THE WORKING LINES
Blackburn and the Waggoner Mares
Foundation Quarter Horse Journal March 2000
By Larry Thornton
One of those familiar names is the group of horses that have collectively become known as the Waggoner Horses - especially the Waggoner Mares. We know that such stallions as Strideaway [TB], Yellow Jacket, Yellow Wolf, Yellow Bear, Bobby Lowe, Buzz the Wire and Midnight were all used in the Waggoner breeding program. But many of the mares they were bred to were simply put in the Stud Book as a Waggoner Mare and for all practical purposes - the pedigrees of these mares has been lost.
We also see that some of the Waggoner mares were known by their sire. It is not uncommon for us to see mares from the Waggoner breeding program listed as daughters of Yellow Jacket, Yellow Wolf, Bailey, Buck Thomas, Waggoner's Rainy Day P-13, Pretty Boy or Pep Up. We often find the dam of these mares to be listed as a Waggoner Mare, breeding unknown.
One such group of mares was the Blackburn mares. These mares were sired by the Waggoner stallion Blackburn P-2228. As we look at the scheme of things surrounding the Waggoner horses, Blackburn becomes a very significant individual in the success of the Waggoner breeding program and the success of the famous stallion Poco Bueno.
Blackburn was born in 1927. His sire was Yellow Jacket and his dam was Siss by Peter McCue. The breeder of Blackburn is listed in the stud book as J. L. Fuqua Jr. of Amarillo, Texas. But several historical writers have related a different story on who bred Blackburn. The story basically goes this way. The stallion Yellow Jacket was used by the Waggoner Ranch from about 1916 or 1917 to 1924. The Waggoner Ranch then gave Yellow Jacket to Lee Bivins of Armarillo, Texas in 1924. According to writers like Robert Denhardt, Richard Chamberlain, Barbara Muse Huntington and Franklin Reynolds, Bivins bred Yellow Jacket to five mares reportedly owned by Edgar Thompson. These mares produced the stallions Yellow Boy, Cowboy and Blackburn in 1927. Yellow Boy went on to be P-18 and Cowboy went on to be P-12 in the AQHA Stud Book. Blackburn was registered as P-2228.
What makes this so interesting is the fact that all three of these stallions were listed in the AQHA Stud Book as bred by three different people. Richard Chamberlain in THE QUARTER HORSE JOURNAL story "Speed and Cow sense, The Story of Yellow Jacket," reports that Cowboy P-12 was bred by Ed Thompson; Yellow Boy P-18 was bred by Lee Bivins and Blackburn was bred by J. L. Fuqua.
Andrea Mattson in her book ROOTS: FOUNDATION QUARTER HORSE BLOODLINES, tells us that Blackburn was known by more than one name during his life. She reports that he was known as Cowboy and Fuqua by Yellow Jacket.
The registration file on Blackburn that is now housed at the American Quarter Horse Heritage Center and Museum sheds some light on the Blackburn story and who bred him. The information on who bred Blackburn comes in the form of a letter written by Glen Turpin for E. Paul Waggoner.
Mr Turpin wrote, "Years ago the late Mr. W. T. Waggoner gave his famous old Yellow Jacket horse to Mr. Lee Bivins of Amarillo. Edgar Thompson, Folsom, New Mexico was associated in some way with Bivins and was allowed to breed a new mare to this horse. [Yellow Jacket] He mated a mare named Siss to Yellow Jacket and got a colt which he named Cowboy and which he sold to J. L. Fuqua when 5 years old. Mr. Fuqua, Chapham, New Mexico, sold this same horse to the Waggoners, years later, and they named him Blackburn. Since he was once owned by Mr. Fuqua it is reasonable to assume he might have been given that name [Fuqua] at sometime or other but we do not definitely know."
Blackburn came with a pedigree rich in the history of the Quarter horse. His sire Yellow Jacket was bred by Jim Barbee of Kyle, Texas. Franklin Reynolds in the story "Yellow Jacket... A Most Wonderful Horse' that appeared in the May 1959 and June 1959 issue of THE QUARTER HORSE JOURNAL, quotes Lige Reed that Yellow Jacket came to the Waggoner Ranch in 1916 or 1917. He had been a noted race horse. He was a red dun stallion that stood about 15 hands two inches. Reed indicated to Reynolds that Yellow Jacket "showed some evidence of thoroughbred blood, was well-formed and had a good disposition." Lige Reed would work on the Waggoner Ranch from 1903 to 1933. He then went to work for the equally famous Burnett Ranch.
Yellow Jacket was sired by Little Rondo by Lock's Rondo. The dam of Little Rondo was Minnie Franks by Project. He was bred by Jim Barbee of Kyle, Texas. The dam of Yellow Jacket was Barbee Dun, who was bred by W. W. Lock. Barbee Dun was sired by Lock's Rondo. The gives Yellow Jacket a 2 X 2 inbreeding pattern to Lock's Rondo. This means that Lock's Rondo is found twice in the second generation of Yellow Jacket's pedigree. Lock's Rondo was sired by Whalebone. Whalebone was bred by William Fleming. Whalebone was sired by the famous foundation sire Old Billy. Old Billy was sired by Shiloh. The dam of Old Billy was Ram Cat by Steel Dust. The dam of Whalebone was Paisiana, who was sired by Bailes' Brown Dick and out of Belton Queen by Guinea Boar.
The dam of Lock's Rondo was Mittie Stephens by Shiloh Jr. Shiloh Mr was sired by Shiloh. This gives Lock's Rondo a 3 X 3 breeding pattern to Shiloh. This means that Shiloh was found twice in the third generation of the pedigree of Lock's Rondo. The dam of Mittie Stephens was Nellie Gray by Dan Secres. Her dam was Texanna by Chieftan. This pedigree is according to Victoria Short's book UNREGISTERED FOUNDATION SIRES OF THE AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE.
The dam of Barbee Dun was Mary Lee. Mary Lee was sired by Joe Lee by Hamilton's Joe. Victoria Short in her book UNREGISTERED FOUNDATION SIRES OF THE AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE tells us that Mary Lee was out of Nellie, a Lock mare. Barbee Dun was bred by W. W. Lock, the man that stood Lock's Rondo.
The dam of Blackburn was a mare named Siss. Siss was sired by Peter McCue. Peter McCue was sired by Dan Tucker. Dan Tucker was sired by Barney Owens by Martin's Cold Deck. Martin's Cold Deck was sired by Old Billy by Shiloh. This gives Blackburn a cross to both of the Old Billy strains of Quarter Horses. Yellow Jacket gives Blackburn the South Texas strain of Old Billy. This strain of Old Billy is prominent in horses like Little Joe, Zantanon, King P-234, Possum, San Siemon and so on. The other Old Billy strain comes from Peter McCue, whose sire line traces directly to Old Billy. The Peter McCue line has given us such noted stallions as Harmon Baker, Dodger, Pretty Boy, John Wilkins, Joe Hancock and Sheik P-11.
The dam of Dan Tucker was Butt Cut. This mare was sired by Jack Traveler by Steel Dust. The dam of Butt Cut was June Bug by a horse we will call Harry Bluff II. This Harry Bluff was a grandson of the original Harry Bluff. Harry Bluff II was sired by Telegraph by Harry Bluff. The original Harry Bluff was the sire of Steel Dust.
The dam of Peter McCue was Nora M, a thoroughbred mare. Her sire was Voltigeur by Vandal. Her dam was Kitty Clyde by Star Davis. The dam of Siss was an unknown mare so we have no pedigree information.
The story "The Waggoner Horses" by Franklin Reynolds in the October 1956 issue of THE QUARTER HORSE JOURNAL tells us a little about what kind of horse the Blackburn foals were. Reynolds tells us "Son Probst, a Waggoner cowpuncher for 17 years, and foreman of the Whiteface Ranch... describes Blackburn colts as tough, with stout backs, good for big ranch work and good roping horses. They could carry a man all day, he says."
The leading breeder Paul Curtner gave me some interesting insight into the kind of horses produced by Blackburn in an interview. He had this to say, "An ole boy that worked up there one time told me about them. He didn't call them Blackburns, but they had about 80 head and they lotted them every night. You'd go out about four in the morning and rope one of them and ride them all day."
Curtner added, "The ole boy said, 'If you can ride him five jumps in the morning you had it made.' They wasn't too bad, the Waggoner Ranch got along with them pretty good. But they would buck."
He continued, "But they all would in that part of the country. Because they weren't haltered until they were two or older and that makes a lot of difference. If they would've started them out as weanlings or yearlings and halter broke them, messed with them, they probably would have been a different horse. But they'd wait till they were two's or better and go to start breaking them and that is still harder to do."
Our primary look at the sire record of Blackburn begins with E. Paul Waggoner's purchase of Poco Bueno in 1945. When E. Paul Waggoner was the son of Tom Waggoner and grandson of Dan Waggoner. The father and son team that built the Waggoner Ranch of Vernon, Texas into an institution and not just a ranch. When E. Paul Waggoner bought Poco Bueno, he was building the 3D Stock Farm in Arlington, Texas. Waggoner would go on to establish the 3D Stock Farm into a major breeding program for Poco Bueno. Poco Bueno would prove himself as a great show horse earning Grand Championships at many of the major shows and then as a winning cutting horse.
Poco Bueno's band of mares would consist of daughters of Blackburn, Pretty Boy and Pep Up. Poco Bueno would become the all time leading sire of AQHA Champions with 36 to his credit. He is still third on this list over 30 years after his death. When we look at these AQHA Champions we see that 18 of the 36 were out of daughters or granddaughters of Blackburn.
One of the nice things about the Blackburn mares is that many of them were born in time to be registered with the AQHA and this means they have a name. We will begin with Dolly D. Dolly D was the dam of three AQHA Champions sired by Poco Bueno. The first AQHA Champion was Poco Mona. This mare earned 47 AQHA Halter points and 283 AQHA Performance points with a superior in cutting. She was the AQHA Honor Roll Cutting Mare in 1958. She was in the NCHA Top Ten for three years. The second AQHA Champion out of Dolly D was Poco Bay. This bay stallion earned 39 Halter points and 14 performance points. The third AQHA Champion was Poco Doll, a dun mare. She earned 96 AQHA Halter points and 17 AQHA performance points. She was Superior in Halter. The dam of Dolly D was a daughter of Waggoner's Rainy Day P-13 and she was out of a Waggoner Mare, whose breeding is unknown.
Lady Blackburn III was another good producing daughter of Blackburn that went to the broodmare band of Poco Bueno. She was the dam of two AQHA Champions sired by Poco Bueno. They were Poco Bob, who was another Superior cutting horse and halter horse. He earned 51 halter points and 125 performance points. He was an NCHA Top Ten Qualifier in 1961. Poco Lynn was the next AQHA Champion from this mare. Poco Lynn was the 1958 AQHA High Point Halter Horse. She earned her Superior in halter with 83 AQHA points and she had 20 AQHA performance points. Lady Blackburn III was out of a daughter of Waggoner's Rainy Day P-13.
Lady Blackburn III was the dam of Little Electra by Beaver Creek, a son of King P-234. When they bred Little Electra to Poco Bueno, they got two AQHA Superior halter horses in Poco Jan and Poco Electra. Poco Electra was also an AQHA Champion.
Nellie D was another Blackburn daughter bred to Poco Bueno. This time they produced the AQHA Champion Poco Speedy. Poco Speedy is often seen in the pedigrees of the Driftwood bred horses. The well known Driftwood stallion Wilywood gives us an example of the breeding that combines Poco Speedy with Driftwood. The sire of Wilywood is Orphan Drift, a grandson of Driftwood. The dam of Wilywood is Oui Oui by Poco Speedy. The dam of Oui Oui was Woodfern by Driftwood. Nellie D was out of a Waggoner's Rainy Day Mare, who was out of a Waggoner Mare.
Mary D was a daughter of Blackburn and she produced two AQHA Champions by Poco Bueno. They were Poco Pico and Poco Dias. Mary D was out of a mare by Bailey. The dam of Mary D was a Waggoner Mare, whose breeding is listed as unknown.
Poco Robin and Poco Nadine were AQHA Champions by Poco Bueno. They were out of Jeep W by Blackburn. The dam of Jeep W is listed in the Stud Book as a Waggoner Mare, whose breeding is listed as unknown.
The mare that must be considered the most famous granddaughter of Blackburn to be bred to Poco Bueno was Sheilwin. Sheilwin was the dam of the AQHA Champions Poco Lena, Poco Tivio and Poco Champ. Poco Lena went on to become a legend as a cutting horse. She was the NCHA Reserve World Champion five times and the NCHA World Champion Cutting Mare three times. She was the AQHA Honor Roll Cutting Horse three times with Superiors in cutting and halter. She was an AQHA Champion with 641 AQHA cutting points and 174 AQHA halter points. Poco Tivio was an NCHA Top Ten qualifier for two years. He was an AQHA Champion with 12 AQHA halter points and 19 AQHA performance points. Poco Champ was Superior in halter with 54 AQHA halter points and 26 performance points. Sheilwin was sired by Pretty Boy and out of a Waggoner Mare by Blackburn.
Lady Beaver 136 was another daughter of Beaver Creek that produced an AQHA Champion by Poco Bueno. This AQHA Champion was Poco Pamlet. Lady Beaver 136 was out of a mare by Blackburn.
Miss Bow Tie was a daughter of the famous Waggoner stallion Pretty Buck. Pretty Buck stood on the 3D Stock Farm with Poco Bueno. The dam of Miss Bow Tie was Sheilfly by Blackburn. Miss Bow Tie would become the dam of three AQHA Champions sired by Poco Bueno. The are Poco Bow Tie, Poco Bow and Poco Discount. The dam of Sheilfly was a mare by Cotton Eyed Joe by Little Joe. The dam of Sheilfly's mother was a Waggoner Mare, whose pedigree is unknown.
The success of Miss Bow Tie is just one example of the success of Pretty Buck and Blackburn. This has proven to be a good cross as well as Snipette by Blackburn. Snipette was the dam of the 1953 NCHA World Champion Cutting Horse Snipper W. Snipper W was an AQHA Champion with Superiors in cutting and halter. He earned 52 AQHA halter points and 129 AQHA performance points. He was sired by Pretty Buck. Snipette was out of a mare by Bailey.
Blackburn was like many stallions and that when his daughters filled the broodmare band at the Waggoner Ranch, he was moved to a new location. Blackburn was used by the Cowan Ranch of Seymour, Texas. This marks the beginning of a second chapter in the life of Blackburn. Blackburn bred the Cowan ranch mares that were simply known as Cowan Mares. The Stud Book doesn't give any pedigrees for these mares.
Paul Curtner went to the Waggoner sale in 1954 to specifically buy a Blackburn mare. When he went home he owned a Pretty Boy mare named Pretty Rosalie and her colt that he named Poco Pine. Poco Pine went on to be a great show horse and sire. He is now the second leading sire of AQHA Champions and the broodmare sire of Zippo Pine Bar. But Curtner still wanted some Blackburn mares and he bought some of them from the Cowan Ranch.
He remembers it this way, "Well my interest in the Blackburn horses came because Poco Bueno had crossed pretty well with them. He sired Poco Lena, Poco Mona, Poco Bay and Poco Tivio. So I wanted a Blackburn mare and one of the reasons is I thought they were good brood mares."
Curtner went on to explain, "As I recall, they gave him [Blackburn] to a guy named Claude Cowan. So I went and bought 8 or 9 Blackburn mares that were raised on the Cowan Ranch."
He went on, "I raised a few mares out of them by Poco Pine. But they were more or less every other year breeders. The first year I got them, I had 5 or 6 colts. Then I bred the ones that didn't have a colt back the next year and I got colts. When I bred the ones that did have a colt back, they didn't have one the next year. That was the way it was for me. I'd still like to have a pasture full of them."
The registration file on Blackburn tells us that Claude Cowan from the Cowan Ranch of Dundee, Texas bought Blackburn. Cowan later leased Blackburn to Bob Haley of Seymour, Texas for a short time. The registration file indicates that Blackburn died in about 1951.
The next phase of the second chapter in the life of Blackburn comes from Bismark, North Dakota. Harold Schafer owned the Gold Seal Company, which sold such products as Snowy Bleach, Glass Wax and Mr. Bubble, a bubble bath for kids. Mr. Schafer founded a ranch in North Dakota that he called the Blackburn Ranch. The foundation of the Blackburn Ranch was made up of 40 own daughters of Blackburn. Schafer bought Blackburn daughters from several sources including Paul Curtner.
Schafer used the Blackburn mares to produce such AQHA Champions as Mr Blackburn II [by Poco Birthday]; Mr Blackburn 16 [by Poco Mos] and Mr Blackburn 28 [by Poco Eagle]. Poco Eagle was sired by Poco Rey by Poco Bueno. Poco Eagle was out of Scar Face S, a Bailey Mare from the Waggoner Ranch. Poco Mos was sired by Poco Bueno and out of Pretty Me by Pretty Buck by Pretty Boy. The dam of Pretty Me was Suits Me by Pretty Boy. Poco Birthday was sired by Poco Bueno and out of Etta's Birthday by Joe Traveler.
Harold Schafer then bought the great Pretty Buck from the Glynn W. Sams Estate. This put Pretty Buck back with the daughters of Blackburn. The reuniting of Pretty Buck with Blackburn mares gave the Schafer breeding program the AQHA Champions Mr Blackburn 37 and Mr Blackburn 40.
One of the Schafer bred mares was Blackburn 36. The mare was sired by Poco Nino. Poco Nino was sired by Poco Bueno and he was out of Patsy Buck by Pretty Buck. The dam of Blackburn 36 was Lady Black 62 by Blackburn and out of a Waggoner Mare. Blackburn 36 is the dam of the good mare Grulla San by Leo San Han by Leo San. Grulla San is the dam of High Brow Hickory. High Brow Hickory is the winner of over $229,155 as an NCHA Futurity Co-Reserve Champion. His foals include High Brows Nurse, NCHA Open Super Stakes Reserve Champion and High Brow Cat, NCHA Super Stakes Finalist.
Lady Black 50 is another Blackburn daughter. This mare is the dam of Miss Crip by L H Chock by King P-234. Miss Crip was bred to Poco Mos to get the mare Poco Crip Mos. Poco Crip Mos is the dam of Thermo Poco Mos. Thermo Poco Mos is the dam of Doc O Mos, an AQHA World Champion Senior Western Pleasure Horse and a Congress Champion. Doc O Mos is the sire of such noted Western Pleasure horses as Cash for Stars, an AQHYA World Show Top Ten and Superior Pleasure Horse. Doc O Mos was sired by Doc Bar and out of a daughter of Poco Tivio. Poco Tivio was out of Sheilwin, a granddaughter of Blackburn. This gives him two crosses to Blackburn.
We have seen the name Waggoner Mare applied in several instances in our look at Blackburn and his role as a sire. Franklin Reynolds wrote the story "Yellow Jacket... A Most Wonderful Horse" [Parts I & II] in the May and June 1959 issue of THE QUARTER HORSE JOURNAL. This story gives us some interesting insight into the possible pedigrees of some of these Waggoner Mares.
Reynolds starts our look into the pedigrees of the Waggoner Mares with two stallions named Yellow Wolf, the stallion Yellow Jacket and Strideaway, a thoroughbred. Reynolds got his information from Will Steed, a former employee of the Waggoner Ranch.
Steed tells Reynolds about a seal brown stallion that was called Yellow Wolf. This Yellow Wolf was a successful race horse from Oklahoma Territory. We will refer to this Yellow Wolf as [Brown] Yellow Wolf. [Brown] Yellow Wolf was believed to be sired by Pid Hart or Anti-Pro. Steed tells Reynolds that [Brown] Yellow Wolf was bred one year to 45 of the best mares and they were all yellow in color.
The next stallion Steed tells Reynolds about is Strideaway. Strideaway was a chestnut thoroughbred sired by Glenmore by *Glen Athol and out of a Spinaway by *Learnington. Steed tells Reynolds that the Strideaway daughters were bred to [Brown] Yellow Wolf.
Yellow Jacket came to the Waggoner Ranch as a breeding stallion after his successful career as a race horse. According to Steed in the Reynolds story, some of daughters of [Brown] Yellow Wolf out of the Strideaway mares were bred to Yellow Jacket.
The second Yellow Wolf was just a weanling colt when brought to the Waggoner Ranch. He was "yellow" in color. We will call this Yellow Wolf-- [Young] Yellow Wolf. He was sired by Old Joe Bailey or Weatherford Joe Bailey as he was called by some. [Young] Yellow Wolf was bred to Yellow Jacket mares and some of them were certainly out of [Brown] Yellow Wolf/Strideaway mares.
We have a couple of things that make this interesting. The first one is the mare Mittie Stephens. Mittie Stephens was the dam of Shelby and Lock's Rondo. Lock's Rondo was the double grandsire of Yellow Jacket. Shelby was the sire of Pid Hart, Anti-Pro and Eureka. Eureka was the sire of Old Joe Bailey. Old Joe Bailey was the sire of [Young] Yellow Wolf, while the proposed sire of [Brown] Yellow Wolf was either Pid Hart of Anti-Pro. The pedigree of [Young] Yellow Wolf in the book UNREGISTERED FOUNDATION SIRES OF THE AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE by Victoria Short shows that his dam Old Mary was out of Mandy, a granddaughter of Lock's Rondo. Thus the mare Mittie Stephens ties all of the stallions together in our proposed pedigree for "some" of the Waggoner Mares.
We're not done yet --Now let's move forward to the Blackburn era. We saw that Blackburn and Poco Bueno proved to be a good cross. A look at the pedigree of Poco Bueno tells us that he was sired by King P-234, who was out of a daughter of Strait Horse by Yellow Jacket, the sire of Blackburn. This gives Poco Bueno and Blackburn a genetic tie. Then we see that Miss Taylor, the dam of Poco Bueno was out of the Eads Mare by Hickory Bill by Peter McCue. Blackburn was out of Siss by Peter McCue. Another tie between Poco Bueno and Blackburn.
Then we saw they crossed Blackburn mares by Waggoner's Rainy Day to get Dolly D, Nellie D and Lady Blackburn III. Waggoner's Rainy Day P-13 was used on the Waggoner Ranch for a number of years. We have to assume that Waggoner's Rainy Day was bred to mares that carried the blood of [Young] Yellow Wolf, [Brown] Yellow wolf, Yellow Jacket and Strideaway. But as we look at the pedigree of Waggoner's Rainy Day we see he has his own ties to the Blackburn cross. The sire of Waggoner's Rainy Day was Ben Hur by Rainy Day. The dam of Ben Hur was Nettie Jacket by Yellow Jacket. Thus we have a genetic tie between Poco Bueno, Blackburn and Waggoner's Rainy Day through Yellow Jacket.
Bailey was another sire on the Waggoner Ranch whose daughters were crossed on Blackburn. Again we have to believe that Bailey could have been bred to the mares that carried the blood of [Young] Yellow Wolf, [Brown] Yellow Wolf, Yellow Jacket and/or Strideaway. This is the cross that produced Poco Pico and Poco Dias, who were out of Mary D. Mary D was by Blackburn and out of a Bailey Mare. Bailey was sired by Old Joe Bailey. Old Joe Bailey was sired by Eureka, who was sired by Shelby. Shelby was out of Mittie Stephens, the dam of Lock's Rondo.
We will never know the exact breeding on the "Waggoner Mares" that appear in the AQHA Stud Book. We do know that some of them had to carry the Yellow Wolf/Yellow Jacket/Yellow Wolf/Strideaway breeding pattern. Reynolds even went so far as to tell us that some of the daughters of [Brown] Yellow wolf and [Young] Yellow Wolf could have been in the pastures of the Waggoner Ranch at the same time. This breeding pattern certainly gives us a lot of food for thought when we survey the success of horses like Blackburn and the Waggoner Mares. The factor that stands out is that if the horses used in the early Waggoner breeding program carried a common ancestor or ancestors, it tells us why this breeding has stood the test of time as an influence on the modern Quarter horse.
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