50-Year Breeder Spotlight

Meet some of the breeders recognized in 2009 for perpetuating the legacy of the American Quarter Horse.

Dick Montgomery Amarillo, Texas

Dick Montgomery always had a passion for horses, but it wasn’t until good friend John B. McNaughton introduced him to cutting that Dick fell for American Quarter Horses. Upon first seeing Leo Bingo in the early 1950s, Dick began breeding and raising Quarter Horses. In the early 1960s, Dick found racing – or maybe racing found Dick. He began racing horses at El Paso, Texas; and Raton, Santa Fe, and Ruidoso, New Mexico.

“Dick’s passion for Quarter Horses fueled his flame,” says his granddaughter, Michelle White. “We attribute his willingness to put everything he had into his operation to his longevity. I remember the hours we spent thinking of names for the horses and how this fun mission brought our entire family together. I, as the rest of my family did, loved hearing ‘PaPaw’ tell endless stories about his Quarter Horses. They brought great joy to his life.” He worked to develop a diverse horse population, and took equal pleasure in winning races and showing off his well-formed ranch horses, which populate a ranch in Crowell, Texas. His grandson, Ross Montgomery, developed an interest in rodeo, which then propelled Dick’s interest in that kind of horse.

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His favorite horse, however, was racehorse Vanna Bar. A sorrel daughter of Sugar Bars and out of Hy-Miss Vanna (TB) by Hygro, “Vanna” set a track record in August 1962 at La Mesa Park at 350 yards. She earned her Superior in 1963 and retired from racing in 1965. By 1967, she had earned an AQHA Champion title at halter. She produced five foals that together earned more that $48,000. Her Superior-earning son by Three Oh’s, Vanna Chick, was bred by Dick and earned most of the cash. Dick kept among his most important documents a 1965 letter from AQHA announcing Vanna Bar’s inclusion in the Honor Roll. “She has acquired this distinction by winning more points at racing than any other registered Quarter Horse during 1964,” it reads. In 1980, Dick became an AQHA director, a role he continued until 1995. From then until 2000, he was a director-at-large. He served on the show committee and the racing committee. “Dick met many good friends along his journey in the Quarter Horse business,” Michelle says. “He thrived on sharing his knowledge and passion with everyone around him.” Fay

Haynes Ronan, Montana

In the late 1950s, Fay Haynes’ husband, Bill, was an American Quarter Horse man who liked to steer wrestle. Fay liked Arabians. “After riding and handling (Quarter Horses), I had to go over to his corner,” Fay says. Fay and Bill started buying Quarter Horse mares, breeding them and culling the ones that didn’t fit their program. In 1959, they added the stallion Jule Bar, whom they crossed on Joe Reed-bred mares. “This was a golden cross,” Fay says. “These horses could run; they were fiery and yet easy to handle and very intelligent. We kept a few of these fillies for future broodmares. Our Quarter Horse numbers varied from time to time. We were buying and selling horses of all kinds, just to keep the wolf from the door.” Besides being a breeding stallion, Jule Bar worked as a show horse, earning prizes in pole bending and barrel racing. He also was used in ranch work.

“He was so easy to haul, never a problem, and for years, I hauled him by myself to horse shows and rodeos,” Fay says. “Jule Bar liked people, and he had a personality, intelligence and ability that we found in none of the other stallions we had. I remember those great-big kind eyes and the way he would look at you, like he just wanted to be a buddy.” Fay and Bill lost Jule Bar in a barn fire, but they managed to buy back five of his daughters. Their mares produced racing, rodeo and ranch horses, but the Hayneses were never able to find an adequate successor to Jule Bar. When Bill died in 1967, Fay hung onto her two stallions and 18 broodmares. “We always liked a horse that could do any job you asked it to do,” she says. “I think this is the ideal Quarter Horse. It can run, work cows, chase horses, go in the mountains or wherever necessary.” Fay finally found Bard Parker, an 18-year-old son of Three Bars (TB) and a Chicaro Bill mare. She kept the stallion until he died at 26. She has since slowed down her participation in the breeding business. “Now, at age 83, I believe maybe it’s time to take off my boots,” she says. “But I still have a couple of broodmares …”

Leininger Ranch Wesby, Montana

Robert Leininger always had horses, beginning with ponies and then starting his herd of American Quarter Horses in 1957, aiming at horses that could do anything. Bob and his wife, Dorothy, saw early success with their program in 1965-66 when three horses earned their Registers of Merit in three different disciplines: John B Quick in racing, Camelot Gil in barrel racing and reining, and Sue’s Honey Bee in cutting. John B Quick went on to earn a AAA rating, while Camelot Gil went on to be shown in cutting, pole bending and western pleasure, as well. After giving the ranch 39 foals, the stallion was gelded at age 13 so Bob and Dorothy’s sons, Lynn, Keith, Les and John, could show him in youth classes.

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As the broodmare band grew to 70 mares, along with stallions and riding horses, the Leiningers had more than 100 head on the place at any given time. The stallions included Impressive Redneck, Sonny’s Super Star and Roman Zippo. In choosing stallions, Bob and Dorothy kept in mind their breeding goal: a “middle of the road type of horse, very pretty, with lots of conformation and athletic ability.” The Leiningers continued to compete across the board in everything from racing to pleasure. They also involved themselves in the Quarter Horse industry. Bob was on the founding board of the Mon-Dak (Montana and Dakotas) Quarter Horse Association. He served as president and managed the Mon-Dak Horse Sale and Mon-Dak Futurity. He became part of the Montana Quarter Horse Association board in 1976 and became an AQHA director in 1978, serving on the public information and marketing committees. He was instrumental in developing the AQHA Incentive Fund. Drought and the workload of a ranch led to a dispersal of the larger part of the Leininger herd in 1990, but within a year, Bob had more horses, and the number continues to grow. “The American Quarter Horse is a great companion and stress-reliever,” Bob says. “My enjoyment and love for Quarter Horses has kept me in the business.”