"The rangy Paint mare might not have been the best-looking horse to ever draw
a breath. Her ears were too big, her head a penny long from the eye to
nostril, and she was a little wide-set in front.
On the other hand, the bay-roan tobiano was a natural-born cow
horse--athletic, graceful and seemingly driven by a heart as big as
Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain. Given those latter attributes,
when Delta rose like a gulf stream hurricane out of the bayou country of
southeastern Louisiana in the early 70's to take cutting arenas throughout
the South by storm, she became something less than a "Plain Jane."
by W.S. Mckown Jr. of Jackson, Louisiana, and foaled on April 7, 1963,
Delta was the result of a cross between two proven performance lines.
Lemon Squeezer, her sire, was an AQHA-registered double bred descendant of
King P-234. Mildred, her
dam, was a National Quarter Horse Breeders Association (NQHBA)-registered
daughter of Ed Echols. So, while Delta was bred to be a cow horse,
with two registered Quarter Horses for parents, she seemingly wasn't bred to
be a Paint. Why, then, was she?
The top side
of Delta's pedigree offers no clues as to where her tobiano color might have
come from. Nothing but well-known Quarter Horses appear in it.
The bottom side of her pedigree, however, is a different story.
Mildred, Delta's dam, is listed in NQHBA Permanent Stud Book Volume 2 as a
gray mare foaled in May of 1944, sired by Ed Echols and out of (the) Lionel
Mare by Lionel by Little Pancho. Little is known about the Lionel
mare. With Ed Echols chestnut in color, and Mildred gray, it stands to
reason that the Lionel mare was gray too.
have been possible that Mildred and the Lionel mare were, in reality,
washed-out gray tobiano Paints with minimal or barely discernible white
markings? Barring pedigree inaccuracies, this would seem to be the
most logical explanation for Delta's coloration. At this late date,
though, how Delta came to be a Paint is a moot point. The fact remains
that she was one. One destined for greatness.
ascent to stardom was not immediate. Registered with APHA at 2 years
of age, and broke to ride 3, she was reportedly used as a racetrack pony
horse until she was 6. In late 1969, Dr. W.C. Barrow of Baton Rouge,
Louisiana, acquired Delta and put her in cutting training. The mare
proved to be a natural and was soon ready to compete. Campaigned
lightly over the next three years, she was the 1970 and 1972 year-end
high-point Paint in the National Cutting Horse Association. In
September of 1972, Dr. Barrow suffered a heart attack. As a result,
Delta was offered for sale.
comes into her own
of Fairview, Tennessee, had been a fan of Delta for several years.
When he found out she was on the market, he wasted no time acquiring her.
Price turned Delta over to Bobby Brown of nearby Collierville, Tennessee,
for training. Under his tutelage, she blossomed into a world-class
1973, Delta was the NCHA World
Champion Cutting Mare and Reserve World Champion Cutting Horse.
Finishing behind her in the standings were such talented Quarter Horse
performers as Mr. Holey Sox, Mr. San Peppy,
Fizzabar and Doc's Starlight (*dam of Grays Starlight).
DELTA, by Duke Neff, courtesy of APHA Journal
1974, Delta won the NCHA World Championship Finals in Amarillo, Texas,
defeating Mr. San Peppy and eight of the then-top 10 cutting horses in the
process. In 1977, Delta became the first Paint Horse inducted into the
NCHA Hall of Fame. Retired from competition shortly thereafter, her
lifetime NCHA earnings amounted to $49,345.
also fared well in APHA competition. In 1976, she was the National
Champion Senior Cutting Horse. The following
year, she earned Reserve National Champion honors in the same event.
competition was always Delta's first priority, but she still competed in
enough APHA shows to earn 437 Open Cutting points. And although she
cut her last cow more than 20 years ago, she still ranks as the APHA's
number 2 all-time leading Open Cutting point earner. Not bad for an
of 1978, shortly after being retired from cutting, Delta changed hands
again. This time she went to country singer, Lynn Anderson of
Nashville. At this point, about the only challenge that remained for
the mare was to prove that she could reproduce herself. Anderson saw
that she got the chance.
Delta was bred to cutting legend Peppy San Badger, also known as
"Little Peppy." The following March, she foaled Delta Dawn,
a sorrel tobiano filly who would go on to become the 1984 APHA National
Champion Junior Cutting Horse. Also showed in Open competition, DELTA
DAWN earned $40,654.
1981, Delta was re-bred to Little Peppy. In April of 1982, she foaled
DELTA FLYER, a sorrel tobiano colt who would go on to win the NCHA Super
Stakes and amass $210,902 + in earnings. In 1984, Anderson took Delta
to the court of Doc O' Lena AQHA. Before this foal was born, however,
the aged Paint mare was sold once more. This time she went to Texas.
care of business
While he had
nothing to do with her cutting career or the production of her first three
foals, Floyd Moore, the ebullient Texas who entered Delta's life at its
twilight, would have a lot to do with seeing to it that her blood was
perpetuated. In many respects, the Huntsville-based cattleman was the
ideal man for the job. Moore's father, Floyd J. Moore, had been a
highly successful cattle buyer and auction sales barn owner, who instilled
in his son business instincts that would forever encourage him to think and
act on a grand scale.
opportunity arose to buy an 800-head herd of cattle on speculation, the
elder Moore never hesitated to go after the deal. If a rival sale barn
came up for sale, he did his utmost to make it his. So, from the age
of 12, when he was first sent on the road by his father to buy cattle for
resale, Floyd Moore had the doctrine drilled into him, "If it's worth
doing, it's worth doing big." It was a philosophy he found easy
to embrace, and one that would heavily influence the way he went about
developing the Delta line. Before acquiring Delta, however, Moore
first became owner of the Paint mare's most famous son. The purchase
was handled in typical Moore style.
$80,000 for what?"
father's retirement, Floyd Moore took over full management of the family
businesses. For seven years--from 1980 to 1986--he also furnished
cattle to the NCHA for use in their Futurity, Derby, Super Stakes, Breeders
Cup and World finals events.
NCHA shows with his cattle, Moore became enamored with cutting horses.
He watched hundreds of horses work, and charted the bloodlines of all the
winners. By the early 1980's, he decided that he would like to have
some cutters of his own.
he bought a Quarter Horse son of Doc O' Lena. Trained and shown, the
horse did well. Then it died. Moore replaced him with another
Doc O' Lena horse, only to have that horse die as well. In the fall of
1984, Moore was once again in the market for a stallion. He found one,
or, more accurately, had one found for him, while on a trip to the Far East.
wife, Maryann, and I were in Hong Kong on a furniture-buying trip,"
Moore said. "At three a.m. one morning, we were asleep at the
hotel when the telephone rang. I picked it up, and Kenny Patterson
from Normangee, Texas, was on the other end. I had known Kenny for
years, and had asked him to help me find a new cutting horse.
"What are you doing?," he asked. "It's three
in the morning here,' I shot back, 'What do you think I'm doing?'
just ignored me. "I bought you a two year old son of Little
Peppy,' he said. ""That sounds great,' I replied.
"Tell me about him.'
'A Paint?' I said. 'What did I have to give for him?'
' I gave $80,000 for what?'
Paint,' he said. 'But don't worry. He's a good one. I used to
show his mother, and she was a great one. This colt is going to make
"We'll see,' was all I could think of to say."
high-priced Paint was Delta Flyer.
Turned over to Patterson to break, train and show, the sorrel tobiano
stallion went on to achieve NCHA stardom. By
early 1985, Moore was impressed enough with Delta Flyer's potential that he
decided to try to buy the stallion's dam.
FLYER with Kenny Patterson, winning 1986 NCHA Super Stakes Open
Championship. Photo: Don Shugart; Courtesy Paint Journal copyright
Delta and the 6J's"
March of 1985," Moore said, "I called Lynn Anderson to see if
Delta could be bought. The mare was in foal to Doc O' Lena at the time,
and was due in about six weeks. "Lynn told me Delta was for
sale-- for $50,000. That seemed like a lot of money for a 22 year-old
mare, but with her getting ready to have a Doc O' Lena Paint foal and all, I
just closed my eyes and made the deal."
Moore was negotiating the purchase of Delta, Kenny Patterson's teen-aged
son, Pard, indicated that he would like to own a part of the mare as well.
Moore admired the youngster's initiative and agreed to let him in on the
deal. That done, the seasoned broker decided a larger partnership was
and I have two children of our own," he said. "our son,
John, lives up around Franklin, Texas, and our daughter, Donna, lives in
Fort Meyers, Florida. We also have six grandchildren, and their names
all start with 'J' . When we bought Delta," he continued,
"or 'Mama Delta', as we always called her, we transferred ownership of
her to Pard Patterson and our six grandchildren. And that's how 6J
Paint Horses came to be."
after being purchased by Moore, Delta foaled a loud-colored sorrel tobiano
colt named Delta Olena.
left with DELTA OLENA: Floyd Moore,
wife, Maryann, and John Rothwell.
Photo: Darrell Dodds; Courtesy
APHA copyright 1998
and the foal were then hauled to the Frisco, Texas, ranch of B.F. Phillips,
where Doc O' Lena was standing. Bred back to the world champion cutting
horse, Delta failed to conceive. She was left at the Phillips Ranch
until the following spring, at which time she was re-bred. This time
March 27, 1987, at the age of 24, Delta gave birth to what would be her last
foal--a bay tobiano colt named Delta Getsya
There. Though she was barren for the rest of her life, the aging
matriarch continued to reside on the Moore Ranch. Accorded a private
paddock near ranch headquarters, she was pampered at every turn.
April of 1994, at the age of 31, Delta--Hall of Fame cutter and the highest
placing Paint in the history of the NCHA Open Top 10, succumbed to old age.
from being the end of her story, though, Delta's passing ushered in a new
era that would see her first -and second-generation descendants begin making
their own assaults on NCHA and APHA record books.
the fall of 1986, Moore's faith in Delta as a cutting horse progenitor bore
its first tangible fruit. With his wire-to-wire victory in the Super
Stakes, Moore's Delta Flyer stunned the
Quarter Horse-dominated cutting horse world. And Delta Flyer wasn't
the only Paint cutting prospect that Moore owned. He had two more
Delta foals at home that he couldn't wait to start showing.
just when it appeared that the Texas native had positioned himself on the
inside track to cutting horse fame and fortune, he ran smack dab into a
anyone who has spent very much time in the cattle business can tell you, it
can be a risky venture, subject to a lot of highs and lows. If you're
cautious and conservative, you can usually do well enough during the highs
to survive the lows. Unfortunately, Floyd Moore is neither cautious or
conservative. As a result, at around the same time that Delta Flyer
was taking Moore's cutting horse program to new and lofty heights, the
Texan's cattle operations broke him.
in $2.5 million in debt, with no ready way out. "It got pretty
bad there for a while," Moore said. "I owed all that money
and didn't have any working capital. And none of the banks would loan
me a dime. Finally, I talked one bank into loaning me $200,000.
They used my place as collateral. I owed $500,000 on it, and it wasn't
worth $500,000. But I went to work. I'd make a deal here,
another one there, and, slowly but surely, I began digging my way out of
debt. When my creditors saw I was making a good faith effort to pay
them back, they relaxed a little, and it just took off from there.
was 12 years ago," he continued, "and I'm down to owing around
$60,000. I'll pay that off by December and that'll be the end of it.
I'll have made it all the way back."
is little doubt that both Moore's knowledge of the cattle industry and his
bulldog-like tenacity played key roles in his successful trip back from the
brink of financial ruin. There were some other contributors, however.
Four-legged, spotted ones, and the 65 year-old is quick to give them their
share of the credit.
it hadn't been for the Paints," he said, "I probably never would
have gotten my head above water. All the while I was struggling to pay
off the $2.5 million, I was moving the horse program forward. I had a
Paint son of Little Peppy, and two Paint sons of Doc O'Lena. And, by
hook or crook, I'd put together a band of top cutting-bred broodmares.
I had daughters of Peppy San Badger, Mr. San Peppy, Doc O'Lena, Dry Doc,
Doc's Hickory, Doc Quixote, Smart Little Lena, Gay Bar King, Colonel
Freckles and Haidas Little Pep.
the fall of 1996, I was up to 340 head of horses. I was raising some
of the best-bred cutting horses in the country, and most of them were coming
out Paints. In October of 1996, I put on the Moore Ranch/6J Paint
Horse Production Sale. I didn't really want to, but I didn't have any
choice. I was still deep in debt. I sold 147 horses at that
sale, and they brought more than $800,000. The day after the sale, I
wasn't any richer than I'd been the day before. But I owed a lot less
and better things
before he had the sale, Moore had made several pivotal adjustments to his
performance horse program. The first came in early 1991, when he hired
Charlie and Deb Hill to help manage the operation. "Charlie and
Deb are from O'Neil, Nebraska," Moore said. "They came to me
with tons of experience in every aspect of horse breeding and raising, and
they are about the hardest working people I've ever known. Although
they both do whatever is needed, Charlie's strength lies in handling and
starting young horses, and Deb is a master at the paperwork end of it.
Between them, they brought some order to what I was trying to do."
second adjustment to the program came courtesy of Maryann Moore.
"In late 1991," Moore said, "my wife came to me and said,
'Floyd, if we're going to have all these Paints, I don't think we can just
go the NCHA route with them. We need to find another avenue for them.
We need to start showing them in the Paint shows.'
thought about it for a while and decided she was right." For help
in breaking into the APHA show circuit, the Moore's turned to long-time
friend John Rothwell of West, Texas. Rothwell was a former PRCA calf
roper who had qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada,
seven times. Though he had never competed in an APHA-sanctioned show,
the ex-rodeo cowboy agreed to take a shot at it.
begin with, Rothwell showed Delta Olena, the
1985 stallion by Doc O'Lena AQHA and out of Delta, to the 1992 APHA World
Champion Senior Calf Roping Horse title and 145 Open points in seven events.
(Making him an APHA CHAMPION). Two years later, he showed Brigalenas
Delta, a 1988 stallion by Delta Flyer and out of Brigalena AQHA, to the
1994 APHA World Champion Senior Calf Roping Horse Title and 153 Open points
in four events. During the same period, three additional Delta-bred
Paints were shown by their owners to APHA Reserve World Championships in
Maryann Moore's instincts proved to be right, and as a result, the Moore
Ranch/6J Paints began making quite a name for themselves as APHA cutting and
they became known for their reining ability.
most of the accomplishments of Floyd Moore's Delta-bred Paints were by
design, they were found to be excellent reining prospects quite by accident.
In 1994, Moore took Gay Bar O Lena, a
3-year-old stallion by Delta Olena and out of
Nu Dottie AQHA, to Scott McCutcheon of Whitesboro, Texas, for 30 days of
training. The move was made at the request of a potential buyer who
wanted to see what kind of reining potential the young stallion had.
make a long story short, the horse had quite a bit of potential, the deal
fell through, and Gar Bar O Lena went on to
win two APHA World Championships and one Reserve World Championship in
Reining. Today, Moore still owns the stallion, Scott
McCutcheon is still showing and standing him.
BAR O LENA, ridden by Trainer, Scott
Photo by Darrell Dodds, Courtesy Paint Horse Journal copyright
to the future
more than a decade of financial struggle, Floyd Moore and 6J Paints stand
poised to begin a new era. The ranch's horse numbers are back up where
they were before the sale, and a brand new stud barn and breeding complex
houses the ranch's battery of six Delta-bred Paint Stallions.
a 30-mare band of speed-bred horses was added to the breeding program.
They are being bred to Delta Flyer and Brigalena
Delta to produce faster roping and barrel racing horses. Ryons Boy
Delta, a 1991 gelding by Delta Flyer and out of Ryons Sally AQHA, is one of
the first horses to be produced by the program. Owned and ridden by
Taryn Lee of Pinehurst, Texas, he was the 1998 APHA World Champion 13 &
under Barrel Racing Horse.
years of not being able to afford outside trainers, Moore currently has
three horses in reining training with McCutcheon,
another six in cutting training with Texas trainers Gregg Welch and Leon
Harrel, and one in working cow horse training with California trainer Ted
told, it was a long, hard road that the rangy Paint mare named Delta took on
her way to the NCHA Hall of Fame. Floyd Moore's journey to see to it
that her blood lives on has been every bit as rocky. But they both
finally made it.
a result, the Delta factor will continue to make its presence felt in
cutting and Paint Horse circles for generations to come".