The horse industry was saddened when landmark sire Zippo Pine Bar, 29, was laid to rest on the afternoon of Monday, Jan. 12, at his home in Valley View, Texas, at Bob and Ann Perry Quarter Horses.
"It was one of the saddest days I can remember," said Joe Jeane, who manages the Perry's Quarter Horse operation, with his wife, Suzy.
Joe said Zippo suffered from a stroke on Sunday afternoon and was humanely put to sleep on Monday afternoon at 12:30 p.m.
"I was with him all the rest of the night and he got a little better through the night, but then Monday morning it went the other direction and he was getting worse and worse all day," Joe said. "He could not get up, and about 12:30 Monday afternoon he was humanely put to sleep."
Dr. Kurt Harris, DVM, performed the procedure, per the advice of his partner, Dr. John McCarroll, DVM, the attending veterinarian of Bob Perry Quarter Horses for the past 13 years. Dr. McCarroll was in Colorado at the time, but was in contact over the telephone.
"We talked to John over the phone," Joe said. "John has been a very big part of the farm. Bob and Ann place a lot of stock on John, and he thought a lot of the horse."
Owners, Bob and Ann Perry, were in Zihuaguento, Mexico, at the time, and were also in contact over the phone.
"Ann really loved this horse and she has so many stories that need to be told and written," Joe said. "Just sitting and talking to her is like reading a book."
"It was unfortunate for us that we left Saturday for Mexico," Ann said. "I hated not being there, but I wanted him to have dignity and not suffer in any way at all."
"It is very sad, but we know how fortunate we were to have Zippo for the last 13 and a half years and that just amazes us. We were the lucky ones, that is for sure.
"He has been healthy and sound all of his life," Ann said. "One thing I think is really amazing is his sire, Zippo Pat Bar, his mother, Dollie Pine, and grandsire, Three Bars, all lived until their late 20s. There is a longevity in that family line.
"But I also know Joe and Suzy's good loving care over the years has added to that. We also have an employee, Horico Ramirez, who was Zippo's daily care-taker and his younger sons helped feed and groom Zippo. It has been a real emotional thing for his family too, but I really feel that he lived to that ripe old age because he has had good care."
Bob and Ann's life with Zippo began in August 1985 when they bought Zippo over the telephone, sight unseen.
"When we had the chance to buy Zippo, we lived in California, but had the ranch property in Texas; we had no intention of moving down here permanently" Ann said. "We knew of Zippo and always followed his offspring and heard that Norman Reynolds in Nebraska had been approached about selling him. We were just little guys, so we asked someone to call and inquire about purchasing him. They got busy and never did.
|Zippo Pine Bar
Foaled: April 25, 1969
Breeder: Lloyd Geweke · Ord, Nebraska
Norman Reynolds (Sept. 1969 - August 1985)
Bob and Ann Perry (Aug. 1985 - Present)
Norman Reynolds, Linda Reynolds, Bill Keyser
"Finally one Sunday afternoon, Bob said, "Maybe we should just call up and ask if he is for sale and how much." Bob called on Sunday night and talked to Norman Reynolds. I could tell by the other side of the conversation that something was fixing to happen. We called back the next day and sent Norman a deposit overnight.
"Everyone thought we were absolutely crazy to buy a 15-year-old horse that we had never seen, but we just felt like everything was in our favor," Ann said. "He was healthy, we would get a few good breeding seasons out of him, we liked his colts we'd seen and the trainers all loved him."
Ann said when she and Bob finally got a chance to see Zippo for the first time, it was about a month after they bought him. She said Norman just got him out of his stall, put a rope over his neck and got on him bareback.
"That was just Zippo," Ann said.
For the next few months, Zippo stayed at Norman's ranch in Nebraska, where Ann said Zippo lived in an old wood dairy barn and was used every day as a using horse. The year they bought him, he bred 200 mares.
The Reynold's ranch is where Zippo had spent the first 15 years of his life and where the most famous Zippo son, Zips Chocolate Chip's dam, Fancy Blue Chip, was bred in 1984.
"Zippo had been a part of the Reynold's life, they bought him as a weanling from Lloyd Geweke (Ord, Neb.)," Ann said. "It was hard for them to sell him, but I think they thought if he was going to go on as a sire, he needed to go someplace other than Nebraska, although, some of the great horses were bred up at Norman's place."
It was in February 1986, when the Perry's Valley View Ranch facilities were completed, that Zippo loaded up with eight of his daughters the Perrys had bought for broodmares and came to his new home in Texas. We could call this Zippo's most famous journey and definitely a turning point in Zippo's career. It seemed to be the beginning of the a new era for the pleasure industry, the "Zippo Era," that is.
In 1988, Joe and Suzy came to work for the Perrys. Zippo quickly became one of Joe and Suzy's favorites.
"Zippo and I were definitely buddies," Joe said. "I have lots of fond memories of the horse. He was, in my opinion, the very best horse that I have ever known or been around.
"One of the things about his personality is that when I went in the stall, he would always greet me by putting his nose against me and kind of push me. He never failed to do that every time I went in there," Joe said. "There was not a bad thing about him, he was really a people horse. I do not remember anything ill mannered or bad.
"I feel really really lucky, and Suzy does too, that we were able to have this horse in our lives for the past 10 years," Joe said. "And our lives have been enriched because of it and we really feel fortunate."
Suzy said that as much as Zippo was a true gentleman, he loved his freedom in every way.
"If Zippo saw a way to run like the wind, he did," Suzy said. "He loved being a horse. There was not a kinder or wiser horse around.
"Zippo had such a good eye, it was the window to his soul," Suzy said. "And he was such a quality mover, deep in hock, flat in the knee. Even in his 20s, he still retained that great movement."
"We used to turn him out and he did a lot of running and playing and he was just such a good mover," Joe said. "He was a Western pleasure winner in 1973 and he would be a Western pleasure winner in 1998, I don't think you can say that about a lot of horses."
Joe said in addition to Zippo being remembered as one of the greatest sires, they want Zippo to be remembered as simply a "horse who loved people."
Suzy added, "The good ones are the horses that are 'people horses.' The better pleasure horses, in general, are those who can interact and get along with people."
"That easy, mellow disposition that he passed on to all those colts, you just wanted to be around him," Ann said. "I know that is how Joe and Suzy both feel, he was definitely a people horse.
"People came here from all over the world just to see Zippo," Joe said. "I was never worried when people came to visit Zippo, whether it was an 8-year-old baby or an 80-year-old lady. Anybody who walked up to him, he greeted them with kindness. He was never going to harm anyone and I just knew that," Joe said.
"I can't ever remember Zippo pining his ears, ever, no matter what seemed to happen or what kind of situation he got into and that stands out about him," Joe said. "I have handled a lot of studs and horses and I can remember any other horse I have been around pinning his ears about something, but not Zippo.
"As influential as Impressive was to the halter horse breed, we think Zippo was as influential to the pleasure horses," Suzy said. "It used to be Western pleasure was something horses did when they were not good at anything else, and Zippo was one of the first horses people started breeding to for pleasure horses."
According to AQHA, Zippo has a total 1,636 AQHA-registered foals, 769 that are performance horses. His offspring has earned a total of 43,168.5 AQHA points, 14 AQHA World Championships and 29 Reserve World Champions. According to Equi-Stat, a division of Cowboy Publishing Group, and Quarter Horse Newsrecords, Zippo's offspring has earned at least $1,674,033.51 in pleasure futurities since 1984. According to Equi-Stat, he was the Leading Western pleasure sire from 1986-1994 and the Leading Maternal and Paternal Grandsire from 1992-1996. The years when he was not the leading sire, one of which was 1985, he was the second leading sire behind his sire, Zippo Pat Bars. In 1995-1996, he was third, in 1995 behind his son, Zips Chocolate Chip and Hotrodders Jet Set, and in 1996 third behind two of his sons, Zips Chocolate Chip and Zippos Mr. Goodbar. In 1990-1991, he was the second Leading Maternal and Paternal Grandsire behind his sire.
Zippo was not only influential in the Quarter Horse industry, but in the Paint Horse and Appaloosa breeds as well.
Zippo sired 71 APHA registered foals, 34 with performance records. His APHA offspring earned a total of 7,716 points, including 12 APHA World Champions and 10 Reserve Champions. He has topped the leading sire of performance dams list and ranked among the Top 10 leading sires of APHA Superior earners and leading performance sires.
His talented genes have graced the Appaloosa breed with 71 foals, 34 with performance records. His Appaloosa offspring have earned 2,272 open performance points.
"His legacy will be around for such a long time," Ann said. "There is even an Arabian Zippo and a few Zippo Pine Bar mules up in Nebraska, - there is one mule that used to go to the mule shows in Nebraska and clean up in all the Western pleasure classes."
Ann said one of Zippo's most incredible accomplishments is he has been the leading sire of AQHA performance horses for 120 straight months, 10 years. An accomplishment that is hard to match.
Joe said in 1997 they tried to breed 15 mares to Zippo, but were unsuccessful. They retired Zippo to the public, but kept two of Ann's mares open and gave Zippo two months off. Joe said in the late spring, they tried a couple of things Dr. McCarroll "had up his sleeve" and were successful. Two mares are in foal to Zippo and due to foal in the late spring.
"It is amazing that it has been 13 and a half years since we bought him," Ann said. "We always felt like we would be so lucky if we had two or three breeding seasons out of him. In 1996, (Zippo was 27) when he bred 35 mares, we kept saying that George Burns didn't have a thing on Zippo," Ann said.
Zippo's Last Ride
Who was the last person to ride the legendary Zippo? It was Ann's mother, Helen Moser, Pasadena, Calif., who was 80-years-old at the time.
"She has always been a horse fan," Ann said. "she was at the ranch about four or five years ago and she had always wanted to ride Zippo. She is only about five feet tall and since she was 80, she couldn't just jump up on him, so we got her a little step ladder. She rode him around on the grass and we took pictures.
"She was here for Christmas and she said she was go glad she got to see Zippo one last time" Ann said.
Joe said that over the years they have been building up their broodmare band of Zippo's daughters.
"We have 18 of his daughters that have been hand-selected through the past 10 years, with Bob and Ann's help. What we thought were the best ones, we kept," Joe said.
"Maybe someday there will be another stud (like Zippo) in our life," Ann said. "But he is going to be hard for us to ever duplicate, I don't know if we will ever be that lucky again."
"We are fortunate that we have some of the really great sires standing at the ranch besides Zippo, we will just continue on in that direction."
The great sire is buried under three oak trees near the flagpole at the entrance of the Perry's ranch. This spot is where Zippo can see all the mares and babies, something that he liked to do. A monument will mark the spot of the legendary sire which not only had a tremendous impact on the Perry and Jeane's lives, but truly revolutionized the pleasure horse industry.
Zippo Pine Bar may be gone from our sight, but his kindheartedness and steadfast qualities are apparent in his offspring and will forever be a fond reminder of his greatness.
MORE ABOUT ZIPPO
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