Smokin Hot Gun Smokes....
I love foundation Quarter Horses and also love to see how the foundation horses play a part in modern bloodlines. Here is an opportunity to explore some bloodlines that many people take for granted and see that these champions are not 'by chance'!
My first subject of choice is the 1961 sorrel stallion, Mr Gun Smoke, AQHA 0157943. Mr Gun Smoke was inducted into the NCHA Hall of Fame, NRCHA Hall of Fame AND the NRHA Hall of Fame. He earned his Superior cutting horse in 1968, his arena ROM and also earned his NCHA COA with lifetime earnings totaling almost $8500. As a performance stallion he was very good, with a strong and impressive record. However, my focus here is to explain what an outstanding producer and sire as well as grandsire, great grandsire and great, great grandsire Mr Gun Smoke is for both AQHA registered AND APHA registered horses. The American Paint Horse Association is mentioned because Mr Gun Smoke passed on splash overo to many of his offspring. This trait can be seen many generations on in his great-great grandchildren such as 'Gunner' by his great-granddaughter Katie Gun who is also bald faced with high whites on her legs. If you want a quick list of his performers Mr Gun Smoke was sire of: AQHA Chs, Arena ROMs, 3 Res World Chs, 5 Superior Perfs incl 1973 Honor Roll and Supr.Ct.Horse, Two Ds Dynamite. Mr Gun Smoke is sire of CRCHA and NRCHA money earners incl Snaffle Bit Fut Champion, Kits Smoke. Sire of NCHA money earners incl 1972 NCHA Fut Ch, Gun Smokes Dream. Sire of multiple NRHA Fut Chs incl NRHA Hall Of Fame, Miss White Trash (See Legends Vol 3). Sire of APHA Chs and Arena ROMs.
Mr Gun Smoke, foaled 1961 is an earner of NCHA $8,476, Working Cow Horse Hall of Fame, 71 Cutting points., all Time Top 60 Cutting Sire of earners of $826,090 and Top 20 Maternal Pattern Grandsire of earners of $4,060,587. Also a Top 25 Maternal Ring/Top 50 Pattern Ring Grandsire and an All Time Leading Ring Cow Horse Sire of 1 NCHA Futurity Champion, 1 NCHA Non Pro Futurity Reserve Champion, 1 NCHA Reserve World Champion, 1 NRHA Year End Open Ring Champion, 3 AQHA Reserve World Champion Cutting & Reining, 1 AQHA Champion, 1 Hi Point Cutting (2048.5 pts.)
APHA performers include 1 National Champion Cutting, 1 APHA Champion (195 pts.)
These stats are impressive, but this horse appears far back on some of the 'newer' champions pedigrees. Is he really making an influence in the performance horse's genetic make-up? Many believe in his great-great grandson known as 'Gunner' (AQHA Colonels Smokin Gun) who is out of Mr Gun Smoke's great-granddaughter Katie Gun, also the dam of 'Spooks Gotta Gun'. Katie Gun is by Mr Gun Smoke's son One Gun and she is dam of 18 registered foals as of 2008. Of those, 11 have earned $383,017 with several foals not yet performance age. Her most noted offspring include:
Gunner - (by Colonelfourfreckle) NRHA $177,669
Dun It Gotta Gun (by Hollywood Dun It) NRHA $61,665
Spooks Gotta Gun (by Grays Starlight) NRHA $48,847
Here's Your Shine (by Shining Spark) NRHA $39,768
Nighttime Nic (by Nic It In The Bud) NRHA $30,432
Katie Gun was bred to quality stallions, but there is little question that bred to many different stallions she still remained a producer. Her trademark 'Mr Gun Smoke' bald face and white stockings have been passed down to several of her offspring and they continue to pass the trait along to their own foals. A visible stamp of their 'Mr Gun Smoke' heritage.
My own stallion, a 2007 bay, Munez Smokin Tater is registered with AQHA, APHA and is 95% NFQHA registered as well. He is a grandson of the immortal Mr Gun Smoke, meaning that Mr Gun Smoke still appears on his foal's face papers, just like on Katie Gun's papers. All of 'Taters' foals will be related to Mr Gun Smoke in the same was as Katie Gun was, as great-grandfoals.
This is a legacy that has faded slowly away up-close in many pedigrees, with most if not all of the own sons and daughters of Mr Gun Smoke being past breeding age or deceased. In fact, my stallion, Munez Smokin Tater, was the last foal of his sire Cutter's Smoke (Smokin Streak AQHA) before he passed away in 2007. My stallion shows signs that he may be a carrier of the Mr Gun Smoke splash trademark so he may throw colored paint foals with the bald face and high stockings just like his outstanding grandsire.
In a tough economy people who want to breed their mares to outside stallions have difficult choices to make about color, pedigree and show records. Value for money is going to factor into many mare-owner's decisions and value is not just going to be based on potential for high sales prices as many foals, even very well-bred foals, are not selling until after they are trained. Thus, if a mare-owner decides to breed their good mare, they have to look at the very real possibility of retaining their foal, training and also possibly showing before sales viability at a fair market value. Having a foal that has a legend on its face-papers and also can be triple registered if the dam is NFQHA eligible means that the value of the foal increases for the mare owner, even in a difficult market. Temperament, mind and conformation are all important, put those with an excellent pedigree and the mare owner has a formula for success in ANY market.
The final thought here is that temperament and work-ethic count a lot in performance horses. At the end of the day, the hours and days and months and years that you have to put into a horse to make them a successful performer are going to be more enjoyable and rewarding with a horse that has an excellent temperament and work-ethic. In my experience, these Mr Gun Smoke horses have a special temperament. They tend to be calm and friendly as a general rule; my stallion is very 'gelding like' even when breeding. I always get compliments on his behavior and people are always surprised that he's a stallion because he's so well-behaved and gentle. However in the show pen, in training and when being asked to perform, these horses 'turn it on'. There is a power that comes over them, a spark that ignites in their eye and they suddenly are in 'working mode'. The work is done fluidly and with talent and then when it's over they are back to that laid-back friend. This is an ideal temperament for a working horse who has to perform many duties in a ranch setting from working cattle to breeding to giving rides to children. A calm, kind and balanced mind is essential to a successful performance horse.
If you have not 'met' the Mr Gun Smoke horses yet I encourage you to find some to get to know. Most performance events will have Mr Gun Smoke bred horses so keep an eye out for the 'trademark' bald face and high white stockings or the 'Smokin' or 'Gun' in the registered name. If you are a passionate owner or fan and deeply believe in these Mr Gun Smoke horses then I invite you to share your stories and let his outstanding legacy live on. You have a horse you can really ride who is likely to try hard for you and give their all and that is something to be proud of! When a horse owner talks about 'heart' these horses are an example of exactly what they are talking about.