After several months (and several thousand dollars) of vet visits with no diagnosis to explain his recent mystery lameness, I made the decision to put JJ on 30 days of stall rest. That has now come and gone, and he was neither better nor worse at the end of it.
Currently, we’re waiting for an MRI appointment at the University of Georgia’s Athens campus and I put JJ on light/limited turnout in the interim.
My theory was if the stall rest didn’t help, there was no reason to continue to make him miserable being imprisoned. And, he was actually starting to get pretty back/butt sore from all the standing around, so I figured a bit of movement would actually be good for him. (The head UGA vet actually suggested all of this to me after I’d already made that decision – validation is such a great feeling!)
With so much downtime not-riding and not-hand-grazing now, I’ve been reading more. As I was enjoying the story of Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost History of the World’s Smartest Horse, I got curious about my own (beautiful and smart) horse’s history and decided to look into JJ’s lineage.
As a registered American Paint Horse, not only do I have JJ’s papers, but I also have access to his bloodlines.
Born on April 23, 2003, in Purcell, Oklahoma, JJ was bred by the late Bill Flueckiger.
He was sired by an APHA stallion, Dipped In Paint (Hint of Color x Freckled Moon), and out of an AQHA mare, MacNasty’s Plain Jane (Mac Nasty x Ima Nifty Star).
Other than his past few owners going back to around 2010, the above was literally all I knew about JJ’s background. So, I started digging…
Originally, I only had his “parents” and “grandparents” and nothing beyond. I Googled them and re-discovered the AllBreedPedigree.com site. Jackpot!! I quickly found both JJ’s sire and dam, created a new entry for JJ himself, and started clicking.
Almost as quickly as I got started, though, I realized that – while I know plenty about English horse history – my knowledge of famous Western horses is very limited, other than Wimpy, Doc Bar, Zippo Pine Bar, Poco Bueno, Rugged Lark, and a few others…
So, I headed over to the next-best source of info on the Internet: Facebook! There’s an APHA group I’m a member of, so I made a quick post with JJ’s bloodlines asking if anyone knew anything about his ancestors. Helpful folks chimed in within a matter of minutes, and I was astounded by how much history was hiding in my horse – apparently he’s got quite an outstanding pedigree!
It seems that JJ was bred to be an excellent all-around horse with a ton of well-known “relatives” in his lineage. Top sires in halter, cow, racing, western pleasure, foundation Paint… they’re all there. Here are some of the highlights:
– Hint of Conclusive: multi-time world champion himself, producer of multiple world champions
– Impressive*: one of the most influential QHs in history, world champion halter stallion
– Mr Blackburn: AQHA champion and sire of many top horses
– Skipa Star: AQHA world champion, sire of great all-round horses
– Skipper W: inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011
– Sonny Dee Bar: inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2003
– Three Bars (TB): inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1989
– Top Deck (TB): inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1990
– Top Moon (TB): inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1999
– Yellow Jacket: famous match racing Quarter Horse
– And many more “big names”
As one member of the group put it, “He has halter and running blood on the top. The bottom is all-around and working cowhorse. His lines are very good ones with outstanding sires all over but they are a mixed bag as far as types. He should be good looking (Impressive) and athletic with some speed (Top Moon).” #ACCURATE :)
More folks chimed in to say “So many well known horses in that pedigree, it’s a damn shame he was gelded! I’d be very happy to have that pedigree all in one.” and “Good nice outcrosses in this horse. Not surprised he can do anything.” #ProudMommaMomentRightThere
Looking deeper, I found that five generations back from Impressive was Man o’ War! My most favorite horsey ever is related to my second most favorite horsey ever! SO cool! (Man o’ War actually appears in JJ’s past at least four times, and I *love* that.)
Further investigation showed a LOT of Thoroughbred blood in JJ, more than I ever expected. Of course, that also meant I easily found all three of the foundation sires – the Goldolphin Arabian, the Darley Arabian, and the Byerley Turk – in his history. WOW.
Additionally, according to his breeder’s obituary, JJ’s maternal grandsire, Mac Nasty “won over 50 Grand Championships” although it wasn’t clear in what. And, four generations back from Mac Nasty is Poco Bueno.
Ironically, I also had one of those ancestral equine DNA tests done by Texas A&M a few months back and the results are pretty hilarious, considering everything I now know about his actual past.
The test said that JJ was mostly a Holsteiner and Hanoverian mix, with Quarter Horse coming in third but no Thoroughbred or Arabian. Ha!
So, now we await the next steps in this whole lameness debacle. In the meantime… buy a t-shirt and help support the JJ Vet Bills Fund. ;)
And, if anyone wants to go poke through my horse’s history, have at it! Here’s the link to his bloodline: allbreedpedigree.com/jj+spot. Let me know in the comments if you find anything interesting that I might have missed!
* For those who know about the Impressive and HYPP connection, don’t worry! According to a fellow APHA enthusiast, Hint of Conclusive (JJ’s great-grandsire) was HYPP N/N so, genetically, JJ should be negative as well. Also, he’s never exhibited any of the disease’s symptoms.)
UPDATES: So, my friend Cindy Adcock found another cool lineage link: JJ’s got Black Toney in him at least twice! Black Toney went on to sire Black Gold, member of the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame and subject of the famous Marguerite Henry book. :)
I continued back a few more generations and found multiple instances of Wimpy, Traveler, Dan Tucker, Peter McCue, Zantanon and more. This is so much fun!
Got time on your hands? Browse your horse’s family tree! There are tons of great free resources out there to help you learn his or her history, and you could wind up finding something really interesting or surprising.