Foundation Quarter Horses

The Steel Dust Covenant

Born in Kentucky, carrying the blood of Sir Archy, and raised in Texas, the horse they called Steel Dust came to be known as the prototype of the so called "Bull Dog" Quarter Horse, which was the favorite of the American cowboy and ranchers.

This was the horse that sometimes pulled a plow, sometimes chased range cattle, and sometimes match raced on Sunday afternoon for a gallon of home brew. The temperment of this horse was perfect for the jobs he was asked to do, and his well muscled physique and level headedness helped him through the rough spots he sometimes encountered at work.

Steel Dust came to Texas in about 1845, and the other great foundation Quarter Horse of that time named Shiloh came about five years later. Shiloh sired a stud colt named Billy, who was out of a daughter of Steel Dust, and Texas became the center of the "Bull Dog", or "Billy" type.

This was the true American Quarter Horse! This is what it was all about and this was the type of horse that Coke Blake spent a lifetime developing, and the kind of horse that AQHA founder Dan Casement, of Kansas and Colorado, fought to maintain, as the model of the breed known as the American Quarter Horse.

In 1940, when the AQHA was actually formed, the majority of the men who founded the organization were "Bull Dog" oriented. For the next ten years the so called "Steel Dust Covenant" was preserved, and then in the early fifties, greedy men, and the Quarter Horse racing interests started introducing Thoroughbred blood into the Quarter Horse registry at an alarming rate. This caused an ever increasing proportion of the American Quarter Horse registrations to be that of one half or even three-quarter Thoroughbred blood. Obviously the horses resulting from these breedings did not look like the old "Billy", as they were longer of leg, and leaner of build. Also, the disposition of these horses varied dramatically from the "Bull Dog" type that had evolved over several hundred years of selective breeding and usage, and many of them came to be known as highstrung and fragile of body.

Over the years, the racing crowd insisted that more and more Thoroughbred blood was necessary to create faster and faster horses, and then in 1969, the halter interests were blessed with Impressive, son of a linebred Thoroughbred horse, who, singlehandedly, introduced the dreaded HYPP genetics to the American Quarter Horse.

However, there still are breeders who value the Quarter Horse in its intended and original form, and it is these dedicated breeders and owners that are carrying on the legacy of the oiginal "Billys". They are following the lead of men such as Dan Casement, who held the original AQHA to its stated purpose, to uphold the "Steel Dust Covenant".

The FHR is made up of men and women alike who realize that the "Steel Dust" type Quarter Horse represents a part of Americana, that, once lost, can never be replaced, and who are dedicated to preserving and promoting these wonderful horses for all to enjoy!