Superior genetics make for superior Quarter Horses
- Written by Leah Bohlander
- Published on April 09, 2013
With a history as deep as the American Quarter Horse Association, the Four Sixes legendary Quarter Horse ranch knows what it takes to create some of the best, and most recognizable, horses in the United States.
Provider of the horses for the Road to the Horse competition for the past three years, the Ranch won the AQHA Best Remuda Award and is an AQHA All-Time Leading Breeder of Performance Horses and Race Money-Earners and Winners. The 6666 Ranch is consistently ranked among the best of the breed.
Creating the Legend of 6666
The history of the 6666s can be traced back to the birth of Captain Samuel “Burk” Burnett in 1849. At the age of 19, Burnett purchased 100 head of cattle, all wearing the 6666 brand—founding the ranch in 1868. Burnett was one of the first ranchers in Texas to buy steers, graze them, and then send them to market.
Burnett gained recognition as a well-respected man and built the Burnett Ranches (and 6666s) into the empire of today. Throughout the years, Burnett expanded the ranch, buying more land, adding a supply house in Guthrie, Texas, and building one of “the finest ranch houses in West Texas.” In 1921 and 1969, oil was discovered on Burnett’s land and his wealth increased dramatically.
With Captain Burnett’s death in 1922, ownership of the ranch was left to great-granddaughter Anne Marion (who in fact hadn’t even been born yet) with a life estate to Burnett’s daughter-in-law Ollie Lake, and his granddaughter Anne Valliant Burnett Tandy. The property was held in trust until the death of Anne Valliant Burnett Tandy in 1980 and then passed directly to her daughter, Anne Burnett Windfohr Marion, who is the current owner of Burnett Ranches LLC and “The Four Sixes.”
Four Sixes Quarter Horses
Captain Burnett was a fan of the Paint horse, and kept many of them on the ranch in the early years. Following his death, though, all the stock horses were sold and wouldn’t reappear on the ranch until 1932 when George Humphreys took over as ranch manager. Under the 38-year direction of Humphrey, the ranch’s equine breeding program was shaped into one of the greatest Quarter Horse breeding programs in the United States. The current resident veterinarian and Horse Division Manager, Dr. Glenn Blodgett, who has been with the ranch since 1982, has continued that tradition.
Since the 1960s, the ranch has become known for its world-class American Quarter Horses used for ranch work, arena competition, and on the racetrack. Of the early stallions, Joe Hancock, Hollywood Gold, and Grey Badger II had the most influence.
In recent years, the operation included the famous racing stallion Dash for Cash, one of the greatest racing sires in history. Today, the 6666s stand between 15-20 Quarter Horse stallions that specialize in a variety of different disciples.
“We are a diverse horse operation, specializing in ranch horses, cutting horses, and racing horses. We are unique in that aspect,” Horse Division Manager Dr. Glenn Blodgett said. “The technology we are able to utilize in the production of our horses enables us to get some superior genetics in our program.”
The outstanding facilities and the goal to always raise better and better horses keeps Dr. Blodgett and the 6666s busy following the greatest bloodlines and traits of the American Quarter Horse.
“We like to select horses based on multiple different traits. Anything from soundness traits, hip quality, bone structure, shorter cannon bones, angulation of the hocks, and a muscular hindquarter are all things we look for,” Blodgett said.
Blodgett also mentioned the want for a deep heart girth, which is key in identifying a horse with stamina. A big, soft eye can indicate intelligence and a strong hoof quality is a must for the horses of the ranch.
“What makes our stallions and breeding program one of the top choices in the country is that our horses are the definition of the true all around horse. They are suited for the most wide range of western events and are a pleasure to ride,” Blodgett said. “Just like cars and pickups, you want a smooth ride. We look to create that in our horses.”
Into Cowboy Mounted Shooting
Blodgett knows some of the 6666 Ranch horses have found their way into the event and says it is a perfect fit. The horses are really athletic, fast, quick moving animals. He says they have a great mind, which leads to athleticism and speed, without the hyper tendency.
“For cowboy mounted shooting, the stallions I would suggest to be a great fit would be Sixes Pick, PG Gunpowder, and definitely Paddy’s Irish Whiskey. Each of these stallions have great qualities that would be a good fit for the speed, intelligence, and conformation the shooter is looking for,” Blodgett said.