angle-left 7 Facts You Didn't Know About Joe Hancock

7 Facts You Didn't Know About Joe Hancock

This top American Quarter Horse sire is a legend in ranching, rodeoing and racing.

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By Bruce Beckmann

Nearly three-quarters of a century after his death, foundation sire Joe Hancock still has an impact. He was the Quarter Horse stallion whose name didn’t have to be promoted or shouted from the rooftops; he made a name for himself all on his own. 

The backstory of this impressive sire is as deep-rooted as his bloodlines that live on today. Here are seven of our favorite facts about Joe Hancock: 

  1. He was almost gelded. Around 1925, Dr. Jim Klingensmith was poised to complete the procedure, when he turned to the horse’s owner, also named Joe Hancock, and made him reconsider. 
  2. He only sired 157 foals. Today, that number is far exceeded by many sires in the age of scientific breeding advancements and efficiencies. However, 50 years later, horsemen still talk about the streak-faced brown stud and the Hancock horses.
  3. His present-day legendary name was given little to no thought. He was entered into a match race at a country fair in Comanche, Oklahoma, and when the racing secretary asked for the colt’s name, the handler told her, “He doesn’t have one, but he belongs to a man named Hancock. Just call him Joe Hancock.”
  4. He matched with some major mare-power. Many people think Joe Hancock horses are big because he was a big horse, but a lot of the credit goes to the mares he was bred to. When he was standing at the Burnett/Triangle Ranch, Tom Burnett instructed his foreman to breed “Old Joe” to the “biggest, roughest mares he had.”
  5. At one time, he was sold for just $1,000. In the middle of the Great Depression, this was no small chunk of change – but even greater was the value and future of “Old Joe,” and they grossly underestimated his price tag. 
  6. He died on historic land. Joe Hancock saw his final days in Guthrie, Texas, on the Burnett/Four Sixes Ranch
  7. He hangs his hat in the Hall of Fame. Joe Hancock was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1992. Plan your visit to see for yourself!