"I barred nothing and accepted everything," said J. Warren Shoemaker, reflecting his western heritage and his brand, the Bar O.
Shoemaker served on AQHA’s board of directors from 1956 through 1967 and was instrumental in establishing the American Quarter Horse Youth Association activities and programs. However, his biggest impact was through his horses.
Shoemaker grew up in New Mexico and worked as a cowboy for the Watrous Ranch for several years. Eventually, he bought the Watrous Ranch and ran his own horse and cattle operation.
His involvement with quarter-type horses started several years earlier, in 1932. Shoemaker bought a palomino stallion, Nick, and 10 mares from Jack Hauskins. The horses originally came from Coke Roberds’ ranch in Colorado and were linebred Peter McCue and Old Fred. Following Roberds’ theory of line breeding, Shoemaker produced horses that could run on the track, perform in the show ring and work on the ranch. A few of these horses were Nick Shoemaker, Red Bird Shoemaker and Maddon’s Bright Eyes. Nick Shoemaker sired Skipper W, who started a new family of Quarter Horses. Other horses Shoemaker owned were Plaudit and Nancy M.
When AQHA formed in 1940, Shoemaker started submitting horses for registration. Some of the animals were turned down because they had Thoroughbred blood in them. A couple of the horses rejected were Gold Mount and Slipalong Wiescamp. His response to the Association’s rejection: “Isn’t it better to have some Thoroughbred breeding than no breeding at all?” He finally succeeded in getting some of his horses registered.
Shoemaker died in 1983 at 82. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1987.
Biography updated as of March 1987.