Horse-Breeding Legends

This Orren Mixer painting features some Quarter Horse greats, including Question Mark, Jackstraw, Two Eyed Jack and Poco Lena.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum is a great way to have fun while learning about the history of the American Quarter Horse. When you arrive at the Amarillo museum, you are greeted by the beautiful, larger-than-life bronze statues of history-making American Quarter Horses Rugged Lark, Refrigerator and others. Visitors can spend time outside at the newly renovated Wall of Honor Plaza, which honors the horses and people who’ve paved the way for the American Quarter Horse. Once inside you can find the Orren Mixer collection of art and artifacts that tell the story of the man who created the portrait of the iconic American Quarter Horse. This collection will be available to tour until July 27. You can read Orren’s personal history, watch interviews and even purchase a Mixer print while you are there. Much like the paintings he did for the Western Horseman “Legends” books one and two, Orren Mixer created an oil painting for the third volume, which was published in 1997. The painting, which normally hangs on the third floor of AQHA headquarters but is now part of the museum exhibit, features Quarter Horse greats Question Mark, Jackstraw, Two Eyed Jack and Poco Lena.

Question Mark, a popular sire of racing and performance horses, received his name for his distinguishing blaze. The palomino was bred by Oklahoma oilman Waite Phillips and was born on Phillips’ ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico, in 1937. Question Mark was known as the horse who raced with a great heart and gave himself completely in every race. He earned this recognition when he won a half-mile race in Colorado in which he broke a pastern.

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Jackstraw was a Thoroughbred who left his mark on the Quarter Horse by siring lightning-fast runners. A great racehorse on the Thoroughbred tracks in the 1940s, Jackstraw’s Quarter Horse offspring were outstanding sprinters in the 400- to 870-yard races. Probably one of his most noteworthy get was multiple world champion Straw Flight, who won the 1963 Chicado V Stakes at Los Alamitos over Moolah Bar and 89’er Lassie. Two Eyed Jack was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1996, the same year as his owner, Howard Pitzer. The 1961 sorrel stallion was described as a versatile sire whose get amassed more than 15,000 halter points and 21,000 performance points. But Two Eyed Jack was in his own right a great show horse. He was shown until he was 9 years old and stood grand at some of the most prestigious shows in the nation. He earned 217 halter points, as well as 65.5 performance points. Poco Lena is prominently featured in Mixer’s painting, shown doing what she did best: cutting. The legendary mare is considered one of the greatest performance horses in Quarter Horse history. She was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1991 and was the AQHA high-point cutting horse in 1959, 1960 and 1961. She earned not only 671 points in cutting but also 174 halter points. Poco Lena is also known as the dam of Doc O’Lena and Dry Doc, who were sired by the great Doc Bar.

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