Ranch Horse News

Page 1


Ranch Horse

Covering and Promoting Ranch Horse Competition

Leading Riders, Horses & Shows of 2016

Ridden by Lavert Avent, Metallic Gun Wins NVRHA’s World’s Greatest Ranch Horse Tripp Townsend: A Working Cowboy’s Approach to Winning SHTX, LaSH, NVRHA & WSVRHA Crown 2016 Champs

Spring 2017

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Volume 2/Number 1


Read on page 24 how Tripp Townsend uses daily work to prepare himself and his horses for ranch competition.

8 Crowning Achievement

Competitors with LaSH, NVRHA, SHTX and WSVRHA rode hard for year-end championship titles. By Kate Bradley Byars

18 A Balanced Approach

Securing a successful future for ranch horse competition hinges on strategically blending preservation and progress. By Erin Haynes

24 Cowboy Competitor

ross hecox

Tripp Townsend and his Sandhill Cattle Company crew find creative ways to prepare their horses for versatility ranch competition. By Ross Hecox

Departments 2 Editor’s Note Friendly competition and helpful advice seem to be the norm in the ever-growing list of versatility ranch horse associations. 4 Competitions A 2017 calendar lists upcoming ranch horse versatility shows held across the United States. 28 For the Taking Championship titles and lifelong dreams—2016 was the year to claim the top spot on Equi-Stat’s list of top ranch horse versatility money-earners. On the Cover: Ridden by Lavert Avent at the National Versatility Ranch Horse Association’s championship show, Metallic Gun won the World’s Greatest Ranch Horse title. Read more on page 8. Photo by Beth Mitchell Photography. Spring 2017

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Editor’s Note

Finding a Friendly Focus

Courtesy of Kate Bradley Byars

those classes were unique to me, particularly trail. It was a fun, ranch-based obstacle course that required my horse to demonstrate practical skills such as pulling a heavy log and opening a gate. I walked away understanding more about stock horse classes and regained my enthusiasm for showing horses. The highly competitive classes that I had shown in as a youth required hard work and were not a lot of fun. The thought of riding to win a judge’s approval no longer appealed to me, so when I started high school I began competing in barrel racing. After several years of not riding competitively, my With a borrowed mare and an old barrel racing competitive drive kicked in at that saddle, I attended my first Stock Horse of Texas SHTX show. But more imporclinic and show. It changed my perspective on tantly, I discovered that I simply showing and brought me back to the competitive side of horse ownership. enjoyed participating. Surprisingly, people made a point to or an adult in today’s society, introduce themselves and offered their help. I having fun is not something that found that completing the class correctly was receives much weight when my goal; I didn’t need to take home the win just prioritizing bills, pressure from a because I was competing. job and other responsibilities. However, when I began showing SHTX in earnest, I interviewed the various 2016 year-end making friends at each show and striving to champions for the article “Crowning better myself and my horse, not just earn a Achievement” on page 8, each and every blue ribbon. I watched other riders share tips winner emphasized how much they enjoyed and give each other encouragement. This showing in the associations. They had fun seems to be the norm in the ever-growing list competing on their horses! of versatility ranch horse events held across It was clear to me that the associations the country. spotlighted in this issue made the enjoyment “What I like [about versatility ranch horse] of their members a high priority, as well as is if someone goes in the trail and has a problem placed emphasis on improved showmanship with an obstacle, they will come out and tell the and horsemanship skills. others where the hard spots are [in the In 2010, while working for Western course],” says Richard Cook, 2016 National Horseman magazine, I learned about the Versatility Ranch Horse Association Limited Stock Horse of Texas association. I didn’t own Amateur Champion. “They are wonderful a horse but was interested in trying out an people showing together and having fun!” event that didn’t require a $5,000 show Versatility ranch horse associations are out saddle. I borrowed a reining mare to attend a there for those of us who ride because we SHTX event in Rosenberg, Texas, which enjoy horses, enjoy the challenge and want to included a clinic on Friday and a show on have fun. Find one near you with the help of Saturday. The clinic allowed me to work a cow our event calendar on page 4. So keep shaking for the first time, which was an absolute thrill. hands with strangers and smiling even when With years of showing as a youth in Western you spin the wrong way in a reining class. pleasure and trail at breed shows, I did not Who knows, you may help usher in a new expect to need pointers on those classes. But I member. —Kate Bradley Byars, Editor was mistaken. The stock horse versions of


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Administrative Office 2112 Montgomery St. Fort Worth, TX 76107 817-737-6397 Fax: 817-737-9266 Publisher: Ernie King Editor in Chief: Ross Hecox Editor: Kate Bradley Byars Copy Editor: Erin Haynes Art Director: Ron Bonge Fort Worth Production Manager: Sherry Brown Director of Production: Kris Miller Digital Imaging Manager: Erik Lewis Advertising Customer Service: Nancy Hughes 817-569-7107 Emily Trupiano 817-569-7108 Senior Digital Strategist: Sonny Williams Digital Content Manager: Megan Thomas Business Manager: Tonya Ward Warehouse Manager: Tim Gelnaw

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Ranch Horse News is published by: Morris Media Network Equine Group 2112 Montgomery St. Fort Worth, Texas 76107 Articles that appear in Ranch Horse News do not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of Ranch Horse News or Morris Communications Company, LLC. Ranch Horse News does not endorse and is not responsible for the contents of any advertisement in this publication. No material from Ranch Horse News can be copied, faxed, electronically transmitted, or otherwise used without expressed written ­permission. Requests must be submitted in writing.

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Versatility Show Calendar

Ranch horse versatility shows are held across the United States throughout the year. The following dates are tentative at time of print; check the association’s website for up-to-date information on clinics, shows and association rules. *denotes combined show with American Quarter Horse Association Versatility Ranch Horse competition


14 Louisiana Stock Horse Association (LaSH) louisianastockhorse.com DeRidder, LA 22 American Stock Horse Association (ASHA) americanstockhorse.org Hesperia, CA

11-12 ARHA Frankfurt, KY 11-12 WSVRHA Gonzalez, CA 17-18 ASHA Cheyenne, WY 18-19 ARHA Dublin, GA


2-4 ASHA Powell Butte, OR

5-6 SHTX San Antonio, TX

2-5 ASHA Loveland, CO


5-7 ASHA Eugene, OR

3 LaSH Crowley, LA

4 LaSH Baton Rouge, LA

1 LaSH New Roads, LA

4-5 American Ranch Horse Association (ARHA) americanranchhorse.net Murfreesboro, TN

1-2 ASHA Sprinfield, MO 1-2 ASHA Hesperia, CA 8-9 ARHA Cordova, TN

8-9 ASHA 24-26 Stock Horse of Texas (SHTX) Ardmore, OK stockhorsetexas.org 14 ASHA Abilene, TX Murfreesboro, TN

4-5 WSVRHA Scottsdale, AZ* 10-12 ASHA McCook, NE

20-22 ASHA 2017 National Collegiate Championships Sweetwater, TX 21-22 SHTX Graham, TX

11 LaSH New Roads, LA

21-23 WSVRHA Camp Verde, AZ

11-12 ASHA Ardmore, OK

22-23 ARHA Lake St. Louis, MO

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27-28 NVRHA Lamar, CO

31- April 1 SHTX Lubbock, TX



29-30 ARHA Dublin, GA

27-28 ASHA APHA Zone 4 Special Ranch Event Waco, TX


25-26 ARHA El Reno, OK

18-18 WSVRHA Phoenix, AZ

22-23 WSVRHA Clements, CA

27-28 ARHA Custer, WI

29-30 ARHA Searcy, AR

28-29 Western States Versatility Ranch Horse Association (WSVRHA) wsvrha.org Queen Creek, AZ*

11 ASHA Ardmore, OK

22-23 National Versatility Ranch Horse Association (NVRHA) nvrha.org Elbert, CO

5-8 ARHA Frankfort, KY 11–13 Ranch Horse Association of America National Finals rhaa.org Abilene, TX 12-14 NVRHA Clinic and Schooling Competition Hugoton, KS 13 LaSH DeRidder, LA 13-14 ASHA Ardmore, OK 13-14 ARHA Berrien Township, MI 13-14 ARHA Schaghticoke, NY 20-21 ARHA Dublin, GA

3-4 ARHA El Reno, OK 9-10 SHTX Hamilton, Texas 9-10 NVRHA Lamar, CO 10-11 ARHA Berrien Township, MI 10-11 ASHA Ardmore, OK 10-11 NVRHA Clinic and Schooling Competition River Falls, WI 10-11 WSVRHA Sonoita, AZ* 16-18 ARHA Cloverdale, IN

20-21 ARHA Sedalia, MO

17-18 ARHA Schaghticoke, NY

27-28 ARHA Murfreesboro, TN

17-18 ARHA Searcy, AR Spring 2017

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17-18 ASHA Estes Park, CO

1-2 ASHA Hesperia, CA 5-6 ASHA APHA Cowtown Ranch Classic Fort Worth, TX

24 LaSH DeRidder, LA 24-25 ARHA Deerfield, WI

8-9 ASHA Ardmore, OK

24-25 ASHA Shelbyville, TN

8-9 NVRHA Elbert, CO

24-25 NVRHA Clinic and Schooling Competition Brooklyn, WI

8-9 NVRHA Clinic and Schooling Competition Windom, MN

24-25 WSVRHA Cottonwood, CA

15-16 ASHA Sweetwater, TX

30-July 1 SHTX Dripping Springs, TX

16-22 ARHA World Championship Show Cloverdale, IN 28-30 ASHA Eugene, OR

JULY 1 SHTX Dripping Springs, TX

28-30 ASHA Pueblo, CO

29-30 ARHA Berrien Springs, Michigan 29-30 ARHA Elkhorn, WI

SEPTEMBER 2-3 ARHA Murfreesboro, TN 2-3 ARHA Deerfield, WI


2-3 NVRHA Clinic and Schooling Competition North Branch, MN

4-5 SHTX Sweetwater, TX 5 ARHA Cobleskill, NY

2-3 WSVRHA Woodland, CA

12-13 WSVRHA Carmel Valley, CA

15-16 WSVRHA Clements, CA

25 ARHA Sedalia, MO

29 LaSH West Monroe, LA

8-9 SHTX Stephenville, TX

18-20 ASHA Eugene, OR

9-10 ARHA Berrien Township, MI

18-20 NVRHA Easton, CO

19-20 NVRHA Clinic and 28-30 ASHA Paint Horse Congress Schooling Competition Tulsa, OK Nevis, MN

9-10 ASHA Ardmore, OK 10 NVRHA Elbert, CO

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Ranch Horse News 5 1/20/17 4:39:43 PM 1/20/17 9:43:42 AM

16 LaSH New Iberia, LA

30-Oct 1 ARHA Mt. Vernon, MO

16-17 ARHA Dublin, GA

30-Oct 1 ASHA Fayetteville, AK

16-17 ARHA Schaghticoke, NY


16-17 ARHA El Reno, OK 22-23 SHTX Bryan, TX 23-24 ARHA Frankfurt, KY 23-24 ARHA Deerfield, WI 23-24 NVRHA National Finals Elbert, CO 23-24 WSVRHA Camp Verde, AZ

7-8 ARHA El Reno, OK

7-8 WSVRHA San Luis Obispo, CA 7-9 ASHA CSU Collegiate & Open Fort Collins, CO 13-15 ASHA Eugene, OR 14-15 ASHA Ardmore, OK 14-15 ASHA Shelbyville, TN

21 LaSH New Iberia, LA

11-12 ARHA TBA, Tennessee

21-22 ARHA Dublin, GA

17-18 ASHA Murfreesboro, TN

21-22 ARHA Searcy, AR 21-22 ASHA Region 3 Championship Springfield, MO 26-29 SHTX Stock Horse World Show Abilene, TX

18-19 LaSH Finals DeRidder, LA

NOVEMBER TBD WSVRHA Year-End Championship TBD*


14-15 NVRHA Elbert, CO

4-5 ASHA Ardmore, OK

30-Oct 1 ARHA Searcy, AR

19-22 ARHA Cloverdale, IN

8-9 ASHA Murfreesboro, TN

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18-19 ARHA Lake St. Louis, MO

30-Dec. 3 ASHA Region 5 Championship Loveland, CO

29-Oct 1 ARHA Cloverdale, IN

6 Ranch Horse News

18-19 ARHA Dublin, GA

1-3 SHTX Jinx McCain Horsemanship Event College Station, TX

Spring 2017

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Crowning Achievement

LaSH, NVRHA, SHTX and WSVRHA competitors rode hard for year-end championship titles. By Kate Bradley Byars

ross hecox

Mike Major and J. Mack Bohn’s gelding Cowpony Express captured their first SHOT Open Champion title.


ompeting for a champi­ onship title requires dedication, persistence and good tires. It can take a lot of miles to qualify for a year-end championship show or vie for a coveted high-point award. Four versatility stock horse associations awarded championships last fall: Louisiana Stock Horse Association, National Versatility Ranch Horse Association, Stock Horse of Texas and the Western States Versatility Ranch Horse Association. Ranch Horse News has a rundown on those crowned champion. Winners ranged from individuals who started riding late in life to career cowboys, highlighting the diverse crowd that appreciates ranch horse versatility. Regardless of the rider’s background, the same appreciation for fun, family and good horses is deep inside all of the winners.

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STOCK HORSE OF TEXAS Stock Horse of Texas was founded in 1996 with the goal of “helping people ride a better horse.” Widely known as SHOT for many years, but now using the acronym SHTX, the association’s shows are based in Texas but attract competitors from Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Exhibitors can compete in four classes: ranch pleasure, ranch trail, working cow horse and reining. In addition to Novice, Intermediate, Limited Amateur, Non-Pro and Open divisions, SHTX offers collegiate teams a chance to compete. Year-end awards are based on points, and championships are won at the two-day show culminating the award year. In addition to the traditional classes, SHTX offers a Futurity for 3-year-old horses and Derby for 4-year-olds at the year-end show. Mike Major, Bowie, Texas, rode away with the 2016 Western Horseman Stock Horse World Champion Open title riding Cowpony Express, a 2009 buckskin gelding owned by Diamond JK Ranches, a company owned by J. Mack Bohn of Cryil, Oklahoma. Major is no stranger to SHTX, having been a multiple SHTX World Champion and Reserve World Champion; he rode Cowpony Express to the 2015 Open Reserve World Championship.

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“The second day [of the SHTX World Show] I feel like I prepared him better for the trail and ranch riding. Of course, Mozaun McKibben and I tend to tie in this [show]. I won the all-around the first day, so it was ‘on’ the second day. We were really pushing each other hard.” Major and Cowpony Express, also called “Chester,” have won or been second at every SHTX show since their first in 2015. It’s a partnership that Bohn is grateful to have found. “Truly by the grace of God I have been allowed to be a part of Chester’s life,” Bohn says. “When I first saw a photo of Chester, I was overwhelmed and had to have him for myself, not for my cowboys.” Bohn uses ranch horses on his Oklahoma property to work cattle and found that the ranch horse versatility events better aligned with his everyday tasks horseback. It was a far cry from his days showing in limited-age cutting events, and he has enjoyed the change. “What I like about [SHTX] and what I did not like about cutting is that a fair portion of the [SHTX] people are cattle people and cowboys,” he says. “I think it is great when a horse can excel in a discipline; I think it is phenomenal when a horse can excel in multiple disciplines.” According to SHTX Executive Director Jill Dunkel, Bohn is the typical SHTX member. Of the approximately 1,000 members, the majority came to the association after participating in a different discipline. The 2016 Western Horseman Stock Horse World Championship and Futurity and Derby saw a 54 percent increase in entries over the previous year. “We had 230 horses show and that equated to 1,335 total entries; 30 of those horses were entered in the Futurity or Derby events,” Dunkel says. “We had a phenomenal fall going into the World Show; starting in August all of our shows broke [attendance] records. We saw a lot of new faces at shows. I heard people say things like, ‘We heard your shows are like what was in the industry 20 or 30 years ago.’” The World Show entries were up, but entries in the Futurity and Derby were down, in spite of increased added money. Dunkel says that it’s hard to diagnose the

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reason for the lack of participants. However, the goal to increase association membership is first and foremost. To do so, SHTX added an Intermediate division in 2015, as well as offered a stand-alone Novice clinic. The goal is to provide riders with a less intimidating atmosphere in which to compete. “We want to keep the people that have started showing with us, and pulling up to a show that has more than 200 horses can be intimidating,” she says. “The Intermediate division and Novice clinic is a space for those riders to come and be encouraged. [SHTX] is a family-friendly place to compete with your horse, learn something along the way and make memories.” The 2017 SHTX schedule will include more stand-alone, division-specific clinics to help riders to advance their skills. Dunkel says the association will continue to be a welcoming format for riders to get help and learn more about riding stock horses.

SHTX Rundown

Reserve Champion: Mozaun McKibben riding Lil Ruf Catalyst, owned by Sarah Anne Lesh


Champion: Teghan Brooks riding Jac Smart Reserve Champion: Allora Leonard riding Holeys Cutter Belle


Champion: Matlock Rice riding Cattasan, owned by Rice Reserve Champion: Ryan Birkenfield riding TAMU Twista Lilbling, owned by Keith Birkenfield

Collegiate Team

Champion: Texas Tech University, Red Team Reserve Champion: Texas A&M University

SHOT Futurity Open

The following competitors took home a 2016 SHTX World Champion title. In addition, the SHTX Futurity and SHTX Derby awarded championship prize money. A complete list of winners can be viewed at stockhorsetexas.org.

Champion: Benjamin Baldus riding Seven S Woodrow, owned by Jerry Ward Reserve Champion: Kaleigh King riding CSR Dual Boonlite, owned by Bobby E. Lewis



Champion: Anissa Cervera riding TAMU Reyette Olena Reserve Champion: Chance Campbell riding A Brownbag Special Non-Pro Champion: Jayton Baca riding Smart Lil Redman Reserve Champion: Ashton Dunkel riding Boots Be Tuff

Limited Non-Pro

Champion: Emily Woodard riding The Dream Senorita Reserve Champion: Nonie CasselmanReed riding Zeena Lena


Champion: Mike Major riding Cowpony Express, owned by Diamond JK Ranches

Champion: Lanham Brown riding Take A Pick, owned by RA Brown Ranch Reserve Champion: Rainy Walker riding Tex Me A Cat, owned by Walker

SHOT Derby Open

Champion: Ryan Birkenfield riding TAMU Twista Lilbling, owned by Keith Birkenfield Reserve Champion: William Lewis riding Spookin Jay, owned by Lewis


Champion: Sarah Lesh riding Ruftimeintinseltown, owned by Mozaun McKibben Reserve Champion: Becky Horlen riding TAMU Jazzy Lilclancy, owned by Horlen

Ranch Horse News 9 1/20/17 11:35:36 AM

Beth Mitchell Photography

Lavert Avent started riding G.M. and Joyce Ann Jones’ stallion Metallic Gun only a year ago. The two topped the Open division to win the NVRHA’s World’s Greatest Ranch Horse Championship.

NATIONAL VERSATILITY RANCH HORSE ASSOCIATION In 2007, the National Versatility Ranch Horse Association (NVRHA) was established in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Today, the association boasts members from Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico and Wisconsin. The NVRHA offers five classes for competitors: ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch cutting, working ranch horse and ranch conformation. In addition to class awards and achievement awards based on points, the association annually names a top horse as their “Legend” horse, which is directly related to the association’s motto, “Ride the Legend.” The 150-plus members of NVRHA qualify to compete in the year-end championship by competing in a minimum of two shows during the year. According to NVRHA Vice-President Donna Stewart, riders range from those who have never shown before to seasoned horse-show veterans looking for a change. “We offer a relaxed environment to enjoy horses with friends,” Stewart says. “Our association is a great place to start a young horse out—low pressure, safe environment, focus on education and ‘doing things right.’ ”

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Stewart says this year may hold some changes for the association. While there was a Youth division in NVRHA early on, the numbers dropped to the point where the youth were mixed into the other divisions. However, a recent uptick in young riders has the association looking to reinstate the Youth category. In addition, the association is in talks with groups in Alabama, Nebraska and Wyoming to add affiliate shows. In 2016, 32 competitors vied for titles at the September 24-26, championship show that caps off the year. Open Champion Lavert Avent, Elbert, Colorado, rode away with the title World’s Greatest Ranch Horse on Metallic Gun, owned by G.M. and Joyce Ann Jones. Avent originally joined NVRHA to improve as a competitor before trying his hand in reined cow horse shows. However, he kept returning because of the challenge of competing in multiple events. “It was a stepping stone to get my feet wet in the show pen and get more seasoned to go down the fence,” he says. “It just took off from there. I like it. It is really hard to get a horse seasoned for five or six events. The cow classes are [this horse’s] real deal; I can always depend on him.”

The cattle classes helped keep Avent in the hunt for the championship after a bobble or two in the ranch trail. All in all, Avent says the horse competed to his usual level, which is top of the class. In addition to showing at NVRHA events, Avent often acts as a clinician during the Saturday clinic/Sunday show weekend events. Having clinicians like Avent who know what it is like to show in versatility and can offer sound advice is one of the reasons that Limited Amateur Champion Richard Cook enjoys showing in NVRHA. Cook rode his homebred 10-year-old Paint mare, Real To Reel, to the title. “I’ve been doing this for about 8 years and kind of toying with it, but nothing serious,” Cook says. “I’ve had fun and made friends, but this past year I decided to get serious about it. I went to more clinics and trainers to see what [the judges] wanted to see, studied the classes and rode harder to be better at it.” Cook’s dedication paid off with a win. He may have achieved one goal, but Cook has no intention of slacking off. He says that 2017 will find him showing in Amateur and riding a younger horse. For him, the friendships and quality of horses bring him back show after show.

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“I did a lot of pleasure stuff when I was younger, but I got tired of doing that when the horses started to ‘false lope’ and stuff,” he says. “The [versatility] kind of showed up in my backyard, and I gave it a try. It was fun, and I slowly got more and more serious about it. The people [in NVRHA] are tremendously friendly. They are laid back and will help you if you have trouble.” The helpful attitude and desire to make things fun is what Stewart sees as the association’s greatest benefit to members. “It is hard to bring people together and keep them motivated in an organization. We are all volunteer[s], and it can be a struggle,” Stewart says. “We don’t award money except in the Open at the finals, but we focus on education and outreach. We have a lot of people in our area that don’t know about ranch horse and versatility, and we want to change that.”

NVRHA Rundown The NVRHA awarded championships in four divisions at the September 24-26 championship show. For more information, visit nvrha.org.

Limited Amateur Champion: Richard Cook riding Real To Reel Amateur Champion: Shane Bangerter riding Langtrees CD Reserve Champion: Carlos Osorio riding AR Especial Open Champion: Lavert Avent riding Metallic Gun, owned by G.M. and Joyce Ann Jones Reserve Champion: Shane Bangerter riding Langtrees CD, owned by Bangerter

WESTERN STATES VERSATILITY RANCH HORSE ASSOCIATION With an eye toward preserving the American ranch horse and promoting Western culture, the Western States Versatility Ranch Horse Association (WSVRHA) began providing weekend clinics and competitions in 2014 as a combined association including the Arizona Versatility Ranch Horse Association and

Beth Mitchell Photography

Novice Amateur Champion: Kelly Krueger riding Penny

Reserve Champion: Sandy Perry riding Lil Red Jolena

Richard Cook rode his homebred Paint mare, Real To Reel, to capture the NVRHA Limited Amateur Championship.

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California’s Golden States Versatility Ranch Horse Association. The WSVRHA offers five classes: ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch cutting, ranch reined work and ranch cow work. President Rebecca Grant says the association started with around 130 members, but in 2016, the number was slightly more than 200. “We really focus on coming and having fun and educating. We like to be available for the beginner to have a place to start,” she says. “A lot of our people that started with us brought the horse they had, which has always been our motto. Now, a number of people are on their third horse as they have progressed and gotten better at [competing]. A lot of our people are trail riders, show in versatility and will even take their horse to a cutting or cow horse show. Our goal is to ensure we offer a place for the truly versatile horse.” The October 28-29, 2016, year-end championship show showcased that improvement; Rebecca says that through the first set of cattle, not a single horse-and-rider duo lost a cow. The focus on education and fun drew 2016 Novice Champion Bob Mucci to the association. Today, he spends his time and his money on horses. “I started riding when I was 48 years old and had never been around horses,” he says. “I absolutely gained a lot from the association’s clinics. Before I started riding and my wife was competing, I would give her kind of a hard time about what she was not doing good. Then I started and, holy cow, I learned it was not easy.” Mucci is part of the more than one-quarter WSVRHA members over the age of 50. The association offers riders 60 years old and older the option to ride in a Select division, increasing the age from the typical “Select” format of other associations because of the demographics. But, those Select riders fit into every skill level, Rebecca says. Mucci agrees and says that the association set him up for success with the clinics offered in conjunction with the shows. “The best way to learn was to go to the clinics,” Mucci says. “The association brings in some really good people for clinics, people with bones in the business that can help you out.” One association clinician and open rider that Mucci learned from is Bob Grant, Rebecca’s husband. Bob captured the Open All-Around Championship riding Truckin Buddy. This was Bob’s second championship but first aboard the 9-year-old gelding.

Ranch Horse News 11 1/20/17 11:35:39 AM

Ann Mulchay Photography

“I’ve had him since he was a 4-year-old, but he has been off for about the last two years battling lameness issues,” Bob says. “He has a presence about him and is a character. He is smart, and it gets him in trouble all the time. When I first started bringing him to shows, I had to have someone babysit him or he’d climb on the trailer. I’ve always known he was an awesome horse, but we were plagued for so long and it held us up from showing him.” Bob says his cow work boosted him to the win. A former working cowboy turned horse trainer, Bob’s interest in versatility grew from wanting a true all-around horse. His wife agrees that WSVRHA has a focus to help people achieve true versatility. “There are a lot of people that want a horse that does it all, like it used to be,” Bob says. “We have become so specialized in all the events now. The average person that grew up around ranch work or is still in the life, it is hard for them to get into [a specialized event] without buying a high-dollar horse and getting a trainer right away. We are more geared to helping people get going with the horse they have to ride.”

Bob Grant rode Truckin Buddy to the WSVRHA Open Champion title.

The WSVRHA awards individual class winners as well as All-Around Champions. The following is a list of 2016 All-Around Champions by division. More information can be found at wsvrha.com. Novice All-Around Champion: Bob Mucci riding Bobs Pistol Prom All-Around Reserve Champion: Bashi Buba riding CD Lights Above Select Champion: Bob Mucci riding Bobs Pistol Prom Junior Horse Champion: Jayne Vatcher riding CD Super Model Limited All-Around Champion: Dawn Poston riding Fresnos Plain Peppy All-Around Reserve Champion: Bonnie Garcia riding Gatalata Nickers Select Champion: Dawn Poston riding Fresnos Plain Peppy Select Reserve Champion: Bonnie Garcia riding Gatalata Nickers

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Ann Mulchay Photography

WSVRHA Rundown

Riding his mare, Bobs Pistol Prom, Bob Mucci captured the WSVRHA Novice All-Around Championship. Mucci began riding at age 48. Intermediate All-Around Champion: Darian Morgan riding Black Pepper Rain All-Around Reserve Champion: Jerri Harrington riding DF Colonel Smoky Select Champion: Darian Morgan riding Black Pepper Rain Select Reserve Champion: Jerri Harrington riding DF Colonel Smoky

Advanced All-Around Champion: Nicole Ditmars riding Little Lotto Prize All-Around Reserve Champion: Andrea Pasek riding Simply Boontiful Select Champion: Jennifer Harden riding Chitas Doc Bar Select Reserve Champion: Maribeth Darras riding Sanjo Lights

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Open All-Around Champion: Bob Grant riding Truckin Buddy All-Around Reserve Champion: Sarah Clifford riding Very Smart Cow Pony

With more than 250 members, the Louisiana Stock Horse Association (LaSH) proves stock horse culture is alive and well east of the Mississippi River. Since its founding in 2006, members from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas compete in the 10 annual LaSH shows and ride in the two-day stand-alone championship show. The association offers five events: cutting, working cow, reining, trail and pleasure. Members qualify for the All-Around title by competing in at least four of the five classes, and one class must be a cattle class, sticking with the true definition of versatility. When it was founded, LaSH set a goal to provide affordable and fun clinics and competitions for members. The positive atmosphere allows members to develop a more wellrounded horse, not just for competition but for general riding pleasure. In a region known for cutting, LaSH had to educate both show judges and members about working cow horse. Today, the association thrives with a strong youth, novice and amateur presence. “We know our association grows with youth involvement,” says LaSH President and 2016 Open High-Point Champion Jim Gauthier. “If the kid is involved, the family becomes involved, so it has been all about family for us.” Chris and Wendy Moody’s family exemplifies the educational and supportive aspects of LaSH. The couple and their three daughters completed their third LaSH season in 2016, and 12-year-old Whitney Moody captured her second Youth High-Point Champion title. However, 2016 was not an easy road to victory. In January, the Moodys

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Two-time Youth All-Around Champion, Whitney Moody, suffered a loss in January 2016 when her family’s trailer was broken into and her first LaSH champion saddle was stolen. This year, Whitney repeated her All-Around win, riding mostly in a borrowed saddle.

Richmond Holly


Richmond Holly

Youth Division All-Around Champion: Anthony Luna riding Calboys Hometown All-Around Reserve Champion: Mei Mei Dorrance riding Pepsi Tonic

The LaSH awards champion saddles in each division. President and Open Champion Jim Gauthier, far right, says that to grow the Open division, which is lagging, the association will allow people to choose whether they enter the jackpot or only compete for year-end prizes. found their trailer burglarized and more than $10,000 in tack and equipment stolen. Chris, a pastor in Beaumont, Texas, says that’s when the true spirit of the LaSH show family made itself known.

“We were at the first LaSH show in DeRidder, and the people there heard about what happened,” Chris says. “As the horse show went on, tack and equipment started showing up at our trailer. I guarantee we

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! e t a r b e Cel

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Feb 24-26 — Abilene, Texas

March 31-April 1 — Lubbock, Texas One Day Clinic April 22, 2017 — Bryan, Texas

May 5-6 — San Antonio, Texas June 9-10 — Hamilton, Texas June 30-July 1 — Dripping Springs, TX Two Day Clinic July 15-16 — Decatur, Texas July 21-22 — Athens, Texas August 4-5 — Sweetwater, Texas Sept. 8-9 — Hamilton, Texas Sept. 22-23 — Bryan, Texas Stock Horse World Show Oct. 27-29 — Abilene, Texas Most events feature a Clinic, Stock Horse of Texas show, AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse and AQHA Ranch Riding

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received more than was stolen. As evil as this world is, there is a godly group of people out there. LaSH has truly become our family.” Chris and Wendy both had horses in college, but as their family grew they slowly got away from ownership. When Whitney was 6 years old, they decided it was time to get back to their roots. However, the family didn’t want to become a “horse show family,” sinking money into expensive tack and show clothes. The Moodys looked for an alternative to the glitz and bling and discovered stock horse, taking them back to ranching roots. “The stock horse world recognized the unnaturalness of the way show horses were moving, what people were wearing and the fact it was becoming a rich man’s sport,” he says. “This was a return to a ranch horse connection—that was my heart! We found a way to teach our kids to ride, not just sit on a horse, and learn in a supportive, encouraging fashion.” For two years, the Moody family did not miss a Friday clinic before showing on Saturday. The LaSH clinics, in addition to some private lessons, helped the family grow as riders. The stock horse association’s mentality of helping each other is credited for Wendy earning a Novice division saddle in 2014 and Whitney clinching two Youth All-Around Championships. “The clinics really help me,” Whitney says. “They taught me how to use my feet and my hands. That and using trainers has helped me learn the cow horse.” In 2017, Whitney will advance from the Youth to the Novice division where she will box on both ends of the arena. The Moodys say they are moving her up to allow other youth to achieve the year-end award and because it will prepare Whitney for high school rodeo’s cow horse class. According to Gauthier, the stair-like steps from Youth to Novice to Amateur are why the association is seeing growth in all divisions. “In the beginning, it was predominantly non-pro and open

riders,” he says. “As we have grown, brought in families, the Youth and Novice are bigger. When someone advances, it is like the association graduated them to the next level. Everyone is learning more, riding harder and achieving more.” In 2016, the value of the prizes given at the year-end championship was over $50,000, including trophy saddles. With a dedicated membership and strong future, the association is giving back to its members just as the members are investing in it.

LaSH Rundown The LaSH awarded show champion titles and year-end championships at their November 19-20, 2016, show. For more information on its events, visit louisianastockhorse.com. OPEN High Point Champion: Jim Gauthier riding Jennys Spark NON-Pro High-Point Champion: Mark Sunday riding Justa Rummy Reserve High-Point Champion: Chris Moody riding Red Hot Onion JUNior Horse High-Point Champion: Scott Long riding Style Reserve High-Point Champion: Steve Theriot riding Little Annie Smart NOVICE High-Point Champion: Liz Gagnet riding Blazing Prairie Rose Reserve High-Point Champion: Katlyn Humphreys riding Dunnit In The Pines Youth High-Point Champion: Hailey Brantley riding Swinger Reserve High-Point Champion: Emma Holly riding Peps Silver Pistol

Spring 2017

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A Balanced Approach

Securing a successful future for ranch horse competition hinges on strategically blending preservation and progress. Story by Erin Haynes • Photography by Ross Hecox


estern performance horse events were born from a common ancestor, the working stock horse, and evolved into the uniquely specialized disciplines practiced today. But with ranch horse competition, the back-story isn’t just a legacy; it’s a reality. You can see the all-around mounts not only working on the ranch but showcasing their versatility in the arena. Recently, the industry has seen a burst of growth and drawn in new players. Gone is the “cowboys-only club.” A diverse group—green and seasoned, real-deal ranchers and cowboy dreamers from the United States and beyond—are joining the movement. So, how do you preserve the ranch horse’s rich heritage while evolving with the industry? We caught up with three industry leaders who offered their insights. Mike Major is one of the most successful names in ranch horse competition. He has won the Stock Horse of Texas (SHTX) All-Around Open World Championship the past two years and is a three-time American Quarter Horse Association Versatility Ranch Horse Open World Champion. Major serves on the AQHA ranching committee, trains horses out of Bowie, Texas, and runs Major Cattle Co. Baru Forell just finished her third term as president of SHTX and has served on SHTX’s board for seven years. She’s placed in the Amateur top five at the AQHA VRH World Show and won the Amateur division at an AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge. Forell, an accomplished silversmith, is an AQHA 10-year breeder and Ranching Committee member. Kim Lindsey, a third-generation rancher, is the AQHA director of ranching. Her list of show-pen accomplishments includes an AQHA VRH Amateur World Championship, two SHTX All-Around Open titles and the Ranch Horse Association of America High-Money Earner title. Lindsey previously served as the Texas Tech University Equestrian Center director and SHTX Executive Director.

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RHN: What factors have fueled the growth of ranch horse competition? Major: The camaraderie. Everybody is your friend. If you’re having trouble with your horse, people are willing to help in whatever way they can. Most of the people didn’t grow up in the horse show world. They’re showing to have fun; they aren’t from a big stud farm dying to get points on their horse. You have real ranchers, retired people, youths, and everybody wants to learn, help, push each other and encourage each other. Forell: The more specialized sectors of the industry require a high level of everything—money to pay trainers to get to that level, a high-dollar wardrobe. Many people don’t want to spend thousands of dollars; they just want to enjoy their horse. They want a good broke horse that can do smooth transitions up and down at normal gaits at the horse’s normal carriage. Ranch horse competition requires everyday using gear, and you won’t be scorned if you show up in your ranch trailer. The no-frills, no-bling attitude caters to a family environment. Everyone can come and do it together. When SHTX was first organized, it was all about education and improving your horsemanship so you could have fun. Our slogan is “helping people ride a better horse.” We’ve stayed true to that. Lindsey: One of the main things is the horses are simply so versatile. People like that they can use their horses to go show, and still use them to go work, trail ride with friends, or do whatever else they enjoy doing. Ever since I’ve been involved in this, my horses on the ranch are easier to do my job on. Working on maneuvers to get ready for the versatility show makes a broker horse to use every day outside the show pen.

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Baru Forell, who served as president of SHTX for three years, says ranch versatility has the potential to change the horse industry for the better.

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a balanced approach

Major: In AQHA there are six classes. It just gives you so many different things to work on. My horses seem to last longer mentally and soundness-wise, versus when they are just working on one thing.

RHN: What factors are key to future success? Forell: The key to the success of the movement is trying to get more people involved at all levels. In the beginning of AQHA’s program, everyone was required to rope. It came from a great desire to keep the integrity of the ranch roots, but it eliminated most of the people who wanted to do it because they felt they couldn’t be competitive in the roping. If we rely solely on ranch cowboys, the program won’t sustain itself. We have to provide an entry level for other people who desire to compete—a place where they can start and work their way up to those abilities like roping or taking a cow down the fence. That has been one of SHTX’s strengths. We have clinics before every show. We hire clinicians who can help the highest-level open rider and the very beginning rider. You give people a place to learn in the clinic, and if they want to go into competition, you give them a place to show at their level. People can start at the most fundamental level, the ranch pleasure, and they can work their way up to trail, and then the reining and then 99 percent of them ultimately want to do the cow work. Even there, we have step-up classes. In SHTX, we’ve branched out from everyone showing together to having seven levels—from novice riders who’ve never shown all the way up to AQHA and National Reined Cow Horse Association World Champions. Major: I would like to see even more levels opened up in AQHA. They have the Amateur and the Open, but if they opened up a Limited Amateur that would make a big difference. There’s a huge number of beginner riders who want to get involved and if they felt like

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they had a place for them to show and be competitive against people who are not intimidating to them, it would be phenomenal. Because there are some amateurs who are even tougher than the open riders. If more people could see they have a chance to do well, I think the Versatility World Show could be as big as the World Show in Oklahoma City. Lindsey: I think we’re on the right track. The addition of new divisions, last year, gave more exhibitors the opportunity to compete. We are constantly reviewing the program to work on ways to encourage more people to become involved in versatility ranch horse classes. In addition, it is very important to educate our exhibitors and potential exhibitors. Therefore, I believe clinics are a must. Things need tweaking;

AQHA Director of Ranching Kim Lindsey remains dedicated to preserving the ranching way of life and heritage of the ranch horse.

you’ve always got to stay open-minded and progressive. But I think the main thing we need to focus on is keeping true to our ranching heritage.

RHN: How do you balance new growth with maintaining ranching heritage? Lindsey: The clinics aren’t only to teach maneuvers but to educate people about the ranching way of life and heritage of the ranch horse. We need to all work together on keeping our judges educated on what type of horse we’re trying to promote. There are all kinds of

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a balanced approach

ranch riding or reining. That’s a way of keeping the integrity. I think initially it was a perceived threat that people entering only one class would jeopardize the versatility, but in SHTX you never had to enter all the classes and it’s proven over 20 years that’s not a threat. It just brings more people into the fold. You introduce them in a positive way so they aspire to do the rest of it. Major: People show in the pleasure or trail, then maybe the reining, and then they see the cattle classes and it draws them in. When I’ve done clinics for SHTX, there are people who’ve never driven a cow anywhere in their life. We slow it down and start with the basics, but you see the smile on their faces when they walk out of the clinic. It might be a year before they enter the cow classes, but almost all of them do.

RHN: When you consider the future of ranch versatility, what has you the most excited? As a competitor Mike Major has witnessed the positive effects of camaraderie at ranch competitions.

stock and ranch horse groups across the country, and we need to come together to make each other stronger and promote the same goals. AQHA’s alliances with SHTX and RHAA have been very productive. I would love to bring in more associations. I think we go about this very positively. We invite new people to come. There are a lot of people out there who have horses who are not active with them, and we want them to feel like this is a place they can come and enjoy competing. And we sure want the show people if they want to try something new. We have a really good group of people who want to head in the same direction: we want to preserve the American Quarter Horse’s ranching heritage. That’s going to take a group effort. We’re sharing something wonderful with the rest of the world, and we want them to see the real deal.

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Forell: We have to keep the ranch integrity intact. That’s a fundamental challenge for the industry as it grows and gets into areas where there’s not much ranch environment and people want to get involved. It needs to be in the fundamental forefront of everyone’s mind—the judges, the show producers—that these classes are kept true to ranching, not pulled into the weekend shows in a way that they go the path of the specialized classes. When we have a trail course, it needs to relate to what you would encounter on a ranch. The fundamental horsemanship maneuvers need to stay natural. In its reined work, the horse needs to be able to negotiate a cow at any speed. Initially, the main way to keep the integrity in AQHA Versatility was to make everybody compete in all of the classes, but that eliminated the field of participants down so narrow it couldn’t sustain the program. Now, you can enter just one class, but to qualify for the all-around you’re required to enter the conformation, one class from the cow work and then trail,

Major: I think what’s most exciting is the possibility of opening up the class levels and increasing the numbers of people having fun. Years ago, I thought ranch horse competition was going to completely go away. But seeing it with a new breath and the people so excited about showing their horses, it’s so cool. Forell: I get excited seeing the industry as a whole working together. There are true working-ranch people involved keeping the integrity, and we’re bringing more people into the industry who aren’t ranch people. That’s exciting because it’s the future of the industry. In the grand scheme of things, I see the ranch horse industry changing the Western horse industry to come back a little bit more grounded, a little more centered. Lindsey: The thing that gets me the most excited is we’re getting to share our ranching heritage with as many people as we can. I think the future is very bright for this industry.

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Tripp Townsend and his Sandhill Cattle Company crew find creative ways to prepare their horses for versatility ranch competition. Story and photography by ROSS HECOX


ripp Townsend and his crew begin every day working in the feedyard, pouring out grain to yearling calves and riding through the pens to check the health of the livestock. Their job involves sorting out sick calves, separating them from the herd, moving them into a long alley and driving them toward a squeeze chute where they can administer medication. Every once in a while one of the cowboys lopes toward the other end of the alley, builds speed and then sits down and says “whoa!” The horse drops its hocks into the soft ground and slides several feet. “Did you see our sliding track?” Townsend asks with a grin. “It’s just a little spot down the alley where the ground is pretty ideal for us. It’s hard underneath with a little powder on top—manure dust mainly. At the moment, it’s great for working on your sliding stops. A few months from now it may get real windy and blow away that powder, so we try to take advantage of it.” Townsend, Keith Johnson and Riley Smith stay busy operating Sandhill Cattle Company in Earth, Texas. But whether they are riding pens or roping and doctoring yearling cattle on surrounding wheat pastures, they figure out ways to train their horses for the ranch rodeos and ranch horse shows they enter throughout the year. The crew has won the World Championship Ranch Rodeo in Amarillo, Texas, three times. Smith has won two Ranch Horse Association of America National Championships in the Ranch Hand division and earned more than $10,000 with the organization. Townsend has claimed seven RHAA National Championships, either in the Junior or Senior division, and has won more than $37,000. He also picked up $10,000 last November by winning

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Cowboy C

By sorting cattle in an alleyway, horses learn to read cattle and gain a sense of accomplishment.

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y Competitor the inaugural Cactus-Clovis Futurity in Clovis, New Mexico. His son, Trail, who often joins the crew after school, won the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Senior Youth Cow Horse Championship last November in Amarillo. Despite the many accolades, running Sandhill Cattle remains their priority. But many of their duties naturally prepare them and their horses for ranch competition. “I do go to the arena and spend time loping circles, changing leads, working a cow,” Townsend says. “A lot of times it’s after I’ve ridden all morning and afternoon [working in the feedyard and wheat pastures]. But I don’t have the time to spend all day in the practice pen. “A horse that is exposed to [ranch work] is more broke. He can handle different situations better. Do you have to do all that in order to train a horse? No. But it helps me, so when I get to the practice pen and I’m loping circles or working a cow, it’s not that big of a deal.” Townsend quickly points out that he still has a lot to learn and shouldn’t be considered an expert. However, as much as he tries to downplay it, he is easily RHAA’s all-time leading money earner and ranks second in Equi-Stat’s list of Top Open Versatility Ranch Riders. “I enjoy the process,” he says. “Buying a yearling, riding him his 2- and 3-year-old year, showing him. I don’t get to ride many older horses because we end up selling them. But it’s been a lot of fun to see other people ride them and do good.” Townsend’s training process is unique, giving his horses plenty of practical application and instilling a good work ethic. “I think there are lots of benefits to it,” he says. “If a horse gets nervous, scared or upset, you’re not going to be done with him in 20 minutes and he stays that way. You have all day

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Ranch Horse News 25 1/20/17 9:46:26 AM

cowboy competitor

Tripp Townsend says roping and doctoring in wheat pastures teaches a horse to chase down cattle that sometimes zigzag and change speeds in the large, open space.

Riding Four Metallic, Townsend practices a sliding stop in the alley of his feedyard in Earth, Texas.

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to work it out. It increases the odds of you ending on a good note.” He adds that the nature of the work gives horses a sense of accomplishment. “I know when you sort a sick one out the gate, the horse knows that he got him out the gate,” Townsend says. “He knows he got his job done. And I’m sure it’s the same when you rope and doctor one.” Roping yearling calves in an open pasture involves many more challenges than roping in an arena. The cattle are less likely to run straight, and the ground is slick and bumpy instead of soft and level. But the higher degree of difficulty pays off in the show pen. In the pasture, a sick calf must be driven from the herd, then chased down and roped as quickly as possible. Townsend says that teaches the horse to focus on a specific cow and rate it, giving its rider a better shot. “He actually hunts the cow,” he says. “And if you miss [with your rope], as the cow circles around and you rebuild your loop, it doesn’t take that horse very long to really start hunting that cow. And he learns to rate whether it’s running hard or going slow. “In Ranch Horse Association shows, you can kind of tell which horses have been roped on only in a pen. They don’t lock on quite like a horse that’s been roped on outside, and some of them are scared of speed.”

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Feedyard tasks translate to plenty of arena maneuvers as well. Opening and closing gates involves moving a horse’s shoulders and hindquarters. Sorting cattle requires a horse to be quiet in the herd, responsive to the rider, and attentive to a cow’s attempts to slip past the horse. “We sort a lot of cattle in the alley,” Townsend says. “It gets your horse listening to you, but he’s looking at the cow, too. So it gets a horse to start watching a cow, but we still have to go to the round pen to work cattle in a cutting horse type of setting.” When he has time, Townsend works on stops, spins, lead changes, roping, boxing and going down the fence in his arena. But he also finds opportunities to work on those maneuvers while doing his job. “Almost everything you do in the arena, you can do it outside and try to make it better,” he says. “Your circles, lead changes, lead departures, cow work—you can work on that as you’re doing your job, and it carries over to the arena. I might look at a set of calves in the pasture, and if they’re good and I don’t need to doctor any, I might just hang out there and lope a few circles before I go back to the trailer. I’m always working on something, and I’m way more like that now that I’ve started showing more.” It’s clear that Townsend and his crew are equal parts cowboys and competitors. How else would you explain the sight of pen riders practicing sliding stops in a feedyard alley?

Working in a feedyard creates numerous opportunities for Townsend to hone his ranch horse show skills.

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Winning the Pitzer Ranch Horse Invitational helped Rod Doggett and Show Me A River jump to the top of the standings in 2016 ranch horse versatility statistics.

For the Taking

Championship titles and lifelong dreams—2016 was the year to claim the top spot on Equi-Stat’s list of top ranch horse versatility money-earners. By Erin Haynes


oots. Nourish them, protect them and good things will grow. Many of last year’s ranch horse successes were cultivated in soil enriched with tradition and fed with years of dedication. Horse trainers registering hours in the training pen and miles on the odometer. Cowboys carving out time to step away from the branding pen and into the show arena. Family-owned operations fine-tuning their breeding programs within an inch of perfection. A busy mother and rancher taking her long-awaited turn to pursue horse showing. These are just a sampling of the stories that blossomed into success on

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Equi-Stat’s 2016 list of top ranch horse versatility money-earners. If you dream of seeing your name on these lists, it’s never too late to plant a seed. Attend a clinic, enter a class and draw inspiration from two of 2016’s chart-toppers.

The Cowboy Way

When you speak with Rod Doggett, you get the impression that he doesn’t waste words. The 33-year-old is polite and humble, and while he doesn’t say too much, what he says is worth listening to. So when Doggett describes his 7-year-old gelding Show Me A River (sired by Show Me A Song Joes and

out of Watch Hollywood Coco by Hes Dun His Time) as “spectacular,” you better believe the horse is special. He must be to win an event like the Pitzer Ranch Horse Invitational, held each fall at the Pitzer Ranch in Ericson, Nebraska. Competitors at the No. 1 paying show in 2016 competed in heading, heeling, sorting, conformation, barrels and ranch trail. (When you think “ranch trail,” picture competitors jumping over large fallen trees and surging through chest-deep waters.) “You do so many events in one day, and it’s very grueling,” Doggett says. “Not only for your horse but for you. I think I put my saddle on [Show Me A River] at a quarter

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Decades in the Making

Jecca Ostrander began breeding horses when she was just a horse-crazy high school girl. Thirty-five

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years later, the No. 3 versatility ranch horse, Boxo Heavens Blue (SNW Heavens King x Snippy Blue Card x Masie’s Blue), is a product of that childhood dream-turnedreality. Ostrander’s earnings on the 2008 gelding and money she and her nephew, trainer Clay Volmer, earned on two more of her horses, also made the Gordon, Nebraska, rancher the year’s No. 5 breeder. Ostrander places a high value on family. She and her husband are products of ranching families. They grew up working cattle alongside not only their parents, but grandparents, too. Now, Jecca and her husband, Cash, operate Willow Creek Ranch and Box O Quarter Horses with their own children and grandchild at their

sides just miles from where they both grew up. For many years, Jecca dedicated herself to raising her and Cash’s three sons. She was a 4-H leader for 25 years and served on Nebraska’s 4-H Horse Advisory Council. It wasn’t until three years ago that Ostrander, then 53, even considered pursuing horse showing for herself. When the American Quarter Horse Association rolled out its Ranching Heritage Program, Jecca knew it was her time. “I didn’t even think about doing any of this until the kids were grown. We were at every football and basketball game, track meet and rodeo,” she says. “We felt the Ranching Heritage Program was a good


to 7 and it was about 11 that evening when we finally got done. It takes a special kind of horse to do that.” Show Me A River, known as “Moffat,” emerged as the All-Around Champion. The $18,300 paycheck made the gelding Equi-Stat’s No. 1 versatility ranch horse for 2016, secured Doggett as the top rider and owner and put the horse’s breeder, sire and dam at the top of their lists. Doggett manages the century-and-ahalf-old 1 Lilly Ranch in Stapleton, Nebraska. As part of the cowboy’s string, Moffat earns his keep daily as Doggett uses him to check and calve out cows, doctor cattle, drag calves to the fire and do everything else under the sun on a large ranch. The gelding’s physical strength is matched only by his heart and mind, Doggett says. “He has a tremendous mind. That horse literally would kill himself for me. He will go above and beyond anything I ask him to do. He trusts me.” The Doggett family— Rod, his wife, Makayla, and their four children— trust Moffatt, too. “I would compete in an event and then one of the kids would jump on him and go cool him off,” Doggett says. “He’s a quiet, sound, really nice horse.” Doggett’s never-ending responsibilities at the ranch restrict any major plans for expanding his and Moffatt’s horse-showing career, he says, but this capable pair is proof that a skilled cowboy and a big-hearted horse result in something spectacular.

Riding Boxo Heavens Blue, Jecca Ostrander had a breakout year in 2016, winning two AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges and ranking at the top among breeders and owners of ranch versatility horses.

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avenue to start in. The learning curve has been exceptionally steep for an old lady, but it’s been such a blessing.” If the learning curve has been steep, Jecca was born to climb. In just three years she and her horses are topping charts. With Boxo Heavens Blue, nicknamed “Burnt” after he sunburned his nose, Jecca won the Level 1 Amateur at the AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Billings, Montana. “Burnt is super cowy,” Jecca says. “He loves the challenge of a cow, which is made easier by his athleticism. He really enjoys that aspect of it greatly. If a cow comes out and doesn’t challenge him, he gets bored, but if a cow comes out and tries to get through him, this horse is like, ‘Go ahead, make my day because you’re not getting by.’” Jecca is proud of the cow sense she’s developed in her bloodlines as Box O Quarter Horses increasingly branches out into breeding for the show pen. Her ranch joins with three other ranches on odd-numbered years to offer AQHA Ranching Heritage-eligible horses at the Nebraska Quarter Horse Classic Sale. But Jecca is equally as proud of the family and working horses they offer. “We have horses we’re showing, and other people are showing our horses,” Jecca says, “but we have worked hard to give people good ranch horses and I never want to forget that market.”

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About These Statistics

This ranch horse versatility 2016 review contains information compiled and tabulated by Equi-Stat, a division of Cowboy Publishing Group. What comprises a versatility ranch horse competition varies across different associations and events. RHN leaves the reins in the hands of the associations and the competitors they serve to determine what format best displays a versatile ranch horse. For results to be included in this review, the show must focus on ranch-type events and a versatility/all-around component must exist. Monies from the all-around and the go-rounds in each individual event are included. Some events require horses to be enrolled in a program; others are considered “open.” Equi-Stat aims to report all ranch versatility monies and includes earnings from both event types. Money attributed to a horse consists of the amount of money that particular horse has won and is in no way related to who actually receives the money. Also, monies attributed to riders are not the earnings of the rider, but rather monies that have been awarded to all horses ridden by that rider in 2016. Equi-Stat continually seeks to add results from more associations. These statistics include results from the American Quarter Horse Association, Stock Horse of Texas, American Ranch Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association and Ranch Horse Association of America (as well as various independent special events). If the ranch horse association you compete with is not on this list, please encourage show organizers and association leadership to send results to Equi-Stat, at 817-737-6397, Ext. 4, or equistat@cowboypublishing.com.

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Top Shows in 2016

Show 1 Pitzer Ranch Horse Invitational 2 AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championship Show 3 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo 4 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Tri-State Fair 5 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Colorado State Fair 6 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Nile Ranch 7 AQHA Ranching Heritage, Black Hills 8 Farmers/Ranchers Livestock Ranch Horse Futurity 9 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity 10 Stock Horse of Texas World Championship/Futurity/Derby

Top Horses in 2016

Horse 1 Show Me A River (10G) 2 Cowpony Express (09G) 3 Boxo Heavens Blue (08G) 4 Sevens Brazos Zip (12S) 5 Joe Dollar Dance (11G) 6 Lil Ruf Catalyst (06S) 7 Quigley Dun Under (07G) 8 Woodys Smart Bet (10S) 9 Dry Blue Grass (12M) 10 Paddys Prince (10G)

Owner Money Rodney Doggett $18,300 Diamond JK Ranches $12,924 Jecca Ostrander $7,567 Jon Pudwill $7,125 John & Lorna Haverhals $6,480 Sarah Anne Lesh $6,470 Stegani Hargrave $5,878 Deb Garton $5,444 Bagley Performance Horses $4,822 Burnett Ranches LLC $4,764

Top Open Riders in 2016 Rider 1 Rodney Doggett 2 Mike Major

City Stapleton, NE Bowie, TX

Money $18,300 $16,657

Date 9/7 3/17 1/14 9/17 9/1 10/19 6/11 10/9 9/24 10/28 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Mozaun McKibben Tripp Townsend Myles Brown Adam Donaldson Holly Gundlach Dusty Burson Jon Pudwill Ben Baldus

City Ericson, NE Houston, TX Fort Worth, TX Amarillo, TX Pueblo, CO Billings, MT Rapid City, SD Salina, KS Reno, NV Abilene, TX Whitesboro, TX Earth, TX Stinnett, TX Mount Vernon, MO Casper, WY Lubbock, TX Scotia, NE Electra, TX

Top Non-Pro Riders in 2016 Rider 1 Stefani Hargrave 2 Gracie Jacobs 3 Jayton Baca 4 Sarah Anne Lesh 5 Judy Fortenberry 6 Ashton Dunkel

City Abilene, TX Montgomery, TX Vega, TX Whitesboro, TX Bulverde, TX Archer City, TX

Purse $53,450 $50,066 $23,608 $22,630 $20,285 $19,665 $18,114 $17,900 $16,265 $15,782 $9,747 $9,435 $7,534 $7,460 $7,290 $7,284 $7,125 $7,015 Money $3,012 $1,949 $1,852 $1,587 $1,526 $1,356

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Spring 2017

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7 8 9 10

Lanham Brown Haley Birkenfeld Randi Yocum Morgan Holmes

Top Owners in 2016

Owner 1 Rodney Doggett 2 Burnett Ranches LLC 3 Diamond JK Ranches 4 Jecca Ostrander 5 Rob Brown 6 Silver Spur Operating Co. 7 San Jon Ranch LLC 8 Jon Pudwill 9 Mozaun McKibben & Hillary Zimmerman 10 John & Lorna Haverhals

Top Breeders in 2016

Breeder 1 Pitzer Ranch 2 Burnett Ranches LLC 3 Kimberly Wilson 4 Wagonhound Land & Livestock 5 Jecca Ostrander 6 Rob Brown 7 Mike & Holly Major 8 Haythorn Land & Cattle 9 G. Roberts & M. Wier 10 WT Waggoner Estate

Throckmorton, TX Nazareth, TX Fayetteville, TX Sarasota, FL

$1,289 $1,115 $941 $883

City Stapleton, NE Fort Worth, TX Cyril, OK Gordon, NE Stinnett, TX Encampment, WY San Jon, NM Scotia, NE Whitesboro, TX

Money $18,300 $13,954 $12,924 $12,841 $12,829 $7,752 $7,290 $7,125 $6,862

Hudson, SD


City Ericson, NE Fort Worth, TX Las Animas, CO Douglas, WY Gordon, NE Stinnett, TX Bowie, TX Arthur, NE Ericson, NE Vernon, TX

Money $33,406 $26,094 $14,142 $13,275 $12,841 $12,829 $12,768 $7,825 $7,125 $7,067

Top Sires in 2016 Horse 1 Show Me A Song Joes 2 CDs Boonolena 3 WR This Cats Smart 4 PG Shogun 5 Smart Whiskey Doc 6 Two Eyed Brazos 7 SNW Heavens King 8 Ten O Sea 9 Spooks Bluestem 10 Lil Ruf Peppy

Top Dams in 2016

Horse 1 Watch Hollywood Coco 2 Roosters Note 3 Hope Stik 4 Snippy Blue Card 5 Zippo Eyed Fallon 6 WLT Vitadancer 7 Foxy Catalyst 8 Cowgirl Paddy 9 Willy N Tivio Babe 10 Gay Wooden Heart

# Performers 7 2 5 3 3 2 2 3 3 1

Money $33,368 $14,142 $11,996 $10,129 $8,722 $8,475 $8,343 $7,021 $6,802 $6,470

# Performers 1 2 3 1 1 1 1 2 1 1

Money $18,300 $14,142 $8,949 $7,567 $7,125 $6,480 $6,470 $6,344 $5,878 $5,444

ADVERTISER INDEX 5 Star Equine Products


American Stock Horse Association


Carter Ranch Horse


Cowboy Cordage, Inc.


Crofoot Ranches, Inc.


Dennis Moreland Tack


Martin Saddlery—Equibrand


Jaco Brands


K Bar J Leather


Memory Angus Ranch


Pitzer Ranch


Standlee Hay




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Spring 2017

1/23/17 3:05:13 PM 1/23/17 12:07:20 PM

PITZER RANCH SPRING SALE APRIL 22, 2017 Sale Starts 9:00 a.m.

Full Preview

Short Preview

Fri. April 21, 2017

Sat. April 22, 2017

1:00 p.m.

7-9:00 a.m.

Selling 200 Head 125 Head of Geldings and Mares broke to ride Solid Rope & Ranch Horses Broodmares, Young Horses and Studs Biggest Rope and Ranch Horse Sale in the Midwest

Contact: Jim Brinkman 308-653-2134 www.pitzerranch.net

Ranch Horse Invitational September 6, 2017

Fall Production Sale September 8 - 9, 2017

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G R E E N V I L L E • T E X A S

The Wade design was inspired by California vaqueros many years ago. Its classic style is highly traditional, time tested and ranch cowboy proven. Well known for its comfort for long days in the saddle.

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