The Three Bars (TB) Bloodline

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In an age of hot-blooded, hair-triggered racehorses, Three Bars' (TB) easygoing disposition was something of an anomaly. The Thoroughbred’s even temperament was one of the reasons he succeeded as a sire.

Walter Merrick of Oklahoma knew he'd hit the jackpot when he started breeding mares to Three Bars. He persuaded owner Sidney H. Vail to let him lease the stallion for three breeding seasons, 1952-54. Instead of breeding 12 or 15 mares a year, suddenly Three Bars was breeding 70. After the lease was up, Merrick hauled his best mares to wherever Three Bars was standing.

"I was criticized very sharply for introducing a Thoroughbred into the Quarter Horse industry," Merrick said. "Some people thought it was going to ruin the breed."

From 1945 to 1963, Three Bars (TB) sired 554 foals. His stud fee went from $100 in 1945 to $10,000 in 1963. His Thoroughbred progeny include Lena's Bar, the dam of Easy Jet; Lucky Bar, the sire of Impressive; and Rocket Bar, the grandsire of Dash For Cash.

The Three Bars (TB) Bloodline e-book is the perfect read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the American Quarter Horse lineage. The e-book explores how Thoroughbred bloodlines intermingled with the American Quarter Horse breed to create some of the best racing and ranch horses in history.


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Authors Richard Chamberlain, Bruce Beckmann and Lesli Groves discuss the interesting backgrounds of some of the American Quarter Horse greats in this fascinating e-book, including Three Bars (TB), as well as:

  • Poco Lena
  • Sugar Bars
  • Doc Bar
  • Gay Bar King
  • Kid Meyers
  • Zippo Pat Bars
  • Doc O’Lena
  • Zan Parr Bar

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Debate over permanently registering the progeny of Three Bars (TB) and other Thoroughbreds in the 1950s created a severe rift within AQHA. The "bulldog" men, some of whom helped write the original description of a Quarter Horse, grudgingly accepted the inclusion of Thoroughbred offspring after the proponents of Three Bars (TB) formed their own breed registry.

On April 6, 1968, two days shy of his 28th birthday, Three Bars (TB) died from a heart attack at Merrick's ranch in western Oklahoma, where he had returned to stand the 1967 season.

At the time of his death, he was the all-time leading sire of racing ROM qualifiers, of AAA runners and of money earners, his get having earned $2,857,781. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1989.

Are you ready to learn more about the extensive history of the American Quarter Horse breed? Then you need to download The Three Bars (TB) Bloodline e-book!

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