George B. Hatley wrote the following in a September 1964 article that appeared in the Appaloosa News about Apache F-730 and it pretty much says it all. So without further embellishment, here is the article that our friend Ross Bradford sent to us.
“Many students of the Appaloosa breed considered Apache as the all-time great performance horse and sire of performance horses. Apache seemed to possess all of the requirements necessary to turn in consistently good performances. He had an unusual amount of speed, no end of endurance, and a disposition that caused him to give every task all he had. In a race, he was “up on the bit”, but in a children’s class or in a Ladies Western Pleasure Class, he was easily controlled on a slack rein. He was an equine athlete with the conformation and agility to perform well in a wide variety of events. Apache was used for about everything a western horse can be used for. He was a top calf roping horse, and performed well team roping and cutting. He could win the Stock Horse Class or Reining in the best of company and was hard to beat in a children’s or Ladies Western Pleasure class. Even at the height of his racing career, the Sears children or Mrs. Sears often showed him in Pleasure classes.
Apache was foaled July 7, 1942, and was bred and owned by Orvil Sears of Elba, Idaho. He was used hard on the Sears ranch and the fact that he was a show winner and race winner never earned him any special privileges. At one National Show, Apache was obviously hurting in one leg. When asked what happened to him, Orvil stated, “We’ve used him hard the last couple of weeks to run horses. We rode him pretty hard through some mighty rocky country.”
During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, Apache was used extensively in rodeos and race meets throughout Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. During this period Apache was both match racing and racing in open, all breed races against both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. A neighbor who traveled with Orvil Sears some during this period stated, “If our luck was down in most of the events we entered, and our other horses weren’t performing too well, we could always depend on old Apache to put us back in business. He was our sure meal-ticket. We could depend on him to either win a race or take us to the rodeo pay window.”
Orvil Sears considered Apache by far the best horse he ever owned, or would ever own. He dearly loved the horse, yet, by most people’s standards, he used the horse unmercifully hard. Orvil operated in an area where the weather and the country were harsh and people and horses had to match it. What would seem like unreasonably hard use to most people would not seem out of the ordinary to Orvil Sears. There was a job to be done, and he was mounted to do it.
Apache piled up an unapproached record at National Appaloosa Shows. He competed in five Nationals and at each of the five was either Champion Performance Horse or Reserve Champion Performance Horse. In 1954, the year he was in “halter condition”, he was also the Champion Stallion. In 1959 he was National Premier Sire of Performance Horses. Apache accumulated a legion of friends at these shows. He was a horse that everyone liked. A spectator did not have to be a horseman to realize that Apache tried to do every job exactly the way that particular job should be done. When he raced, it was obvious to everyone, that he gave it everything he had. Even though Orvil Sears weighed around 180 pounds, he often rode Apache in the races. He said, “You can feel whether a horse is putting everything into it; Apache always gave you everything, he always ran an honest race.”
Unfortunately, Apache was never the center of any serious promotional effort. If you wanted to know something about the horse, you had to ask someone. The horse was not widely advertised in the horse magazines. One breeder said, “I realize the greatness of the horse and I would be willing to pay a $1000 stud fee if the horse were only advertised. It’s a crime that more people don’t know about this horse.”
Apache was great, based only on his performance record. Taking into account his record as a sire, he is truly an Appaloosa Hall of Fame candidate. To mention a few of his winning get, Apache King S. stands out. In 1963 he started nine times; winning eight including the National ½ – mile, the I.O.N. Derby, and the 500 yard and 870 yard races at Las Vegas. He ended the season being the top racing aged Appaloosa stallion. Chicaro won nine out of ten starts, winning both the ½ mile and 3/8 mile races at the Twelfth National Appaloosa Show. Minidoka Minnie won the I.O.N. Futurity. Apache Patch won the 440 yard race at Wooster, Ohio. In 1962 Sizzle Britches won both the ¼ mile and 3/8 miles races at the Indiana Regional Show, and the ½ mile race at the Illinois Regional Show. The gelding, Flake, was Champion Appaloosa Cutting Horse at the 1959 National and Reserve Champion in 1960. The late B.A. Skipper commented that “Flake is one of the smoothest, natural cutting horses I have had the pleasure of seeing perform.” Flake had placed second and Poco Lena (AQHA) third at the Montana State Fair in Great Falls. In the conformation department the mare, Minidoka Belle, was Champion Mare at Missoula, Jerome, Filer, and many other large shows. This incomplete listings of winning get is even more impressive when you consider that Apache was not bred to a large number of good mares. He was not widely advertised, and since he was located somewhat off the beaten track, many owners did not take the trouble to send them to him.
We come to feel towards great horses like we feel towards great people;we wish they could live forever. The Appaloosa breed was most fortunate to have Apache. It will always benefit, both from his legend, and from his blood.
End of the article as written by George B. Hatley.
After this article was written and appeared in the Appaloosa News, yet another gifted horse by the name of My Old Still by Apache and out of the Champion producing mare, Blossum, started running and winning. This stallion was owned and raced by Ben A. Johnson and demonstrated the disposition and ability characterized by the Apache line. Claire Johnson (Diers) showed him in Pleasures, trail and reining while being campaigned in Pari Mutual racing. My Old Still was the first official AA Appaloosa race horse. He went on to be a record setting race horse in the Appaloosa Breed.
Blossum, dam of My Old Still developed mastitis while Still was nursing. He was supplemented with a coke bottle of milk three times a day and very willingly came to the bottle from anywhere in the pasture when called. Still really bonded with people and at times was convinced he was one and kept that disposition thru-out his life.