Rey Jay proved his
value as a show horse and this allowed him to enter the stud and prove
himself as a sire. This has lead to a demand for the blood of Rey Jay in
the modern cutting horse. Rey Jay has supplied that blood as the sire of
outstanding foals, especially through his daughters. His daughters have
produced such horses as Colonel Freckles, Freckles Playboy, Freckles
Hustler, Jay Freckles, Lenas Success, Si Olena, Tamulena, Dox Lena Rey,
Dox Abilena, Dox Alex, and Storks Gin.
Rey Jay was bred by
the King Ranch and foaled in 1955. He started life by traveling Texas
before settling in Indiana. The King Ranch sold Rey Jay to Lloyd Jenkins.
Ira White reportedly traded two Holstein calves for Rey Jay. White then
sold Rey Jay to Curley Talamage. Talamage sold Rey Jay to Tom Lee of Fort
Wayne, Indiana in 1959.
In Patricia Close's
story, "Rey Jay, The One-Eyed Cuttin' Horse" (WESTERN HORSEMAN, June 1965),
Lee is quoted telling his first impression of Rey Jay. "That's the
greatest prospect I've seen and I'm going to buy him."
Lee added, "My Dad
never questioned my judgment in getting the horse. He only said, "That's a
lot of money for a one-eyed horse!"
Tom Lee and Rey Jay
went on to put the elder Lee's concerns to rest with a very good show
record. Rey Jay earned his AQHA Championship, an AQHA Superior in cutting
and the NCHA Bronze Award. They earned 257 cutting points, 12 halter
points and 4.5 western pleasure points in the AQHA.
Tom Lee became
friends with Buster Welch. Welch's name is synonymous with many
outstanding cutting horses. They include the great Mr San Peppy , Peppy
San Badger, Dry Doc, Marion's Girl and Chickasha Mike. The Lee and Welch
friendship would eventually lead to Rey Jay's permanent return to Texas.
Tom Lee was severely
injured in a horse accident and was unable to continue his showing and
training activities. After the accident, Tom's wife Delight continued to
show Rey Jay.
In a 1985 interview,
Buster Welch talked about Tom Lee with a great deal of respect and
admiration. He credited Lee with doing an excellent job of training Rey
Jay. His high regard for Lee was expressed when he called Lee "a real
horseman" that could have been one of the great cutting horse riders and
trainers had the accident not ended his career.
With the accident
making it impossible for Tom Lee to continue his riding and training, a
decision was made to sell Rey Jay. It was Buster Welch that recommended
Rey Jay to Marion Flynt and this is how the horse found his way back to
Texas. Flynt was known to many in the cutting industry as "Mr Cuttin'
Horse" because of his long time association with the NCHA. Flynt served as
NCHA President from 1956 to 1958 and from 1963 to 1971.
Buster Welch and
Marion Flynt had what Welch termed a "wonderful and long association" as
trainer and owner. Welch had trained and ridden Flynt's legendary mare
Marion's Girl to the 1954 and 1956 NCHA World Championships.
remembers his first encounter with Marion Flynt. "The first time I met
him, I was about 16 years old. I was breaking a string of horses for Bob
Hill of Midland, Texas. These horses ran from four to nine years old. We
were coming out of the war and a lot of people had let their horses go.
Marion came out and bought five horses for his ranch."
Welch continued, "Mr.
Hill had promised to let me pick a horse out in our trade and have him for
$100.00. I had picked a brown horse that was a real pretty horse. A six
year old horse. Well Marion saw him and insisted that he get that horse in
the five. So Mr. Hill sold him the horse. The sad part is that that horse
would up killin' a fella named Buck Underwood that was workin' for Marion.
It was a roping accident. I didn't see Marion for a long time after that.
Then I got into the cuttin' horse thing with him."
By the time Rey Jay
went back to Texas, he was experiencing problems with his hocks. Welch
confirmed that the horse was experiencing pain and showed his ability
"only when he felt good." Flynt used Rey Jay as a sire until the leg
problems became too severe. He gave the horse to Texas A&M University,
hoping they could help the horse with his physical problems. Eventually,
the leg problem forced them to put the gallant one-eyed horse down.
Rey Jay's bad eye may
account for some of his success as a cutting horse. Welch describes the
horse this way, "Rey Jay got real low to the ground. He had a lot of style
for a horse in his day. I think some of it was that he had a lot of cow
and that bad eye. He tried so hard to keep a cow under control, where he
could see her. That gave him a little extra animation. There's not a whole
lot of horses that would look at a cow as hard as he would, concentrate as
hard as he did." By examining Rey Jay's pedigree, one can readily see
where the potential for his ability and desire came from. Rey Jay traces
four times to Old Sorrel through his sire, Rey Del Rancho and his dam,
Calandria K. Old Sorrel was the foundation sire of the King Ranch Quarter
Old Sorrel was bred
by George Clegg, a noted breeder of early quarter horses. The sire of Old
Sorrel was Hickory Bill. Hickory Bill was sired by Peter McCue. The dam of
Peter McCue was Nora M., a Thoroughbred mare by Voltigeur. The sire of
Peter McCue was Day Tucker by Barney Owens. Barney Owens was sired by
Martin's Cold Deck by Old Billy. Old Billy was sired by Shiloh and out of
Ram Cat by Steel Dust. The dam of Dan Tucker was Butt Cut by Jack
Traveler. The dam of Hickory Bill was Lucretia M. This mare was sired by
The Hero and out of Bird, who was sired by Jack Traveler. Jack Traveler
was sired by Steel Dust.
The dam of Old Sorrel
was the mare known as the Dr. Rose Mare. This mare was believed to be of
Thoroughbred blood, but her pedigree is unknown. She was owned by a Dr.
Rose, a Dentist in Del Rio, Texas until she was bought by George Clegg.
Old Sorrel was
purchased by the King Ranch and he developed into the greatest cow horse
to ever set foot on this famous ranch. When Old Sorrel had proven his
ability as a cow horse, he was given the opportunity to breed a band of
the best mares on the ranch. His foals proved to be good using horses and
Old Sorrel became the foundation sire of one of the most successful
breeding programs in the world.
To retain the Old
Sorrel's working abilities, the King Ranch set out to linebreed to their
prize stallion. Several sons of Old Sorrel became key contributors to the
linebreeding program. They were Little Richard, Cardenal, Macanudo, Babe
Grande and Solis.
One of the early King
Ranch bred stallions to be shown extensively was Peppy P-212. Peppy was
the Grand Champion Stallion at shows like the Fort Worth Stock Show in
1940. He was a double bred grandson of Old Sorrel. His sire was Little
Richard by Old Sorrel and his dam was a daughter of Cardenal by Old
success, the King Ranch stallion that will probably be remembered as the
most famous product of the early breeding program was Wimpy P-1. Wimpy
earned his #1 in the AQHA Stud Book as the Grand Champion Stallion at the
1941 Fort Worth Stock Show. Wimpy was a double grandson of Old Sorrel. His
sire was Solis by Old Sorrel and his dam was Panda by Old Sorrel. It has
to be noted that Marion Flynt's World Champion mare Marion's girl was
sired by Silver Wimpy by Wimpy P-1.
Solis was one of the
first sons of Old Sorrel to be used in the King Ranch breeding program,
His dam was a Lazarus Mare by *Right Royal. Solis sired two AQHA
registered sons on the King Ranch. The first one was Wimpy and the second
was Ranchero. Ranchero was bred just like Wimpy. He was sired by Solis by
Old Sorrel and out of Borega by Old Sorrel. The dam of Borega was a Lucky
Ranchero became the
sire of Rey Del Rancho. Some pedigrees will show that Rey Del Rancho was
out of the mare Panda De La Tordita. Panda De La Tordita was sired by
Ranchero. This would make Rey Del Rancho intensely inbred to Ranchero.
This is the offical pedigree listed in the AQHA Stud Book, but it is not
the correct pedigree. Joe Stiles, long time King Ranch employee, sent me
the correct pedigree of Rey Del Rancho. It shows that he was sired by
Ranchero and out of Panda de Tordilla. Panda de Tordilla was sired by Babe
Grande by Old Sorrel and out of a mare known as the Norias Mare.
Rey Del Rancho became
an important part of the King Ranch breeding program. He was the sire of
such noted horses as Anita Chica, Rex Del Rancho and El Rey Rojo. Anita
Chica was a very successful halter horse for the King Ranch. She earned a
Superior in halter with One Champion of Champions win at Fort Worth; 41
Grand Championships; 15 Reserve Championships and 60 Blue Ribbons. She was
the dam of the AQHA cutting point earner El Probre, a stallion used
extensively in the King Ranch breeding program.
Rex Del Rancho was
the 1962 AQHA Honor Roll Roping Horse. He earned 26 roping points in 1962
on the way to his Honor Roll Title. He was an AQHA Champion as well with
16 halter points, 43 reining points, 57 roping points and 2 western
pleasure points by the end of 1962.
El Rey Rojo was a
major sire for the King Ranch. One of his foals to leave the ranch was El
Bandito Rojo. This up and coming show horse was killed in a fire. He was
shown in 25 shows in 1969 and 1970 before he died. He won 20 first places
earning 37 halter points with 10 Grand Championships and 10 Reserve Grand
Championships. He earned 14 performance points with a Register of Merit in
western pleasure. He was a three-year-old when he died.
Despite the good
looks of Anita Chica; the versatility of Rex Del Rancho and the proven
sire qualities of El Rey Rojo, Rey Del Rancho was a noted sire of cutting
horses on the King Ranch. Welch called the Rey Del Rancho line of horses
"the best King Ranch breeding for cuttin' horses and agility."
He added, "I think he
was recognized (by the King Ranch personnel) as the best sire of cuttin'
horses in his time on the King Ranch.
In addition to Rey
Jay, Rey Del Rancho was the sire of Callan's Man and Isis. Both of these
horses were NCHA Top Ten qualifiers. In turn Callan's Man was a successful
sire with horses like Mr Linton, a top cutter in his own right.
Continued ~ part 2