True to his name, Speedy became a successful match race winner at a young age. Years later, when he was purchased by a new owner and registered with the American QuarterHorse Association (Aqua), Speedy’s name was changed to the now famous Driftwood.
He became known as a tried and true sire to produce quick, even-tempered Quarter Horses that excelled in the rodeo world. From barrel racing to roping, the Driftwood bloodline continues to produce quality, successful horses that dominate the competition.
Originally registered as Appendix based on his lineage, Go Man Go was bred to be a racehorse. A cross between a Thoroughbred stallion and a mare registered as Appendix, the colt was not considered a true QuarterHorse at the time he was born.
After years of fighting and determination by his owners, this gorgeous roan horse was added to the main Aqua registry largely thanks to the stunning features of his first offspring. He was finally officially considered an American QuarterHorse, and he would go on to sire countless race champions including Duplicate Copy and Hustling Man.
He is well-known in the racing world and to obtain a horse that possesses this lineage certainly increases the likelihood of succeed on the racetrack. Born in 1961, Two Eyed Jacks was a stocky sorrel stallion whose lineage can be traced back to Joe Hancock, another popular QuarterHorse bloodline.
Today, Two Eyed Jacks holds the top position in the all-time leading sires of Aqua Champion horses. A dominating force in the cutting horse industry, the Peppy San Badger line is arguably the bestQuarterhorse bloodline in the discipline.
His sire was Mr. San Peppy, a famous and dominating cutting horse and a champion in his own right. In his lifetime, Little Peppy sired an impressive 2,325 American Quarter horse foals who combined would earn over $25 million.
A chestnut QuarterHorse stallion born in 1956, Doc Bar was originally meant to be racehorse, but his true potential lay in halter events. While he struggled on the racetrack, Doc Bar excelled in halter events, winning an astonishing 9 grand championships in only 15 shows.
Beyond that, Quarter Horses today with the Doc Bar bloodline tend to be calm, easily trainable and full of potential in a variety of sports and uses. Born from a half-Percheron mare, Joe Hancock, the horse, did not fit the ‘desired’ Quarter horse standards of 1923.
However, Joe Hancock did well working with cattle and also performed exceptionally well in QuarterHorse racing. He would go on to sire numerous well-built Quarter Horses with calm demeanor as well as marked abilities inside and outside the arena.
His offspring include many successful roping horses such as Red Man and Roan Hancock, the latter of which was a favorite of famous ropers Shoat Webster and Everett Shaw. If you are looking for a successful roping horse, look no further than a lineage that includes Joe Hancock and his infamous bloodline.
Proper training and adequate riders can often deter a Hancock horse that displays a penchant for bucking if you happen to come across one. While not every single horse will have an exceptional downline, there are many that continue to impress and dominate their competition.
The truth is, there are a lot of excellent bloodlines in the QuarterHorse breed, but Driftwood, Doc Bar, Go Man Go, Peppy San Badger, Joe Hancock and Two Eyed Jack rank at the top of their respective fields. These bloodlines withstand the test of time and their descendants continue to represent them as the best of the American QuarterHorse breed.
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.
Colonel Freckles and Play gun are often cited when breeders list top ranch horse bloodlines ; both horses descend from the legendary Sugar Bars, foaled in 1951. 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.
Driftwood proved himself as a great sire of roping horses, even though only 153 of his foals were registered with the American QuarterHorse Association because many of his offspring were born before the registry was founded. 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. 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. The stallion has consistently been at the top of the leading cutting sires list since his first foal crop began winning, and he now has earners of more than $81 million to his credit.
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. Shown by Buster Welch, “Little Peppy” attracted attention in the show pen for his flashy looks and cow sense.
In fact, from 2008 through 2018, every American QuarterHorse Association Versatility Ranch Horse Open World Champion’s pedigree includes his name. 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.