Mansfield's Comanche - Great Texas Bloodlines
(Photo by Elvin Blevins,
courtesy of Appaloosa Journal)
In the early 1900's, Jack Mansfield bought a large cattle ranch on the Rio Grande River, near Eagle Pass, Texas. On the ranch was an estimated five hundred or so mares, many of them Appaloosas. Primarily interested in cattle ranching, and wanting to provide more feed for the cattle, the Mansfields sold and gave away many of the horses.
One of the stallions Jack Mansfield used on his ranch mares was a U.S. Army Remount stallion referred to as Doctor Howard in Remount records. Dr. Howard was a Thoroughbred remount stallion used by the famous South Texas horseman, Billy Anson, on his Head of the River Ranch. Among the many mares found running wild on the Mansfields' Rio Grande ranch was a roan mare known as Jaunita. Bred to Dr. Howard, Jaunita produced Mansfield's Comanche in 1933, a dark blue colt with a big white blanket and black spots.
In the mid 1930s, the Mansfields relocated to the Alamosa Ranch near Vega, Texas. The colt, Mansfield's Comanche, was among the horses they took with them. Some of the Mansfield horses were spotted, or showed color, but their purpose was to serve as ranch horses for the vast 60,000 acre cattle operation where some of the land was said to be "...rugged terrain ... some parts seemingly accessible only to mountain goats, buzzards, and eagles." Horses were raised as a necessity for the ranch work, with most colts being gelded and becoming using horses while the mares were left in the wild to raise replacement horses for the ranch.
Jan Haddle, in her book The Complete Book of the Appaloosa, wrote that Juanita was sired by Cortez, who was by an early speed horse named Pancho Villa, tracing back to Traveler.
It would be a few years later that J.E. Baker of Oklahoma registered the mare as Juanita M. ApHC #T-21,700. Some folks wonder why a pedigree from ApHC still shows Mansfield's Comanche's dam as Juanita, an unregistered mare with unknown sire and unknown dam. Well, I suppose that when Jack Mansfield registered Comanche, he filled out the application listing the dam as Juanita, without a registration number or sire or dam information. With that data, ApHC simply placed it in the records as such and would not change it unless the owner submitted a correction to change the records.
When Mansfield's Comanche was foaled in 1933, Appaloosas were not that well known and no registry had been formed (that would come later, in 1938).
In an April 1963 Appaloosa News article entitled "The Story
of Double Six Domoino," Ron Stull wrote:
Elvin Blevins knew Jack Mansfield well and is quoted as another source for stating that Mansfield's Comanche was never broke to ride.
In a December 1967, Appaloosa News article, "A Visit to
the Alamosa Ranch," Joseph Sweat wrote:
Jan Haddle, in her book mentioned above, wrote:
Looking at the pedigrees of many Mansfield's Comanche descendants, you will find Comanche sired foals through his daughters and granddaughters. It's a breeding program that scares many breeders (some even claim it was no breeding program at all), but the results have made a huge impact in practically ever area these horses have been used -- ranch work, racing, show ring, performance, etc.
A couple of reports said that in 1959, the 26-year-old Comanche was struck by leghtning. Joseph Sweat told that Jack Mansfield spoke warmly of the old horse as he related how Comanche was found dead during a routine inspection of the stock. They were unable to determine whether lightning, a snake, or something else had caused his death.
Regardless of how he lived or died, or whether he was ever ridden, Mansfield's Comanche left a rich heritage that can be found through bloodlines of such descendants as Double Six Domino, Ima Doc O'Lena, Buttons B, Oklahoma, Cherokee, Whistle Britches, Commanches's Equal, High Spot, High Sign, Merry Weedo, Rock Star, Sunspot Revel, Top Hat H., Wego For Cash, Abdull's Pok-A-Son, Bendi Charge, Caliente, and countless others.
When you read about the accomplishments of those horses listed above, and so many of their offspring, you're learning about the continuing legacy of an outstanding stallion, who just happened to be called an Appaloosa.
Along with a son, Double Six Domino, and a great-grandson, Top Hat H., Mansfield's Comanche was inducted in the the Appaloosa Horse Club Hall of Fame in 1988.
Sources for some of the information in this article include various Appaloosa News and Appaloosa Journal articles, Jan Haddle's book The Complete Book of the Appaloosa, along with some input from folks like Jim Chronister, Jacque Dulin, Jim Jewell, and Connie Hunter.
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