James F. “Jim” Barton
Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2002
James F. “Jim” Barton found a love for Quarter Horses growing up and passed his love onto his kids.
Barton bought his first horse as a kid, but had to sell the horse when he graduated high school and went to college. While in college, he married Doris Figary in 1953. After graduating from Colgate University, with a major in Russian studies and a minor in economics, he joined the Air Force during the Korean War. After being discharged in 1957, Jim and Doris moved to Greene, New York.
Barton bought his second horse when their daughter Sally was a year and a half old. Doris remembers, “Jim was trying to get started in business, and we had just given up the money that we were going to use to buy a house, to buy a new ready-mix truck. One day this pickup truck pulls up and drops off a pony and saddle and bridle. I called Jim because I thought they had made a mistake, but he said, ‘No, honey, that’s right.’ We had no house, no furniture to speak of, but we had a pony and a saddle.”
As the other children came along, the Bartons acquired more horses. His children showed in AQHA’s youth division. Among the horses they showed were Cass’s Hill King, Miss Tailwind and Physical Ed.
Barton began his leadership in the Quarter Horse industry when he served as president of the Empire State Quarter Horse Association in the late ‘70s. He became an AQHA Director in 1979 and was chairman of the public information and education committees. In 1987, he was elected to the AQHA Executive Committee and became president in 1991. During his presidency, the American Quarter Horse Heritage Center & Museum opened in Amarillo and he helped introduce the MBNA American Racing Challenge.
Barton was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2002.