As the editor of the pleasure horse publication, I couldn't just "report" the passing of industry legend Zippo Pine Bar. First of all, I think anyone that has ever jogged or loped, has already heard the News, that Bob and Ann Perry had to put down the grand old man on January 12 after Zippo suffered a stroke, swept through pleasure horse barns across the nation with the force of a presidential scandal rumor.
There's no doubt Zippo made a difference. Perhaps we cannot even comprehend to what degree. As the Perrys wrote in the press release submitted to my office, "His phenomenal record as a sire of Western Pleasure horses included being the leading AQHA sire of Performance Winners and Performance Point Earners for over ten straight years (which is believed to be a record), the Leading AQHA sire of Performance Show ROM's and the leading AQHA sire of money. Zippo was inducted into the NSBA Hall of Fame in 1992 and has had a tremendous impact on the American Paint Horse and Appaloosa breeds and is a leading sire for both as well."
I was aware of most of these credentials, but I'd like to point out that Zippo's influences went beyond what one could list in a press release. It's the intangible, such as the local breeder who proudly stands an own son of Zippo Pine Bar on his five-acre ranchette far away from those big and famous Texas breeding barns. Or the 4-H'er who sits a little taller in the saddle at the county fair just knowing she's riding a Zippo. It's even about starting a new pleasure horse magazine and having to answer "what's a Zippo?" to the civilian (i.e., non-horsemen) typesetters who marvel that this word seems to be on every single ad in the new publication they're producing.
Maybe it's this last concept, the idea that with one simple, kind of funny-sounding word, we not only know exactly "who" we're speaking of, but also "what" we're talking about. He was a 28-year-old sorrel stallion by Zippo Pat Bars and out of Dollie Pine. We're talking slow lope, dog-gentle, conformation doesn't always matter, almost a birth right to win, a few extra dollars on the purchase price, and just plain special.
Yes, I'd say it's this one word concept that says it best. After all, with all due respect, even John Wayne had to put "The" before "Duke." We'll miss you, Zippo.
-Carolyn S. Pryor
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