks...since he was just down the road a piece(in Nebraska) a lot of his get and grand-get have ended up in this country. People like them. Howard Pitzer and Bob Jordan(where Frosty Feature stood most of his life) traded horses back and forth and Bob Jordan and an uncle of my uncle traded horses back and forth over the decades. So when my uncle's uncle passed away, my aunt and uncle purchased some of his mares. One of them was a Sandy Jack Jordan mare. The mare was bred at the time and the next spring she produced a bay filly. She was my favorite of the three foals that my aunt and uncle ended up with from those original mares.

A few years went by and I ended up riding that mare for my A&U. The intention was to show her in HUS. I did show her in HUS a couple of times and she placed both times, but I really felt that this mare had the potential to be a great barrel horse. She was awesome. I never got the chance to crack her wide open because she was only 4 the year I started hauling her. But I really, really felt that if I had been able to keep going with her, she would have been exceptional.

My brother traded breeding to the King stud in return for his pick of their foals and he picked a gelding out of the same Sandy Jack Jordan mare as the bay filly I ran barrels on. Although this gelding is big and a bit coarse, he is vera, vera fast and I started him on barrels too. He is an exceptional ranch gelding and could be finished out as a head horse with no problem. This year I am going to take him back to the barrels and get some runs on him. He is without a doubt one of my favorites out of our herd. So my experiences with the Two Eyed Jacks as barrel horses is very good.

Temperament wise the mare was always a bit different. She just had "that look", you know? She was never a bronc, but didn't particularly liked to be handled on the ground. I think that came from her sire as the other two fillies were similar and maybe a few "not so great" experiences while at the trainer's. The gelding is exceptionally quiet, all the way around. He does not have a big personality, but does not try to avoid people or contact. I suppose some of their lack of "all-out" personality has to do with the other side of their mother's breeding a bit too. She was Bert bred on the topside and the Bert's are a bit different than most-quiet and a bit dull, but tremendously athletic when they need to be. These two definitely got the Bert head...big and plain-LOL.

See any similarities between these two?....

Above is Two Eyed Jack and below is our Sandy Jack Jordan bred gelding.

I see a lot of resemblance along the topline. Our gelding has the same prominent little bump in his back, just before the croup as TEJ. It is not noticeable in this picture, but it is the first thing to show up if he loses any weight. Also, they have the same short croup. Some things just show up generation after generation.;)

Lady Andais asked me about the Coy's Bonanza line. . sorry, that's another line I just don't have any relevant experience with. I know I probably have ridden some or been around them over the years. That is one of the downfalls of working in a training barn, sometimes you get really nice horses in and never do get around to finding out how they are bred. Of course, that was so long ago, I may have at one time known more than I know know how the CRS is when you get older-LMAO.
He is a gorgeous horse though...
I found this article... online and it is one of the best I have seen about him. There is a particular statement that I really liked about the King-bred horses. Basically it says "that if Jesse Hankins had been more particular about the quality of mares King was bred too, King's get would have been more uniform and better". Coy's Bonanza never stood to outside mares. His owner carefully selected the mares and bred strictly for quality. That is the kind of breeding programs I love to see!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More On FL Lady Bug

Sometimes it is hard to believe that one horse can have such an impact on an entire industry. But this mare did and continues to do so today, some 30 years after she has passed away.

But Lady Bug was no fluke. Her breeding indicates she was a finely crafted vessel and was lucky enough to land with people who realized what she could produce. It took them a little while, true, they sold her and got her back a few times, but then when they started their little ranch, they weren't really into race horses. Pari Mutual betting was outlawed when the Barne's first came home with her, so her first few foals were bred to be arena horses. Those foals still managed to garner 2 AAA and 1 AAA+ race ratings. Rocky Bert(a son of Bert) was an outstanding tie down roping horse and rated AA on the tracks. When they realized what they had, they went around buying back all of Lady Bug's foals and then waited until they could buy her back too. Once they got her back in 1964, she stayed with them until she died. She produced three of her foals after the age of 20 and they are probably her most accomplished get.

So where did all that speed and consistent reproduction of that speed come from?
Yep, we come right back to those Peter McCue's.

But there was a lot more going on in terms of inbreeding than just the Peter McCue bloodline. Grab a beverage and check this out...

FL Lady Bug (linked to allbreed)

Lady Bug's sire was Sergeant and her dam was Yeager's Lady JA. YLja's sire was Will Stead. Sergeant and Will Stead were FULL brothers. So in human terms, YLja was bred to her uncle.

Both Sergeant and Will Stead were sired by Billy McCue and out of a mare named Silver. Buuuttttt...Silver and Billy McCue's dam, Sorrel Alice were also FULL sisters. So, again, in human terms, Billy McCue was bred to his aunt to give us Sergeant and Will Stead.

That gives us two generations of inbreeding. Now...the dam of Silver and Sorrel Alice was a mare named Maud. Maud was sired by Old Billy. Maud's dam was a daughter of Old Billy. So Maud's sire was also her grandsire.

Oh yea, it goes back farther too...Maud's sire, Chickasha Bob was a linebred Pony Pete on his dam's side. Pony Pete was sired by Barney Owens...the grandsire of Peter McCue.

The only line out of this inbred mix is Yeagers Lady JA's dam side. This is called the tail line. So see...FL Lady Bug was a perfect example of the perfect inbreeding program. You could cross her on anything and not loose those all important qualities that the previous breeders worked so hard to "fix" into her genetic code.

The question that begs to be answered is why such intensely inbred horses proved to be so successful, back then, when mostly what we see is crap being produced by some breeders today? In my opinion, it all boils down to quality. Percentages of blood mean nothing if the individuals who are reproducing are sub-standard to start with.

FL Lady Bug's inbred nick worked because her dam could be(and is by some) considered a "Blue Hen" mare in her own right. Yeager's Lady JA produced 18 foals in her life. ALL seven of her foals that went to the race track earned Register Of Merits and the one's that went to the show ring earned a Performance Register Of Merit and a Superior in Performance. Of those foals, Lady Bird Leo, who was AAA+, went on to produce 6 ROM race horses from 7 starters; Leos Queen Bee, also AAA, produced 7 ROM race horses; and Twayna, AAA, produced 6 ROM race horses from 6 starters. Twayna is considered a "Blue Hen" mare in her own right.

So you see, FL Lady Bug wasn't just a lucky nick, resulting from an inbred mess. In her life, Lady Bug produced 14 registered foals. Of the 11 that made it to the tracks, 10 of them were ROM race horses(all by different sires), 1 World Champion, multiple stakes winners and has produced more All-American Derby winners than any other line in QH history, if not by her own get, than by their descendants.

Although Lady Bug produced numerous great horses, who in turn produced numerous more great horses, this horse is probably her most famous or I guess I should say...well-known... Lady Bugs Moon proved himself as a AAA+ and ROM race horse and then went on to earn a Superior in Performance. His son, Shawne Bug perpetuated that ability by also earning his ROM in racing and then earning a Superior in Performance. And then he went on to produce even more ROM race horses, World Champions, Reserve World Champions, Superior Performance Horses, Barrel Racing Money earners...and the list just goes on and on.

Her female line was not to be outdone though... Ralph's Lady Bug, a daughter of Lady Bug Leo, who was a AAA daughter of FL Lady Bug, produced 7 foals in her life. ALL were Money winning racer earners. Her most famous son was Bug's Alive In 75. The winner of the All American Derby in 1975. Apparently his breeder's had no doubt from the time he was a foal of the great things to come, because his name came about as 1975 would be the year he was old enough to start racing. Even though Bugs Alive died at the tender age of 12, his legacy(and that of Lady Bug) is firmly entrenched in the barrel racing world through his daughters. Twenty plus years after his death, he is the leading maternal grandsire of money earning barrel horses and has been for over TEN years.

That was always one of FL Lady Bug's strongest doesn't matter who you cross them on, the majority of them keep right on running and winning. Lady Bug's inbreeding has held up and helped to keep that a consistent feature, even generations later. She ended up being everything she was bred to be...and more than anyone ever could have imagined.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Good Horses Come From Good Mares

Throughout history Stallions and stallion lines have claimed much of the fame and fortune in the equine breeding industry. This is for one reason and one reason only...sheer reproductive numbers. The numbers just aren't on the side of the mare. But that doesn't mean that good breeders have ignored the value of a good mare.

In reproductive terms though, a good mare is not necessarily a mare who has won a lot of accolades herself. She may well be an outstanding performer possessing every attribute we seek, style, femininity and perfect conformation...or she may be a non-descript, poorly put together, never been rode reproductive queen. Either way, they leave us their legacy and pass down remarkeable traits, generation after generation.

There is a status name given to mares that consistently outproduced themselves, irregardless of what stallion they were bred too and that is a "Blue Hen". These rare and exceptional mares, no matter their own faults, possess in their DNA the ability to consistently produce get and grandget and great-grandget and so on down the line, who have the ability to surpass both dam and sire. Often, they transend "event" specific ability too. A "blue hen" bred to one type of stallion will produce get that are exception in one area and bred to a totally different stallion produce get that excel in another area. Nonetheless, they stamp their produce with certain abilities that only they have the ability to pass down.

In case anyone ever wondered how I pick bloodlines to talk about?...for the most part they are bloodlines our own herd possess or bloodlines that my family have had, raised and used over the generations. We do not inbreed or linebreed(unless the linebreeding is incidental). I guess if you had to categorize our breeding program, we would be considered "nick" breeders. We utilized someone else's successful inbreeding/linebreeding program and crossed those mares on a complimentary stallion. Now we take those mares and are crossing them on another intensely linebred stallion. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel though. We are "nicking" bloodlines that have already proven they work.

So on to one of my favorite "blue hen" mares... FL Lady Bug

This mare was inducted into the AQHA Hall Of Fame in 1999. Her produce are legendary and have infiltrated a number of specialized events. Besides her most obvious success producing outstanding race horses, the FL Lady Bug blood flows like water in the rodeo world.

Not surprising(to me) is the fact that you will also find her located in Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle horses.

Zip's Hot Chocolate anyone???

An outstanding HUS horse carrying her bloodlines is Shawne Lake...

Of course, if you want to see a high concentration of horses that carry this great mare's blood, you don't have to look any farther than the NFR.

We have all drooled over the amazing Sugar Moon Express...aka...Martha...

But nearly every horse that competed in the Barrel Racing at the NFR carry at least one line to her. A person shouldn't be surprised to find a good number of the team roping, calf roping and steer wrestling horses also carry at least one line that traces back to her too. Crossed on a "cow" bred horse-the Lady Bugs are everything their bloodlines say they should and cowy!!

I can feel the nay-sayers of extended pedigrees shaking their heads. How is it possible that a single cross 4 or 5 generations back could possibly contribute to the success of a modern competitive horse? That my friends is simple...because the FL Lady Bug's were good horses and even the few who were not "as successful" as the majority were still bred to more good horses. The Lady Bugs were nicely made, had good bone, better than most dispositions, a can-do attitude and they consistently passed that on. This is the reason she is considered one of, if not the most prepotent "Blue Hen" mare in history.

There is more...much, much more on this mare and the impact that she has had over the years...along with her mother...and a half sister out of the same mare. And then there is her pedigree...which falls right in line with the inbreeding/linebreeding things I have been on a roll with...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fun Stuff

For the past 3 years Megan and I have met her 'granny' in RC for a fun-filled weekend at the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo. This year, we talked my mom into going with us and also met up with Chris' mom. That's a lot of grandma's!!

And a lot of fun!!

After spending the day, perusing the shopping extranvaganza...we all attended the evening rodeo performance. This year, my absolute favorite 'half-time' performer was there.

The One-Armed Bandit....
In case you have never heard of him...this man performs amazing feats mounted on his horse, carrying a bullrope and guides his horse with only his feet. Even if he had both of his arms, what he does is amazing....
Buffalo? WOW!! There is a reason not very many acts have the courage to use buffalo in them. Buffalo are not real susceptable to being "trained". As a matter of fact, they are rather cantankerous. One push from those massive heads can knock a horse off of it's feet and kill a person. And they are surprisingly agile. This is why a lot of cutting horse people use them to train with. They do not burn out in the cutting pen like cattle do. My mom suspects that The One-Arm Bandit bottle-raised these guys and that they are also casterated. I'll take her word for that, because she helped my step-dad take care of the buffalo that he broke to ride and hauled to parades and rodeos for a long time. He also hauled that buffalo out to Hollywood and they used him in many movies. Those two had quite an interesting life together.

But back to the rodeo...Saturday nite's performance is always a good one to go to, because there is always a lot of the big names there. It's like attending a mini-NFR performance.
This is Trevor Brazile team-roping... They had a wicked fast-time...and an illegal no time.

This is a Loma, Colorado barrel racer...
She clocked the fasted time of any of the nine performances...12.35 seconds. Go Loma!!

And then it was time to shop-till you drop!! There are two levels of the civic center...filled to the brim with booths offering all the things you think you just cannot live without.
Like this combed Tibetian Lamb coat... this coat was screaming my name!!! It's loud and obnoxious...just like me! Sadly, it didn't get to come home to live in my closet. My mom talked me down. I don't know, something about her saying...the border collie will probably try to herd me if he saw me wearing this, cooled my enthusiasm. Ohhh well! I really have my heart set on owning a red fox coat anyway...someday!

I did find my red fox coat at one of the booths...but the $5,000 price tag on it detered me immediately. It sucks not being filthy, stinking rich-LOL!!

By the time we headed home on Sunday afternoon, this is what we all felt like....

Okay, I HAVE to show you my newest prized possessions though.
This, I did not purchase at the Stock Show. It's another purse that my brother made for me...
Buttery, soft black Ostrich. It is too die for!!
And if that did not make is wonderful enough, he lined it in raspberry suede...
Is that not just one of the most gorgeous bags you have ever seen? I got so many complements on it while I was carrying it this weekend. One of the purse vendors liked it so much that she is interested in buying some of my brother's one of a kind creations. Not this one!!! I'm guarding it with my life!!! I did break down and splurge while at the Stock Show though. It's easy to pass on the hordes of blinged out purses and tons and tons chunky jewelry but when I ran across these boots...
And tried them on...I HAD to have them!! It is so seldom that I find a pair of boots that fit my foot...high arches and a wide instep...that when I find a comfortable pair, I don't pass them up. I wore them all the next day, expecting that I would have to change back to my broke-in boots somewhere along the line. I never did. They felt as comfortable as boots I have had for years.
The $200+ price tag on these Boulet's made all of us blink rapidly, but since my "for good" boots usually last me 5-10 years...they are an investment I can live with.