AQHA Stallion Impulsions – The Passing of a Legend

April 19th, 2011 5:35 PM | 9 Comments

by Heidi Hallberg,

On Monday, April 18, 2011, the life of legendary AQHA Stallion Impulsions came to a bittersweet end.  Impulsions’ lifelong owners, Kelli and Brad McCamy, made the difficult decision to put their stallion down, after a long battle with laminitis.

“He just couldn’t get up anymore,” Kelli commented in an interview with  The 24-year old stallion, affectionately called “Papa,” was unable to stand Sunday morning, and stayed down the entire day.  After a veterinary consultation, and some pain medication, the couple had a tough decision to make. “We have been thinking and talking about this possibility for a while.  It seemed like this was a strong sign that it was his time.”


Back in the fall of 1988, the McCamys purchased a yearling Quarter Horse stallion named Impulsions, sired by The Invester and out of Randados Rosa.  Brad already had years of experience showing, promoting, and breeding from The Invester.  In addition, both Brad and Kelli had great success showing The Invester bloodline and were partial to it. This young stallion was definitely love at first sight for the McCamys.

Kelli recalls, “I remember he stuck his head over the door and Brad said ‘we’ll take him!’ without ever seeing him move.  I thought he was crazy, but I now know that even then Brad understood how special he was.”  Brad said, “All horsemen have a dream picture of THAT horse, and the second I laid eyes on that horse, I knew he was the one!”  Shortly after bringing him home, preparations for his two year old year were underway.

Impulsions turned out to be the greatest show horse the McCamys had ever seen or been part of.   Impulsions started off his two year old year in May at the first futurities of the season, placing in the top ten. He was shown all over the United States that year. Each time shown, he was phenomenal and soon established a reputation as “the crowd favorite.” He finished the year with Kelli showing him at the World Championship show, in which he won the Two Year Old World Championship futurity with a unanimous 1st under all five judges.

Kelli McCamy and Impulsions - his 3-year old show debut

Kelli remembers, “He was truly a show horse!  It didn’t matter if he was in a bad mood or was acting up in the warm-up pen.  Once he set foot in the show pen, he knew his job and he loved it.”

Following a very successful first breeding season, Impulsions returned to the show arena, where he won the Championship title at the very prestigious Solid Gold Futurity (placing 1st under all five judges) and was Champion of the Three Year Old Derby at the All American Quarter Horse Congress (winning all three go rounds).  Impulsions was then retired from the show pen, having won all major titles by the end of his three year old year.

Impulsions’ success continued as a sire. His first foal crop produced futurity winners and many who placed in the top ten at the Congress and the World Show in 1993.  Impulse Me was the high money earning horse all ages for NSBA.  A Sudden Impulse was named World Champion Junior Western Pleasure Horse in 1994, both from his first foal crop.  Also, from his first foal crop were four two year olds in the top ten at the World Show in the two year old futurity in 1993.

The stallion went on to become one of the leading sires in NSBA and AQHA. His sons and daughters are winning producers as well. In addition to siring multiple AQHA World and Congress Champions, he also sired multiple Paint and Appaloosa World Champions. Impulsions was inducted into the NSBA Hall of Fame in 2004 as both a show horse and as a sire.  He is one of only three horses in Western Pleasure history to be inducted in both categories. In 2006, he was listed as one of AQHA’s all-time leading sires of performance register of merit qualifiers.

Soon thereafter, Impulsions suffered an injury as a result of an accident in the barn.  Stress from the injury brought on his laminitis, and a successful surgery brought him four more years.  He stood as a sire until 2009.

What made him so special?  This question has been asked of Kelli and Brad over and over again.  “I think he set the standard, because he came along when the industry was looking for something different,” said Kelli.  “Impulsions set the bar higher.  He was so strong behind, with his incredible hock.  I don’t think hock was ever mentioned before he came along.  Now, its something all the pleasure horse trainers talk about.”

Modestly, Kelli recounts that everything Papa did was entirely because he did it that way naturally. “The thing you do with a great horse like that…you train them, and then get out of their way and let them do what they do.”

The McCamys have received numerous phone calls and messages from the quarter horse community, with stories of how Impulsions made an impact on the lives of so many show exhibitors, mare owners and horse lovers.

“God tells us that to achieve greatness, all we have to focus on is to serve many.  Impulsions served so many.  Through his babies, and their babies, his legacy will go on.  We are so grateful and so happy he was a part of our lives.”


9 Responses to “AQHA Stallion Impulsions – The Passing of a Legend”

  1. What a wonderful story! I know Impulsions touched me as a show horse and a breeding horse. His daughters will replace the Invester daughters as the best broodmares in the Country. He was a great asset to his sire The Invester:) Thank you Brad and Kelli for letting us share in his incredible life!

  2. Impulsions was truly a great show horse, a great sire, and a great representative of the intelligent, athletic, and versatile Quarter Horse breed.

    He is leaving behind an incredible legacy in his offspring.He is also leaving behind some incredible people–they don’t come any better than his lifelong family, the McCamys and the Proctors!

    We count ourselves among his many fans, and are so thankful that we got to know him, and have had a chance to ‘be owned by’ his offspring.

    RIP, Impulsions!

  3. Dear Brad and Kelli,
    This story brought tears to my eyes, Impulsions was so great, I loved him from the first day I saw him, you both did such a wonderful job with him.
    It is true that only one great one comes along in a life time. The one that puts a mark on our hearts and is part of our family.
    Thank you so much for including Impulse Me in this story, I feel very honored!

  4. what a great tribute for such a great horse. So sorry for your loss, but you were able to grant him a gift of peace, and that rivals all the gifts he gave you

  5. Dear Brad and Kelli,
    I just heard the news of Impulsions and am so sad to hear of his passing. I will always think of him as being a part of the family. He definitely passed on his specialness to his many get. I am thankful to have owned “Termite” and will always hold my first trip to the Congress as a dream I never thought I would be able to experience. But, as you say, the good ones just pass it on. Thankfully he has a lot of horses out there to carry on his legacy. He will never be forgotten. My deepest heartfelt sympathy goes out to all of you at this time. God Bless, Janet James

  6. Brad and Kelli
    I read this story and remember back when I was a kid and the time i spent with yall learning to ride and show my horse Jake. Obviously part of Impulsions lives on with you and partly with me as I grow up. I can’t thank either of you enough for all you taught me as a kid and I will never forget the life experiences learned for both you Brad and Kelli, as well as Impulsions provided. It hurts to hear of his passing but from an animal lovers perspective you gave him %1000 of his potential, and made him one of the most famous quarter horses ever.
    I hope all is well with you and the rest of the family.

  7. Brad and Kelli,

    i own Impulsions grandaughter! i had no idea how good her bloodlines were. i was looking on the internet for anything i could find out about her history and i came across this. i am very sorry about your loss. best wishes to the both of you!

  8. We own Strokes of Genius who looks just like Impulsions and the odd thing Impulsions is his granpa…. so when Strokes of Genius is warming up he can be a little off, but when he hits the show ring…. he does it perfect like “I will show them ” yea we call Strokes of Genius Zues… so Zues is our baby!!!! sad about Impulsions if you want to see a pic message me on facebook!

  9. I had a mare by him….. A little 14’3 hand pleasure horse …. she was a Appaloosa. I bought her as a brood mare but ended up showing her for nine years…. always on the top! She won trailers , saddles and numerous buckles and was ACAPP masters I. Three events in one year…. she was my once in a lifetime horse…. The judges always commented on her hind end and how she was a true pleasure horse…..
    She was small but very correct… Did not matter if I was showing her circuit or open she always won under all judges…. I will never have another like her!
    Thank you for this wonderful artical on the great Impulsions! And thank you for sharing a legend!

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