Janus first Quarter Horse ? When Janus was imported into Virginia in 1752 he was a retired Racehorse from the colonies. A damaged sinew ended what was a relatively successful race career. However after his apparent “rest” he was able to run a few more four mile races after his arrival to the new continent. It is regarded that the first Thoroughbred to be imported into the American Colonies was a stallion by the name of Bulle Rock back in 1730. However Janus was the first recorded American Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse in America. He is considered to be a foundation sire of our modern day Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses.
Was Janus actually a Thoroughbred?
Back in those days it was very common to see a Thoroughbred standing at just over or under 14 hands. Janus was one such example, he stood at 14.1 hands and was admired for his very powerful hindquarters. Many regarded him as “the most perfectly formed horse ever seen in Virginia.” His sire Old Janus was the son of the Godolphin Arabian. The Godolphin Arabian was the result of breeding the best to the best around, resembling a good “Barb” rather than what his name suggests. The Godolphin Arabian was a mixture of Arab and Barb with a splash of Galloway blood. This imported blood was then crossed with the best Mares around in the British Isles. Janus was a result of that Blueblood breeding program.
Janus was considered a failure.
Because Janus found his nick with Quarter Mile racing many people claim that he failed as a sire of racehorses for the longer distances. This is far from the truth. When crossed with distance runners Janus did indeed produce long distance runners. His greatest success however was when crossed with the chickasaw horses. Named after the tribe who bought them, these horses were not bush ponies. These horses were bought from Royal Spanish Ranches. They were predominantly Barb or a good portion of Arabian. Exactly the same bloodlines as his Grandsire The Godolphin Arabian. As anti British sentiment increased in the colonies so too did the enthusiasm toward the sport of kings. It was more popular to be seen at a Quarter Mile race and thus the Quarter Mile Running Horse evolved. Many successful champions were sired by Janus.
Janus first Quarter Horse
Janus produced a dynasty and became a legend in his own lifetime. As his success as a sire became apparent, more of these well bred Chickasaw ponies were bred to him. Then his daughters and grand daughters were also sent to him for breeding. As a result this linebreeding produced a horse that could be instantly recognisable by any horseman. His was a type, short and stout but more importantly, his get had a burst of speed like no other. But these crosses could only run a half mile at best, and so was the birth of the Quarter Mile Running Horse, the Quarter Horse. A type first that eventually became a recognised breed. Janus first Quarter Horse.