A breeder might highlight a certain mare on the bottom side of the pedigree who produced a number of impressive foals, while another might remind you how a certain stallion two or three generations back earned a substantial amount of money in competition. We called dozens of people, from Texas to California, and from Montana to New Mexico, asking what bloodlines are most prevalent in today’s ranch horses.
Our sources stressed the importance of balanced conformation, sizeable bone, hard feet and prominent withers in their ranch horses. And they invariably gave names of specific stallions when listing their top bloodlines, even though most agreed that the dam contributes as much, if not more, to her foal.
Quite simply, stallions carry much more name recognition due to marketing and number of offspring. For example, Driftwood was foaled in 1932, yet some ranchers still mention the famous stud when referencing the bloodlines of their horses today.
BRED AND RAISED by iconic Texas horseman B.F. Phillips, Tan query Gin was trained by legendary cutting horse trainer Shorty Freeman. Although his show career in cutting was hampered by injuries, the 1975 stallion displayed enough talent in front of a cow to attract mare owners.
The sorrel continued to sire impressive foals under the ownership of Georgia breeder William S. Morris III. Glenn Bridgett, DVD, the Four Sixes horse division manager, says that Tan query Gin also sired many top-notch ranch geldings.
Even more than their accomplishments in the arena, their train ability, athletic ability and good bone endear them to ranchers. Tom Poorhouse utilized a son of Shining Spark on his Texas ranch for nearly 20 years.
After siring dozens of ranch horses, the 1991 bay made headlines in 2000 when he sold for $560,000 at Scott’s dispersal sale in Billings, Montana. The stallion also was part of a famous trio of brothers that included Gallo Del Cairo (“Rooster”) and Grays Starlight.
His offspring were also more than capable handling ranch work, recalls Scott’s son, Jim. It wasn’t what his breeders, Tom and Jack Finley of Arizona, imagined when they bred an AA-rated race mare to an AAA-rated runner.
Doc Bar won only $95 on the track, but he excelled in halter competition, winning nine grand championships. His offspring demonstrated uncanny athleticism and cow sense, and they dominated the cutting arena during the 1960s and 1970s.
That prowess has continued for another five generations, and ranchers have infused Doc Bar bloodlines into their Remus for decades. The blood bay stallion known as “Speedy” earned a reputation for his intelligence, conformation, gentle disposition and quickness.
He changed hands several times until 1943, when Channing and Katy Peace of Lompoc, California, purchased him and began breeding him to their mares. Not surprisingly, cowboys found that the cow sense, speed and durability of his foals translated well to ranch work, and to this day outfits such as Babbitt Ranches, the O RO and Hawthorn Land & Cattle raise horses that trace to Driftwood.
LIKE SEVERAL OTHER HORSES on this list, Colonel Freckles first made his mark at the NCAA Futurity, where in 1976 he won the open championship with Plan Hightower riding. A mare out of his first foal crop, Colonel Little, went on to win the 1981 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity.
It was a telltale sign that the stallion, owned by Lou and Wanda Waters of Texas during the latter part of his life, was going to be an outstanding sire. His son Nu Cash, shown by Ted Robinson, won the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle A bit Futurity, and then sired three winners of the event’s open division.
“Versatility is the first word that comes to mind,” says Joni Hunt, whose family’s Open Box Rafter Ranch in South Dakota once stood a son of Colonel Freckles. LEADING CUTTING SIRE Metallic Cat is poised to make an impact on ranch horse programs.
When asked what stallions would likely impact the ranching industry in the next decade, ranchers and breeders overwhelmingly named Metallic Cat. The cutting superstar’s athletic ability, willing disposition, intelligence, good conformation and red roan color make him a standout, they agreed.
In 2008, at age 3, Metallic Cat and trainer Beau Galen walked into the herd at the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Open finals in Fort Worth, Texas. Beau and Ashley Galen purchased him when he was 2, and then the stallion sold to Alvin and Becky Faults as a 3-year-old.
In 2017 Bobby Patton’s Rocking P Ranch purchased Metallic Cat, known as “Denver.” He stands at Brazos Valley Stallion Station in Steubenville, Texas. Call Me Mitch, with $173,746, is the leading reined cow horse sired by Metallic Cat.
And he has sired earners in ranch horse/ranch versatility competition, barrel racing, reining and roping. Outside the show pen or rodeo arena, ranchers say the stallion’s intelligence, laid-back disposition, cow sense and sturdy conformation are being passed to his offspring, making him one of the most popular young sires in the industry.
“We started breeding mares to Metallic Cat because he was handy and close, but the more we rode them, the more we liked them,” says Dick Cog dell, whose family owns Rule Ranch in Julia, Texas, and also is active in the cutting industry. Cog dell owns two stallions by Metallic Cat, one who has several 2-year-olds that have been started this year and the other just beginning his breeding career.
By Peppy San Badger and out of Royal Blue Boon, the 1992 red roan stallion won the NCAA Futurity in 1995 and soon became a leading sire in cutting and reined cow horse competition, with 902 earners of more than $27 million. THIS 1974 STALLION was not only a National Cutting Horse Association Futurity champion, but also a solid ranch horse who spent plenty of time working cattle in the South Texas pastures of the famed King Ranch.
Shown by Buster Welch, “Little Peppy” attracted attention in the show pen for his flashy looks and cow sense. Today’s ranchers and breeders often still look for Peppy San Badger on a horse’s registration papers.
You can’t go wrong with Peppy San Badger horses,” says John Anderson of Muleshoe Ranch in Gail, Texas. FOALED IN 1992, Play gun was purchased as a yearling by Dick and Brenda Piper of Marietta, Oklahoma.
Ranchers throughout the United States recognized the stallion not only for his cow sense, ability, and presidency as a sire; they also appreciated that his foals possessed the conformation, size and structural soundness to handle everyday ranch work. “There are a lot of great sons of Play gun that are used on the ranches,” says Nebraska rancher Craig Hawthorn.
In 1974, he earned the first ever World Champion Open Aged Halter Stallion title. He sired 2,250 horses in total, and made a name for his bloodline in halter after his world championship.
Originally crossed on Thoroughbred bloodstock, his get immediately started excelling in a variety of disciplines. Through meticulous breeding programs, careful stallion and mare management and great knowledge of what makes a great Quarter Horse, the Quarter Horse has excelled across the board.
Find out how Equine can help manage your Quarter Horse mares by using light therapy for a successful breeding and foaling season. Many horses will turn their nose up to hay with a lot of weeds.
Maturity: Spring rains can delay farmers from harvesting their 1st cutting of hay. Weather Issues: Excess moisture can result in mold growth.
You’ll want to avoid this hay, as it can cause digestive and respiratory problems. You’ll want to look for mold, moisture, weeds, texture, dirt, and insects.
You can even perform a hay analysis to check crude protein, fiber, energy, and mineral content. If you have a hard keeper or senior horse, then this may be a good idea.