AQHA History: The First President

William Barre Warren carried his passion for horseback riding into his term as AQHA president.

From the American Quarter Horse Foundation

“He had the unique ability to put present things first, to make the impossible seem likely, settle what he could and worry about the future when it arrived,” Hall of Fame member Robert Denhardt said of AQHA’s first president, W.B. Warren.

William Barre Warren was born in 1904 on the ranch his grandfather established in the 1850s. He had one abiding passion in his life - to ride a better horse than any of his South Texas neighbors.

Match racing and match roping were his hobbies, and he insisted on raising his own horses for ranching and riding.

Denhardt met Warren in 1938 and was impressed with Warren’s horse remuda. Two of Warren’s stallions traced to Hall of Fame members Peter McCue and Traveler, and his broodmares were acquired from respected breeders John Dial, George Clegg and John Almond.

W.B. Warren help build the American Quarter Horse Association because of his love for Quarter Horses. Foster your love for our glorious breed by joining AQHA! Become a member today so you can have an impact on the horse that has left a hoofprint on your heart.

As AQHA was forming in 1940, Denhardt, Jack Casement, Jack Hutchins and Lee Underwood decided Warren was a logical choice for president. At that time, Warren was a director for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He had hundreds of friends in the rodeo, match-race and ranch industries, and this gave them confidence that he could lead the new association.

Warren attended the March 14, 1940, dinner party hosted by Hall of Fame members James G. Hall and Anne Burnett Hall. Warren and the other guests were interested in forming a registry for the Steeldust and Billy horses of the Southwest. The following day, Warren was elected the first president of AQHA. The other officers included Hall of Fame members Jack F. Hutchins, First Vice President; R.L. Underwood, Second Vice President; Robert Denhardt, Secretary and James G. Hall, Treasurer.

Warren accompanied Denhardt and Hutchins to Austin, Texas, to acquire a charter for AQHA. The charter declared the Association a nonprofit corporation, and stocks were sold. One of the first issues tackled was registration. Warren brought a compromise of allowing 50 percent Quarter Horse and 50 percent other blood into the registry.

Many AQHA presidents left a lasting mark on the Association, but ascension to the highest office isn’t the only way to be involved. Become an AQHA member today and demonstrate your AQHA Pride!

Warren was re-elected in 1941 for a second term. In April of the same year, the National Stallions Board recognized the Quarter Horse as a breed. Warren watched over the new organization for two years, serving it well and faithfully.

W.B. Warren stepped down as president in 1942 but continued to aid the Association until his untimely death in 1949.

AQHA Member Benefit Spotlight

Do you want to learn about other people who have influenced our great breed? Great news! As an AQHA member, you receive free admission into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum. That means you have the opportunity to experience AQHA’s rich history up close. Visit the museum today and discover the people behind the evolution of the Quarter Horse.