Historical Horse Owners/Breeders

Historical Horse Owners/Breeders (Page under construction...)

We all need to appreciate the hard work our AQHA and APHA breeders and owners did to preserve and improve our breeds. This page is dedicated to them. Our breeding and training basis came from thier beliefs. Many of these owners we knew/know personally.  They are honored and we appreciate the knowledge they gave to all of us. We have to thank them for allowing us to get to know them personally and ride and train some of their horses. 




Longtime Quarter Horse owner and trainer Walter Merrick . Born in 1911, into a western Oklahoma farming family and began his working career in the mid-1920s as an open range cowboy. From racing to rodeo his influence on the American Quarter Horse industry has become part of AHQA's history. As a racehorse owner, Merrick's horses have earned more than $1.5 million and as a breeder his runners earned more $6 million. He signed on with the Figure Two Ranch where he met and married Tien Shinn. The owner of the Figure Two would give his Depression-era workers cattle from time to time to make up for low wages. When Merrick had a herd of 14, he branded them with that number, thus the beginnings of his famed 14 Ranch. Merrick parlayed his 14 Ranch into an operation that at one time spanned four states and included thousands of cattle and horses.

In 1936, he purchased Midnight Jr, and when the American Quarter Horse Association was formed he was one of the first animals to receive a number. Merrick's interest in racing caused him to begin crossing top Thoroughbred stallions on his Midnight Jr mares. In 1951, he leased the immortal Three Bars from Sid Vail of Tucson, Arizona, bringing him to Oklahoma to stand. Other great horses, which have stood at Merrick's ranch include Tonto Bars Hank, Grey Badger II, Jet Smooth, Hempen-TB and Real Easy Jet. But the greatest cross of Merrick's work was when he bred Jet Deck to Lena's Bar to get one of American Quarter Horse racing's all-time best runners and sire, Easy Jet.   Easy Jet's earned 27 firsts, seven seconds and two thirds from 38 starts, and in 1969, as a two-year-old year, he was named AQHA's highest racing honor of World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse. He stood a top both the leading sires of money earners and leading broodmare sires lists for many years. Easy Jet is still impacting Quarter Horse racing today with the 2005 All American Futurity winner Teller Cartel out of an Easy Jet Mare.  Merrick has received many honors for his accomplishments. When Easy Jet won the All American Futurity in 1969, Sayre proclaimed "Walter Merrick Day" to mark the occasion, while Oklahoma State University named Merrick the 1979 Outstanding Oklahoma Horse Breeder. He was the first horseman to be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame.,P. Walters long-time wife "Tien" died on December 17, 2005. She was 90. The Merricks had been married for 75 years. Walter Merrick Passed away at the age of 94 in February, 2006.

Bubba Cascio - Charles W. “Bubba” Cascio was born in Houston, Texas, in 1932, and was practically raised in the sport of horse racing. His uncle managed Epsom Downs until pari-mutual wagering became illegal in Texas. The track was kept open as a training track. When he was 10 years old, “Bubba” was walking horses for trainer Will McKown. By 12, he was galloping them. At 16, he became a jockey. Cascio rode at Fairmont Park in East St. Louis, as well as many other tracks. “When I got too heavy to ride. I took up cutting horses with trainer Matlock Rose of Gainesville, Texas. We had a lot of success,” Cascio remembers. His father, Jake Cascio, was a highly respected trainer throughout the Southwest. Cascio learned how to break and handle horses from Rose, and learned the essentials of good racing from his father. Cascio also worked for Lester Goodson, a former AQHA president. “Goodson had an influence on my life in other ways. He believed in me, got me connections and recommended me to people.” In  1956, Cascio accompanied Goodson on a trip to give President Eisenhower two American Quarter Horses, Doodle De Do and Sporty Miss. Cascio even rode one of the Eisenhower horses in a reining pattern right there on the White House lawn. With such a solid background, Cascio had a good foundation from which to launch a successful career, and what a career it has been. For more than four decades Cascio trained Quarter horse racing’s top money-earners, including Dash For Cash and Dashingly. He also won the All American Futurity twice with Three Oh’s in 1968 and Rocket Wrangler in 1970. His achievements include being awarded leading trainer at 10 different race tracks, first trainer to reach one million dollars in race earnings, and he trained horses that won 15 world racing titles. Cascio judged at AQHA shows in Texas, Kansas, Washington and Ohio. He also won cuttings at some of the world’s largest competitions. In 2001, he trained the Texas Thoroughbred Horse of the Year, Lights On Broadway, and in 2002 he was inducted into the Texas Racing Hall of Fame. Cascio and his wife, Judy, operate Cascio Racing Stables, where “Bubba” as of 2008 was still conditioning 2-year-olds. C. W. “Bubba” Casio was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2008.
My favorite quote about Cascio was when BF Phillips said:  "D. Wayne Lukas never trained this horse (speaking about Dash For Cash)," Phillips said flatly. "Bubba Cascio was the only man who ever trained him. Lukas ran him for Bubba. We had him in California, and Bubba wasn't there—we shipped him out there to run and we put him in Lukas' barn. But this horse was made by Bubba—hell, you could have trained the horse as far as that goes. You'd have to had to saddle him, that's all it amounted to. I don't mean to take anything away from Wayne Lukas —he's a great trainer—but hadn't anybody ever trained this horse but Bubba. Cascio deserves all the credit."