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The Barbs


Mr. Painter has worked with many breeds and types of horses through the years, and though he has found good qualities in all of them he has found the Barb most to his liking.

Part of his admiration for them is in their strength, shown by a foundation stallion, Smoke Balleau, who took a flying leap down hill over a steep rock over-hang of about 12 feet at a full gallop. Instead of collapsing as it seemd he might, he kept running with hardly a change in stride.

Their loyalty was shown by Chino who being led, stood his ground trusting Robert in the face of a close, charging, sow bear. Had Chino run, as Robert reached for his rifle he would have been pulled over, making it impossible to stop the bear.

Their intelligence was demonstrated when Kiamichi, wanting a mare, very methodically and purposefully kicked the paneling off two fences and was working on the third by the time Robert was able to get to him, or when in a similar situation he squirmed under a low fence.

He likes their toughness, shown by barefoot Chino who was ready, willing, and eager to run the 20 miles home after five straight days of cattle work in mountainous, brushy, country. The other rides changed horses every morning, and some at noon as well.

He likes their athletic ability shown by a standing start jump of about 12 feet from crowded, muddy quarters, through a narrow gate and over a 4 foot barrier with low head room.

Through the over 40 years of breeding the Barb, (well over 300 foals), he has never had foaling problems and, barring extremely adverse circumstances, breeding season success has been virtually 100%. There is a saying "no foot, no horse." Through the years Mr. Painter's Barbs have never had any foot or leg problems of any kind. Whenever possible the horses have been wintered out on range in keeping with retaining their original qualities and instincts. They are easy keepers and do well foraging on their own.


“What have we got here?!” Robert’s tone got my immediate attention. I looked ahead to see a foal lying on the ground. Dead? Looked like it. All the mares and foals had just been let through a gate to a fresh grazing area. In the hungry hurry we thought this one might have gotten killed by a passing kick. It lay so still. No, there was an ear flicker! Injured? No - asleep! ...took a nap amid 50 plus mares and foals. Woke up, alone.

The little grulla scrambled up and began frantically searching for mom. She heard a nicker (from the wrong direction but she didn’t know that) and headed toward it. But it wasn’t mom, and the source wasn’t in sight. She galloped about, becoming more frightened with every whinny, and certain that OUR feeble attempts to head her the right way were predatory. She looked around but didn’t see the mares - she didn’t know where to look, for they had gone to a previously unexplored (to her) area.

Out of the bunch and through the gate came galloping a lovely little black filly. About a month old. She ran past us with intent. Our first thought, “Has she lost her mom too?” When they do, they will nearly always leave a crowd and return to the last place they've been with their mom. ~But she didn’t seem to be searching. She loped past the first foal, who was interested, but still confused. She then, to our delight and amazement, pinned her little ears and with determination and purpose chased lost girl right through the gate, and into the crowd. She had come to the rescue, a full distance that was over a football field in length, one way.

Mission accomplished - she lost herself in the crowd with her mother. It all happened so fast and was such a surprise that we don’t have positive identification. We believe probably that lost girl was Frost Hawk, just over a month old, and the rescuer was Ojo Hawk, just a few days older. Ojo Hawk was the little lady that at two days old, walked right over to me and gave me a good going over, under the watchful “okay” of her mother. Incidentally, she is no longer Ojo Hawk. She is now EMT