James V. A. Carter

James V. A. Carter

Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2022.

2022 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee James V.A. Carter

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When a horseman is integral in the development of a Hall of Fame horse, that’s a sign that somebody is doing something right. A second horse in the Hall is a nice coincidence. A third is a trend, a sign that the person himself is a Hall of Famer. Meet James V. A. Carter, who bred, owned or had a sure hand in developing three Hall of Famers: Moon Deck, Top Moon and Jet Deck.

“Jim Carter owned Moon Deck and bred him to Barred mares and got some of the best horses of the era,” says Ed McNelis, an AQHA director from Idaho.

James Van Allen Carter and wife Anna raised cattle, horses and seven kids on their ranch at Sheaville, Oregon, near Jordan Valley. In the early 1950s, Jim turned over the cattle operation to his youngest son, William Henry (aka “Bill”) so he could focus on fast horses. Jim relocated to California, where he lived at the track while running only horses that he bred and owned. In 1959, he and Bill moved the breeding operation to Clovis, California.

Jim bought the Three Bars (TB) colt Barred sight-unseen from Melville Haskell. Though not listed on AQHA records as an owner, Jim purchased the 5-year-old Top Deck (TB) stallion Moon Deck for $9,000 at J. B. Ferguson’s annual sale in 1955. Breeding him to his band of Barred and Midnight Jr mares produced horses such as Top Moon and Jet Deck. Both from the 1960 crop, Top Moon was a black colt out of the Barred mare Rica Bar, and Jet Deck was a bay from Barred’s daughter Miss Night Bar. Jim bred Top Moon in his own name, and Jet Deck in the name of son William H.

“Jim was basically a scientist,” Ed says. “The breeding barn and the racetrack was his laboratory. He did all the possible research, made a plan and executed his plan without waver. The purchase of Miss Night Bar’s mother came as close to an unplanned decision as research shows he made. When he was looking for the Nassah (TB) and Midnight Jr mares he had purchased, this filly being left behind raised such a fuss, he bought her and put her in the truck. Everyone needs a little luck and a nudge from a horse on occasion.”

What does any of that have to do with today’s horses? If money means anything (obviously), consider the three all-time leading sires in Quarter Horse history: First Down Dash, Corona Cartel and Mr Jess Perry.

First Down Dash carries the blood of all three of Carter’s Hall of Fame stallions. Moon Deck’s son Jet Deck is the topside grandsire of First Down Dash’s dam, First Prize Rose, whose maternal grandsire, Lady Bug’s Moon, is by Top Moon. Corona Cartel is by First Down Dash’s son Holland Ease, whose dam is a daughter of Jet Deck’s son Easy Jet. Corona Cartel is out of Corona Chick, whose dam is a great-granddaughter of Jet Deck. Mr Jess Perry’s sire, Streakin La Jolla, is by Streakin Six, a son of the Easy Jet stallion Easy Six, which brings us up to now. Current racing world champion Danjer is by First Down Dash’s son FDD Dynasty, whose dam is a granddaughter of Easy Jet. Danjer is out of a mare by Mr Jess Perry’s son Take Off Jess.

“Time has a way of passing, thus quiet people who do great things are forgotten and never receive the credit they deserve,” Ed says. “It is easy to forget yesterday and the people who made a great difference.”

He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2022.


Biography updated as of August 202.