Horse Breeding

Old Fred

May 11, 2012

Back in the day, Old Fred sired both sprinters and working ranch horses.

Old Fred

Old Fred. AQHA file photo.

From a 1947 issue of Quarter Horse Magazine

Over on the western slope of the Rockies, Don De Mars was talking to Coke Roberds and a few other horsemen. Don asked Mr. Roberds which horse – of all the Quarter Horses he had ever known – he would rather have back if such a thing were possible. And Mr. Roberds (who has been watching, working, and breeding Quarter Horses since the frontier days – and who owned Peter McCue, the fastest Quarter Horse and the greatest Quarter sire ever in Colorado, during his final breeding years) replied without hesitation: “Old Fred. I would rather have Fred than any horse I’ve ever seen. There was only one Fred,” he said, “and there may never be another; for to me he is the horse of a lifetime spent with and for good horses.”

Learn everything there is to know about Peter McCue from his humble beginnings, his race career, where he lived, his owners and much more in AQHA’s FREE report, The Gospel According to Peter.

Old Fred, foaled in the last decade of the 1800s, set the family strain of a great percentage of the Quarter Horses in the Colorado region, and many good horsemen believe him to be the best palomino horse ever foaled. Not only was Old Fred responsible for some of the best Quarter Horses in that state but also most of the palomino horses bred there.

Old Fred was approximately the size of Peter McCue and was brought to Pueblo, Colorado, from Springfield, Missouri, as a 2-year-old. He, along with a palomino filly, was purchased and taken to Hayden. It was here he became known as Old Fred and the mare as Blondie.

Old Fred was by a horse called Black Ball, he by Missouri Rondo, he by Missouri Mike and he by Printer by Cold Deck. Black Ball was out of a mare called Nan, who was part Standardbred. Old Fred was out of a palomino mare by John Crowder by Old Billy. Black Ball was a black horse with white stockings and a blaze face. Nan was the same color.

Truly a great sire, Old Fred sired such notable horses as Bob H, Fred Litz, Pet, Papoose, Old Stockings and many others.

When Don De Mars asked Coke Roberds if he believed Fred to have been as much responsible for speed in his horses as was Peter McCue, the elder horseman’s answer was, “Fred sired Bob H.” Bob H still holds the Hayden track record  for a quarter in twenty-three and two-fifths. He was by Fred and out of Queen Litz, a Thoroughbred mare. When 2 years old, Bob H was purchased from Coke Roberds by Marshall Peavy and remained on the Peavy Ranch until he was accidentally killed six years later. Peavy took the Blue Mare by Bob H, and out of a roan mare by Primero, and bred her back to Bob H. The result was Papoose. Papoose was one of the fastest Quarter Horses in that region (winning 27 races before being beaten) and later produced some of the greatest Peavy horses by Ding Bob, who was by Brown Dick and out of Mary McCue.

When Papoose was quite old, Marshall Peavy gave her to Jack Casement. For him, she produced two foals by Red Dog, one of which was Cherokee Maiden.

Blondie, the mare that was purchased along with Old Fred, became the property of Charles Eckstine of Steamboat Springs. This one-time owner of the fastest relay string in the United States bred Blondie to a horse called Big Black. This mating produced a sorrel mare known as Tiny Eckstine, and she was purchased by Lawrance Peavy, who in turn bred her to Bob H. This produced the famous mare, Fleet. Fleet was a sorrel, but when bred to Ding Bob (a brownish dun-colored horse), she foaled five palominos and five sorrels.

Of the palominos, Saladin and Trudy were probably most well-known, while Mary K, Melody and Candy proved most outstanding of the sorrels. Evelyn Peavy Semotan gave Saladin to Marshall Peavy as a colt, and that young stallion sired some fine colts for him. It was said of Trudy that you could tie on to the biggest, wildest cow, and you might break the rope, but they never put Trudy off her feet. She raced well, too – showed good speed on the track. Mary K was the fastest of Fleet’s colts and certainly is a success as a broodmare.

These horses have been mentioned in an effort to show that Old Fred was a sire of sprinters, as well as producing ideal cow horses that could stand up under the hard use required of them in their native home.

What made Peter McCue such an instrumental stallion in the early 1900s? Determine for yourself in The Gospel According to Peter.

Old Fred was an outstanding sire of broodmares. Out of Primero mares, he sired Stockings and Pet for Coke Roberds. When these mares were bred to Peter McCue, they produced such notable horses as Squaw, who won 49 out of 50 races and later proved her worth as a broodmare, Buck Thomas, who did so much good in Texas, and Peter McCue II, a great sire.

Pet is most famous for her son, the Sheik, by Peter McCue. Sheik proved himself a worthy grandson of Old Fred.

The greatness of Old Fred is still very much in evidence. His blood can be found in top horses (and especially palominos) in all parts of the United States – striking evidence that the prejudiced breeders who say yellow horses are incapable of winning and unable to do the work required of the breed are not only wrong but are completely unfair in their biased opinion.