50-Year Breeder: John J. Finarty

50-Year Breeder: John J. Finarty

The American Quarter Horse breeder started when he graduated from high school.

John Finarty of Chariton, Iowa, has been breeding American Quarter Horses for 50 years. (Photo courtesy of John Finarty)

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By Richard Chamberlain for The American Quarter Horse Journal

Here’s a thought: If you want to breed American Quarter Horses for, say, 50 years, it’s a good idea to start young.

“I bought my first Quarter Horse, Ace’s Wells, in 1964,” says John J. Finarty of Chariton, Iowa. “In 1967, I graduated from high school and bred my first mares to him. My first AQHA foal was born in 1968, the first year I bought my first farm.”

John has spent his life on that farm, which has grown into John Finarty Quarter Horses.

“When I first started, we only had that one stud, two broodmares and some riding horses,” he says. “Over the years, the numbers changed and got as high as three or four studs, 30 mares, several young horses and geldings.”

That first stallion, Ace’s Wells, was a sorrel son of No Can Do whom John bought as a weanling. John bred Ace’s Wells to his Blue Zandy mare Zandy Flash to produce Paleo Flash and to other mares to get performance ROMs. He also used Shi King, who sired ROM earners Custus Shi and Shi Dreamer; Supreme Admiral, who sired AQHA Champion Supreme Reward; JF Skip N Cruse and JF Silent Crusader, both by Cruse N Slip and both of whom sired top performance horses and broodmares. And then there was JF Silent Money, a Silent Bid stallion bred in the name of John’s daughter, Bobbi.

“JF Silent Money became a money earner and sire of team roping and team penning horses, and excellent broodmares,” John says. “He was my favorite horse that I have raised.”

John kept a nice band of broodmares, including Sandi Bar Money, a halter and performance point producer; Missy Capital Gain, dam of AQHA Champion Supreme Reward; Supreme Sensation, who was an AQHA halter and youth performance point earner and produced open and 4-H winners; and others.

“These mares have been the foundation of many of my mares, and were very consistent in what they produced,” John says. “I sold many of the colts and young horses at home and consignment sales, but over the years, we had several production sales of our own. Those horses went to other states and several other countries. Some were shown and did well, but most went on to be ranch, rope and trail horses. A few ended up in therapeutic riding programs and some went to other breeders.”

 But he did not start out with the world’s most versatile horse.

“I always had horses growing up,” John says. “My grandfather and dad had been involved in the Percheron business, and won the Chicago International and American Royal in Kansas City. Quarter Horses were becoming more and more popular, so I decided to get in that business. We started raising a few colts to use on our cattle and would sell some to help finance the business.”

He also got valuable lessons from another family connection.

“I had an uncle who traded horses when I was young,” John says. “I spent a lot of time with him when I was growing up. He was an honest man and always tried to treat people fairly. I have always tried to treat my customers as he did, and it has made me a lot of friends over the years.”

Family and friends are special.

“Quarter Horses have been a big part of my life for the past 50 years,” John says. “There have been many memorable and enjoyable moments – too many to list here – but most involve family and friends.

“One of my favorite memories was watching my daughter, Bobbi, win her 84-head horsemanship class at the state fair, while riding a home-raised colt and beating two world champions,” he continues. “Another was hazing for my son, John Jr., when he won the steer wrestling championship in our state and then went on to the high school national finals. But also, just team roping with friends on a summer evening and meeting new friends from all over the country and customers who came to our production sales are all special to me.”

John keeps Quarter Horses in a special category of their own.

“There is a certain challenge to breeding good horses, especially on a small budget,” he says. “I have always enjoyed seeing the end results of my breeding program.”

OK, John offers one final admission:

“I am a horse addict and I don’t guess I’ll ever recover.”