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Della Moore son Joe Reed (1921), by the Thor­ough­bred Joe Blair (by Bon­nie Joe, sire-line Leam­ing­ton-Eclipse, dam­sire line Vedette-Eclipse). Della Moore son Joe Moore (1927). Joe Reed and Joe Moore very well il­lus­trate the con­trast in con­for­ma­tion which re­sults from more Thor­ough­bred vs. more Billy or Rondo in the pedi­gree. Joe Moore, a half-Thor­ough­bred, is by Lit­tle Joe, who was by the speedy Moun­tain Horse Trav­eler, out of Jenny by Sykes Rondo, she trac­ing on both sides of her pedi­gree to Old Billy. Joe Reed, by con­trast, with his Thor­ough­bred sire is a seven-eighths­bred, and while still a sub­stan­tial and mus­cu­lar in­di­vid­ual is no­tice­ably lighter in build and more level in over­all body bal­ance than Joe Moore. Both horses set short-track speed records and sired nu­mer­ous race win­ners. I have re­stored Fly­ing Bob’s hooves to com­plete the im­age pre­sented by this his­tor­i­cal photo, ap­par­ently the only one in ex­is­tence that gives a good idea of this fa­mous Louisiana-bred’s con­for­ma­tion. He presents ex­cel­lent bone sub­stance and big and rather steeply slop­ing hindquar­ters. The back is long, with a long cou­pling but the chest of only av­er­age width, sim­i­lar to Peter McCue. The shoulders are clean if a lit­tle up­right, the neck is shapely, and the head has the char­ac­ter­is­tic big jowls, short, wedge shape and rounded muz­zle of the Ron­dos and Billys.

At left is the pedi­gree for Fly­ing Bob, who like Peter McCue and Della Moore was three-quar­ters Thor­ough­bred. This horse how­ever presents a pre­pon­der­ance of Eclipse breed­ing, with 15 of 23 known sire-lines (65 per­cent) trac­ing to that in­di­vid­ual. He has six lines to Herod through Sir Peter Tea­zle, Lex­ing­ton and Sir Archy, and two to Matchem. Fly­ing Bob’s dam, Zeringue’s Belle, was by the Thor­ough­bred Dewey but out of Walla, a south­ern­bred “quar­ter of a miler” whose deep ances­try is un­known. Be­cause Belle is re­li­ably re­ported to have been “gaited,” how­ever, my ed­u­cated guess is that her tail-fe­male through Rosa is prob­a­bly en­tirely Moun­tain Horse, while War Ea­gle’s back­ground is likely Thor­ough­bred and Rondo.

Fly­ing Bob son Dee Dee (1939) was out of Sis by Doc Horn (Thor­ough­bred, Eclipse-bred through Leam­ing­ton and Bird­catcher). Sis is out of Old Ouee­nie. she by D.J. and out of La Her­nan­dez, thus a full sis­ter to Della Moore.

Fly­ing Bob daugh­ter Quee­nie (1937), who was out of Lit­tle Sis, she by D.J. and out of Old Quee­nie, and thus in­bred to D.J. and closely re­lated to Della Moore. With Dee Dee and Quee­nie we ar­rive at last at clas­sic, un­mis­tak­able Quar­ter Horse con­for­ma­tion: mus­cu­lar with very large, slop­ing hindquar­ters; some­what long-bod­ied with a flex­i­ble and rather long cou­pling; moder­ately low and rather meaty withers; shapely neck com­ing “straight out the front,” and no­tice­ably down­hill over­all body bal­ance. By the time these horses were foaled, we are only a few years away from the es­tab­lish­ment of the AQHA.

Alice, Texas, was for the first third of the 20th cen­tury the best-known breeder of short-horses in the state. His most out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion, ob­serves his­to­rian Den­hardt, “was the skill­ful blend­ing of two strains of Quar­ter Horses, those known as Ron­dos or Billys with the Watkins’ horses.” Clegg owned the stal­lion Lit­tle Joe (by Trav­eler out of Jenny, whom he had got­ten from the Se­ley broth­ers), who out­ran Car­rie Na­tion in San An­to­nio in 1908. Clegg’s friends in Sweet­wa­ter, the Tram­mell and New­man fam­i­lies, had bought Bar­ney Owens and Dan Tucker from Watkins, and Wil­liam An­son of Chris­to­val (to be fea­tured in our next in­stall­ment) had pur­chased Har­mon Baker. Peter McCue him­self had raced in San An­to­nio, and see­ing him made Clegg all the more de­ter­mined to get a Watkins stal­lion for him­self. The op­por­tu­nity came in 1911 when Sam Watkins died, so Clegg was able to pur­chase the brood­mares Lu­cre­tia M. and Hat­tie W. from the es­tate as well as the stal­lion Hick­ory Bill (sire of Paul El, as well as the King Ranch foun­da­tional horse The Old Sor­rel).

Af­ter ac­quir­ing the Watkins horses, Clegg sold Lit­tle Joe to his friend Ott Adams and at the same time told Adams about a beau­ti­ful, fast mare he had seen named Della Moore. Af­ter go­ing to see her, Adams de­cided that she would be the ideal cross for the com­pact, mus­cu­lar Lit­tle Joe. Lind­say, how­ever, would not sell for the price Adams of­fered. But both horses were be­gin­ning

to age so Adams, feel­ing that time was short, bor­rowed $600 to buy the aged mare. So anx­ious was he to get a foal out of Della Moore that Lit­tle Joe was al­lowed to cover her the day she ar­rived at his ranch. The re­sult was a beau­ti­ful filly named Aloe. Two years later, Della Moore foaled Grano de Oro, and two years af­ter that, in 1927, the bay colt Joe Moore. Sat­is­fied with this, Adams then sold the mare to rancher O. C. Card­well, for whom in 1929 she pro­duced one last foal, Pan­zaretta, to the cover of Paul El.

Like Della Moore, Fly­ing Bob was foaled in Louisiana but had most of his rac­ing ca­reer in Texas. Yet an­other three-quar­ter-bred, Fly­ing Bob was a mus­cu­lar and handsome buck­skin by the Thor­ough­bred Chi­caro out of Zeringue’s Belle. Chi­caro was a bril­liant sprinter whose very strong pedi­gree fea­tures a broad ar­ray of the best blood­lines: Touch­stone, Glen­coe, St. Si­mon, Him­yar, Bon­nie Scot­land and West Aus­tralian. A handsome brown stand­ing 16:3 hands, Chi­caro was later cho­sen by Robert Kle­berg, Jr., to be the first Thor­ough­bred stal­lion to stand at the King Ranch.

Like Sam Watkins’ fa­ther, Louisiana sug­ar­cane grower Noah Zeringue was a short-horse fancier and a part-time far­rier. In 1927 at the Fair Grounds Race­track in New Or­leans, he was called upon to shoe Chi­caro, whose rac­ing ca­reer was cut short be­cause he had de­vel­oped a stric­ture of the wind­pipe that surgery could not cor­rect. Fig­ur­ing that here was a way to ac­cess a high­qual­ity stal­lion for rea­son­able money, Zeringue made a deal with Chi­caro’s owner to stand him at the nearby farm of Paulenare Brous­sard, a re­tired black race­horse trainer. Zeringue’s mare Belle---who like Della Moore’s dam was sired by the Thor­ough­bred Dewey---be­came the first of many good Cajun mares taken to Chi­caro. It proved a good “nick” as Dewey’s pedi­gree presents nearly the same mix­ture of fa­mous names as Chi­caro’s, while also bring­ing in a line to Lex­ing­ton and trac­ing, in tail fe­male, to the very first Thor­ough­bred ever im­ported to Amer­ica, Bulle Rock.

Belle’s foal Fly­ing Bob---originally just called “Bob”---had “Thor­ough­bred” pa­pers which called him Royal Bob, with his dam listed as “Erath Queen” (Erath be­ing Noah Zeringue’s home­town). Stand­ing 15:1 hands, mus­cu­lar, good­legged, and kind, he be­gan rac­ing at only 18 months, beat­ing sev­eral more ma­ture horses. Af­ter his 2-year-old year, Fly­ing Bob’s own­ers aban­doned his Thor­ough­bred iden­tity while con­tin­u­ing to race him “un­of­fi­cially” in match con­tests and at county fairs un­til he was 15 years old. His last race was won at St. Mart­inville, Louisiana, against a Thor­ough­bred called Bow Way, over a dis­tance of 10 1/2 ar­pents---an ar­pent be­ing a French mea­sure­ment of about 190 feet, a fairly long race for a sprinter at about 3 1/2 fur­longs.

At the same time, Fly­ing Bob car­ried on a very suc­cess­ful stud ca­reer, and was in such de­mand that Zeringue built a horse trailer to en­able him to reach the best mares in the re­gion. The cover fee was $25. Late in 1942, Zeringue sold Fly­ing Bob to a Texas fam­ily and most of his get af­ter that were foaled in Texas. Of his many foals, a ma­jor­ity be­came ei­ther race win­ners or the

dams or sires of race win­ners. In all, 36 of Fly­ing Bob’s sons and daugh­ters even­tu­ally qual­i­fied for AQHA “Reg­is­ter of Merit” des­ig­na­tion in rac­ing, and his daugh­ters added 87 more qual­i­fiers to this record.

In study­ing pho­tos of Fly­ing Bob and his get, Della Moore’s colts by Billy and Rondo-bred stal­lions, and Peter McCue’s many prog­eny out of the same type of “short” mares, we at last be­gin to see the emer­gence of a con­sis­tent, iden­ti­fi­able Quar­ter Horse phe­no­type. The horses of the 1920s and 1930s are taller and heav­ier than the old Billys and Ron­dos, while pre­serv­ing their bulging mus­cu­lar­ity. Their longer backs, cleaner shoulders, boxy heads and longer-strided gal­lop­ing style re­flect the in­creased per­cent­age of Thor­ough­bred en­cour­aged by the Army Re­mount pro­gram and ef­fected by in­flu­en­tial breed­ers such as the Watkinses of Illi­nois, the Cajun fam­i­lies of Louisiana, and the rancher-breed­ers of Texas. No one could mis­take Fly­ing Bob or his get for any­thing but a Quar­ter Horse. De­spite the fact that Della Moore, Fly­ing Bob and Peter McCue are three-quar­ters Thor­ough­bred by blood, se­lec­tion by rac­ing en­thu­si­asts who wanted one thing above all else---speed on the short track---had by 1930 con­sol­i­dated the type and pro­duced a large pop­u­la­tion from which fu­ture horses of con­sis­tently sim­i­lar con­for­ma­tion would be bred.

In the next chap­ter of the Quar­ter Horse story, we will see how an in­fu­sion of draft horse blood helped to cure a ten­dency to ten­der­foot­ed­ness---a con­for­ma­tional short­com­ing in­her­ited from the Thor­ough­bred---and how greater weight-for-height in horses with an in­fu­sion of draft blood helped to pop­u­lar­ize the nascent Quar­ter Horse for uses other than rac­ing.

Spe­cial thanks go to ex­pert ge­neal­o­gist Cherie Sheaf­fer who helped fill in biographic­al de­tails on the Sam Watkins clan for this ar­ti­cle.





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