Deb Forell Christy on The Chocolate Dash, Greensburg KS, 2011, rising from the ashes: Greensburg, rising from the devastating tornado that leveled the town in 2007; & Choc rebounding from a devastating illness that kept his life on the edge thru 2009 & 2010.
For every horse that has a life of leisure, preserving his health, living into his 30's, there is an amazing performer who gives his all, often competing on will and heart alone, for the love of the game, when his body is spent. The Chocolate Dash was one of the those. Like Secretariat, Pharlap, Seabiscuit, Black Gold, Ruffian, Barbaro, he gave his all, knowing full well his time here was limited.
He wanted to make the most of it out of love for Deb. And that he did. After a two-year battle with an intestinal inflamation caused by an unknown source that nearly took Choc's life several times, he came back with a vengance, in 2011. At the time of his death, Deb was in the top five of the standings of the Mid-States Rodeo Ass'n, Nebraska State Rodeo Ass'n, Kansas State Rodeo Ass'n, & top 20 in WPRA Prairie Circuit, due mostly to Choc's early season winnings. In August, Choc developed an upper-respiratory infection. In spite of valiant efforts to save him again, his weakened immune system could no longer sustain him. Deb, don't ever regret the devotion you had for him and the extraordinary measures you went to help him. It is those things that set one apart from the average person, who has never had an amazing story to tell. Not because the possibility wasn't there; but because they never developed that devoted partnership that gave the horse an opportunity to be one of the great ones. He has left you & his many fans to grieve his absence. As in II Timothy, Choc ...has fought the good fight, he has won the race.... He in Good Hands now. Rest in peace, Choc. ~Baru Forell Spiller Click here to read AN AMAZING JOURNEY ~ THE CHOCOLATE DASH
“Occasionally, there arises in the descendants of these [outstanding Quarter Horses], a stallion whose reputation and ability establishes a separate name and his get are in the future then known by this stallion’s name.” --Bob Denhardt
Zach Blue x Azul Caballo Amigo
Funny B BlueMuchaMan at the Spiller Ranch, 2007.
LEO HANCOCK HAYES, 1980-2007. Sire of AQHA Performance ROM & Superior rope horses. Bred by Hayes Brothers, Thermopolis WY. Died Funny B Ranch, Lohn TX.
Blue Valentine, 1956-1980; bred by Kenny Gunter, Cochise AZ, owned & trained by Del Haverty, then Hayes Brother & Hyde Merritt of Wyoming. Outstanding ranch and arena sire. Voted one of the all-time top ten ranch sires in AQHA history, Western Horseman magazine, Oct 2007. Photo by Jim Jennings, courtesy of the American Quarter Horse Journal.
RED MAN, born 1935, bred by Tom L Burnett, Iowa Park TX; trained in roping by James Kenney, last owned by Kenny Gunter, AZ; AQHA Register of Merit in racing & performance; sire of 20 ROM earners in race & performance, and top rodeo horses; sire of Blue Valentine.
The immortal JOE HANCOCK (1923-1943), sire of Red Man, racing in OK, circa 1927; bred by John Hancock, Perryton TX; raced by Bird Ogle; last owned by Tom Burnett/6666 Ranch. One of the most prepotent & popular Quarter Horse sires of all time; his bloodlines are still extremely sought after, seven decades after his death. Voted one of the all-time top ten ranch sires in AQHA history, Western Horseman magazine, Oct 2007. For more info go to HancockHorses.com
“I can tell you from personal experience that Hancocks are definitely good cow horses….you can throw your loop on a good size bull and not worry about him pulling your horse over.” Red Steagall, Cowboy Corner
JOHN WILKINS, owned for several years by JA Ranch, Texas Panhandle, who then sold him to John Jackson Hancock, Perryton TX; sire of Joe Hancock.
PETER McCUE, (1891-1923) one of the greatest foundation sires of QH history; sire of John Wilkens.
"Legacy Written in Bloodlines" The Blue Valentine Story by Baru Forell Spiller Details about this great ranch sire that have never before been published are now available. This article was originally published in the American Quarter Horse Journal in the June, 2004 issue. Hancock Horses, the foremost Hanock breeders website, has been granted exclusive permission to make this article, in its entirety, available on their website. Later publicatons include the Pacific Coast Journal May, 2005; Horseman's News, April 2006; and the 2007 Annual Performance Horse Yearbook, Australia (condensed version.) The December 15, 2004 issue of Quarter Horse News also carries some condensed excerpts on Blue Valentine in an article on roan color genetics. Baru is in the process of compiling additional information on Blue Valentine and his notable progeny. This a difficult task on horses who have made their mark on Quarter Horse history in the arena and on ranches where very few records are kept on horses' accomplishments. If you have photos, records, documentation or other information on Blue Valentine, his descendants, deceased or living, please forward to: Baru Spiller, 2702 CR 209, Wingate TX 79566 or email. Original photos will be returned where requested. Thanks for your contribution.