Chief P-5 (1916 - 1946)
Chief was foaled in 1916 or 1917, and he
died in 1946. He spent his entire life of twenty-nine or thirty
years in the ownership of Claud Stinson of Hammon, Oklahoma. He
is buried east of the Stinson barn under some large locust trees,
under which he used to stand for hours, drowsily switching flies
with his tail, raising a little cloud of dust each time he stamped
Chief was not a small horse as Quarter Horses are judged. He mounted
up well in the withers, and while you would not say he could drink
out of a teacup, he did not have a bad head. He had long, strong
muscles and good, clean, flat bones. Wear and tear blemished him
somewhat, but he had come into the world with good straight legs.
Claud claimed he was an excellent saddle animal--fast, intelligent,
and not excitable when working cattle or racing. He showed he had
been ridden, for he had several saddle scars. His small, round,
dark hoofs were noticeable. His pasterns were short, as a working
horse's should be.8
Fast horses were to the young men in the days when Claud Stinson
was growing up what hot-rods are to modern youngsters. Thus Claud
developed a good eye for horseflesh. He owned one mare he especially
liked because she could fairly fly. Her name was Bess, and Claud
enjoyed her speed by matching her in quite a number of races. Then
he got married, and somehow he no longer had time to train, match,
He decided to breed Bess and raise some fast horses. The first colt
she foaled was sired by Jeff C and was called Little Annie. She
got tangled in barbed wire and came out lame. Claud rebred Bess
to Jeff C, and the next foal was a filly he named Nettie Stinson.
Reed Armstrong bought and raced Nettie at the same time he had Grey
Nettie Stinson ran so well Claud figured that Little Annie, who
was bred the same way, should be a good brood mare. He bred her
to Peter McCue, the best horse he could find. Chief was the result,
and he satisfied Claud in every respect.
In a letter written in 1947 and printed as an article, Claud had
the following to say about Chief:
Chief was never raced very much and
was never in good running condition at any time he was raced.
We would take him out and run him a little and he outrun some
of as fast horses as was ever in this country. The last time I
run him was at the age of twelve years. I started him in a quarter
mile free-for-all at the fall race meet at Seiling, Oklahoma,
and again at Canton the next week, running first both times. Chief's
best distance was probably 300 or 350 yards. I think Chief could
run as fast as any horse could run at the distance, as he was
as fast breaker as any horse I've ever seen.
I showed him at-halter at Elk City
in the Western Oklahoma Quarter Horse Show in 1941. He took first
there, at the age of 24.10
While Chief may not have been the most
famous of Peter McCue's offspring, certainly his blood has been
a steady and beneficial influence to the Quarter Horse as a breed.
This description is taken from notes made by the author when he
went to see Chief, Denhardt Files, Chief Folder.
9 Grey Badger, also
called Badger, was the sire of Midnight. Reed Armstrong was one
of five brothers, all seemingly horsemen. Reed married the daughter
of a buffalo hunter, Jake Meek. Reed's brother John trained horses
for the King Ranch. Dan Reed trained for Van Vactor who was well
known in Oklahoma and Texas for his fast Quarter Horses. Reed was
born around 1874 and lived variously at Elk City, Sayre, and lastly
at Foss, Oklahoma. Denhardt Files, Armstrong Folder.
10 "The Story of Chief,"
The Quarter Horse, February, 1947, 4.
This story was taken from the book by Robert Moorman Denhardt
- Quarter Horses: A Story of Two Centuries. (For more reading,
check out another book by Denhardt - The King Ranch Quarter Horses.)