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. 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 Sawhorse 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.
His get have primarily won in cutting, but he has sired money earners in a variety of disciplines, including reining, working cow horse, barrel racing and ranch horse classes. 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.
The 2019 QuarterHorse News Equidistant Annual Reined Sawhorse Stats ranks the top horses, riders, breeders and owners from the 2019 show year. This article ranks the stallions according to the money their sons and daughters won in reined cow horse in 2019, as tabulated by Equidistant.
The QuarterHorse News Equidistant Annual Reined Sawhorse Stats contains information that was compiled, researched and tabulated by Equidistant, a division of Cowboy Publishing Group. The contents and statistics in these Annual Cutting Stats are copyrighted 2020 by QuarterHorse News, 2112 Montgomery St., Fort Worth, TX 76107; telephone 817-737-6397 or fax 817-727-9266.
Money attributed to progeny here in the Top 5 Reined Sawhorse Sires section of the Annual Reined Sawhorse stats is the amount of money that particular horse won in 2019 and is in no way related to who actually received the money. The charts included in this review do not include closed stallion incentive programs that were not open to all stallions, and the Open- and Non-Pro-specific charts exclude Novice weekend money.
A steady stream of champion performance, race and ranch horses bred and produced by the Four Sixes TM and our clients are often featured in the news. The Four Sixes is known worldwide, not only as a historic Texas cattle operation but also for producing top quality American QuarterHorses for racing and ranch work and are consistently ranked among the best in the breed.
The ranch’s resident veterinarian and Horse Division Manager, Dr. Glenn Bridgett, directs the award-winning equine breeding program. Dr Bridgett has cultivated a steady stream of champion performance, race and ranch horses produced by the Four Sixes and our clients.
“The horse here is the vital component of our everyday operation of the ranch from gathering the cows to sorting the calves and calf branding time. The ranch stands some of the most popular stallions in the QuarterHorse industry, and modern technology allows for semen to be cooled, frozen and shipped almost anywhere in the world.
Fourteen pastures make up approximately 10,000 acres of annual grain crops, improved grasses, and native rang eland, which are managed primarily for horse production. “Back when the ranch was established, four Wheeler didn’t exist, so necessity transcended over the years into having these wonderful cow horses to do the work.
“This is the best broke, big remedy of 75-100 saddle horses that I have ever seen as far as every one of them,” said longtime Four Sixes Ranch Employee Boots O’Neal. Over the past 100 years or so, certain “mare families” have proven to deliver desirable traits in their offspring.
In 1982, Bridgett became the resident veterinarian and manager of the horse division at the 6666® Ranch, Guthrie, Texas. The ranch’s foundation stallions included Joe Hancock, Hollywood Gold, Grey Badger II and CEE Bars.