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Doc Bar: The Horse Who Created History and Transformed a Breed

Doc Bar: The Horse Who Created History and Transformed a Breed

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Those familiar with Quarter horses have likely heard the name Doc Bar at one point or another. This legendary stallion left a lasting impact on the breed that is still recognized today.

Doc Bar was a Quarter horse stallion who was originally bred to be a racehorse. He became an iconic halter horse and one of the most influential cutting horse sires in the breed. The stunning chestnut had an incredible career that was revolutionary in the Quarter horse industry.

Overview of Doc Bar’s stats:

Died:July 20, 1992
Breed:Quarter Horse
Height: 16.2 hh (164 cm)
Weight:1,000 pounds
Owners:Dr. and Mrs. Stephen Jensen
Sire:Lightning Bar
Dam:Dandy Doll

The Life of Doc Bar

Doc Bar was born in 1956 to owner Tom Finely. He was bred out of the sire Lightning Bar and his dam was Dandy Doll.

With a star studded pedigree, which included Thoroughbred blood on his paternal side, Finely had high hopes for Doc Bar in the racing world. When the colt was two-years-old, Finely sent him off to Tucson, Arizona to compete in Quarter horse racing.

Despite the efforts, the chestnut just wasn’t destined for racing. In four starts, Doc Bar made less than $100 in winnings. His racing career came to an abrupt halt as it was obvious it wasn’t his calling.

However, the end of his racing career was the beginning to his incredible journey to shaping the Quarter horse breed.

After transitioning into a show horse Doc Bar soon found much success. This was his start to becoming one of the most recognizable names among Quarter horse enthusiasts.

Doc Bar American Quarter Horse stallion

Doc Bar’s Career as a Show Horse

Doc Bar was sent to Charley Araujo in California to become a show halter horse. However, showing Doc Bar in halter was a gamble, as he did not have the sought after look that his competitors had.

Doc Bar stood at 14.3 hands tall and weighed 1,000 pounds. He had a beautiful head, clean throat, fox ears and a well-muscled body. This did not match the look that the judges were used to seeing in the halter division at the time.

However, it appeared change was what the industry needed, as Doc Bar’s unique conformation brought him many championships.

Of the 15 shows Doc Bar competed at, he won nine grand champion titles and one reserve title. At AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) competitions he earned nearly 9,000 points and won several world championships. He quickly rose to popularity from his success in the halter division.

Who Owned Doc Bar?

After gaining success in the show ring, Doc Bar attracted the attention of Dr. and Mrs. Stephen Jensen of Double J Ranch. Doc Bar was purchased from Finley by the Jensens for $30,000 in 1963 (equivalent to over $255,000 today).

Doc Bar’s power, agility, style, and strength gave him all the makings for a top sire. His riders gave him praise for his natural cow sense and athleticism while working cattle.

At just under 15 hands tall, those who rode him found that he was much easier to rope and catch cattle with.

Doc Bar’s gifts for working cattle were passed on to his offspring. The Jensens had a nice string of broodmares and Doc Brown was the icing on the cake for their breeding program. Much to the delight of his owners, he quickly became a top sire in the Quarter horse breed.

Doc Bar’s Offspring

Doc Bar was the sire of 485 horses, which is truly impressive. Among his offspring, there were multiple National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Winners, world champions and top 10 horses.

He was most notable for his outstanding cutting horse offspring. Among his get include such notable horses asDoc O’Lena, Doc’s Dee Bar, Doc’s Oak, Handle Bar Doc, Doc’s Prescription and Doc’s Play Mate.

Doc Bar is also the grandsire of Smart Little Lena, one of the most decorated cutting horses and sires within the breed.

Here is a illustration of Doc Bar’s offspring lineage:

Doc Bar pedigree chart - Doc Bar horse offspring

Is Doc Bar a Foundation Quarter Horse?

Since Doc Bar’s paternal grandsire, Three Bars, was a Thoroughbred, he is not considered a foundation Quarter horse. According to his bloodlines, Doc Bar was 75% foundation.

Even though he may not have been 100% foundation, Doc Bar was still one of the most important sires for shaping the Quarter horse breed. His famous Quarter horse bloodline is still highly sought after and people today still look for Doc Bar in pedigrees when breeding.

Is Doc Bar Still Alive?

Doc Bar passed away at the age of 36 in 1992. He was laid to rest at Jensen/Ward Doc Bar Ranch in Paicines, California.

He last bred at the age of 21, before retiring. Doc Bar spent the last years of his life in pasture with his favorite mare.

During his long life, Doc Bar left a lasting impact on the Quarter horse breed, as people were in awe of his abilities. His offspring were consistently full of talent, good looks and agility.

Why Was Doc Brown Put Down?

Doc Bar was humanely put down on July 20, 1992. At 36-years-old, it was clear to his owners he was no longer able to properly digest his food.

He was having trouble maintaining his weight and it was difficult for him to get up. The amazing stallion was laid to rest on the ranch he called home for the majority of his life. His grave lies under a black walnut tree in a pasture on the property.

Doc Bar Was Inducted Into the AQHA Hall of Fame

In 1993, Doc Bar was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame. Though at first his career as a racehorse was a flop, he went on to flourish as a halter horse and incredible sire of legendary cutting horses.

He transformed the cutting horse industry, as his offspring were consistently talented and good-looking.

The horses he sired were known for their cow sense and were easy to train, with lots of natural ability. Even today, Doc Bar is still highly regarded among Quarter horse owners.

Craig Kilburn

Saturday 1st of January 2022

Does anyone have the bloodlines of Doc two socks? He was one of doc bars own sons. I use to take care of him many many years ago. My ex father in law had him. And also owned another own son of doc bar but I cannot remember the name. Thx

Cindy Toth

Saturday 4th of December 2021

The stats say he was 16.2 but the story says 14.3. Which is it?

Patti Shannon-Weseman

Monday 5th of July 2021

I have a beautiful gelding with Doc Bar lines. Buddy is registered with APHA as Doc’s Junior Star. I love the Doc Bar horses!


Monday 21st of December 2020

Does anyone know of a palamino stallion was in Queensland Australia in the eighties named gold money bars Maybe related? An awesome horse and stunning colour

Dave English

Monday 14th of December 2020

I owned a Doc Bar grandson. Doc Rodder’s Gift. He didn’t do cows but he did some jumping, some dressage, was a great precision drill team horse, loved showing his stuff in parades and exploring the mountains of Montana. He was as fast as a hurricane at 16. 2