Remembering Zips Chocolate Chip
Owner-breeder Ann Myers remembers legendary sire Zips Chocolate Chip, who died September 3 at age 30.
By Tara Matsler | September 7, 2015
AQHA world champion Zips Chocolate Chip, a 1985 bay stallion, was euthanized September 3 due to complications associated with old age. By American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame sire Zippo Pine Bar and out of Fancy Blue Chip, Zips Chocolate Chip retired from breeding in 2013 and spent the last of his days with his owner and breeder, Ann Myers, in Ashland, Ohio.
Zips Chocolate Chip earned the junior western pleasure world championship at the 1989 AQHA World Championship Show. His other accolades include a win at the All American Quarter Horse Congress and earning National Snaffle Bit Association Hall of Fame inductions in two different categories.
As a sire, Zips Chocolate Chip left an incredible mark on the industry. His offspring have amassed more than 44,000 points and collectively won 20 AQHA world championships, 12 AQHA reserve world championships, $885,904 in AQHA Incentive Fund earnings and $985,861 NSBA futurity earnings. For many years, the stallion was the all-time leading sire of AQHA western pleasure point earners and was the leading sire of AQHA Incentive Fund money-earners.
“Because of Zips Chocolate Chip, we have made so many friends from all over the world,” said Ann and Phil Myers. “Together we have created an unforgettable recipe for success and tons of fun (and) great, great memories!”
Chip was born on Cinco de Mayo – May 5, 1985 – and his friends and family loved celebrating his birthday in fiesta fashion.
Over the years, Ann put her marketing genius, building a chocolate chip empire. “Chip” was featured in every major horse publication and in a coffee table book, “1001 Reasons to Love Chocolate.” Breyer selected him as their 2003 special edition horse. And on her “Chocolate a la Carte” at the Congress, Ann served up hot chocolate, fluffy Chip toys, caps, notepads, coffee mugs and her famous chocolate chip cookies.
The American Quarter Horse Journal sat down with Ann one decade ago, and in “The Cookie Lady,” showed how a bay colt, some chocolate chip cookies and a charmed breeder made a recipe for success. Here's what Ann had to say in that interview:
Journal (May 2005): What was the inspiration for naming Zips Chocolate Chip?
Ann: Chip’s dam, Fancy Blue Chip, had a colt the year before Chip was born, and we named him Zip Blue Chip. We used the Zip from Zippo Pine Bar and the Chip and Blue came from Fancy. In 1985, Chip was born, so I wanted to do the same thing – use the Zip and the Chip. We were trying to figure out what to put in between, and chocolate was a natural because he was that chocolate color. At first, I dragged my feet a little about naming him that.
It wasn’t the No. 1 name choice the whole time we were tossing around ideas. At the time, I wasn’t planning on him being this famous horse; he was just one of our babies that we raised. I wanted him to have a fun name, but I didn’t even remotely visualize this chocolate chip empire that would come out of it. I am really glad now that we ended up naming him that. I couldn’t have come up with a better name had we tried.
When did you decide to keep Chip?
Well, in my mind, I knew when he was little that he was special. At least for what I look for and for what I like. When he played, or did anything, he was always graceful. The problem was I didn’t know how he would compare to other horses when he got out there. I just knew that I liked him.
We moved here in 1982, and he was born in 1985, so we really hadn’t been here very long. And we weren’t making any money. I felt like I needed to sell our foals as we had them to pay for the upkeep. I had a couple of people ask about Chip, but I kept watching him. That something special made me decide that I wanted to keep him as a stallion.
I was having five to six foals a year, and I rationalized that if I had a stallion of my own, I could send one or two mares out to famous horses and then the other ones I would breed to my horse here at home.
What’s it like to own Zips Chocolate Chip?
Incredible! Chip has a way of surprising us almost every year with something unexpected. I call those happenings “Chipisms.” Chip’s show career was almost flawless, and his story sounds like a fairy tale; but, he is a real horse. Even though he had a foot abscess when he was 2 that kept him from showing at the World Show, and he had colic surgery and strangles during his show career, he never had a major setback. He quit showing at age 4 but the magic keeps coming. He still keeps winning awards and being honored in articles and books. He has his own trading cards and is a Breyer horse. People from all over the world contact us about him. We are happy to give them our recipe!
I wanted to raise a few horses and have my own at home because I had never had that opportunity in my whole life, but I never planned to have a horse that was world famous. I never even imagined it. I just went with the flow and let Chip happen. So there has been no pressure to it. Owning Zips Chocolate Chip has been a pleasure!
Share your fond memories of fun times and the impact Chip has had in your life on the Zips Chocolate Chip Facebook page.