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From the Archives: Colonel Freckles

A stocky, dark sorrel, Colonel Freckles was a stallion whose athletic prowess in the cutting pen was only overshadowed by his offspring’s abilities in several Western performance disciplines. He passed away at the age of 13, but his genetics remain in the blood of horses that still step into the cutting, reining and reined cow horse arenas. 

Colonel Freckles’ Performance

Foaled in 1973, Colonel Freckles was bred by Marion Flynt of Midland, Texas. Following the path of young Western performance horses, the stallion was entered in the 1976 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open. 

Ridden by Olan Hightower, Colonel Freckles bested a field of horses at the futurity that have become household names, such as Freckles Playboy, Doc’s Oak and Doc’s Remedy. According to an account from the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), Hightower knew that to best his competitors, he would have to cut three challenging, feisty cows. The duo earned $44,800 for their futurity effort, today more than $200,000 today.

According to Equi-Stat, Colonel Freckles earned one more paycheck in his cutting career, this time at the NCHA Summer Spectacular, where Hightower and the stallion advanced to the semifinals, bringing home $701 for then-owner Bob McCloud of Brenham, Texas. Colonel Freckles retired with lifetime earnings totaling $45,502.

Colonel Freckles’ Genetics

Sired by Jewel’s Leo Bars and out of Christy Jay, Colonel Freckles was a three-quarters brother to the Equi-Stat Elite $28 Million Sire Freckles Playboy (Jewel’s Leo Bars x Gay Jay x Rey Jay). Christy Jay was by the strong broodmare sire Rey Jay, whose blood is seen in modern cutting horse pedigrees, such as Dual Rey. 

Colonel Freckles’ Legacy

Colonel Freckles didn’t have a lengthy career in the breeding barn. In 1986, at 13 years old, Colonel Freckles passed away due to complications from eating blister beetles, a beetle that can be accidentally baled in hay. 

Regardless, he made an impact in multiple Western performance industries with his athletic genetics. The stallion’s first foal crop hit the ground in 1978. According to AQHA, 88 foals sired by the stallion were registered that year. In 1981, Colonel Freckles’ first foals made a massive statement at the NCHA Futurity with 36 entered, including four advancing to the finals. Colonel Lil (out of Two Rocks mare Two Rocks Li) scored a 224.5 with Joe Heim to win the Futurity Open Championship.

That first foal crop also produced four NCHA Super Stakes finalists, including the Derby Open Reserve Champion Colonel Leo Bar (out of Gay Curl, by Jiggs’ Last).

But Colonel Freckles was just warming up. In subsequent foal crops, Colonel Freckles’ foals branched out into other disciplines, eventually earning more than $4 million. His highest-earning multi-talented progeny was the 1984 stallion Nu Cash (out of Nu Rendition, by Nu Bar). Nu Cash found success in the cutting and reined cow horse pen, garnering wins such as the 1987 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Championship.

Nu Cash went on to sire three NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Champions in consecutive years, The Nu Colonel (1995), Shesa Lota Cash (1996) and Smart Little Cash (1997). According to the NRCHA, Nu Cash is the only sire to have produced three Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Champions. 

Colonel Freckles’ influence also stretches into the reining arena. One of the biggest trendsetting reining stallions in the 21st century, Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] lists Colonel Freckles as a paternal grandsire. 

Today, Colonel Freckles is affectionately remembered as a stallion that passes his athleticism and versatility along to his progeny. His earnings as a grandsire stand at more than $11 million, according to Equi-Stat, and span multiple disciplines in the Western performance industry. 

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