Known as the “Iron Horse,” Clabber not only passed along his speed and durability to his offspring but his true grit and competitive spirit.

Clabber IronHorseClabber, the Iron Horse.

During 1950, a leading sires list for Quarter Horses was conducted by the Texas Livestock Journal, which showed the top sires of winners at all recognized meets. Sires were listed by the number of winning get rather than by number of races won, and Clabber, at the end of the year, topped the list with 19 winners of 32 races.

A chestnut horse, Clabber was foaled in the spring of 1937 at Big Foot, Texas. Bred by rancher Frank Smith, he was get of the celebrated My Texas Dandy, currently rated third among Register of Merit sires. Clabber’s dam was Blondie S (dam also of Captain White Sox), a daughter of Lone Star. Thus he might quite reasonably be said to have been bred in the purple and, as a performer, he more than lived up to his royal pedigree. Because of his indomitable spirit and remarkable constitution he became affectionately known to the race-going public of his day as the Iron Horse.

His sire, My Texas Dandy, was sent to Charley Brenham in 1928, and it was Mr. Brenham who broke and first raced him. Brenham says he always left the gate as though shot from a cannon. Besides early foot, he had a wealth of blinding speed; yet failed to win a single race. In 1929 My Texas Dandy was sold to J. C. Smith for $250 and was again put into training. Young Smith’s dad tells the story of once seeing the colt fall to his knees at the start of a race, scramble up and overtake the field before he had gone 200 yards. More than once without turning a hair, the sorrel colt would set the pace or push the winner all the way; yet never quite manage to be in front at the finish. Mr. Smith suggests he may have run so fast he scared himself; certainly nothing ever appeared to scare his chestnut son, Clabber. He was one of the toughest horses that ever looked through a bridle.

Early in life Clabber was sold into Arizona and went to the ranch of A.A Nichols at Gilbert. Ab Nichols was a race horse man of the old school who scoffed at bandages and workouts, liniments and rubs. Every man on Ab’s spread was expected to do a full day’s work every day–and he exacted just as much from his horses. Clabber did his full share from dawn till dark; he became an all around cow horse in mighty short order. He was used for cutting and roping, he was used to head cattle. He probably headed more cattle one spring for Ab Nichols than most cow horses ever do in a lifetime. He was used in rodeo and won a lot of prize money. He was a pretty smart cookie, the pride of the outfit.

In between his other chores he did stud service. All manner of mares were brought to his court, few of them better than a shade above sorry; yet from almost all of them he got horses that could run. Quite a number of his get ran themselves into the Register of Merit, and his grandsons and granddaughters are still doing that today.

1 2 3

Write A Comment