About Weaver Quarter Horses
The Working Lines | Stan Weaver Quarter Horses
By Larry Thornton, Working Horse Magazine
When the American Quarter Horse Association was formed in 1940, some notable horsemen came together to create a breed registry for the Steel Dust horses that represented a distinct type of horse. The original meeting took place at the home of Anne Burnett Tandy and her husband, James Goodwin Hall. Some of the major players at that meeting were Robert Denhardt, George Clegg, Jack Hutchins, Robert J. Kleberg Jr., W. B. Warren, and Jim Minnick. They were all actively involved in ranching as a business, except Denhardt, who traveled throughout the country gathering information that set the foundation of the breed. Many of his visits were to ranches that raised horses for ranch use, and they also made them available for sale to the public.
From this modest beginning, the American Quarter Horse was born, and the American Quarter Horse Association has grown to be the largest breed association in the World, and we have seen the breed go worldwide as well. But in the beginning, it was a fledgling association started by selling stocks in the Association. But to keep it going, they needed breeders with their horses to join the ranks. One of the sources for newly registered horses came from the ranchers. It was ranches like the King Ranch, Waggoner Ranch, the Four Sixes Ranch, the CS Cattle Company, the Pitchfork, the O RO Ranch, and many other ranches registering horses that brought numbers into the Association. The O RO Ranch, which was originally known as the Greene Cattle Company, had 900 horses inspected to be registered in 1940, and 250 of them were given a number. These ranches became a major source of newly registered horses, and as we look back, we see many of the significant early horses registered came from ranches. You might say these ranches became the backbone of the American Quarter Horse Association.
The role of the ranch-bred and raised horse continues today. With the ranch rodeos, We see the various ranches competing to be the best. The success of the ranch rodeo has come to the American Quarter Horse in the form of the Ranch Classes that display the qualities a good ranch horse must have. The significance of the ranch horse in the AQHA prompted the Best Remuda Award, which honors a different ranch each year for the quality of the horse they use daily. When the AQHA named the Haythorn Cattle Company the first Best Remuda Award winner, they were the largest breeder of the American Quarter Horse. They also had regular production sales to disseminate their horses into the industry. You might say the ranch-raised horse is still the backbone of the American Quarter Horse Association.
The Stan Weaver Quarter Horses of Big Sandy, Montana, is raising ranch horses that follow this long-standing tradition set down by the founders of the Association. The success of this ranch horse breeding program is evident by garnering such titles as the 2020 AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year Award. Stan has also been very active in the AQHA, serving on numerous committees, on the Executive Committee, and then serving as the AQHA President in 2019-2020. The readers of THE WORKING HORSE are familiar with the Weaver Quarter Horses as we have seen several articles, ads, and covers in the magazine over the years. But this time, I thought we should take a closer look at this ranch and their ranch horses.
Stan and Nancy Weaver breed ranch horses that satisfy their needs. Then they make their horses available through a production sale, sending them out as ranch horses, with some of them entering the arena as performance horses. The 2023 sale will be the 28th Weaver Quarter Horse Production Sale.
The Stan Weaver Quarter Horses is like many of the ranches. It has its roots in the settling of the American West. Stan will fill us in on the legacy of the Weaver family and their ranching heritage. He stated it this way, “The Weaver family left Tennessee in 1846. They went up the Oregon trail to Oregon. Then in 1886, the five brothers came to Montana to cowboy. That is what they did, they rode with the famous artist Charlie Russell, and then when the cowboy days were over, they just did different things. One of them became the first head of the Game & Fish Commission of Montana; another had a car dealership. My great-granddad William had a bar in Chinook. When my granddad Elmer was 16 years old, he left home as he never did like the bar. He bought and sold land, broke horses, and trailed horses. They took 300 loose horses to Canada one time.”
When my grandad passed away in 1952, he had four sons, and each one of those sons got a ranch. He had put together enough for them to each have a place. He bought the place that I’m on in 1925, and then my dad Arthur took over, and then I took over in 81 when my dad passed away.”
Next, Stan told the role the horse played over the years, “I was raised around horses, Thoroughbreds mostly. We always had two or three mares, but they weren’t quarter horses. We never really raised horses to sell just for the ranch. We would have a stud for a year or two and get rid of it. My dad always liked a little Tennessee Walker, so we had like a half Tennessee Walker.”
The American Quarter Horse enters the picture as Stan continues, “Then, in 1971, we bought the first quarter horse for the ranch. Her name was Pretty Miss Denver. She was my dad’s horse, he rode her, and then when he passed away, we never rode her again. She was 11 when he passed away, and we made a broodmare out of her. She was just a really good mare and a good foundation mare. I don’t know, probably 60 to 70% of our mares traced to that mare through different studs, and there are two or three mare lines through her daughters that she’s had that have produced good horses. It seemed like no matter what you bred them to; they were good horses.”
Pretty Miss Denver was bred by Frank Wetzstein of Mandan, North Dakota. Her pedigree tells us why she was a foundation broodmare. She was sired by Mr Blackburn 41 by Pretty Buck, the famous Waggoner Ranch stallion that was sired by Pretty Boy and out of a daughter of Buck Thomas by Peter McCue. The dam of Mr Blackburn 41 was Lady Cowan 6 by Blackburn, and she was out of a Cowan mare pedigree unknown.
Mr Blackburn 41 was the sire of five performers earning 142 points with three ROM and one Superior in Western Pleasure. The Superior performer was Miss Steel Blue with 56 AQHA points, and the other ROM is Lady Buck 1 with 71.5 AQHA points with ROMs in the open and youth. His foal Tackie Blackburn was the winner of $5,465.74 in the NRHA with 13.5 AQHA points, and she was an AQHA Youth World Show finalist in reining.
The dam of Pretty Miss Denver was Mr 14’s Susie, a daughter of Mr Blackburn 14, a son of Poco Bob, who was sired by Poco Bueno and out of Lady Blackburn III by Blackburn. The dam of Mr Blackburn 14 was Lady Cowan 10 by Blackburn. This gives Pretty Miss Denver a breeding pattern of 3 x 5 x 4 to Blackburn. Mr Blackburn, 41, and Mr Blackburn, 14, were bred by Harold Schafer, founder of the Gold Seal Company, which had cleaning products like Snowy Bleach and Mr. Bubble. He formed the Blackburn Ranch by bringing stallions and mares together from the Blackburn, Pretty Boy, and Poco Bueno bloodlines. Blackburn and Pretty Boy were Waggoner Ranch stallions that have proven to be great contributors to the American Quarter Horse.
An added note: Pretty Miss Denver and Miss Steel Blue are ¾ sisters by Mr Backburn, 41, and out of a daughter of Mr Blackburn, 14.
The dam of Mr 14’s Susie was Bert’s Susie Bee by Buster W by Bert P-227 by Tommy Clegg and out of Lady Coolidge by Beetch’s Yellow Jacket by Yellow Wolf, another Waggoner Ranch stallion. The dam of Bert’s Susie Bee was Bert’s Bay Susie by Sambo, and she was out of Dunny Bert by Bert P-227, giving Bert’s Susie Bee a breeding pattern of 2 x 3 to Bert P-227.
A review of the 2022 Stan Weaver Production Sale Catalog shows 30 foals being sold were out of the Pretty Miss Denver line of mares. One of her daughters, Call Me Blackburn, has 10 of the 30 foals traced through her to Pretty Miss Denver. The Pretty Miss Denver line of mares has produced a number of high-selling horses over the years showing the quality this line of mares produces.
Our conversation went on to the next mare, “Stormy Dun Dee was the first mare Nancy and I bought. Nancy rode her for, I don’t know, four or five years, and then we made a broodmare out of her, and I don’t know how many, but there are probably 20-30 mares out of her in the broodmare band.”
He continued, “She was the grand-dam of Ima Tuff Lena, the AQHA All Around High Point Junior Horse in 2009, and she was reserve world champion head horse as a junior horse and as a senior horse, and then they sold her to Brazil. I have three full sisters to that mare in the broodmare band.”
Stan explained why they bought the Stormy Dun Dee, “She was a dun mare with no white like a real dark dun, and she has that dun factor in her colts. I mean, no white and really good that way. She was a descendant of Poco Bueno, and it was a way down, but just the color and no white was probably the biggest thing because, at that time, I didn’t know a lot about pedigrees.”
The sire of Stormy Dun Dee was Stormy Socks Comet by Comets Stormy by Skip Comet by Skipper’s King. Skipper’s King was sired by Skipper W by Nick Shoemaker, and he was out of Santa Maria by Plaudit. The dam of Comets Stormy was Sage Bush by Copper Nick by Nick Shoemaker, and he was out of Santa Maria. This makes Comet’s Stormy line-bred with a breeding pattern of 2 x 2 to the ¾ brother’s Skipper’s King and Copper Nick. The dam of Stormy Socks Comet was Twistie Socks by Easy Joe by Captain Easy by Cowboy P-12. Cowboy P-12 was the sire of Hired Girl, the dam of Skipper W, giving the pedigree of Stormy Socks Comet a breeding pattern of 5 x 4 to Cowboy P-12, who was sired by Yellow Jacket, a ranch sire for the Waggoner Ranch and some others.
A look at the dam side of the pedigree of Stormy Dun Dee will give us some familiar bloodlines. The dam of Stormy Dun Dee was Dee Loon by Poco Loon by Poco Dun by Poco Bueno. The dam of Poco Dun was Pretty Doll by Pretty Buck by Pretty Boy, and her dam was Dolly D, a daughter of Blackburn. The dam of Dee Loon was Clover Dun by Poco Blackburn. The dam Clover Dun was Clover Dee by Poco Blackburn. Poco Blackburn was sired by Poco Dell by Poco Bueno, and his dam was Carrie D by Blackburn. This gives Dee Loon a breeding pattern of 3 x 4 x 5 to Poco Bueno and a 5 x 4 x 5 to Blackburn. Some more of that Waggoner breeding, and by the way, Blackburn was a son of Yellow Jacket.
The dam of Ima Tuff Missy was Lady Beckwith Dee, a daughter of Stormy Dun Dee. Her sire was Go Beckwith Roan by Beckwith Dun. Beckwith Dun is sired by Classy Flap by Classy Bar. The dam of Go Beckwith Roan was Go Watch by Tiny Watch Star by Tiny Watch, an AQHA Racing Champion Stallion.
Ima Tuff Missy is the only AQHA performer out of Lady Beckwith Dee, who herself was shown in western pleasure as a two-year-old earning .5 points. The show record for Ima Tuf Missy shows 585 performance points with 21 halter points. She is Superior in heading and heeling. She was the 2009 AQHA Reserve World Champion in Junior Heading and the 2012 AQHA Reserve World Champion in Senior Heading. She is an AQHA Champion with an open and amateur ROM in performance and a halter ROM. The sire of Ima Tuf Missy was Ima Tuf Lena, a stallion used in the Weaver program for many years.
Beaus Poco Dee by Beaus Red Man is a daughter of Stormy Dun Dee. Beaus Poco Dee is the dam of Weavers Poco Dee by Poco Ima Doc. Weavers Poco Dee is the dam of Weavers Poco Heaven, who was seventh in the 2003 NRCHA Limited Open Snaffle Bit Futurity. Beaus Poco Dee is a full sister to Call Me Blackburn. The mare SNW Foxy Poco Dee has an interesting tie to Stormy Dun Dee. Her dam is Foxy Blackburn Dee by Stormy Fox, a son of Stormy Dun Dee. SNW Foxy Poco Dee is the dam of Weavers Smart Poco by Poco Ima Doc. Weavers Smart Poco is the 2004 IBHA Open World Champion Cutting Horse.
Pretty Miss Denver and Stormy Dun Dee formed the foundation for the Weaver broodmare band. But over the years, they have added mares that have been successful in producing some key individuals. One of those mares was Roan Bar Maid. Stan recalled her this way, “I bought Roan Bar Maid at Mandan. She was kind of bouncy, but she sure raised good colts.”
Stan bought her as a weanling foaled in 1994. She was sired by the Reeves Ranch-bred stallion Roan Bar Dandy. He was sired by Roan Bar Go by Fancy Roan Bar by Roan Bar. Roan Bar was sired by Bar Nothing Springer by Bartender, the foundation’s sire for the Reeves Ranch. The dam of Roan Bar was Barmaid Reeves by Bar Nothing Springer. The dam of Barmaid Reeves was Susie Waggoner from the Waggoner Ranch. He was sired by Midnight, a grandson of Peter McCue.
The dam of Waggoner was a mare by Yellow Wolf, another Waggoner Ranch stallion. The dam of Fancy Roan Bar was Fancy Baker by Tom Baker by Little Tom B by King P-234. The dam of Fancy Baker was Fancy Priss by Bar Nothing Springer. Roan Bar Dandy was out of Belle Dandy by Bell Boy Bar by Roan Bar. The dam of Belle Dandy was Toms Roan Baker by Dandy Tom Baker by Tom Baker. Her dam was Miss Yava Lil by Roan Bar, and her dam was Yva Lil by Waggoner. This gives Roan Bar Dandy a breeding pattern of 3 x 3 x 4 to Roan Bar and a breeding pattern of 4 x 5 x 5 x 4 x 5 x 5 x 6 to Bar Nothing Springer. Bar Nothing Springer was a ranch sire and successful roping and bulldogging horse.
Roan Bar Maid was out of Bull Ts Corn Maid by Moon Corn by Moonup by Top Moon. The dam of Moon Corn is Oh Bull Corn by Bull T Bar. The dam of Bull Ts Corn in Bull T Maid by Bull T Bar. Bull T Bar was sired by Classy Bar by Sugar Bars and out of Mokey by Leo. The dam of Bull T Bar was Ginger O’Kittie by Bull T by Waggoner. The dam of Ginger O’Kittie was Jimmy Doolittle by 7D Waggoner by Waggoner. This gives Ginger O’Kittie a breeding pattern of 2 x 4 to Waggoner.
The foals out of Roan Bar Maid include Weavers Diamond Bar by Diamonds Cutter, and he was the 2015 AQHA/PRCA Steer Roping Horse of the Year. He is a half-brother to SNW Roan Traveler, who qualified for the NFR in 2019 with Matt Sherwood.
Little Chex Too was another mare that became a part of the Weaver broodmare band. She was purchased as a yearling from her breeder Brad and Clancy White of Othello, Washington. She was the daughter of Smart Peppy Lena, the full brother to Smart Little Lena. Her dam was Sweet Charlotte Chex by Bueno Chex Too by Bueno Chex. Her dam was Bueno Chex Maria by Bueno Chex. Bueno Chex is sired by King Fritz by Power Command by King P-234. The dam of King Fritz was Poco Jane by Poco Bueno by King P-234, and Poco Jane was out of Mary Jane W by Pretty Boy. That takes us back again to the Waggoner Ranch. It also gives Sweet Charlotte Chex a breeding pattern of 2 x 2 to Bueno Chex.
Little Chex Too is the dam of Weavers Heaven Too, a roping mare. Stan made a point that he commented on how many of these foals leave the ranch, and they don’t know where they end up, but he explains what happened here, “That was a mare that sold as a weanling in our sale. She was sold to a lady in Billings, and I was going to South Dakota or somewhere, and I took her and dropped her off, and again, there was another horse that traded hands two or three times, and then she ended up with Riley Warren, and he has really done good with her. He was the Canadian Tie-Down Roping Championship twice and the All Around once. She is an Ima Bit Of Heaven mare.”
Weavers Heaven Too also shows an interesting linebreeding to collateral relatives. Her sire Ima Bit Of Heaven was sired by Smart Little Lena, and her dam was sired by his full brother Smart Peppy Lena. Collateral relatives are full brothers and/or sisters or ¾ brothers and/or sisters. The two brothers are sired by Doc O’Lena by Doc Bar, out of Poco Lena by Poco Bueno, and Sheilwin by Pretty Boy. Sheilwin is out of a daughter of Blackburn.
One of the outstanding show horses is the Weaver-bred Weaver Playgem by Gems And Starlight. Her dam was Budhas Playgun by Playgun, and her dam was Budhas Royal Fancy by Doc’s Budha. Playgun was sired by Freckles Playboy and out of the great cutting mare Miss Silver Pistol by Doc’s Hickory, and she was out of Pistol Lady 32 Be by King’s Pistol by King P-234. The dam of Pistol Lady 2 Be was Miss Bailey 24 by King’s Joe Bailey by Joe Bailey P-4. Miss Bailey, 24, was a ranch mare bred by the Pitchfork Land and Cattle Company. When we look Miss Bailey 24 up in the AQHA Stud Book, she was one of 23 mares registered at that point in the AQHA Stud Book by the Pitchfork Ranch.
Doc’s Budha was by Doc Bar, out of Holly Bar Maid by King Holly Bar, King Bars by Three Bars, and Out of L H Princess by King P-234. The dam of King Holly Bar was Cinder King by King P-234. The dam of Holly Bar Maid was Sabers Preacher by Wallys Champ by King P-234. The dam of Preacher Sue was Preacher G by Bartender, the sire of Bar Nothing Springer. The dam of Budhas Royal Fancy was Red Wings Royal by Prince of Royal, and she was out of Fancy Red Wings by Prince of Royal. Prince of Royal was sired by Royal King by King P-234, and he was out of Rocket Lanning, a mare that we believe was line bred to Yellow Jacket. This makes Red Wing Royal 1 x 2 inbred to Prince of Royal in the tail female line. This also gives Budhas Playgun a breeding pattern of 5 x 7 x 6 x 6 x 5 x 6 to King P-234.
Stan recounted the story of Weavers Playgem this way, “She’s a mare that we bought her mother from Ron Knutson of Spokane, Washington. She was a daughter of Playgun, and then we bred her to Gems And Starlight, our stud by Gray’s Starlight. We sold the foal in the sale as a yearling, and some people in Idaho bought her, and they had her for a couple of years, then they sold her, and then she changed hands again, and some guy in Arizona had her. He was at roping, and J. D. Yates was there; of course, he’d ridden some of our horses, and he recognized the brand. The guy wanted to sell that mare. J. D. had a client in Brazil that was looking for a horse, and he bought her. She ended up doing really well. She was the world champion heel horse as an amateur and then won it as a head horse. She was reserve champion the next year, and I was there both years and, in both years, it was a runoff. The first year she won it, and then the second year, she was second. I was on the AQHA Executive Committee both years, and that was pretty neat. I have a full sister in the broodmare band.”
Weavers Playgem has 243 AQHA points with ROMs in the amateur and open with open Superiors in heading and heeling. She was the 2018 AQHA World Champion Senior Heading Horse and the 2019 AQHA Reserve World Champion Heading Horse.
Stan pointed out several factors that go beyond pedigrees that truly define an interesting contribution of the mare to the ranch-raised horse. The mares are in an environment that is rocky and rough, which requires a mare to have the soundness and stamina to overcome the elements to produce a good foal. She then passes that on to the foal she produces. He also looks for a foal with a sound mind and disposition and feels that comes from the mare with her maternal instincts and disposition that she passes on to the foal. They learn this by halter-breaking their own colts, and that helps them assess the foal and his disposition in the future.
The third thing is that the product they sell must have the potential to shine as they sell foals to a broad spectrum of buyers. They all must be good because they don’t know where they will go and what is ahead for them. He stresses that to his family as a key to the standards they set for their sale horses. He put it this way. “We’ve been very fortunate that a lot of these horses have gotten in the right hands, and this will be our 28th sale in which we’ve sold horses in all 50 states, seven Canadian Provinces, Australia, Germany, South Africa, Mexico, and Brazil from our sale in Great Falls.” That is a fitting tribute to the ranch mares of the Stan Weaver Quarter Horses. Next time we will look at the stallions they have used over the years.