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Foundation Quarter Horse History

Foundation Quarter Horses - Little Joe (Joe Moore)

Karen Griffith Farms · 34440 State Route 7 · Pomeroy, Ohio  45769
Call: (740) 992-5782 · E-mail: griffith@frognet.net


 Little Joe - Foundation Quarter Horse

Little Joe - (1904 - 1929)

Little Joe of Alice, Texas, is the only horse of this name that has proved himself great enough that everyone knows he is meant when the name is spoken. His sire was Traveler, his dam Jenny, his full brother King (Possum). Traveler never would have been so famous were it not for King and his younger brother Little Joe--especially Little Joe.

Dow and Will Shely bought Traveler in 1903 and brought him to their ranch between Alice and Alfred, Texas. The next year George Clegg looked over the crop of colts. George bought one. He said that the colt, named Little Joe, was so little he could put him in a chicken coop, and his wife wondered if he had to pay money for him, he was so tiny. But the colt grew up to have the same short back and big britches carried by his sire. He was also fast, and George raced him at every opportunity for four or five years. His first race was against Carrie Nation in San Antonio, and when he beat her he was a marked horse.

Some years later Ott Adams bought Little Joe but never ran him. He wanted a proven race horse to breed to his fast mares. He bred Little Joe for a number of years and then sold him, not because he wanted to, but because he was broke and needed money and O. W. Cardwell, of Junction, was willing to pay for him. Little Joe died on the Cardwell ranch in 1929. In a letter to Helen Michaelis, Cardwell wrote, "Little Joe crippled himself in a chute in 1929 and I had to shoot him." There is more to the story, but the above is sufficient.10 Some people still argue whether Rondo or Little Joe did the most for the South Texas Quarter Horse.

There was no doubt in Ott Adams' mind that Little Joe did more for the Quarter Horse than any other horse since the Civil War. His get and grandget are still some of the best in the business. George Clegg, who raised Little Joe, considered him the fastest Quarter Horse he had ever run and probably as fast as any that ever ran in Texas. That's taking in considerable territory. O. W. Cardwell, who was never known to be at a loss for words, wrote, "Openly by many and secretly by more, he is considered the greatest most ideal sire of this century. Men who have his blood do not wish to change, and outsiders are hunting for it."11

Many great horses are sons and daughters of Little Joe. Some of his get include Ada Jones, Plain Jane, Adalina, Nita Joe, Balmy Days, Joe Moore, Zantanon, Grano de Oro, Old Poco Bueno, Pancho Villa, Dan, Rainbow, Clear Weather, the Northington Horse, Mamie Jay, Little Sister, Clementia Garcia, Jim Wells, Pat Neff, Cotton Eyed Joe, Lupete, Lady Love, Ace of Hearts and Dutch.

The names of his grandget are equally famous and include Miss Panama, Skidoo, Miss South Saint Mary's, Hill Country, Stella Moore, Hobo, Red Joe, Sunny Jim, King, and Billy Van. His great-grandget include Squaw H. Hank H. Clementine, Joe Barrett, Bo El, Bolo, Big Chief, Jesse, and countless others.

Joe Moore - Foundation Quarter Horse Joe Moore was one of Little Joe's most famous sons--not because he was a race horse nor because his head was so stylish, but because he produced so many horses that could run, rope, cut, and win shows.

In another section, the story of Della Moore is told. She was the dam of Joe Moore. Ott Adams bought her just to breed to Little Joe in order to have a suitable replacement. He bred Della to Little Joe the day she arrived on the ranch. The first foal she delivered was a filly. The next year she was dry. The following year she foaled Grano de Oro, a fine bay stallion. Ott still did not have the stud colt he wanted. Della's next and last colt was Joe Moore. He was foaled on March 23, 1927. Ott took one look at the foal and was happy.

Joe Moore grew up into a splendid bay stallion so typically a Quarter Horse that no one would ever mistake his breed, even if he were drawn down and ready to race. He was, in the usual manner of the early Quarter Horses, a small horse when height was considered. He always looked big but measured small. Some horses may be like some men. Take Napoleon, for instance. Nobody ever thought of him as being little, but he was. Perhaps it was the same with Joe Moore. When you walked up to chin him, you found his withers were just 14-2 hands. He was, outside of his head, which was a typical South Texas head, perfectly proportioned for a Quarter Horse. He had good hips, hind legs, shoulders, middle, forelegs--everything one could wish.

All of Joe Moore's life was spent in siring foals, such as Bumps, Hobo, Adam, Kitty Wells, Buddy Lewis, Lucky Boots, Payday, V Day, Jo-mo-ca, Joe Etta, Stella Moore, Monita, Lee Moore, Joe Less, Poquita Mas, and others too numerous to mention.

Once Ott sold Joe Moore to J. Rogers of Menard, Texas. This was the only time the two were separated, and Ott spent sleepless nights until he was able to rescind the sale and bring him home. Joe Moore certainly was one of the best, if not the best, of Little Joe's colts. When Joe Moore died, Ott buried him near Little Joe, whose bones he had brought back from Junction and buried on his farm. Today, all three, Little Joe, Ott Adams, and Joe Moore sleep under the same Texas soil--three individuals to whom the Quarter Horse owes much.

10 Letter dated in Junction, Texas, on February 13, 1940. Denhardt Files, Little Joe Folder.

11 Letter dated in Junction, Texas, on January 7, 1940. Denhardt Files, Cardwell Folder.

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.)  


Karen Griffith Farms · 34440 State Route 7 · Pomeroy, Ohio  45769
Call: (740) 992-5782 · E-mail: griffith@frognet.net
Web site: www.karengriffith.com

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Content by Karen Griffith