The Thoroughbred stallion Three Bars is the most influential
sire in the pedigrees of the top timed-event rodeo horses.
In the study examining 5 generation pedigrees of 176 leading
competition horses, Three Bars is found in 149 pedigrees or in 85% of the
In fact, Three Bars is present 281 times in the pedigrees of
these 176 horses with many horses carrying his influence several times.
Most of Three Bars’ importance in rodeo horses has been
through his sons' descendants. Of the 281 occurrences in pedigrees, he is
present 232 times through his male descendants, while 49 occurrences are
through his daughters' descendants.
The most productive sire line from Three Bars is through Three
Bars’ son Lightning Bar.
This line goes from Lightning Bar to Doc Bar to Doc O Lena.
Doc O Lena is a sire not only of many good sons but also has
produced important daughters in the pedigrees of top rodeo horses.
Doc O Lena's best sons in this study are Smart Little Lena
with 7 rodeo horse descendants (2 heading, 1 heeling, 4 tie-down), Docs Hickory
with 6 descendants (1 heading, 2 heeling, 3 tie-down), Doc O Dynamite with 3 (1
heading, 1 heeling, 1 barrel horse) and CD O Lena with 2 (2 heeling horses).
Another major Three Bars line is through another son Sugar
Bars. Sugar Bars has two outstanding sons, Jewels Leo Bars and Flit Bars, who are especially
notable in rodeo horses.
Jewels Leo Bars is in the pedigree of 16 test horses through
his best sons Colonel Freckles and Freckles Playboy. This includes 7 head horses, 5 heel horses, 2
tie-down and 2 barrel horses.
Flit Bar appears in 9 of the pedigrees, many of them being barrel
horses. The breakdown is 6 barrel horses, 1 heeling horse and 2 tie-down horses.
Another great son of Three Bars is the Thoroughbred Rocket
Rockets Bar’s influence is found in 31 of the competition
horses in the study, most of the time (28 occasions) through his son Rocket
Rocket Wrangler is out of a daughter of Go Man Go, combining
the two classic running lines of Three Bars and Go Man Go.
Go man Go is a son of the stallion Top Deck who also
sired Moon Deck. Moon Deck is the sire of Jet
Deck who is a prominent sire especially
when bred to Three Bars' daughter Lena's Bar.
Rocket Bar is found in 14 barrel racing pedigrees, 8 steer
wrestling horses, 6 heading horses, 2 heeling horses and 1 tie-down horse.
Three Bars most successful daughter in the pedigrees of timed-event rodeo
horses is the Thoroughbred mare Lena's Bar.
Lena's Bar, although a Thoroughbred, raced mainly in Quarter
Horse races. She raced 76 times winning 24 races, 2nd 18 times, 3rd
10 times. In her career she outran champion race horses Go Man Go, Double Bid,
Vanetta De and many other high class horses.
Lena's Bar was inbred to Three Bars’ sire, Percentage.
Lena's Bar produced
two full brothers, Jet Smooth and Easy Jet. The sire of these sons of Lena’s
Bar was Jet Deck who himself was a great-grandson of Three Bars.
Lena’s Bar descendants have been most successful in the rodeo
arena as barrel horses (20 out of the 45 examined) and steer wrestling horses (8
out of 29 examined).
Easy Jet's descendants
include a multitude of great barrel
racing mounts including Fred, Roundpen, Claimer, Cruiser, Duke,
(2012 AQHA/WPRA Barrel Horse of the Year), Martha (2008 AQHA/WPRA
Barrel Horse of the Year) and Stitch (2007 AQHA/WPRA Barrel Horse
of the Year), to mention a few.
In steer wrestling, Easy Jet is in the pedigrees of many top
horses including Jesse, Pump Jack, Stitch and the great Willie.
Sweetness, a perennial tie-down winner and AQHA/PRCA Tie-Down Horse of the Year of 2012, is also a descendant of Easy Jet.
Easy Jet is considered to carry the X Factor, the genetic
code responsible for the 'Large Heart Factor' which is a major contributor to
exceptional performance in horses.
For interest’s sake, if we go beyond the 5th
generation, 172 of the 176 test horses descend from Three Bars. This is 98% of
the leading horses in rodeo.
Only 4 of the 176
test horses have no trace of Three Bars in their lineage.
the barrel horses
and all the heeling horses in the study are descendants of Three Bars.
heading horse, two tie-down horses and one steer wrestling horse appear
to be Three Bars 'free'. (Stripper, Topper, Art and Whitey)
Granted, most people familiar with the Quarter Horse breed
will not be surprised that Three Bars is a major influence in rodeo horses, but
the extent of his influence may be surprising.
No other stallion is as influential in the lineage of rodeo
horses and perhaps in the whole Quarter Horse breed, as well as the Paint and
Three Bars was born in Kentucky in 1940. In early training, he exhibited blazing speed
at short distances. His mother, Myrtle Dee, held a track record at 5 1/2 furlongs
and his sire Percentage was well known for producing speed horses.
But, due to a parasitic aneurysm in his hind leg, Three Bars
was unable to race until he was 6 years old so his true value as a race horse
would never be known.
His condition did improve and in 1946, as a six year old, he
was able to race. He was reported to be the fastest horse in the United States
at that time at 5 furlongs (5/8 of a mile), clocked at 56.4 seconds.
Three Bars is a member of the AQHA Hall of Fame. His
offspring and descendants are especially proficient at Quarter Horse racing,
cutting and at halter.
In this study, Three Bars was the number one ranked sire in
each and all of the five events evaluated based on the number of occurrences of
Three Bars in the pedigrees of the horses in these events.
The events include heading, heeling, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing.
In heading, Three
Bars was present in 82% of the head horses in 5 generations. He also appears in 85% of
the heeling horses , 89% of tie-down
horses, 83% of the steer wrestling horses and 84% of the barrel racing horses.
Besides that, his grandson, Doc Bar, is 2nd ranked sire in heading, heeling and tie-down roping, the 12th ranking sire in steer wrestling and is ranked 12th
as a barrel racing progenitor.
Three Bars’ son, Lightning Bar, is ranked 3rd in heading and in heeling, 4th in tie-down ,7th in steer wrestling
and 8th in barrel racing.
Another son of Three Bars, Sugar Bars, ranks 7th in heading horses, 10th in heeling horses, 8th in tie-down, 18th in steer wrestling and 6th in barrel horses.
Several other descendants of Three Bars are among the top 50
leading sires of the horses in the study. These include Rocket Bar, Jewels Leo
Bar, Doc O Lena, Rocket Wrangler, Mr. Bar None and Gay Bar King to mention but a few.
The most important cross with Three Bars in this group of
competition horses is Three Bars' descendants crossed with the descendants of
Seventy-seven of these 176 top rodeo horses descend from
this cross of the Three Bars X Leo lines.
This cross is well-represented in all 5 events quite evenly.
There are 10 heading horses, 18 heeling horses, 15 tie-down horses, 13 steer-wrestling
horses and 21 barrel horses resulting from this outstanding cross.
These horses include the 2012 Heading Horse of the Year, Sic
Em, 2012 Heeling Horse of the year, Cave Man, 2012 Tie Down Horse of the Year,
Sweetness, the 2012 Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, Dillon, the barrel racing
greats Roundpen and Martha and the many time champion heading horse, Scooter.
Also crossing well with the Three Bars line are descendants
of the stallion King.
Forty-four of the
pedigrees of the 176 test horses descend from a cross of King and Three Bars.
39 of these horses
were through King’s son Poco Bueno.
This Three Bars X King has been most important in heeling
and tie-down horses. Only 3 steer wrestling and 5 barrel horses demonstrate the
King is found in a total of 52 of the 176 pedigrees. Again, he
is mostly found in heeling horses (17) and tie-down horses (18).
Another line that Three Bars crossed with very successfully is
the Top Deck line. Top Deck is another Thoroughbred stallion who is very influential
in the Quarter Horse breed. He is also a member of the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.
Top Deck is present most often through his Quarter Horse son
Moon Deck and to a slightly lesser extent through another son Go Man Go. These horses are members of a very important Quarter Horse racing line.
The Three Bars X Jet Deck lines resulted in 46 competition
horses in the study. Their descendants in the study have been most successful as steer wrestling mounts.In steer wrestling, a sport in which running blood is also an
asset, 10 out of 28 test horses carry the Three Bars/Jet Deck combination.
This includes Jessie
(2007, 2009 AQHA/PRCA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year), Pump Jack,
and the great Willie( 2008 Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year). These afore mentioned steer wrestling horses
all exhibit this cross through the stallion Easy Jet who comes from
both Three Bars and Top Deck.
Jessie is also line-bred to Top Jet’s son, Go Man Go, three
times in five generations.
Of the 45 barrel horses
in the study, 26 descend from the Three Bars X Jet Deck
cross. This includes the 2012 AQHA/PRCA Barrel Horse of the Year,
by Mary Walker. Other leading barrel horses from this cross are Martha
(2008 AQHA/WPRA Barrel Horse of the Year), Claimer, winner
of the Calgary Stampede in 2012, and the 2006 Barrel Horse of the
The Three Bars/Jet Deck cross is not as common in the other
events with 6 heading horses out of 32, 4 tie-down horses out of 35 and 1
heeling horse out of 34. The heeling horse was the great Roanie, ridden by Rich
Skelton to 4 Heeling Horse of the Year awards. (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, second
Many horses in this
study are line-bred to Three Bars.
For our purposes line breeding is the duplication of an ancestor
in the third generation or further back in the pedigree. Inbreeding would be
the duplication of an ancestor in the first or second generation.
Although a number of the top competition horses go back to
Three Bars four times in 5 generations (designated 4 X 5), four outstanding
mounts go back to Three Bars 5 times. (5 X 5)
Luke, the 2006 Tie-Down Horse of the Year ridden by Cody
Ohl, and Thumper, Clay Tryan’s 2005 Heading Horse of the Year are from Three
Bars 5 times in 5 generations. In fact, if one goes back one more generation,
these two horses go to Three Bars 6 times in 6 generations. Based on 5
generations, nearly 20% of the genetic make-up of each of these horses comes
from Three Bars.
Below is a pedigree of Luke generated by the computer
program used in the project.
Also descending 5 X 5 from Three Bars is Walt, 4 times
Heading Horse of the Year ridden by Travis Tryan and Slim, the barrel horse
ridden by Brandie Halls. Slim and Brandie hold the NFR arena record for barrel racing.
Of the 149 horses in
the project descending from Three Bars, 83 (55%) are inbred/line bred to this
All AQHA/PRCA Horses of the Year for 2012 in heading
(Sic-Em), heeling (Cave Man) tie-down (Sweetness), steer wrestling (Dillon) and
barrel racing (Latte), descend from Three Bars in five generations!
On a personal note, in all my years of pedigree research
(over 40 years) in many breeds of sport horses, I have never seen such a
profound influence by one stallion on a group of performance horses as that of
the Thoroughbred stallion Three Bars.