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POCO Tivio: A true cow horse

He was the first foal of Poco Bueno and one of the first horses to bring the blood of King to the Pacific Coast. He became a legend in his own time and left us with the legacy of his ancestors. PocoTivio was a pure cow horse.


The Tivio legend properly begins back in June 1952, on a sunny day in Santa Barbara California, when a young Lloyd Jenkins declared the young horse grand champion stallion at the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association’s eighth annual show. Poco Tivio's bay coat gleamed like rubbed mahogany. His exceptionally good withers and powerful arm and hindquarters were qualities to catch and hold the eye of any knowing judge.

Poco Tivio stood easily, for it was a place he had occupied many times in his short career. He had left his impression on audiences in Denver, Houston, and Fort Worth. Five years old now, the young stallion was doing much to build the reputation of Poco Bueno as a sire. In the cutting arena he was exhibiting to West Coast horsemen the best of Texas style cow work.

The significance of the Santa Barbara win was that it put the young stallion under the wire in his race to another championship. Poco Tivio now had enough points to give him the coveted title which the American Quarter Horse Association was holding in reserve for only the best of it’s represenitives. In September 1952, the association announced the names of its first AQHA Champions. Poco Tivio's name headed that list; he had a total of eight halter points and 16 points in cutting. The names that accompanied his name were Little Egypt’s, Star Jack Jr., Paul A, JB King, Snipper W, Pandora and Babe Mac C (In an era when 16 hand Quarter Horses are almost common place it is an interesting to note that not one of those early day champions stood over 14.3 and there were a couple of fair race horses among them.)

Poco Tivio was the first blush of a cautious mating of two successful bloodlines. Poco Bueno, a line bred Little Joe, was a South Texas Quarter Horse through and through. Poco Tivio's mother, Shellwin, represented the best of the Waggoner ranch breeding at the time. Her sire was Pretty Boy by Dodger by Harmon Baker. She was out of a mare by Blackburn, who was destined to become a leading material GRANDSIRE of AQHA CHAMPIONS.

Just as Poco Bueno was to become a leading sire, Shellwin would soon be an important matron of the breed. This cross-proved more than moderately successful, for it had produced two tier AQHA Champions. Poco Champ and Poco Lena. The latter was quite possibly the greatest cutting mare of all time. She campaigned consistently for 11 years, held the career earnings record-just short of $100,000-for 16 years and when retired as a broodmare, produced the NCHA Futurity winners Dry Doc and Doc O' Lena.

The Waggoner’s proved Poco Tivio out before they let him go. The young stallion came along at a time when cow cutting was starting to catch on as a spectator event. Poco Bueno hand been shown as a cutting horse, and his first son exhibited the same inclination to play with cattle.

Pine Johnson was still showing Poco Bueno when Poco Tivio was ready to begin competition. The Waggoner trainer found himself riding both horses in many of those early shows. Father and son had similar styles, both of them extremely powerful and quick, and each with a whole corral full of cow sense. They were both crowd pleasers and did much to bring cutting into national prominence.

In September 1950, the Waggoner’s held a sale at Vernon, Texas. Average for the sell was $675. As the high selling lot, Poco Tivio went under the hammer to the late Cliff Mager's of Fort Worth for $5,000. Under Waggoner’s ownership, Poco Tivio continued to win halter classes and add more cutting points to his credit with the help of a couple of good cowboys named Milt Bennett and Andy Hensley.

By this time, some of the West Coast trainers were beginning to jump on the cutting bandwagon. One of these was Californian Don Dodge.

Dodge was training hunters and jumpers, and had brought some good bridle horses into prominence. Dodge felt that cutting was going to catch on in California, just as it had in the Southwest. In July of 1951, Dodge bought Poco Tivio from Mager's "for slight under $15,000." The young stallion was reported to be the highest price cutting horse in the country at the time.

Before the end of the following year, Dodge had ridden the bay horse into the Top-10 NCHA standings. Poco Tivio's success heralded the importation of literally truckloads of Poco Bueno’s sons and daughters in California. The remaining years of the 50's were those of unprecedented demand for the get of a single sire. Poco Bueno set the standard for both conformation and in performing style as no other individual had done before. His fashionably during that ear was of an intensity since unequaled.

One of the first California breeders to recognize the future demand for this breeding was Charles Araujo, a native Californian whose entire life had revolved around horses and livestock. There is little doubt that his knowledge was vast and his insight keen. Long before the Quarter Horse boom- even before establishment of registry-Araujo was bringing good horses to his Coalinga ranch, and breeding better ones. He stood Grand Champion, Catechu, at California's first Quarter Horse Show in 1944

Shortly after Don Dodge purchased Poco Tivio, he added Snipper W to his stable. This young gelding was well on his way to the NCHA Championships. Dodge had little use for a breeding stallion at that time and even though Poco Tivio was campaigning well, he decided to let him go and make an all-out-effort for the world with his flashy dun gelding.

In 1952, shortly after he earned his AQHA Championship, Poco Tivio added his name to the list of outstanding horses owned by Charles Araujo. And under the guiding hand of this master breeder, the bay stallion was to mount an influence, which virtually mutated the California cow horse. The Poco Tivio’s were temperamentally low -keyed, but their working style had flash and color.

The Tivio’s were a versatile lot. They stood in halter classes; they competed as working and pleasure horses with their amateur owner-riders; they moved in the toughest company of highly competitive events especially cutting.

Although Poco Tivio sired good sons who also became good sire- horses like Puro Tivio it is probably through his producing daughters that he will be best remembered. Mares such as Theresa Tivio, Tibet and Bonita Tivio are the sustenance of which reputations for maternal grandsires are made.

Could there have been more champions? Some think there could have been. Poco Tivio grew up under Arturo’s Ownership. The Tivio’s were great in demand thought the 50's and on into the 60's. But fashions do change and horsemen are, by and large, capricious lot. Just as they had allowed the King blood to alter the shape and scope of their working horses, they were now addressing themselves to still another changing influence.

Quarter Horse racing experienced tremendous growth during decade of the 50's. It became expedient and popular to use thoroughbred sires to inject more speed in to older Quarter Horse stains. Although many of the thoroughbred sires did not compliment Quarter Horse type, there were some notably Three Bars, which merely modified Quarter Horse conformation, gave it more refinement as well as size. Such blood produced speed and stamina, which lacks in many of the individuals from foundation quarter horse strains. This blood inevitably found its way in to the working strains and changed the whole breeding picture. Many breeders who wanted to survive either supplemented the new blood, or abandoned older failure altogether, developing new programs based on bloodlines from the speed horse. This was especially true in the Pacific Coast.

Ironically’ it was Charles Araujo himself who brought Doc Bar (a grandson of Three Bars) into California-just as, years before, he had introduced Joe Reed and then King blood to the west coast scene. The result of this importation was that Tivio stock began to fade. Doc Bar was himself a very refined looking individual with a classic head, almost Arabic in its elegance. Yet his musculature exhibited as much lusty energetic force as any of the old strains.

The first Doc Bar foals graced the halter scene and those began to have their impact on the type. Dr. And Mrs. Stephen Jensen purchased the six-year-old Doc Bar from Araujo in 1962, and stood him at their Paicines Ranch. They set out to probe him as a sire of doing horses as well as beauty contest winners. Their success in this venture is now history. But in the meantime, Poco Tivio nearly dropped in to oblivion. Still owned by Araujo, he no longer stood to the public. The aging horseman was allowing the aging stallion to service only a few of his own mares each year. Many people thought the old horse was dead.

But what many of the Doc Bar fanciers did not realize-or chose to ignore was the first \\ fact that the nucleus of the Jensen broodmare band, from whence sprung the wondrous Doc bars, were daughters of King, Poco Bueno and Poco Tivio. The top-line "sting" of the Doc Bar was so overwhelming that many horsemen overlooked the bottom line and the subtle influences of the blood of King.

Before his death in December 1972, Charles Araujo provided for the last years of the greatest of all his great horses by leaving him to and old and trusted friend, Floyd Boss. And in so doing, perhaps unknowingly created a final surge of much deserved popularity for Poco Tivio,

Boss, a farrier who lives in Fresno, California took Poco Tivio to Silken Oaks, a stud farm on the outskirts of Fresno. He stood the grand old sire for a nominal fee and the Tivio book was immediately filled. At 26 years, Poco Tivio was still a handsome individual belying his age. But now a scion of the Quarter Horse royalty, he attended his stud duties with the enthusiasm of a three- year old and self-assurance of a veteran. Although gentle and easily handled, advanced age did not prevent him from bowing his heavily crested neck and trumpeting peremptory challenges to the upstart studs occupying adjacent stalls. Many of Poco Buenos’s admirable qualities had not been inherited by his first-born. Longevity was one of them. King lived to the patriarchal age of 26. And Poco Bueno hoarded his band of mares over the limitless pastures of the half million-acre Waggoner Ranch until he died, sound and active, at 25.

It said that Poco Tivio, at age 27, two years before his death in 1976, was moving on granite-gray feet with the light step of a range colt, exuding stallion masculinity from every pore of his 14.2 hand, 1200-pound frame. The blood of Poco Tivio represents a heritage, which transcends mere fashionably. His influence will be carried into future generations, and the horseman of tomorrow will be better mounted for his having been here.

 

Jessie James

  • Reserve World Champion
  • Superior Performance
  • NCHA money-earner, COA, Bronze
  • ROM Performance
  • Performance Point Earner
  • Halter Point Earner
  • NCHA Earnings - $18,961
  • In The Book of Legends




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