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Doc Bar - Built for Rodeo


Doc Bar - Built for Rodeo

Doc Bar, one of the most famous Quarter Horses in history.

Photo © Western Livestock Journal.
Rodeo competitors, just like any other professional athlete, strive for perfection. This desire to be the best applies to both rough stock and timed-event competitors, and selecting the right horse is essential to their success. People unfamiliar with rodeo may think a horse is just a horse, but nothing could be further from the truth. Each bloodline displays certain traits and characteristics, and one of the most desirable rodeo sires in history is the infamous Doc Bar.

The History

Doc Bar is considered by many to be the most influential performance horse sire in modern history. Doc Bar was foaled on Tom Finley's historic ranch in 1956. The unassuming sorrel colt, out of Dandy Doll and sired by Lightening Bar, a AAA AQHA Champion son of Three Bars, led a relatively quiet life up to his two-year old season. Tom saw potential in the young colt, and decided to send him to the racetrack to see if he was made of the same genuine speed and power as his sire. Despite his impressive lineage, Doc Bar was a failure on the racetrack, earning a mere $95 in four starts. He was, however, shown with more success as a halter horse, earning 12 first places and 1 second place in 13 outings. Doc bar also earned 10 grand and reserve championships in his brief show career. However, this brevity in the arena did not discourage Finley from adding Doc Bar to his already impressive roster of stallions standing on the farm. It was truly one of the best decisions the experienced Quarter Horse breeder ever made.


Where Doc Bar may have failed as a racing legend, he is one of the most recognizable Quarter Horses in the world. Very few people in the Quarter Horse world are unfamiliar with the name, and many strive to incorporate Doc bar's strength, power and versatility into their breeding programs. Doc O'Lena, one of Doc bar's most famous progeny, revolutionized the world of cutting and reining with his agility and speed. Doc Bar is now the all-time leading cutting horse sire, with his progeny earning nearly 10 million dollars in prize money. Lynx Melody, an American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame performance horse, is another shining example of the versatility of the Doc Bar line. She was the 1979 NCHA Derby Champion and the 1980 NCHA World Champion Mare, earning more than $100,000 during her show career. She also holds the special significance of being the first horse successfully cloned after death, adding another interesting facet to the Doc Bar legacy.

In the Rodeo Arena

Doc Bar-bred horses dominate the rodeo world today, and have for the past few decades. The reason they are so prominent is twofold; they possess the natural cow sense to excel as roping mounts, and the speed to outrun the competition as barrel racing mounts. Cow sense is a necessity for ropers and steer wrestlers, since the horse's main duty is to quickly pursue the charging bovine out of the chute. If the horse lacks cow sense or has a fear of cattle, he will be slow to react and cost the cowboy precious seconds, which make the difference between a winning run and going home empty-handed. Cow sense is something engrained into every Doc Bar-bred horse, and it is an invaluable asset that transforms a good horse into an excellent horse. Doc Bar horses are also known for their agility and maneuverability, a necessary combination in the turn-and-burn sport of barrel racing. The objective is to navigate around the cloverleaf pattern as quickly as possible, and horses that know how to bend their bodies efficiently on the run will shave seconds off their overall time. Add this agility to the AAA speed ratings of many of Doc Bar's offspring, and you've got a horse that will leave the competition in the dust.

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