By this time Three Bars had already distinguished himself at stud. His get were constant AAA runners – the highest speed rating. Horses including Bardella, Lighting Bar, and Barred were quickly proving their sire’s potency. More breeders were bringing their mares to the court of Three Bars who was gradually growing into a legend in a racing world where speed was the only criterion of success. It became an established fact that Three Bars was the horse to breed to if you wanted a colt or filly that “could burn a hole in the wind.” His stud bookings were limited to a definite number of approved mares and as the demand increased so did the stud fee. Even at its present level of $10,000 per service, it may be cheap. His get are bringing better prices at every sale. At the moment I know of one Three Bars colt for sale for $50,000. The colt is only a yearling and naturally his ability is unproven. However, he is a son of Three Bars and a full brother to Triple Chick whose reputation is also growing. Obviously he isn’t the only Three Bars offspring available, but they all fetch a good price.

The success story continues on and more recently, in 1962, we find the Vails in what they hope is their final move. They bought a beautiful 900- acre spread in central California five miles east of Oakdale. There are lush irrigated pastures of mixed grasses – no clover because that is too fattening, and Sid believes in lean horses. The ranch, as you may have guessed, is called the Three Bars Ranch. The Vails live in a modest home, but as might be expected, the horses have the best of everything. The barns are of fireproof concrete block and the pastures and stud runs are of two by four inch wire mesh to avoid potential accidents. Three Bars is perhaps the center of attraction, but he shares the limelight with two of his Thoroughbred sons who are proving out well – McBarr and Bar Admiral. There is another stud named Judge Hand by Court Martial whom Sid feels has a great potential. . .

In addition to the studs you will find several pastures containing as fine a selection of Quarter and Thoroughbred broodmares as there is in the country.

Sid-and-Mayola-with-Three-Bars-TB
Sid and Mayola Vail with Three Bars (TB) – Photo by Orren Mixer

The Vails have kept real close to their horses and the problems of running their ranch. Mayola keeps the books and Sid personally handles all breeding and foaling problems. He has been unusually successful in settling mares difficult to get in foal. He has that uncanny inbred sense of knowing exactly when a mare should be bred. Several men do the daily chores, but all of the stud handling and decisions are made by Sid himself, a man who is readily referred to as Mr. Quarter Horse although his reputation has come from Three Bars, a Thoroughbred.


As written in Western Horsemans’ Legends Volume 1, “Without a shadow of a doubt, Three Bars has had the greatest impact on the Quarter Horse breed of any horse in history.”

Legends Volume 1 cover

If you are interested in reading more about Three Bars (TB), we invite you to read through Western Horsemans Legends Volume 1. It provides exclusive detailed profiles, photographs, pedigrees and performance summaries of the great legend horses that played significant key roles in the Quarter Horse industry. The profiles include over 175 photos of the amazing horses and the people who helped make them famous.

Click here to purchase Legends: Volume 1 

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3 Comments

  1. Jane Brown Reply

    I had the privilege of owning a grandson of Three Bars during the mid seventies. Flit Bar Heels , by Bar Heels out of Miss King Flit. Magnificent horse that I wish was here today!

  2. i had the privelege of gdtting to know Sid and Mayola a few years before he died, he was a 5th coison and looked so much like my Dad, Have been to His ranch i Ca where Sid died, and too Nakona Tx where Three bars is buried standing on his feet, in front of Sids home, the ori, house burned but the new owner built back in thd same place . The stable still stands , But Sid built a stable on too his house and his bed rome because peaple where steeling Three Bars and breeding there mares and would take weeks to find him. I would love to contack Sids nephews wife, Also the lady that now owns the ranch war very intrested in making a movie, would love it also, I think it should be .

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