Many people in the horse business only see it from their angle as a breeder, trainer or competitor. Tom Finley observed the Quarter Horse industry from virtually every possible angle.
Born and raised on an Arizona ranch, Finley grew up using good horses. In the mid-1940s, Finley and his brother, Jack, purchased their first Quarter Horse. This was the beginning of his involvement with AQHA.
In 1967, Finley was elected the 17th president of the Association. During his term, he and the AQHA Executive Committee faced a racing proposal. After studying the plan, Finley and the committee believed the racing industry was best served as a part of the Association.
Finley was also a judge for a number of years, and judged the second AQHA World Championship Show as well as the American Junior Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show.
The Arizona rancher served as the chairman of the AQHA show and contest and international committees, and also chaired an equine advisory committee for President Gerald Ford.
The horse that catapulted Finley into the Quarter Horse industry was Texas Dandy by My Texas Dandy. In 1946, Finley and brother Jack went to a sale in Wharton, Texas, where they paid $5,250 for Texas Dandy.
“When we told Dad how much we’d spent at the sale, he wanted to know when we were going back for the rest of the horses,” said Finley.
Using Texas Dandy as a herd sire, Finley bred and raised Little Egypt, a mare who was a stakes winner and earned 29 halter points. Another well-known Texas Dandy daughter is Superior racehorse Dandy Doll. When the mare was bred to Three Bars (TB), she produced Doc Bar, whom Finley sold to Dr. Stephen Jensen for $30,000.
Finley was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1992, and died in 2002 at 84.
Biography updated as of December 2002.