Text from the book Legends, 1993
Three Bars has had the greatest impact on the Quarter Horse breed of any horse in history. Three Barrs Without a shadow of a doubt, Three Bars has had the greatest impact on the Quarter Horse breed of any horse in history. Some might dispute this statement, but not very many. Just take a look at Three Bars' record as a sire. Whereas most great stallions dominate just one phase of the industry, Three Bars forever left his mark in racing, halter, cutting, and other arena performance events.
IN RACING Just a very few of his superstar offspring include: Goldseeker Bars, Mr. Bar None, Rocket Bar, Three Chicks, The Ole Man, Pokey Bar, Josie's Bar, Mr. Bruce, Sugar Bars, Kid Meyers, St. Bar, Lightning Bar, Barred, Bob's Folly, Galobar, Breeze Bar, and Little Lena's Bar. IN HALTER Will there ever be another sire to equal the record of Impressive? Imressive was by Lucky Bar (TB) by Three Bars. Impressive was out of a Three Bars granddaughter. Before Impressive came along, there was Steel Bars, who sired many fine halter horses, including Aledo Bar, the 1959 AQHA High-Point Halter Stallion.
IN CUTTING Doc Bar revolutionized the industry. Doc Bar was a grandson of Three Bars and his record as a sire of cutters may also never be equaled.
IN REINING, ROPING AND OTHER ARENA EVENTS A host of Three Bars get and grandget excelled as sires and producers. Sugar Bars, for example, sired 30 AQHA Champions! Another son, Parr Three, earnred a Superior at halter and then sired the great Zan Parr Bar. THREE BARS HIMSELF Foaled in 1940, Three Bars was by Percentage, a stakes winner. Percentage's dam, Gossip Avenue, produced 8 foals and 7 of them were winners on the track, 2 stakes winners. The Dam of Three Bars, Myrtle Dee, was a speedburner who once set a record for 5 1/2 furlongs. She came by her speed honestly as her sire, Luke McLuke, won the Belmont Stakes in 1914, and her dam, Civil Maid, was a granddaughter of Ben Brush, winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1896. When Myrtle Dee was 16 and in foal to Percentage, she was purchased at a sale by three men: Jack Goode, Ned Brent, an Bill Talbot. She foaled Three Bars on Ned Brent's farm in Kentucky.
HOW HE GOT HIS NAME Because the chestnut colt was such a good-looking fellow, and was bred to run, the owners thought they had hit the jackpot, thus the name THREE BARS, after the three bars in slot machines! THREE BARS MISFORTUNE When Three Bars was 2, he could break from the gate and cover 440 yards like a speeding bullet. In the spring of his 2 year old year, he was coming off the track one morning when his hind leg turned ice cold, just like you had suddenly turned off the blood. He never got over it. Until that happened, he was the fastest thing I had put a bridle on. He was too rapid. You had to ease him off slow or he'd get out of hand and you couldn't handle him well.
WHAT IS A SIGNIFICANT LEVEL OF THREE BARS? Ten Percent of Three Bars in performance prospects is necessary for these individuals to possess above average performance characteristics. However, the percentage of blood needed to give an individual a major significant advantage over it's competition would be 20% Three Bars.
http://www.horseforum.com/horse-breeding/foundation-qh-%25-91576/page2/ Also by Susan Larkin re Foundation Bloodline – What it means and %’s of TB in them.
http://horsesonly.com/crossroads/supreme/default.htm The Supreme Report - AQHA Supreme Champion awards and what they mean.
Everyone has his or her own ideal for a horse's type and purpose. Popular trends have dictated specific directions many breeders have pursued with their breeding programs. Fashionable trends have narrowed the pool of specialized bloodlines from which to choose breeding stock; this has created a mindset that only certain bloodlines allow for a horse that excels in one discipline. These trends have created horses that have evolved to the extreme with nowhere else to go unless other traits are compromised.
Many modern specialized horses don't even look like stock horses any more, and there are soundness issues among many of the horses in nearly every discipline. We now have 13 hand cutters who don't look like Quarter Horses and 17-plus hand HUS horses, who also don't look like Quarter Horses. Modern technology has allowed 'flawed' horses to continue competing and breeding. Breeding for these extreme types has all but defeated the purpose for which Quarter Horses and Paints were best known for - versatility. Without speed, there is no versatility. Without speed, the athletic ability is compromised, and breeding has been adapted toward a type that wins in a particular discipline. Those who are in favor of specialization say that these individual disciplines have created a better performer. But at what cost to the horses and to the breed? It's not hard to see the conformation and soundness issues facing these horses today, and those issues are directly related to the purposeful exclusion of speed blood from their pedigrees. Whenever horses are bred by pedigree alone, the overall quality is compromised, and whenever a single trait is bred for at the exclusion of others, the breed will suffer. Over the decades, we're seen a once great horse being torn apart, only to be put back together by a committee of people wanting one trait instead of having them all. It is so much easier to breed for a horse that could do one thing well instead of breeding for a horse that could do many things well.
Many halter horses can't perform, and many performance horses won't halter, yet a winning halter horse is supposed to represent the best of the breed. The versatility of these horses is what previously set them apart from other breeds.
Many breeders today have chosen to stay within the popular bloodlines of their discipline. Any time a breeder breeds "outside the box" it is considered a risky venture and often times, unpopular - unless that result wins big. Most people are more comfortable with what they have and what they see others doing, by adhering to the specific types they see winning today.
The source of a stock horse's true value as a performance horse is speed, provided all other desirable attributes have also been selected for. Speed blood plays a vital role in the survival of any stock horse breed, regardless of the horse's intended purpose or discipline. Speed enables a horse to have exceptional athleticism, maneuverability, versatility, intelligence, balance, substance, and beauty. After observing the transformation of many of these horses over the last few decades where speed blood has not been utilized in most specialized breeding programs, it verifies my belief that speed blood is a necessary component that should not have been eliminated from these pedigrees. Without speed blood, there is no true versatile performance ability. Early speed allows the horse to perform at extraordinary levels, while retaining the other attributes that Quarter Horses and Paints are noted for. A horse can't run fast and stay sound if it's not put together properly. Throughout history, the only test of a horse's quality and merit was to race it. In the beginning of the Quarter Horse as a type (they were called Celebrated American Quarter Running Horses), speed was the trait that set them apart from all other types of horses. In the formative years of AQHA, a study of the bloodlines of the foundation horses reveals the importance of speed blood throughout their pedigrees.
The speed blood of *Janus and the inbreeding to that blood is responsible for the influential Thoroughbreds that contributed in a big way to the versatility of the Quarter Horse. Thoroughbred sires such as Dennis Reed (sire of Oklahoma Star), Lantados (found behind Rey, Sobre, Texas B, etc.), Bonnie Joe (responsible for Uncle Jimmie Gray, Beggar Boy, Joe Blair, etc.), Maple Prince (the U. S. Remount stallion used by Hank Wiescamp), Grog (found in the pedigrees of Tanquery Gin and Im A Big Leaguer), Dr. Mack (in the pedigree of Texas Miller and Moorhouse's Red Wolf), Uncle Jimmie Gray (descendants include Buddy Nile, Paul Easter, My Pardner, Joe Jimmy, etc.), First Chip (namely through Master Gould, who is found behind Star Duster, Sport, Fred Lowery, etc.), Dewey (behind many influential Cajun-bred racing greats), Maynard L. (Balmy L), Barney Lucas (Jeff C, Miss Bank), etc. have all influenced the versatility of the Quarter Horse and Paint; they all originate from early American tail female Thoroughbred lines.
Many early Quarter Horse sires that were important in the formation of the Quarter Horse as a breed also trace in tail female line to these same origins - sires such as Peter McCue, Leo, Hickory Bill, Wimpy II, and many others. These same Thoroughbred female lines are also present in many disciplines where you would least expect to see them today. An example would be the Quarter Horse Masteroani, who won the Snaffle Bit Futurity in 1994; he traces to the same female line source that was responsible for the great Peter McCue. Masteroani's fifth dam was the 1939 Thoroughbred mare, Galla Volta. This same mare line produced the influential Cajun stallion, Green Flash, the broodmare sire of Supreme Champion War Machine.
Many modern day Quarter racehorses continue to prove the validity of the speed of these early American Thoroughbred tail female lines, including Chicks Beduino, the recently deceased Ocean Runaway, Okey Dokey Dale, The Signature, Fast Jet, and many more.
The proponents of each of the various disciplines today have stated they do not want Thoroughbred or speed blood in the horses they breed and show because they're "not breeding racehorses". The cutting horse breeders say they don't want a "17 hand cutter". That's really not fair to the Thoroughbreds, nor is it accurate. But all we have to do is study the pedigrees of the breed-changing horses that were the foundation of today's horses, and you will find speed prominent in their bloodlines. Speed is what has allowed the horse to survive as a species for thousands of years, perpetuating proper form-to-function conformation. Speed blood also adds class, substance and elegance to a horse because the horse is put together properly. By not breeding to the speed influences people are essentially breeding to the weaker members of the gene pool. There is a difference between short-term breeding success and long-term breeding success. Short-term success can be attained by owning and breeding large numbers of good quality horses, using the popular horses and bloodlines of the day, and hoping the numbers will work in your favor. It will satisfy today's immediate need for instant gratification. Breeders who specialize in a single event are breeding for short-term success, unless their horses go on to be influential outside their specific discipline.
Examples of long term, successful breeders would be breeders such as the King Ranch, J. W. House, Hank Wiescamp, Ott Adams, B. F. Phillips, Walter Merrick, Art Pollard, Melville Haskell, Frank Vessels, Jay and Polly Parsons, and others like them whose horses' influence are still felt today. Their horses were speed-breed, and their influence on the breed and versatility is well documented.
Halter classes were originally intended to showcase what the best of the performance horses were supposed to look like. Many performance-bred horses today have lost the balance, substance and eye appeal because they were bred for one specific discipline. They have been selected from stock with specific traits over several generations at the expense of other traits. Speed blood wasn't a part of that selection process unless the focus was on speed type events such as roping and barrel racing.
A common sentiment heard is "why go backwards?" Breeding for versatility is not going backwards - it's eliminating the detrimental practices when specialization began. It's about working in a different direction, toward a goal that is in line with the breed standard and ideal. Breed ideal? What's that? Is there a specific breed standard that everyone agrees on? Is there a specific breed ideal that the breed association created to guide its breeders? If there ever was one, there isn't now. Should there be one? I believe there should be, especially if the breed association desires to promote and maintain the integrity, versatility and uniqueness of its breed. World-renowned Thoroughbred breeder, The H. H. Aga Khan said, "While the market becomes more and more polarized towards big commercial operations, first-season sires and a handful of "top" stallions, the breeder with long-term goals, other than commercial gain, will have to defy this trend. Breeding decisions, which may seem to many unwise or unconventional, may in fact represent the key to our survival." He was addressing Thoroughbreds specifically, but the same principle applies to Paints and Quarter Horses.
In order to maintain breed integrity, breeders must breed with that specific goal in mind. People are breeding for today's win, for today's fad and fashion, for the market, and/or for the prestige of a title. Many will breed to the latest stallion sensation just because he's new and fresh in the minds of the buying and breeding public, or because he just won some big title. Many breed just to be breeding, without conformational excellence or phenotype as a priority. Most do not select their broodmares with the same strict criteria they use when they choose breeding stallions. All of these things are detrimental to a breed in the long run. The legendary sires of the past certainly had conformational "imperfections" that would be frowned upon today. Some of those legendary sires were also unproven, and some even failed in the discipline they were bred for, yet many went on tobecome breed-changing sires. Doc Bar comes to mind here. He was bred to run but he was a failure as a racehorse; he became a legendary cutting horse sire of the highest regard. He's one example of speed blood in Paint and Quarter Horse pedigrees being absolutely necessary for maintaining breed integrity. Impressive is another example - also bred to run, but he went on to be the greatest sire of halter horses of all time. He was sired by the Thoroughbred stallion, Lucky Bar. In fact, the leading sires of nearly every single discipline in today's Quarter Horses and Paints are sons or grandsons of the Thoroughbred stallion Three Bars. Doc Bar, Impressive, Zippo Pine Bar, and many others.
Overall excellence in phenotype should take priority over any single characteristic or trait. Quality should never be overlooked in favor of a particular (read 'winning') way of going. What benefit is a particular conformation flaw to the breed in the long run? If speed is alive in pedigrees today, even if it originates many generations back, then a single conformation flaw that is popular today can also breed forward and affect future generations of horses.
The definition of a responsible breeder is one who breeds a horse with a specific goal in mind, while at the same time, breeds for excellence within a breed - with the priority toward breed improvement and an ideal. Before one can even set a goal to breed exceptional horses, a breeder must know what exceptional horses look like. Breeding for less would be breeding for mediocrity and more of the same, which only serves to add to the huge numbers of similar horses that already exist. This isn't breeding toward breed improvement.
One word that is extremely subjective among horse breeders is "quality". The definition of quality can be very different, depending on whom you talk to. A quality horse is one that is at or near the top of the breed standard, with impeccable conformation, exceptional eye appeal, a pedigree full of successful horses, and is versatile and athletic. A horse like that is better than the rest and that quality shines through. Since pedigree doesn't always guarantee a quality horse, we must first look at the quality of the horse as an individual. Combined with the knowledge of pedigrees and conformation, a responsible breeder must have a clear vision of what their ideal is. A responsible breeder must also be willing to cull those horses from their program that fall short of that breeder's ideal. Roughly half of the horses from any given bloodline will be of mediocre or poor quality compared to other members of that particular bloodline. Why do people continue to breed anything that can be bred based on pedigree alone? For some reason, there is this strange compulsion to breed any female horse, and a strong resistance to geld the colts. Not all colts are stallion prospects, and all the fillies are not broodmare prospects. Breeding prospects must be exceptional quality individuals, with good dispositions, exceptional conformation, with successful ancestors in their pedigrees, and have the potential to be good performers. Only the top 5% of the males of any annual foal crop (of any breed) are of the quality to remain should to be gelded. Guess what happens to the fillies? Most of them are bred, and many of those mares are responsible for the large quantity of poor and mediocre horses that are perpetuated year after year. The selection criteria for mares should be no less than the strict guidelines for selecting a stallion. There isn't a stallion alive that can magically overcome the traits of a poor quality mare.
Another important part of being a responsible breeder is the serious, methodical, dedicated, detailed study of the pedigrees of the horses of your breed. If you don't know how to go about this, find someone who has the knowledge who will help you. Spend the time it takes to become proficient with pedigrees, and read everything you can get your hands on. This is a lifelong pursuit if you're in this breeding business for the long haul, because you can never stop learning. Researching pedigrees is much like solving a puzzle - it's like putting all the pieces together.
I also believe an educated and responsible breeder should share their knowledge with others who are willing to take it all in; in fact, I believe we are morally obligated to do so. Otherwise, how would a person new to horses and breeding learn if no one is willing to share what they know with them?
Why would I spend the time to find, scan, and post photos of all of these horses here? Because I feel obligated to share what I have gathered. None of this is any secret, nor should it be.
Susan Larkin, July 2012 Renowned published Author and acknowledge pedigree expert