History Found on eBay: Quarter Horse History Returns to its Rightful Place
By Gabrielle Sasse, PleasureHorse.com
Horse people are often well-versed in using eBay to find tack, show clothes, grooming supplies, you name it. An avid horse lover would never expected to find a bit of Quarter Horse history right on eBay, but that is just what happened! This history goes all the way back to the original: Wimpy P-1, the very first horse registered with AQHA. There is big news surrounding Wimpy even now, 55 years later!
Wimpy was foaled on the King Ranch in Kingsville, TX in 1937, owned at that time by Robert Kleberg, Jr. He is by Solis and out of Panda, both of which were by Old Sorrel, the King Ranch foundation stallion. Wimpy was a chestnut with a star and sock, grew to be 15 hands and earned the honor of becoming the first registered horse by becoming Grand Champion Stallion in March of 1941 at the Southwestern Exposition Quarter Horse Show in Texas.
Wimpy produced a reported 174 offspring, the majority of which stayed at King Ranch. A few of Wimpy’s more notable offspring are Lauro, Silver Wimpy, Wimpy II, Red Wimpy, Showdown, and Bill Cody. Wimpy passed hands from Kleberg in 1958 to George Clegg, who had bred Old Sorrel. Clegg sold Wimpy to Rex Cauble in 1959. Wimpy passed away in green pastures at the age of 22. View his full pedigree and offspring here at Quarter Horse Directory.
Wimpy was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 1989, and in September of 1961 a bronze statue of Wimpy was placed outside of the AQHA Headquarters in Amarillo.
Another piece of Wimpy history is to be placed in the AQHA Museum in Amarillo this year. The original registration papers of Wimpy P-1 were found on eBay, of all places! Jan Wandling first brought this story to our attention on January 31st, and we are incredibly excited to share the news.
“Mike Kelly of Waterford, New Jersey spearheaded the campaign,” Jan explained. “I’m so excited to be a part of this wonderful group!” Jan is a member of a Facebook group called Quarter Horse Tales: the Long and Short of It as Jan put it, is home to a lot of “old timers” who like to share stories of the breed and share a their love for the Quarter Horse. Mike is a moderator of the group. “Debra Jo Enders-Ard found the papers,” Mike began. “She had private messaged me about it and I just couldn’t believe it. How could the number one horse’s papers be on eBay at auction?”
After sleeping on it, Mike decided to investigate the matter further. “The thing that really stuck in my mind was the deceased sticker on the papers. I’ve seen AQHA’s sticker before, and it matched. I contacted a curator at the museum, Crystal. She told me that they were aware of the papers were for sale.” Mike investigated into the matter further to put his own disbelief to rest. “I took another look at the group of horses’ papers that the woman had for sale, and a light bulb went off. I knew the man who had owned these horses, and put two-and-two-together, letting me know that it was legit. I wrote them an email asking about the papers, expressing an interest in the authentication of them. She called me back, and I told her that no one person should have these papers, the museum should. I told her that I represent a group of people that would be interested in purchasing the papers. She called me back an hour later and we struck up a deal to sell the papers at $2,000 and have two names added to the donation group. I knew the two names, and knew this was the real deal. I didn’t think it was quite right pay for them and to add other names, but I wanted to do this deal for the sake of the association.”
After Mike struck the deal, he reached out to his fellow Facebook group moderators JD Foldre III, Cindy Buchanan and Pete and Marilyn Bowling. They agreed on all going in on purchasing the papers, and opening up the idea of getting into it to the group.
“We even had a woman from Germany donate!” Jan exclaimed. The goal was to have at least 100 people donate, and the donations have totaled closer to 125 people. All extra cash donations will be donated to the AQHA Museum in a cash donation along with the papers.
“Most of my adult life has been Quarter Horses,” Mike says. “I’ve trained Reiners and have been breeding horses most of my adult life. For me to turn around and see something like that online, it was like a dream! No way the first registered Quarter Horse ever should be for sale online to the world. They should have been in the museum years ago! By no stretch of the imagination did I ever want to own these for myself. This is for everybody to enjoy. There is nothing more important than for those papers to be in the museum. Wimpy P-1 is a big deal.”
“Donors included horse trainers like Steve Heckaman, Joe Heim; breeders like Carol Harris, Pete Bowling; genetic experts like Sue Larkin and Larry Thornton … lots of great breeders and other good people,” Mike explained. “A lot of ‘old timers’ and old historian types,” Jan agreed. “It’s been a wonderful experience. To bring all these people together, it just shows a great love for the Quarter Horse.”
Mike though that the whole experience was “Absolutely fantastic. In the times we are in right now, us horse people are so spread apart. It’s not like it used to be. We hope this will bring people together again. We’ve been split into pleasure horse associations and halter horse association and racing and reining everything, but we had members of each one of those groups involved. As soon as we secured the deal, we knew it was going to make a lot of people very happy.”
“Kim McKinley Walton has been keeping track of the donators list and who has paid. Cindy Buchanan and Niki Walden are going to pick up the papers and sign the bill of sale and everything so that it is a legal sale. They will take pictures so that the group knows that we have them, and put everything into a safety deposit box until the whole group can get together in Amarillo to present the papers to the museum.” Mike explains.
“Understandably, there was some hesitation from some people. No one wanted to be caught up in scam,” Mike commented. “But we aren’t just sending money to some unknown entity. We’ve done our homework, and know who this person is, and we are making everything very open and upfront, and totally transparent. We’ve done a lot of background checking, and we aren’t forcing anyone to do anything. Different people are collecting the money and picking up the papers and the whole bit, so that it isn’t just one person doing it all. My opinion on that whole deal is that I’ve wasted way more than $20 on vague causes during my whole life, and this one was well worth it.”
We are so happy to see that this piece of history will be able to be enjoyed by all at the AQHA Museum, and cannot wait to go to Texas to see them in person! A very special thank you to Jan, Mike, Kim, Cindy, Niki, Ann, Debra and all of those who donated to bring this piece of history to its rightful place where it can be enjoyed by all quarter horse lovers. The papers are now currently resting in a safety deposit box, awaiting their final home in the museum. As Mike so thoughtfully said: “Good people do good things when good needs doing.” This is certainly a good thing!