Peppy San Badger, foaled in 1974 and also known as “Little Peppy”, was a sorrel American Quarter Horse stallion bred by Joe Kirk Fulton of Lubbock, Texas by the cutting sire Mr San Peppy and out of Sugar Badger, a daughter of Grey Badger III. He was born at Fulton’s ranch and began early basic training there before he became ill with strangles. Upon recovering from the illness, Peppy San Badger was sold to the King Ranch of South Texas in 1977, where he remained a breeding stallion until his death.
Peppy San Badger was trained by trainer and rider Buster Welch, the same trainer who had ridden his sire, Mr San Peppy, to the win in both the 1974 and 1976 NCHA Open World Championships. Peppy San Badger won the NCHA 1977 Futurity with Welch as rider. Shortly after the Futurity, Welch bought “Little Peppy” after the King Ranch decided they did not need him as a junior stallion because they already owned his sire Mr San Peppy. Welch owned him for a year before agreeing to sell him back to King Ranch to become a part of their breeding program. Peppy San Badger, with Welch riding again, won the NCHA Derby in 1978 and reached 10th place in that year’s year-end standings.
Peppy San Badger’s success continued into the 1980s, being named the 1980 NCHA Reserve World Champion. He was also inducted into NCHA Hall of Fame in December of that year. In 1981, he won the Open Division of the NCHA finals and accumulated $172,710 in earnings over the course of his showing career.
Peppy San Badger’s career as a sire had a large impact on the Quarter Horse breed. He was the all-time leading sire of the NCHA for many years up until 2003. In 19 seasons, Peppy San Badger sired 2,325 foals registered with the AQHA. Those foals have earned over 7,200 points in all divisions and have accumulated more than $25 million in earnings.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association World Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity in 2001 illustrated just how prolific Peppy San Badger’s offspring have become. At the Snaffle Bit Futurity, four of the top 10 open horses were by sons of Peppy San Badger. At the NCHA Futurity, four of the top 20 finalists in the open and non pro were by Little Peppy sons.
Some of his notable offspring include: Lil Ruf Peppy, who was the National Reining Horse Association’s (NRHA) ninth $3 million sire, Vintage Little Taris, inducted into the NRHA Hall of Fame in 2008, and Little Tenina, who won the NCHA Futurity in 1991.
Peppy San Badger was euthanized on July 8, 2005 at the age of 31 as a result of his failing health due to old age. He was buried at King Ranch Headquarters in Texas. Peppy San Badger was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2008.