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Old Sorrel

<tr><th scope="col" colspan="2" style="text-align:center;">Honors</th></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align:center;">American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame</td></tr><tr style="font-size:80%; font-weight:lighter; text-align:center; color:#555;"><td colspan="2">Horse infobox last updated on: January 12, 2008.</td></tr>
Old Sorrel

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Breed: Quarter Horse
Sire: Hickory Bill

<tr><th>Grandsire:</th><td>Peter McCue</td></tr>

Dam: Dr. Rose mare

<tr><th>Maternal grandsire:</th><td>unknown</td></tr>

Gender: Stallion
Foaled: 1915
Country: United States
Color: Chestnut
Breeder: George Clegg
Owner: King Ranch
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

The Old Sorrel was a Quarter Horse stallion who was the foundation of the King Ranch linebreeding program for Quarter Horses, and the cornerstone of the King Ranch horse breeding program.[1]



Old Sorrel was foaled in 1915 and was sold that same year to the King Ranch of Texas.[2] He proved himself worth breeding on through ranch work on the ranch, before being used as the foundation of the King Ranch Quarter Horse linebreeding program.[2] He died in 1945, with his last foal crop being in 1943.[1] He was a sorrel stallion bred by George Clegg of Alice, Texas and sold by Clegg as a foal along with his dam for $125 to the King Ranch. The King Ranch owned him until he died.[3]

J. K. Northway, the veterinarian on the King Ranch, described Old Sorrel as
I saw Richard Kleberg and George Clegg rope off him and ride him all morning, and then race him in the afternoon. Although a stallion, and treated as such, his daily work consisted of regular ranch routine with the remuda. Bob had made him into a superior cow horse in every respect. You could rope, cut, or do any other ranch work on him, and he was not just adequate -- he was superior in every respect.
Bob Kleberg, the Bob in the quote from Northway, who one of the owners of the King Ranch and who managed it during from the 1920s through the 1950s, said that the Old Sorrel was "the best cow horse I ever rode, but he was also good running horse. He had that well balanced look and the feel of a racehorse."[3] It should be noted that the King Ranch bred a Triple Crown winner Thoroughbred in Assault.

When the American Quarter Horse Association (or AQHA) was founded in 1940, The Old Sorrel was already twenty-five years old, but the King Ranch registered him amongst the very first horses that the AQHA accepted for registration. He was given number 209 in the registry, and registered as bred by George Clegg of Alice, Texas. His sire was Hickory Bill by Peter McCue and out of a Dr. Rose mare.[4][5] The dam was a mare of Thoroughbred breeding that Clegg had bought from a Dr. Rose who was a dentist in Mexico as well as running a few ranches. Rose had bought some Thoroughbred mares in Kentucky to improve his horses, and eventually sold some of the mares to Clegg, without any breeding being attributed to any of them.[3]

The Old Sorrel sired 116 horses registered with the AQHA, but through the linebreeding program the King Ranch used, almost every horse the King Ranch registered from 1940 to the early 1960s was at least a descendant of Old Sorrel, and most were heavily inbred to him.[3]

Among his famous offspring were Cardinal, Solis, Little Richard P-17, Tomate Laureles P-19, Silver King, Macanudo and Hired Hand.[2] His grandsons included Wimpy P-1, Ranchero, Peppy, and Pep-Up.[1]

He was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame.[6]


Barney Owens
Dan Tucker
Lady Bug (Butt Cut)
Peter McCue
Voltigeur (TB)
Nora M (TB)
Kitty Clyde (TB)
Hickory Bill
Himyar (TB)
The Hero (TB)
Lulu S (TB)
Lucretia M
Jack Traveler
Kitty Clyde (TB)
Old Sorrel 1915 Chestnut
Dr. Rose Mare


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Denhardt King Ranch Quarter Horses p. 87-153
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Swan Legends 3 p. 15-26
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Beckman "El Alazan Viejo" Quarter Horse Journal August 1992 p. 36, 94, 102
  4. AQHA Official Stud Book and Registry Combined 1-5 p. 85
  5. Old Sorrel Pedigree at All Breed Pedigree retrieved on June 26, 2007
  6. AQHA Hall of Fame accessed on February 3, 2008


  • American Quarter Horse Association Official Stud Book and Registry Combined Books 1-2-3-4-5 Amarillo, Texas:American Quarter Horse Association 1961
  • Beckman, Bruce "El Alazan Viejo: The progenitor of the King Ranch Quarter Horses" Quarter Horse Journal August 1992 p. 36, 94, 102
  • Denhardt, Robert M. The King Ranch Quarter Horses: And Something of the Ranch and Men That Bred Them Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press 1978 (third printing)
  • Swan, Kathy ed. Legends 3:Outstanding Quarter Horse Stallions and Mares Colorado Springs:Western Horseman 1997

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