For many years, the bloodlines of horses that have natural cow or cow sense have been well known among horsemen. These families have also become well established, as have the families of top arena horses and proven race horses. The ability to do has been bred into these horses, and it has proved to be an inherited characteristic.
The jumping Quarter Horse, as such, has had recognition for too little time to have established bloodlines that allow horse owners to say that a particular cross will put bounce in a horse.
To many people, a jumping horse is simply one that can go out and leap an obstacle. However, that is like saying that a cow horse is one that goes out and works cattle, or a race horse is one that runs at the track. To trainers who work with the various types of horses, there is a lot of difference between a horse that just goes out there and runs, cuts, or works, and a horse that has the added heart, the know-how, and the savvy that separates him from mediocrity and puts him at the top of his field. The inherited qualities that stamp a cow horse, race horse, or cutting horse as a champion or near-champion, also apply to the jumping horse.
To many people, nothing is initially required of the jumping horse besides being able to jump — four legs maybe —but beyond that, nothing. Of course this is not true. A jumping horse can be of any breed, size, and almost any age. If you don’t agree, remember the old saying, A horse will make a liar out of you any time.
Some of the characteristics that a hunter or jumper needs are: strength to clear high obstacles, ability to readily accept intensive schooling, timing, and a technically correct stride. As in other types of horses, a jumper also needs desire — the heart — to perform well.
One reason Quarter Horses are considered good jumpers and good prospects for that field is that generally they have those characteristics. They also have a quiet nature which makes them ideal for junior jumping.
The inclusion of recognized hunting and jumping classes has helped make the Quarter Horse an acceptable and desired equine in these areas. But, whether it is correct to say that jumping and hunting have come to the Quarter Horse, or that the Quarter Horse has gone to jumping and hunting, is hard to decide. The fact is, the two are meeting; and it is good.
In time, stallions will be recognized as sires that put a little extra in their foals that makes them good jumping prospects; and mares will become known for that do-or-die attribute of their jumping offspring. In short, the prospects; and mares will become known for that do-or-die attribute of their jumping offspring. In short, the inherited characteristics that combine to make good hunters and jumpers will be apparent in the bloodlines of those horses that excel in those classes.
At present, though, it is possible to trace some Quarter Horse bloodlines that are already prominent in jumping. For instance, one of the earliest proven sires of jumping Quarter Horses is Muchacho de Oro, a palomino by Billy Van. He was registered in the National Quarter Horse Breeders Association, and sired the illustrious Horse with the Flying Tail, otherwise known at Nautical, Pronto, Injun Joe, and Peter de Oro.
Nautical stood slightly over 15.3, and in the annals of jumping history and international competition, he has no equal. In competition, he had a special way of moving as if he were always bouncing on a spring board. He also had a very keen sense of distance, height, and depth perception.
His brothers, sisters, and half-brothers and half-sisters showed the same uncanny sense of timing, way of moving, and bounce. Among these is Rogue Ann, a full sister, that was shown mainly in the southwest. She did well during her career. She won hunter championships at such shows as the Denver National Western, and competed successfully in reining classes during the same period. Rogue Ann showed excellent jumping ability for a mare as small as her 15.1 hand height.
The dam of Rogue Ann and Nautical was a remount mare that went under the names Play Pretty and Lu Lee. She was a Thoroughbred that did well in jumping competition, although her main use was as a broodmare.
Another excellent jumper was John’s Danny, a bay gelding by Red Saint. This Quarter Horse was a top competitor in both jumping and barrel racing; and, at 20, he still holds one state jumping record of six feet.
Caesar Bars, by Three Bars, is another sire of note in the field of jumping. He sired Caesar’s Mac, a 15.1 horse that weighs slightly less than 1,000 pounds. Though small, Caesar’s Mac has been a champion jumper at many shows with both junior riders and adults in the saddle. He has also won many ribbons in reining and western pleasure classes.
In 1960, Sis Blitzen, by Blue Blitzen and out of the Quarter mare Sis Bailey, competed in the United States Equestrian Team Zone trials. She jumped several faultless rounds, showed well at dressage, and was selected to go on to Gladstone, New Jersey. One coach commented, “There isn’t a horse in the United States that can trot with her.”
Sis Blitzen had to forego the selection due to previous commitments of her owner, but she earned top awards in junior hunting classes and has jumps of up to 5’9″.
Several other Quarter Horses are fast-making their names known in the jumping and hunting classes. Among them are I’m The Answer, out of the Quarter mare, My Mistake, of Question Mark bloodlines; I’m Gone, by Leo, who has sired two promising Quarter Horse jumpers; and Plainsman Gold, a Fort Knox palomino out of the C.S. Shiner mare, Miss Shiner.
So it is apparent, though sketchy at present, that some of the already well-known Quarter Horse families are becoming known as hunter and jumper producers. In the coming years, with the fast-increasing popularity of these two events, champion producing bloodlines will become more and more prominent.
This article was originally published in the August 1969 issue of Western Horseman.