Horse Breeding

Zippo Pat Bars

December 2, 2011

Was he really the ideal Quarter Horse?

Zippo Pat Bars

Orren Mixer's painting of Zippo Pat Bars.

From America’s Horse

If you were to build the ideal American Quarter Horse, most horsemen would say the horse has to be fast.

Cowboy types would appreciate a dose of cow sense. Some folks would want true-blue bloodlines, while statisticians would want one to reproduce with accuracy, just to prove he wasn’t a freak. Bankers would want one to pay himself off, with interest. Paul Curtner just wanted a horse to breed to his Poco Pine mares. Zippo Pat Bars fit the bill.

Zippo Pat Bars was by Three Bars (TB) and out of Leo Pat by Leo. Bred by Paul of Jacksboro, Texas, Zippo Pat Bars was foaled in 1964. But the story began long before he was foaled.

Paul spent a lifetime in the horse business. The son of a hardware store owner who dabbled in farming, Paul spent his early years around the town of Chico, Texas. Chico was the scene of a “third Monday” trade day, where, once a month, the townspeople would gather to swap household wares, farm equipment and, of particular interest to Paul, horses.

Sometimes he would come home afoot, but always he’d learn some valuable lessons about when to buy and when to sell. After a number of years, Paul settled down in Jacksboro, a few miles from his boyhood trading grounds. He had always owned horses and had roped some, but Paul decided that he would buy a horse that he could show. In 1951, he purchased Town Crier, a Bill Cody-sired sorrel stallion who was a full brother to Codalena. Paul showed Town Crier to 26 championships. But recalling his horse-trading days, when the primary motivation was profit or a better horse, Paul set out for better.

He wanted to buy a Blackburn mare with a Poco Bueno filly at her side from the Waggoner Ranch. Blackburn was a dun stallion by Yellow Jacket. At the Waggoner Ranch dispersal in 1954, Paul found a mare called Pretty Rosalie who had a small, dish-faced Poco Bueno colt at her side.

Paul liked the mare and decided to buy her although she wasn’t by Blackburn and didn’t have a filly at her side. Pine Johnson of the Waggoner ranch told Paul that he had bought the best Poco Bueno colt the ranch had ever raised. In honor of Pine, Paul named the colt Poco Pine. Poco Pine became Paul’s first top stallion.

Paul showed him to 50 grand championships and rode the horse to earn points in cutting and western pleasure, as well. He had offers of $100,000 for Poco Pine back in the days when that was an almost unheard of amount for a horse, but Paul never sold him. It was a shrewd move on his part, because for years, Poco Pine progeny brought in an estimated $25,000 per year. At Paul’s only production sale, in 1961, Poco Pine foals averaged $3,000.

The “Low-Stress Colt Starting With Curt Pate” DVD will give you an excellent introduction to Curt’s methods of training.

Paul was building quite a herd of Poco Pine daughters back in Jacksboro. He set out to raise a good stallion to cross on these mares. He had some other mares on the ranch, daughters of Leo and other stallions with stock-horse breeding, but Paul wanted to raise a horse that you could run a race with and also rope or cut on. To get the speed he wanted, Paul knew he had to breed to Three Bars, a legend on the track. Paul still had Pretty Rosalie, or “the old Rosalie,” as she was fondly called, and he thought she would make an excellent cross with Three Bars. He also decided to take along Leo Pat.

Paul wanted a Three Bars-sired colt out of Pretty Rosalie. She foaled first, and the result was a scrawny palomino filly. Paul was sick over the results, but other horsemen had told him that Leo Pat’s foal would be the keeper.

Paul said, “I hope she has a sorrel colt with a long hip and a little ole bitty head.” When the colt was born, he thought he was daydreaming.

“He was standing next to his mama, Leo Pat. He had a star, a snip and one white sock, and he was just what I wanted.”

Paul named the colt Zippo Pat Bars.

Zippo Pat Bars’ pedigree was stacked with speed horses, and early on, all he wanted to do was run. Paul sent Zippo Pat Bars to Ross Downs in Colleyville, Texas, where the young stallion showed some promise on the track. Paul decided the colt had the stuff to run in the larger futurities, so he sent him to trainer E.R. Beddo in Ruidoso, New Mexico, to get ready for the 1966 All American Futurity.

Zippo Pat Bars never made it to the All American. One morning, as he was being led out of his stall, he spooked. Flipping over, he hit the stall door, fracturing two vertebrae in his back and knocking his withers down a couple of inches. The injured stallion was sent to Texas A&M University for treatment, but the vets told Paul that only time would heal the horse. So Paul nursed him back to health.

The “Low-Stress Colt Starting With Curt Pate” DVD will put you on the right track with your young horse.

When Zippo Pat Bars was well, he raced again, racking up several wins and a few second-place finishes. In October 1967, Paul decided the horse’s racing days were done, and he thought the show ring might suit the horse better. But trainer Jerry Wells told Paul that the stallion’s withers being knocked down would keep him from winning, so Paul took Zippo Pat Bars home to Jacksboro.

Paul still did not have what he wanted to cross on his Poco Pine mare herd, so he turned to his battered racehorse. Had he not done this, Zippo Pat Bars might have been just another horse that couldn’t make it on the track, destined for a life of barrel racing or roping. But early on, Paul saw the style and balance that the horse possessed, and he figured such a modern-type horse would be the perfect cross for Poco Pine’s daughters. He was right, and it only took the first crop of foals to prove it.

One of the first matings of Zippo Pat Bars to a Poco Pine daughter was to Dollie Pine, a mare Paul considered to be one of the best he ever owned. Dollie Pine was out of Hobo Sue by Hobo by Joe Moore by Little Joe by Traveler. The resulting foal was Zippo Pine Bar. He earned 33 halter points, 91 western pleasure points, 19 western riding points and two points in trail. However, it was his time in the breeding shed, much like his sire, that brought him wide acclaim.

Zippo Pine Bar tied with Zan Parr Bar for the leading sire of point-earning performance horses in 1987 and was on that list for several years. He sired more than 1,600 registered foals. Of those, 19 earned halter ROMs, 897 earned performance ROMs, and 12 were AQHA Champions.

Another mating of Zippo Pat Bars to Dollie Pine produced Scarborough Fair. This 1970 chestnut mare earned 48 halter points, 125 western pleasure points and five reining points. She was bred to Impressive and produced Zip To Impress, 1983 world champion 3-year-old stallion; and Impressive Zippo, the earner of 229 halter points who was the 1986 high-point junior halter stallion.

The third mating to Dollie Pine resulted in Pat Dollie Pine, AQHA Champion and Superior western pleasure horse in the open and amateur divisions. Zippo Pat Bars was also bred to Hank’s Peppy Lou. The result of that mating was The Invester. The get of this AQHA Champion and Superior halter stallion earned more than 26,000 performance points, 352 ROMs and 16 AQHA championships.

Zippo Pat Bars stood as a stallion for most of his life at Paul’s. He sired 476 foals, 10 of which were AQHA Champions. His progeny also included 32 race starters, 11 winners, one stakes winner and six racing ROMs.

Zippo Pat Bars succumbed to heart problems May 1, 1988.

Paul had been through the loss of a great horse before with Poco Pine and said, “When you lose a great one, you never quite get over it, and at times, you just want to quit. But I look out at some of the foals I have and think I’ll stick at it for a while longer.”

Was Zippo Pat Bars an ideal Quarter Horse? It is hard to say, because no one can agree on what is ideal. He did have a tremendous record in the breeding shed. Though his racing career was fairly lackluster, he did possess speed, due for the most part to his famous forebears. And he bankrolled Paul Curtner.

“You can’t take away facts from a football player or a tennis player or a good horse. When the facts are all on paper, it’s all there. And if the facts are strong enough, they’ll stand the test of time,” Paul said.

In that respect, Zippo Pat Bars will be around for a while longer.