Horse-Breeding History: Billy Clegg

Billy Clegg, a ranch horse with controversial breeding, passed his looks and ability to his offspring.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

At the tail end of the Great Depression, a Texan named George Clegg had the nerve to put a price of $500 on a young stallion he owned named Billy Clegg. Guy Troutman, an oil company leasing agent and horseman from Oklahoma, twice offered less for the horse, was rebuffed and drove away. Troutman phoned Clegg to offer less for a third time and when rebuffed again, he gave up and closed the deal.

Then in April 1941, when AQHA was still in its infancy, Troutman registered Billy Clegg with AQHA Registration No. 427 of what is now more than 5 million horses. It is believed that Billy Clegg was foaled in 1932.

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Billy Clegg’s breeding is a bit on the controversial side, as often happened before horses were registered as foals. His listed parentage says he was by Paul Ell by Hickory Bill by Peter McCue, and out of Bivarita by Billy Sunday. However, Bernard Adams, who bred Billy Clegg and sold him to George Clegg, said Little Joe, not Paul Ell, sired the horse. As a stallion, Billy Clegg sired 241 registered horses. Of those, five were racing starters, 14 earned halter points, 12 earned performance points, eight earned performance Registers of Merit, two earned Superiors and there was one reserve world champion. Probably the most famous of Billy Clegg offspring was Chickasha Mike, a 1944 stallion out of Millie M by Old Mike, a son of Chickasha Bob (though it has been written that Millie M was sired by Starke). Chickasha Mike, who was featured in the May-June 2003 issue of America’s Horse, earned nearly $24,000 in his arena career and was the National Cutting Horse Association reserve world champion in 1956.

Interested in bloodlines and influential stallions? Download AQHA’s Doc Bar Bloodine Report to learn about Doc Bar and his impact on the American Quarter Horse industry.

At the 1948 New Mexico State Fair, four of the top five horses in the aged stallion class were sired by Billy Clegg. The other, who placed second, was a grandson. Before his death in 1958, Billy Clegg changed ownership nine times. His last recoded owners were F.B. Witcher of Elkhart, Kansas, and Duane Ackley of Walsh, Colorado. Billy Clegg was a well-built animal used on the ranch, and he passed his looks and ability to his offspring.

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