Ott Adams was not a “bulldog” man. Having bred horses for more than 25 years by the time AQHA was formed; Adams believed speed was the most important Quarter Horse trait.
His beliefs and opinions had been formed decades before. Adams started raising horses around 1912 and bought his first herd sire and several of his mares from Dow and Will Shely’s dispersal sale. Adams’ herd sire was a son of Traveler, and the broodmares had bloodlines consisting of Peter McCue, John Crowder, Old Billy and Sykes Rondo.
When AQHA was formed in 1940, the Association stated that the Quarter Horse was foremost a cow horse. Adams had other opinions about Quarter Horses and did not agree with some of AQHA’s other beliefs and policies. So in 1945, Adams, George Clegg and other horsemen met in Alice, Texas, and founded the National Quarter Horse Breeders Association.
NQHBA differed with AQHA in that its registration requirements were less stringent, and it did not inspect horses for registration. The organization published a monthly magazine and had a “one man, one vote” policy. Four years later, after several meetings and heated debates, the AQHA and NQHBA merged.
Although a believer in speed, Adams seldom raced his own horses. He was content to let others race them. In 1913, Adams bought Little Joe for $1,000. That was a lot of money in those days, but Adams recognized the value of speed, and Little Joe had plenty.
Adams bred the stallion to his band of broodmares and produced Joe Moore, Zantanon and Cotton Eyed Joe. Many of Adams’ horses went to the King Ranch and were placed in its many remudas.
The respected breeder died in 1963 at 94. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1986.
Biography updated as of March 1986.