Eternal Sun

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Eternal Sun
Eternal Sun and Harold Howard Postcard.jpg
Eternal Sun with his owner, Harold Howard
Breed Quarter Horse
Discipline Racing
Sire Eternal War
Grandsire Silver King
Dam Sierra Glitter
Maternal grandsire Diamond Villiant
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1958
Country United States
Color Sorrel
Breeder John L. Taylor
  • B.F. Phllips, Jr.
  • Harold Howard
12–2–1–1, AAA speed rating
Major wins
Los Alamitos Championship (twice)
Other awards
AQHA Racing Register of Merit
AQHA Champion
Michigan Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame
Last updated on: September 9, 2017.

Eternal Sun (1958–1984) was an American Quarter Horse foaled in 1958. He was a Quarter Horse race horse and an American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) show horse who competed in cutting and halter classes. He earned numerous AQHA awards throughout his career. He was also a sire of 908 foals, many of whom are themselves AQHA award earners and race horses. He was inducted into the Michigan Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame in 1989.


Eternal Sun was a 1958 sorrel stallion sired by Eternal War and out of Sierra Glitter by Silver King.[1] He was registered as an American Quarter Horse.[1] He had a white star on his forehead and a white sock on both hind legs.[2] John L. Taylor of Chino, California, bred Eternal Sun.[1]

In the 1940s the progeny of some Thoroughbred stallions began to reign in the Quarter Horse racing scene. Their owners were not content to show them merely as halter and performance horses. These "half-breds" presented as consistent winners at the largest and highly esteemed shows in the country. The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame horse Lightning Bar is an example of one of these first horses to make a name for himself. He was a 1951 sorrel by Three Bars, thoroughbred, and out of Della P. Three Bars was AAA-rated on the track and an AQHA Champion show horse in the arena. In his retirement, Lightning Bar sired race horses and AQHA champions. He also sired Doc Bar, the sire of a cutting horse regime, and Glamour Bars, the dam of Impressive.[3]

A decade later, another half-bred arose who would prove worthy in all three arenas, the track, the show ring, and at stud. He raised the bar for all of the two-way hopeful race and show horses to come. Close examination of Eternal Sun's pedigree reveals outstanding equines. Eternal War was a 1944 bay stallion. He was by Eternal Bull and out of Red Haze. He also was a grandson of both Bull Dog and Man O' War. This line of ancestry means he was closely related to Spotted Bull, a noted sire. Spotted Bull had been one of his era's greatest sires of speed, whose life had been cut short too early. Eternal War won two races, placed third in two races, and earned $28,650. He was a notable stud who sired 120 thoroughbreds. From those, 107 were performers who won 412 races and $710,747.[4]

Sierra Glitter was a 1950 sorrel mare by Silver King P-183 out of Diamond Villiant. Wilbur D. May bred her and she was foaled on his renowned Double Diamond Ranch near Reno, Nevada.[5][6] Sierra Glitter's sire, Silver King P-183, a 1937 bay stallion by Old Sorrel P-209 and out of Clegg Mare No. 3, was bred by the King Ranch of Kingsville, Texas[5][7] As a close relative to four influential south Texas stallions, his most substantial contribution was as a broodmare sire. Her dam, Diamond Villiant, a 1934 sorrel mare by Cap and out of a Valiant mare, she was bred by Roy Valiant of Sonora, Texas. She was a line-bred descendant of Shiloh and Steel Dust. This made her the dam of one Register of Merit award-winning racehorse.[5]

In the late 1950s, Taylor was living on the West Coast and was breeding some very notable Quarter Horses. Taylor was mainly a show horse breeder, but was also a visionary. He believed that race-bred stallions, when crossed on heaver-muscled, halter-type mares could produce Quarter Horses that could excel in both venues. He tested his theory in 1957 by breeding Sierra Glitter, a halter point earner, to Eternal War. The resulting foal was Eternal Sun, who was born in 1958. Before Taylor could fully test the results of his breeding program, he was killed in an automobile accident in January 1959. In August 1959, all of his horses were liquidated in a sale that set the Quarter Horse world stirring. The sale established an all-time high average of $5,806 on 51 head, a price that firmly beat the previous high of $2,362. The 3,000 attendees bid so intensely the record for a mare selling at auction was set and broken four times that day. Eternal Sun's dam Sierra Glitter set a record price for a Quarter Horse when the final bid for her was $14,200.[8]

American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee B.F. Phillips, Jr., of Frisco, Texas, attended the sale as well. And he was no bystander; he intended to buy livestock. By the end of the sale, Phillips had purchased three horses. His purchases totaled $14,700, and Eternal Sun, a yearling at the time, was one of them, for whom he paid $2,100.[8]

Eternal Sun was an AQHA Champion and a Racing Register of Merit earner[9] (speed index 95).[10] The horse earned 41 Halter points as well as points in cutting with AQHA. In 1960, he was awarded the AQHA Racing Register of Merit. In 1964, Eternal Sun was an Open AQHA Champion.[1] Eternal Sun was an AQHA Champion 13 times, an AQHA Grand Champion 7 times, and a Reserve Grand Champion 4 times.[9]


Racing career

American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee B.F. Phillips, Jr., of Frisco, Texas, originally operated a cattle ranch, but decided in the late 1940s to liquidate his cattle business. Instead, he started a horse operation. A cutting show interested him so much that he started breeding and showing cow horses. In the early 1960s, he also started a stallion operation. In particular, he stood three stallions of his own, of which Eternal Sun was one.[11]

Phillips' Expectation Stud Farm consisted of several stallions. When Eternal Sun became old enough, he was made ready for go at the track. In 1961, Eternal Sun joined the Phillips Ranch race string. As a 2- and 3-year old, he was advertising lightly and earned a AAA rating.[8]

Eternal Sun competed in Quarter Horse horse racing for two years. Quarter Horse racing is different from Thoroughbred racing, in that distances are shorter. One sportswriter equated Quarter Horse racing to Olympic sprinting and Thoroughbred racing to Olympic distance running.[12] Eternal Sun's racing record is 12 starts in two years. He won two of his 12 races, placed second in one, and third in another. He earned a total of $1,676 in purse money. In 1960, Eternal Sun raced three times at the Los Alamitos Race Course, not placing in any of those races. In 1961, Eternal Sun raced at the Bay Meadows Racetrack (now defunct) and the Los Alamitos Race Course. At Bay Meadows he placed second in one of the maiden races. At Los Alamitos, he placed third in one of the allowance races, and he placed first two times in two other races.[13]

Eternal Sun's racing career was not exactly breaking any records no matter what perspective you viewed it from. However, as a conformation horse, he was already showing early evidence of the endowment his breeder was sure he would possess.[8]

Show career and breeding

In 1966; Phillips' interests changed again and he became interested in race horses.[11] He had a production sale where he sold his breeding stallions, and he sold Eternal Sun to Harold Howard,[14] along with four mares.[15]

Harold Howard owned a strawberry farm in Remus, Michigan and plowed his land with draft horses. Always on the lookout for an "an eye-catching horse that could do it all", in 1966 he came across an ad in Quarter Horse Journal for a production sale at Phillips' ranch in Texas that included a photo of Eternal Sun standing with his broodmare band. Howard drove to Texas and was the top bidder for the stallion. However, he was short of cash, and promised Phillips that he was good for the total. Phillips ripped off a corner of his sale catalog and Howard wrote an IOU.[14] They formalized the deal with a handshake. Eternal Sun was 8 years old at the time.[14]

Eternal Sun was a new style of Quarter Horse when he came to Michigan, useful for breeding. "Horses were a lot shorter and stockier," Howard's daughter Mary Kay said. "Eternal Sun had an elegant head and neck and an irresistible charisma. I’ll never forget his eyes: His foals always had his eyes."[14] Before Eternal Sun arrived in Michigan, he had already been highly commended.[14]

In 1967, the American Quarter Horse Association invited the Howards to show Eternal Sun at Stallion Row at the inaugural All American Quarter Horse Congress. Howard and his six children bred the stallion and his offspring, and also showed the horses. Howard channeled his experience from driving plow horses into show driving, and he learned to pleasure drive as well as halter drive. Demand for Eternal Sun's progeny was so high that they sometimes were sold almost as soon as they finished training. Howard's son, Dar, started the colts under saddle, and he spent five years working with one of them, Eternal Pete. Once Eternal Pete got his AQHA Championship, he and Dar competed in state reining competitions, which they won for two consecutive years.[14]

Eternal Sun was a leading sire in six AQHA categories. According to Dar, Howard said that "there weren't many horses that paid their own way. 'Eternal' built his barn and helped buy the farm we have now".[14]


AQHA registered Eternal Sun in their stud book as number 0151802. Eternal Sun sired 908 Quarter Horse foals in his lifetime.[1] Out of those 908 foals came 343 performers and 59 race starters.[14] His progeny earned 3,598 halter points, 5,612 performance points, 104 performance Register of Merit (ROM) designations, and 34 AQHA championships. He also sired over 100 futurity winners. Eternal Sun is still reputed to be one of the top broodmare sires.[9][1]

In 1968, Eternal Sun was the fourth leading producer of Halter Champions. After a few years of breeding, the farm had grown to over 200 horses. Breeders came from the United States and Canada seeking his genetics. Most of the horses who were born on the farm, trained there, and were sold had Eternal Sun's bloodline, which is what gave the colts their highly desired characteristics and dispositions. Other successful progeny include Quiet Enjoyment, Story Man, Fistfull, and A Star in Time.[15]

Eternal Sun's daughter Eternal Linda (out of Chuck's Fiddle) is one of his most successful progeny. The mare was a sorrel like her sire, and she produced 11 foals. She notched up three youth and open AQHA championships. She also earned three youth and open performance ROMs. She earned a Superior in both halter and western pleasure. She is also the only one of his progeny to join him in the Michigan Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. Eternal Linda lived her entire life on the Howard farm.[14]

Noted AQHA Hall of Fame breeder and owner Carol Harris of BoBett Farm in Florida recalled seeing Matlock Rose show Eternal Sun once. Harris is most well-known for her AQHA Hall of Fame horse, Rugged Lark. Eternal Sun's demeanor and physical traits impressed Harris so much, she brought her champion mare, Judy Dell to him. Eternal Dell, their colt, made Harris a winner. Eternal Dell changed the style of the next generation, with his sire's physical traits. She relates that “His (Howard's) wonderful stallion was a very big part of my success.” She later brought another of her top-notch horses to him, Majestic Dell, (by Eternal Dell and out of Quo Vadis by Little Lloyd), whom Harris regarded almost as highly as Rugged Lark.[14]

Death and legacy

Eternal Sun lived on the Howard farm for almost 20 years.[14] Eternal Sun died at the age of 26 in 1984[16] and was buried on the farm next to a statue of him constructed in his honor.[14][15] His headstone, erected by Howard, reads, "Here lies the horse that changed my life".[14] Eternal Sun was inducted into the Michigan Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame in 1989.[17]


Pedigree of Eternal Sun

Eternal War
bay 1944


Eternal Bull


Bull Dog


Rose Eternal


Red Haze


Man O War


Golden Haze


Sierra Glitter

sorrel 1950

Quarter Horse

Silver King P-183

bay 1937 Quarter Horse

Old Sorrel P-209

Quarter Horse

Clegg Mare No 3
Diamond Villiant

sorrel 1934 Quarter Horse

Cap 2
Valiant Mare

Source: [10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Get of Sire Detail - Eternal Sun" (PDF). American Quarter Horse Association. Retrieved September 9, 2017. 
  2. ^ Photography, Dalco. "Cowboy with the horse "Eternal Sun"". Digital Library. Retrieved February 12, 2018. 
  3. ^ Holmes 2009, p. 92-93.
  4. ^ Holmes 2009, p. 18, 93.
  5. ^ a b c Holmes 2009, p. 93-94.
  6. ^ "About Wilbur May". Washoe County, Nevada. Retrieved February 14, 2018. 
  7. ^ "The King Ranch Legacy - King Ranch". King Ranch. Retrieved February 14, 2018. 
  8. ^ a b c d Holmes 2009, p. 94.
  9. ^ a b c "Eternal Sun". Regal Paints. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Holmes 2009, p. 93.
  11. ^ a b "B.F. Phillips, Jr." AQHA Hall of Fame. American Quarter Horse Association. 
  12. ^ Drape 2007.
  13. ^ "Eternal Sun". Equibase | Profiles. Retrieved February 28, 2018. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Eternal Sun". American Quarter Horse Association. Retrieved September 10, 2017. 
  15. ^ a b c "The Story of the Statue". Howard Farms. Retrieved September 12, 2017. 
  16. ^ Holmes 2009, p. 103.
  17. ^ "Past Hall of Fame Horses" (PDF). Michigan Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 12, 2018. 


  • Close, Frank Holmes; edited by Pat; Smith, Fran Devereux; Streeter, Dan (2009). Legends Volume 8: Outstanding Quarter Horse Stallions and Mares. Colorado Springs, CO: Western Horseman magazine. pp. 92–103. ISBN 978-0-911647-86-0. 
  • Drape, Joe (2007). The Race for the Triple Crown: Horses, High Stakes and Eternal Hope. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. ISBN 9780802196453. Retrieved February 13, 2018. 

External links

  • Cowboy with the horse "Eternal Sun" at University of North Texas
  • Kentucky Bred, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Inc.
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