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
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
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