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Spring 2018

Leading Horses, Riders, Sires & Dams of 2017

Covering and Promoting Ranch Horse Competition

TOP STOCK HORSE

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Volume 3/Number 1

Features 10 Joining Forces

Cow horse trainer Shawn a s gives five tips for successfully working cattle in the show pen. By Kate Bradley Byars

24 Ranch Horse Breeding

Leading breeders Glenn Blodgett, DVM, and Jim Brinkman discuss the progression of ranch horses, and how stock horse competitions are making an impact. By Erin Haynes

ROSS HECOX

Ranch versatility associations continue to work together, and the positive results were evident at their championship shows. By Kate Bradley Byars

20 Positioned for Success

Departments 2 Editor’s Note Thanks to association partnerships, ranch horse competition experienced growth in 2017.

On page 24, leading breeders share insight on raising and marketing top ranch versatility horses.

4 Show Calendar Find the next ranch versatility show, clinic and event nearest to you. 6 Judge’s Vantage Point Jack McComber shares keys to earning credit in ranch horse classes. 29 Behind the Numbers Every name on 2017’s year-end statistical review has a story to tell. On the Cover: Matlock Rice and Cattasan claimed the Stock Horse of Texas Open World Championship. Read more on page 10. Photo by Kate Bradley Byars.

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EDITOR’S NOTE

The Growth Game

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: Karen Fralick Digital Imaging Manager: Erik Lewis Advertising Customer Service: Nancy Hughes 817-569-7107 Emily Trupiano 817-569-7108

KATE BRADLEY BYARS

Senior Digital Strategist: Sonny Williams Digital Content Manager: Megan Thomas Business Manager: Tonya Ward Warehouse Manager: Tim Gelnaw

Riding Bucos Doctor, Jesna Long won the Non-Pro High Point Champion title at the Louisiana Stock Horse Association Finals.

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ROW OR BE LEFT BEHIND. It is a phrase used by those in numerous industries, from business icons to progressive horse breeders. Evolving in your industry is how the industry grows, and ranch horse competition is no different. This year, the associations that put together ranch versatility shows all saw growth. In fact, so many exhibitors entered versatility events and qualified for the American Quarter Horse Versatility Ranch Horse World Championship show that the event is moving to a larger facility in 2018. It will be held at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, June 14–17. Ranch Horse News will feature the show in our Fall 2018 issue. Growth in versatility shows and ranch horse events has come through association partnerships, as well as a renewed interest in a horse that can compete in multiple events. On page 10, our championship coverage highlights how growth has made for more competitive championships. Groups like Stock Horse of Texas and the Western States Versatility Ranch Horse Association both successfully pair with AQHA to boost entries and offer a 2-for-1 opportunity when competing. The American Ranch

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Horse Association has co-sanctioned American Paint Horse Association Paint Alternative Competition events to incentivize competitors from multiple stock horse breeds. The increase in participants has bolstered associations that offer a one-day clinic prior to the show. It also means there are more riders who can benefit from understanding how judges score an event. “From the Judge’s Vantage Point,” on page 6, identifies areas where a competitor can earn or lose points. “What’s the first impression you make on those judges when you walk in that arena before you do anything?” asks judge Jack McComber. “A lot of the time that carries over to how you ride, too.” In order to be the best, you must compete against the best, and that is where ranch horse association growth through increased participation comes in to play. When associations co-sanction shows, it allows exhibitors to haul once but compete for multiple titles. This makes for a cost-effective show weekend. After all, ranch horse events aren’t all about money and prizes. Competitors show up in droves for the camaraderie, the love of good horses and thrill of the competition. —Kate Bradley Byars

A Publication of the MCC Magazines, LLC a division of Morris Communications Company, LLC 735 Broad St., Augusta, GA 30901

Regional Vice President: Patty Tiberg President: Donna Kessler Director of Circulation: Scott Ferguson Morris Communications Company, LLC Chairman: William S. Morris III President & CEO: Will S. Morris IV © 2018 by Morris Communications Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

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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COMPETITIONS

2018

Versatility Show Calendar

Ranch horse versatility shows are held across the country throughout the year. The following dates are tentative at time of print; check each association’s website for up-to-date information on clinics, shows and events, and association rules. JANUARY

4–5 SHTX San Antonio, TX* 4–6 ASHA Eugene, OR 5–6 ASHA TBD, OK FEBRUARY 5–6 East Coast Stock Horse Association (ECSHA) 3–4 American Ranch Horse eastcoaststockhorse.com Association (ARHA) Reva, VA* americanranchhorse.net Bushnell, FL 12–13 ARHA Schaghticoke, NY 3–4 ARHA APRIL Murfreesboro, TN 12–13 ARHA 6–7 SHTX Elkhorn, WI 3–4 American Stock Horse Lubbock, TX* Association (ASHA) 12–13 ASHA americanstockhorse.org 6–8 ASHA Groesbeck, TX Purcell, OK Fayetteville, AR 18–20 CoWN 17–18 Oklahoma Stock Horse 7–8 ARHA Loveland, CO Association (OkSHA) Bushnell, FL oklahomastockhorseassociation.com 19 LaSH 7–8 ASHA Ardmore, OK* New Iberia, LA TBD, OK 24 LaSH 19–20 ARHA 13–15 ARHA Crowley, LA Dublin, GA Memphis, TN 24–25 Western States Versatility 19–20 ARHA 20–22 ASHA National Collegiate Sedalia, MO Ranch Horse Association Championship Show (WSVRHA) 19–20 ARHA Sweetwater, TX wsvrha.com Frankfort, KY Phoenix, AZ* 20–22 ASHA National Show 26–27 ARHA & Futurity Sweetwater, TX Murfreesboro, TN MARCH 21 LaSH 26–27 ARHA 2–4 Stock Horse of Texas (SHTX) New Roads, LA Cloverdale, IN stockhorsetexas.org 21–22 ARHA 26–27 NVRHA Bryan, TX* Dublin, GA Black Forest, CO 3–4 Colorado Wyoming Nebraska Stock Horse Association (CoWN) 21–22 ARHA Lake St. Louis, MO cownsh.com JUNE Fort Collins, CO 21–22 National Versatility Ranch 1–3 ASHA Horse Association (NVRHA) 3–4 ARHA Powell Butte, OR nvrha.org Bushnell, FL Black Forest, CO 1–3 CoWN 3–4 ASHA Loveland, CO 21–22 WSVRHA TBD, OK Clements, CA 2 LaSH 4–6 CoWN Crowley, LA 28–29 OkSHA Sterling, CO Ardmore, OK* 2–3 ASHA 16–18 ARHA TBD, OK TBD WSVRHA Memphis, TN Camp Verde, AZ * 2–3 ECSHA 17 LaSH Reva, VA* New Roads, LA 2–3 WSVRHA MAY 17–18 ARHA Paso Robles, CA Dublin, GA 3 ASHA Judges & Participant 9–10 ARHA Seminar 17–18 ASHA Berrien Springs, MI Eugene, OR Springfield, MO 20 Louisiana Stock Horse Association (LaSH) louisianastockhorse.com DeRidder, LA

17–18 OkSHA Ardmore, OK* 22–25 WSVRHA Corning, CA* 24–25 ARHA Frankfort, KY 24–25 ASHA Groesbeck, TX TBD WSVRHA Camp Verde, AZ*

9–10 ARHA Frankfort, KY 16–17 ARHA Schaghticoke, NY 23 LaSH New Roads, LA 23–24 ARHA Deerfield, WI 29–30 SHTX Dripping Springs, TX* TBD NVRHA location TBD

JULY

7–8 ASHA TBD, OK 7–8 ECSHA Reva, VA* 7–8 NVRHA Black Forest, CO 15–21 ARHA World Championship Show Cloverdale, IN 20–21 SHTX Athens, TX* 20–22 ASHA Eugene, OR 21 LaSH West Monroe, LA 28–29 ARHA Berrien Springs, MI TBD WSVRHA Seligman, AZ* TBD CoWN Fort Lupton, CO

AUGUST

TBD NVRHA location TBD 3–4 SHTX Sweetwater, TX* 4–5 ARHA Schaghticoke, NY 4–5 ARHA Custer, WI 4–5 ASHA TBD, OK

*Denotes combined show with American Quarter Horse Association Versatility Ranch Horse competition, or AQHA Ranch Riding event.

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11–12 WSVRHA Carmel, CA 11–12 CoWN Brighton, CO 17–19 ASHA Eugene, OR 25–26 ARHA Cloverdale, IN 25–26 ASHA Mora, MO

SEPTEMBER

1–2 ARHA Custer, WI 1–2 ARHA Murfreesboro, TN 1–2 ECSHA Reva, VA* 7–8 SHTX Hamilton, TX* 8–9 ARHA Berrien Springs, MI 8–9 ARHA Frankfort, KY 8–9 ASHA TBD, OK

9 NVRHA Black Forest, CO 15 LaSH Amite, LA 15–16 ARHA Dublin, GA 15–16 WSVRHA Lincoln, CA 15–16 CoWN Brighton, CO 21–22 NVRHA Finals Black Forest, CO 21–22 SHTX Bryan, TX* 22–23 ARHA Cloverdale, IN 22–23 ASHA Mora, MO 28–30 ASHA Fayetteville, AR 29–30 ARHA Schaghticoke, NY TBD WSVRHA Camp Verde, AZ *

OCTOBER

6–7 ARHA Bushnell, FL 6–7 ASHA TBD, OK 6–7 ECSHA Reva, VA* 12–13 CoWN Fort Collins, CO 12–14 ASHA Eugene, OR 13–14 ARHA Elkhorn, WI 13–14 NVRHA Black Forest, CO 18–22 ARHA Cloverdale, IN 19–21 WSVRHA Finals Lincoln, CA 20 LaSH New Iberia, LA 20–21 ARHA Dublin, GA 20–21 ASHA Springfield, MO 26–28 SHTX World Championship Show,

Futurity & Derby Abilene, TX 27–28 ASHA Groesbeck, TX

NOVEMBER

3–4 ARHA Frankfort, KY 3–4 ARHA Bushnell, FL 3–4 ASHA Region 1 Championship Clinic & Show TBD, OK 10–11 ARHA Murfreesboro, TN 17–18 ARHA Dublin, GA 17–18 ARHA Lake St. Louis, MO 17–18 LaSH Finals DeRidder, LA 30–Dec 2 CoWN Loveland, CO

DECEMBER 1–2 ARHA Bushnell, FL

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SHOW TIPS

From the Judge’s Vantage Point Jack McComber shares keys to earning credit in ranch horse classes.

Article by Bonnie Wheatley Photography by Ross Hecox

Reading and maintaining control of the cow while boxing it, as well as turning it down the fence, is the main objective of cow work.

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ESIGNED TO SHOWCASE the desirable qualities of working ranch horses in a show environment, ranch horse competitions have gained popularity across the country. From the rising popularity of the American Quarter Horse Association Versatility Ranch Horse classes to Ranch Horse Association of America shows, which have been around since 1998, there are many options and a wide gamut of rules and class standards with which to become familiar, especially if you’re just venturing into the arena of ranch competition. Longtime RHAA judge and board member Jack McComber of Rocky Ford, Colorado, explains how to effectively prepare to make credit-earning runs when stepping off the ranch and riding into the show arena. “The No. 1 thing to do to be prepared is to read the rules,” McComber says. “Familiarize yourself well in advance with what the class you’re entering is designed to showcase, and plan accordingly.”

SMOOTH TRANSITIONS

Good ranch horses are adaptable and user-friendly. The ranch horse’s ability to transition seamlessly from one maneuver to the next demonstrates this, and it’s a trait McComber says judges are looking for when awarding credit in ranch horse classes. “Your goal in the show pen is to be smooth,” he says. “For instance, in the reining portion it’s all about making transitions, so the smoother the transitions are made, the less you draw attention to your weak spots.”

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Staying in the “credit zone” means learning to do each maneuver required while making it look easy. “Instead of practicing a huge stop over and over again, ask yourself how you can go from the stop to the rollback, or the stop to the back-up, with ease,” McComber says. “You know you have to change leads, stop, spin—all those more advanced maneuvers—but don’t overlook the fact that the transitions are equally, if not more, important than a great big stop in a ranch horse type of competition.” McComber says that knowing the parameters governing your class is paramount to achieving success. “At a National Reined Cow Horse Association-sanctioned show, a huge stop would be more important, so read the standards set forth for your class well in advance and practice accordingly. Review the rules, look over the judges’ sheets and have in mind areas in which you can earn credit,” he says. “For instance, NRCHA reining patterns call for riders to hesitate between maneuvers; in the RHAA the runs are timed, so you can’t afford to burn that time on the clock. You have to practice smoothly going from circles to stops to turnarounds without rushing, but without wasting time, either.” At RHAA events, McComber says the fast-paced nature of the timed run is challenging even for judges. “Had I not gained experience and training as a National Cutting Horse Association and National Reined Cow Horse Association judge in the past, I’d have had a harder time with it,” he says.

Demonstrating courage and riding aggressively earn credit as long as the contestant remains in control.

READING CATTLE

At its heart, a ranch horse contest emphasizes the ability of the horse and rider to read cattle. Cattle handling is crucial to earning credit. “When working a cow, exhibitors in ranch horse classes have to maintain control of a cow all the time,” McComber says. “In the RHAA, our rules stipulate control of a cow; that’s the emphasis. People—particularly those who are beginners—often don’t realize that the greater the separation between your horse and the cow, the more the judge is going to deduct because you’re letting the cow dictate your next move. You’re not in control.”

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Big stops earn high marks from the judge, but so do smooth transitions.

Ranch Horse News 7 1/21/18 10:24:00 PM


tracking can be evaluated [by the judge],” McComber says. Again, good position and not overexposing your horse are key. “So many beginners try to take a shot out of the corner, or they catch and rush the dally so they’re not [traveling] straight for their stops, which gets the horse jerked off balance,” McComber says. “Sometimes when riders catch, they should not stop where they caught. Even if it’s slower to follow the cow a stride or two, if they get a straight stop when they dally, even if it’s at a trot, it’s worth more than doing something too fast and getting your horse jerked off balance.”

PET PEEVES

Setting up the cow and getting in position are key to earning points in the roping portion of a run. Knowing your horse’s strengths and weaknesses is also crucial to setting up a credit-earning cow work. “As soon as that cow steps into the pen and your horse hooks up with it, you evaluate what type of cow it is and get a strategy,” McComber says. “If you overexpose your horse—by that I mean step up and scare an already wild type of cow—that will detract from the run quality. By the same token, showing courage and not riding too conservatively is credit-earning, so know your horse and how to demonstrate his strengths. It’s a fine line. Some horses can handle a tougher cow better than others. On a younger, greener horse, you might want to box a little longer to present the best picture. Know your horse and read your cow.” McComber says that reading a cow at the start of your run will often dictate how your run unfolds and finishes. He also believes proficient judges recognize early in a run when a new cow should be awarded if the first cow drawn doesn’t provide a fair chance for the rider to show his or her horse.

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“In the ranch horse show atmosphere, whether it’s RHAA or versatility or whatever it is, I believe a judge needs to make a decision on [whether] a cow [will perform adequately for the rider] in the first 15 or 20 seconds; once they start down the fence it’s too late,” McComber says. “So, if a cow gets bad, like for the roping portion, it may well be because the contestant exhausted it or they didn’t make enough turns to slow it down enough to get a smooth, controlled shot to where it fit their roping skill. “That is showmanship and knowing how to evaluate a cow. I’ve judged people who ended up just standing there because they’ve misused the cow. They didn’t know how to read or use a cow, or how long to box.”

ROPING A WIN

The pressure of roping—and catching—has arguably resulted in more show-pen nerves and wakeful nights than some of the other ranch horse maneuvers. “In the roping, being smooth and knowing how to set up a cow is critical to getting a nice run put together where speed, rate and

McComber says it’s important to value the judges’ time when presenting your horse in the show ring. There are a few ways to quickly earn disdain. Understanding how to ride the pattern correctly, work the cow and execute maneuvers in a credit-earning manner appeals to the judge, McComber says. The opposite— entering the show pen unprepared and uninformed—can communicate disrespect. “The person who has not done their homework on how to show a horse is wasting everyone’s time. That is almost like you’re offending the judge,” he explains. “They might have a good horse, but they might have a good horse that has not been prepared adequately, or not understand how to ride a pattern. They may not understand the rules, and that hurts their run.” McComber adds that pride in appearance also can’t be ignored. While the equipment is not being judged, make sure it’s neat, clean and meets the rules stipulated for the class before riding into the show pen. “As soon as you ride in that pen, remember that you are being judged,” he says. “Just because it’s a ranch horse class, you don’t need to show up with dirty equipment; it shows pride in yourself and your horse to clean things up when you come to the show.” The importance of making a good first impression, regardless of the organization or class in which you are showing, should not be overlooked. “What is the first impression you make on those judges when you walk in that arena before you do anything?” McComber asks. “A lot of the time, that carries over to how you ride, too.”

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KATE BRADLEY BYARS

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Ranch versatility associations continue to work together, and the positive results were evident at their championship shows. By Kate Bradley Byars

Ridden by Mark Sunday, Mac N Merada captured the junior horse title at the Louisiana Stock Horse Association Finals.

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QUICK FACTS

Member States: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, plus Canada and New Zealand Membership: 3,000 Founded: 2004 Championship show: July 16-22, 2017 americanranchhorse.net

WORLD CHAMPIONS OPEN

Champion: Tinsel Lena ridden by Jeremy Swainbank for owner Giovanna Di Scala Reserve Champion: HS Starlight Whiz ridden by Martin Schwartz for owner Mary Madigan

AMATEUR

Champion: Karen Phillips riding Boom Or Shine Reserve Champion: Megan Whitehurst riding Platinum Boon COURTESY ARHA

NOVICE AMATEUR

Champion: Christa Stone riding Hollywood Hot Sauce Reserve Champion: Stacey Sanders riding Barkeeper

Jeremy Swainbank and Tinsel Lena

Miss Kitty

AMERICAN RANCH HORSE ASSOCIATION

Champion: Karen Phillips riding Leavin With Me Reserve Champion: Carol Brookshaw riding Shining Tag

The 2017 American Ranch Horse Association World Championship Show was held July 16–22 at the C Bar C Expo Center in Cloverdale, Indiana. The event brought together competitors from the Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New York and Tennessee ARHA affiliates, and individual members from 34 states, to compete for world champion buckles and vie for the America’s Top Ranch Horse title. The ARHA is broken into six regional groups, allowing competitors from across the country to ride their horses in an affordable, fun and family-friendly setting. The association has the greatest amount of activity east of the Mississippi, with some shows to the west. Alliances with associations like the American Paint Horse Association’s Paint Alternative Competition Program (PAC) encourage more exhibitors of all stock horse breeds. “Everyone is competitive in the ring, but it is a friendly atmosphere,” says Erica Keeney, ARHA executive secretary. “We offer PAC co-sanctioned classes, and some of our groups offer AQHA versatility classes and the [National Reined Cow Horse Association] classes. Some of our charter shows are pretty big and there are not enough hours in the day to add more classes.” Youth, novice youth, amateur, novice amateur and open riders compete in ranch boxing, ranch cutting, ranch roping, ranchmanship, ranch reining, ranch riding, ranch trail and horsemanship. The association also offers timed events like cow catching, barrels, poles and sorting. “The biggest appeal [for members] is the number of classes we offer and the divisions,” Keeney says. “In 2010, when the economy slumped, showing was put on the back burner. We are seeing a lot of people come back, and new members. We’ve had steady interest in this type of horse and venue.”

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SELECT

Champion: Elaina Daniel riding Cardinal Chic Reserve Champion: Alexis Hill riding DP Smart Hanna

YOUTH 13 & UNDER

Champion: Allie Ann Wheeler riding Dun Played You Boys Reserve Champion: Patrick Prater on One Time Bugsy Champion: Ryan Wolfe riding Dakota Sugar Jet Reserve Champion: Brooke Salmon riding 7 Tulia Trial

NOVICE YOUTH

Champion: Taryn Crummett riding Keg Of Jules Reserve Champion: Raylynn Steele riding My Texas Ranger OPEN: Tinsel Lena, ridden by Jeremy Swainbank and owned by Giovanna Di Scala AMATEUR: David Watt riding Cheri Has Dun It Big YOUTH: Patrick Prater riding One Time Bugs

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LOUISIANA STOCK HORSE ASSOCIATION

Whitney Moody riding Pocos TNT

QUICK FACTS

Member States: Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas Membership: 250 Founded: 2006 Championship show: November 18, 2017 louisianastockhorse.com

FINALS CHAMPIONS OPEN High-Point Champion: Karen Ainsworth riding Sneaking Whizkey Reserve High-Point Champion: Jim Gauthier riding Poco Spring 2018

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The Louisiana Stock Horse Association ended its 2017 show year on November 19, with a two-day final show in DeRidder, Louisiana, at the Beauregard Parish Civic Center Arena. The event brought together open, non-pro, junior horse, amateur, novice and youth riders competing in five events for a champion title. Association President Jim Gauthier says the year ended with the same atmosphere that was evident throughout the show season, with friends and friendly competition. “Our membership really helps each other. We are friendly, and we see people coming back because of the welcoming group we have,” he says. “We’d really like to add to our shows with co-sanctioned events, like with [the American Quarter Horse Association]. It is all about continuing to make our [association] better.” Riders from East Texas, across Louisiana and into Mississippi compete in LaSH events. Riders qualify for the year-end finals by attending and competing in a minimum of six shows. Below are the finals and year-end LaSH champions. NON-PRO High-Point Champion: Jesna Long riding Bucos Doctor Reserve High-Point Champion: Bryan Cook riding Royally Smart Ernie JUNIOR HORSE High-Point Champion: Mark Sunday riding Mac N Merada Reserve High-Point Champion: Scott Long riding Style AMATUER High-Point Champion: Liz Gagnet riding Smart Tinsel Chic

Reserve High-Point Champion: Christina Kinniard riding Prices Bar Glo NOVICE High-Point Champion: Whitney Moody riding Pocos TNT Reserve High-Point Champion: Lee Alford riding Chexn In For Charlie YOUTH 14-18 High-Point Champion: Tanner Trahan riding Sally Reserve High-Point Champion: Trinity Patton riding Woody Be Roan YOUTH 13 & UNDER High-Point Champion: Isabelle Gonzalez riding Shortys Whiz Reserve High-Point Champion: Trinity Moody riding Red Hot Onion

OPEN High-Point Champion: Layne DuBose riding Hannah Reserve High-Point Champion: Karen Ainsworth riding Sneaking Whizkey NON-PRO High-Point Champion: Bryan Cook riding Royally Smart Ernie Reserve High-Point Champion: Kyle Richey riding Scoot Oh Cay JUNIOR HORSE High-Point Champion: Steve Theriot riding Little Annie Smart Reserve High-Point Champion: Mark Sunday riding Mac N Merada AMATEUR High-Point Champion: Christina Kinnaird riding Prices Bar Glo Reserve High-Point Champion: Johnny Steib riding Cat Call Smooth NOVICE High-Point Champion: Whitney Moody riding Pocos TNT Reserve High-Point Champion: Emie Johnson riding Tessa YOUTH 14-18 High-Point Champion: Emie Johnson riding Tessa Reserve High-Point Champion: Tanner Trahan riding Sally YOUTH 13 & UNDER High-Point Champion: Trinity Moody riding Red Hot Onion Reserve High-Point Champion: Isabelle Gonzalez riding Shortys Whiz

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Y HOTOGRA C LAURA TAT

Stephany Sitarii and SLJ Ruby Slippers

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QUICK FACTS

Member States: Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming Membership: 150 Founded: 2007 Championship show: September 22-24, 2017 nvrha.org

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NATIONAL VERSATILITY RANCH HORSE ASSOCIATION

The National Versatility Ranch Horse Association celebrated 10 years of competition at the September 22–24, 2017, national finals event held at Latigo Trails Equestrian Center in Elbert, Colorado. Competitors from 10 states attended, competing in five events for individual class and all-around awards. At the 10th anniversary event, NVRHA joined with the Kit Carson Riding Club to help raise $5,000 each for The Remount Foundation and The Home Front Cares, groups to assist veterans in the Colorado Springs, Colorado, area. The NVRHA was founded in 2007 with a focus on education and competition. All NVRHA events have a one-day mandatory clinic followed by a day of competing under the guidance and support of the clinician. During the show’s award ceremony, a detailed score sheet is provided to competitors as part of the continuing education commitment the association has to its members. The association’s continued success is fueled by their dedicated membership. The association awards a Most Improved Rider, which was Stephany Sitarii aboard SLJ Ruby Slippers, as well as a Horseman of the Year, given to Channing Hawks.

NATIONAL FINALS CHAMPIONS OPEN /World’s Greatest Versatility Ranch Horse: Magic Dance Man ridden by Kelly Messera AMATEUR Champion: Alecia Heinz riding Golden H Mister T Reserve Champion: Kay Cornelius riding HR Playing Dori NOVICE Champion: Anna Shafer riding Olenas Lil Wrangler Reserve Champion: Teresa Danielson riding Prairie Wild Fire

LIMITED Champion: Jan May riding Electric Element Reserve Champion: Megan Newlon riding Langtrees CD

S NOVICE Champion: Teresa Danielson riding Prairie Wild Fire Reserve Champion: Samantha Hagar riding Eds Parr Leo Belle

Reserve Champion: Megan Newlon riding Langtrees CD AMATEUR Champion: Carlos Osorio riding AR Especial Reserve Champion: Stephany Sitarii riding SLJ Ruby Slippers OPEN Champion: SLJ Ruby Slippers ridden by Stephany Sitarii

LIMITED Champion: Paulette Marshall riding Sontivio Moon

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WILLIE GOMEZ

Matlock Rice and Cattasan

STOCK HORSE OF TEXAS

The 2017 Stock Horse of Texas Western Horseman World Championship Show saw riders from 13 states compete in seven divisions for titles. There were more than 1,600 entries competing on 241 horses from October 27–29 at the Taylor County Expo in Abilene, Texas. SHTX Executive Director Jill Dunkel says that SHTX continues to grow because of dedicated members and strategic alliances. In 2017, SHTX aligned with the Colorado-Wyoming-Nebraska Stock Horse Association, known as CoWN, and the Texas Quarter Horse Association to provide additional opportunities for members to gain year-end points and show experience. “All the groups in the industry should work for the greater good of the horse industry. We added joint TQHA-approved shows as a service to our SHTX members who also show in the AQHA classes we offer, the ranch versatility and the ranch riding,” Dunkel explains. “TQHA is a good partner with us and we felt it was a good way to work together to promote events and, in turn, allow members to receive additional points. CoWN is also an affiliate of SHTX. Their association follows our rules, and everything they do is in coordination with us. They have their own year-end awards; however, their members are SHTX members and are welcome to compete at our shows.” The large number of horses and riders competing boosted event payouts in the Stock Horse of Texas Futurity and the Derby to more than $25,000. Here are the 2017 SHTX world champions.

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QUICK FACTS

Member States: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming Association founded: 1998 Membership: 1,500 Championship show: October 27–29, 2017 stockhorsetexas.org

WORLD CHAMPIONS OPEN Champion: Cattasan ridden by Matlock Rice Reserve Champion: Tread Litely ridden by Mike Major

INTERMEDIATE Champion: Larry Walker riding Boots Tuff Reserve Champion: Meredith McDavid riding One Smoke N Chex

NON-PRO Champion: Jason Seymour riding Smart Wiskey Pistol Reserve Champion: Sarah Anne McKibben riding His Royal Cat

NOVICE Champion: Courtlyn Ranly riding TAMU Pop A San Doc Reserve Champion: Audrey Whitehead riding Dual Smarts Smooth

LIMITED NON-PRO Champion: Lyndi Starr riding Juliette Starlight Reserve Champion: Emily Woodard riding The Dream Senorita

YOUTH Champion: Marialyssa McDavid riding Top Stoppin Dun It Reserve Champion: Jordan Cheek riding KMZ Irish Cowboy

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1/17/18 5:23:01 PM


12 & UNDER YOUTH Champion: Allora Elizabeth Leonard riding This Shiners Smokin Reserve Champion: Mason Elliott riding The Fletcherator JUNIOR Champion: Roy Fischer riding Kings Melody Reserve Champion: Shawn Holden riding Mac N Merada FUTURITY Champion: Automatic Stik owned and shown by Mike Major Reserve Champion: Britches Pleeese owned and shown by Morgan Holmes Non-Pro Futurity Incentive Rider: Morgan Holmes riding Britches Pleeese

Reserve Champion: Tread Litely ridden by Mike Major, owned by Jody Brooks Non-Pro Futurity Incentive Rider: T T LIMITED DERBY Champion: Sarah Anne McKibben riding His Royal Cat Reserve Champion: Roy Fischer riding Kings Melody

Reserve Champion: Jazzy Lilclancy

T

INTERMEDIATE Champion: u T Reserve Champion: Mandy Harris riding CR Wolfwood NOVICE Champion: Audrey Whitehead riding Dual Smarts Smooth Reserve Champion: Alicia Walker riding Travapower Lady

OPEN Champion: Cattasan ridden by Matlock Rice and owned by Susan Rice Reserve Champion: CD Magical Lights, owned and shown by Fielding “Bozo”Rogers

YOUTH Champion: Teghan Brooks riding Jac Smart Reserve Champion: Madison Miller riding Cee Hickory Doc

LIMITED FUTURITY Champion: Leslie Thompson riding CG Stylish Twister Reserve Champion: Kendra Smith riding Show ff

NON-PRO Champion: Jennifer Travis-Muir riding Smart N Sleek Reserve Champion: Sarah Anne McKibben riding His Royal Cat

JUNIOR Champion: Roy Fischer riding Kings Melody Reserve Champion: Jimmy Lee Vick riding Hondo Playinstylish

DERBY Champion: Seven S Woodrow ridden by Ben Baldus, owned by Jerry Ward

LIMITED NON-PRO Champion: Emily Woodard riding The Dream Senorita

Spring 2018

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Ranch Horse News 17 1/17/18 8:59:27 1/22/18 5:23:02 AM PM


JORDAN LAINE PHOTOGRAPHY

Charmaine Weiser and Just Very Smart

WESTERN STATES VERSATILITY RANCH HORSE ASSOCIATION

The 2017 Western States Versatility Ranch Horse Association crowned year-end division champions October 20–22, 2017, at the Triple Crown Equestrian Center in Lincoln, California. The WSVRHA is a joining of the Arizona and California stock horse associations that both stepped away from membership in the National Versatility Stock Horse Association. Though a young association, it has grown tremendously in the last year. “Western States altogether is close to 300 members in California and Arizona,” says President Rebecca Grant. “We are seeing more and more interest all the time. It is funny because people say they’ve never heard about [versatility stock horse] for 10 years and we’ve been advertising, and now it is being noticed. People find the Arizona horse network pages on Facebook and putting notices about our events on those helps get out awareness and emphasize the social aspect of our events.” With a strong Northern California contingent and well-developed membership in northern and central Arizona, scheduling a convenient championship location is challenging. But in 2018, Grant says the group looks to grow membership in Southern California, providing another area to hold the year-end event. In addition, many of the Arizona WSVRHA shows are co-sanctioned with American Quarter Horse Association ranch versatility classes. “Our focus is on bringing in the new riders and bringing people into versatility ranch horse. Last year, we did do co-sanctioned shows where we were at bigger Quarter Horse shows,” Grant says. “That didn’t work as well for us because our lower-end riders, the novice and intermediate, were overwhelmed by the atmosphere at a big show. This year, we are going to focus on our own stand-alone weekend shows and make them AQHA-approved for our members that want the points. Plus, this is more cost effective for our members.” The 2017 champions are listed on the following page.

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QUICK FACTS

Member States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Canada (note: some members from distant states spend the winter in Arizona) Founded: 2014 (2007 as a member of NVRHA) Membership: 300 Championship show: October 20–22, 2017 wsvrha.com

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FINALS CHAMPIONS OPEN All-Around Champion: Very Smart Cow ff All-Around Reserve Champion: Truckin Buddy ridden by Bob Grant NOVICE All-Around Champion: Heather Bryant riding Sparklin Wine All-Around Reserve Champion: Charmaine Weiser and Just Very Smart LIMITED All-Around Champion: Alexi Connell riding Nics Back In Black All-Around Reserve Champion: Jody Smith riding Winston Oak Olena INTERMEDIATE All-Around Champion: Dawn Poston riding Fresnos Plain Peppy All-Around Reserve Champion: Mary Nelson riding Colonettes Pepper ADVANCED All-Around Champion: Andrea Pasek riding Simply Bountiful

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All-Around Reserve Champion: Kathryn Schafer riding Dualon Chic YOUTH All-Around Champion: Lauren Langbaum and Little Soldado All-Around Reserve Champion: Mei Mei Dorrance and Lenas Dun It Smart Select Rider: Jody Smith Junior Horse Champion: Just Very Smart owned by Charmaine Weiser

NOVICE All-Around Champion: Bruce Blodgett riding Pennys From Prize All-Around Reserve Champion: Heather Bryant riding Sparklin Wine LIMITED All-Around Champion: Alexi Connell riding Nics Back In Black All-Around Reserve Champion: Kim Donlon riding SR Dixie Chexx

INTERMEDIATE All-Around Champion: Dawn Poston riding Fresnos Plain Peppy All-Around Reserve Champion: Mary Nelson riding Colonettes Pepper ADVANCED All-Around Champion: Leslie Vitalie riding One Cool Diamond All-Around Reserve Champion: Maribeth Darras riding Sanjo Lights OPEN RIDER Champion: Kathy Torres Reserve Champion:

ff

YOUTH RIDER Champion: Armita Gohary Reserve Champion: Taimane Faiaipau Select Rider: Dawn Poston Junior Horse Champion: Just Very Smart owned by Charmaine Weiser

Ranch Horse News 19 1/19/18 1/22/18 11:49:05 8:17:31 AM


POSITIONED FOR SUCCESS Working cattle is a complex act, especially when under pressure in competition. Cow horse trainer Shawn Hays gives five tips for a successful performance. tory by ate ra ey yars • Photography by Ross Hecox

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OW HORSE TRAINERS spend a lot of time watching cattle, learning to recognize how a cow may react by reading its body language. They also watch other riders, and world champion ranch riding and working cow horse trainer Shawn Hays has noticed several common rider errors. “People start their run down the fence in a corner, and their horse is often facing the opposite way than the cow,” says the 2017 American Quarter Horse Association Junior Ranch Riding World Champion. The Nocona, Texas, trainer competes in the National Reined Cow Horse Association and AQHA, with multiple top-10 finishes and wins in NRCHA aged events, as well as AQHA world championship titles in roping, working cow horse and ranch riding. “You start out behind [the cow], then you are hustling to play catch-up. By starting the fence run in the right spot, you can set up a better run,” he says. Whether showing in a boxing-only class—which now requires the horse and

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rider to work one end of the arena, drive to the other and box, then drive back to the opposite end—or in a working cow horse class that includes fence work, proper position will affect your outcome. Here, Hays offers five tips to help riders make a successful run.

BOX WITH PURPOSE

Versatility stock horse associations, AQHA and NRCHA have boxing-only classes to allow riders who do not want to go down the fence an opportunity to compete. This places emphasis on what some view as the “simple” portion of the working cow horse class. In truth, boxing sets the tone for the entire run. “A lot of people believe boxing is designed only to run the cow out of air before it goes down the fence,” Hays explains. “You do want to tire the cow a little, but it is really designed for the rider to figure out what kind of cow he has.”

1

Read the Cow

In general, a rider can draw two types of cattle: one that honors the horse

and faces up, and one that never looks at the horse. “A cow that won’t ‘head’ will keep banging up and down the fence and never look at you,” says Hays. “That cow is going to tell me that it might not head very well when we go down the fence. “If that cow starts moving across the pen and you are in position where you should be, and it honors you, looks and turns back, that tells me I should think of rating it back a little more down the fence. If I get on top of that cow, it might head quick.” Knowing the type of cow will help prepare for the rest of the run, and will help determine how the rider shows his or her horse to the judges. “In a strictly boxing class, it presents a prettier picture to the judge if that cow stops, turns and looks at you [when you head it in the proper position],” he says. “But boxing classes are luck of the draw. If you are going wall to wall and you are in position where you should be, you can’t do anything about a cow that won’t honor you and the judge shouldn’t dock you.”

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Shawn Hays says the ideal position when boxing is for the rider’s stirrup to be even with the cow’s shoulder.

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Ranch Horse News 21 1/17/18 4:50:56 PM


POSITIONED FOR SUCCESS “I see a lot of riders trailing behind [while boxing], and their horse’s head is at the cow’s belly. That position makes it hard to get the cow stopped.” —SHAWN HAYS

A cow that tends to look away from the horse and rider does not typically work well in the arena. Reading cattle during the boxing portion is imperative to a successful fence run.

2

Get in Position

Hays emphasizes being in the right position on the cow to dictate how it will move when boxing. “I like my stirrup or my shoulder to be even with the cow’s shoulder, or even a little ahead,” he says. “I see a lot of riders trailing behind, and their horse’s head is at the cow’s belly. That position makes it hard for the horse to get over and get the cow stopped. “If your horse has any cow instinct in him at all, when you stop the cow at its hip or belly, the horse will draw a step back and then turn. Then you are ahead of the cow and that opens a big gate for the cow to run behind you and up the middle of the arena. You want to stop even with the cow’s head so that when it turns, your horse draws back and turns right there with it.” If the cow goes only wall to wall, many riders want to initiate a stop and turn

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with the cow, but Hays cautions against that in boxing. While containing the cow in the middle of the pen is the goal, some cows refuse to honor a horse and rider that is in the proper position to stop and turn it. “I want to stay in proper position and not try to step up and in front of a cow that is not honoring me. There are times I step outside that cow, get ahead and try to stop the cow,” he explains. “If it stops and turns when I am in front, I left a big window open for that cow to shoot off the wall, and then I’m in trouble. Every cow has a bubble of where it will stop and turn when you’re in position. Some cows won’t stop unless you are dead in front of it. Let the fence stop the cow instead of taking the chance of losing the cow up the middle. Stay in position and let your horse get hooked to the cow.”

3

Box and Back Off

Sometimes a rider needs to be in tighter with the cow to control its movement, Hays says. Watching non-pro riders box, Hays has noticed that if the rider moves the horse in tighter to direct the cow, often, he or

she doesn’t move back out. This can cause a loss of control. “They walk in tight to move the cow and forget to draw back out once the cow gets moving,” Hays says. “Then it’s too much pressure on the cow when you’re right on top of it, and it is hard to maintain control for the entire boxing run. If you stay right on the cow and he goes left or right, and the horse just turns without drawing back, that is going to pressure the cow while leaving an opening for it to run up the pen.” Hays says that when a cow comes in the middle of the pen and stands there, he walks directly toward it. As soon as the cow breaks left or right, the horse should draw a step back and then go left or right. This keeps the horse in position but not on top of the cow, which takes some pressure off the cow. “Use your cow-side leg to move out away from the cow and not stay right on top of it,” he explains. “I practice drawing back and then turning at home, so the horse isn’t used to turning on top of the cow. Staying in too tight is like pouring gasoline on the fire. Remember to draw back off the cow, or it will all go downhill from there.”

DOWN THE FENCE

Though it is thought of as the exciting part of the cow horse class, the fence run builds off of a solid boxing work. Before a horse and rider go down the fence, the team needs to read the cow and be hooked up and in position to make a successful run. However, the rider needs to be active in positioning the horse and cow prior to taking off.

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1

Start in the Middle

“I always tell people to finish boxing in the middle and then go down the fence,” Hays says. “You want to start the run down the fence going in the same direction, with the same rate and speed as the cow. “By bringing the cow back to the middle before driving it to the corner, you give yourself an advantage. Once you decide to go down the fence, be aggressive and get on the cow’s hip immediately. Act like you are attached to him like a sidecar and drive the cow around the corner.” This sets up a great boxing drive as well as a good fence run. Setting up the run properly from the middle eliminates the chance of getting behind the cow at the start of fence work.

2

Rate, Don’t Charge

Cow horses should rate off the cow’s hip, says Hays. Yet many riders rate in what he refers to as “roping position,” where the horse is trailing the cow. That can lead to the rider having to ride the horse too aggressively to get to the front of the cow to make the fence turn. “If you have been coming from behind a lot, then that horse is going to get a little chargey,” he explains. “Practice getting to the cow’s hip early and instead of going all the way down the fence, break the horse down to a trot or walk and let the cow go. I don’t want the horse to think that every time we go through a corner, he needs to go 90 miles per hour down the fence.” Practice rating cattle off the hip at home to make sure your horse is comfortable running, or loping, in that position. “I want the horse to relax running next to the cow,” Hays says. “The horse’s head should be at the cow’s flank or belly, and this is where I want the horse to be comfortable. The fence is like a rundown; I don’t want to go all-out as soon as I lope off, but I want to build it until I turn the cow.” With proper position and aggressive riding, any cow can take a horse and rider to a big score in the cow work—whether boxing or going down the fence. “I hear people come out of the pen and say they had a bad cow,” Hays says. “Well, sometimes they didn’t. When the rider is behind and not in position, even a good cow won’t work for you.”

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An exciting boxing run includes plenty of hard stops with the cow. But it’s equally important for the horse and rider to draw back through the turn and maintain position.

The best position going down the fence is on the cow’s hip (above), not trailing behind (below).

Ranch Horse News 23 1/17/18 4:51:12 PM


RANCH HORSE BREEDING THEN & NOW Leading breeders Glenn Blodgett, DVM, and Jim Brinkman discuss the progression of ranch horses, and how stock horse competitions are making an impact. Interview by Erin Haynes • Photography by Ross Hecox

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Spring 2018

1/17/18 4:44:37 PM


M

OST OF US who talk about the influence of great horses like Doc O’Lena and Gay Bar King never got to lay hands or even eyes on the legends. As a young horse show junkie on the road with his grandfather Howard Pitzer, Jim Brinkman was one of the fortunate few. That firsthand experience observing such legendary horses still inspires Brinkman, 58, as he guides the Pitzer Ranch’s breeding program—one that began with another legend, Pitzer’s stallion Two Eyed Jack (who sired 14 American Quarter Horse Association World Champions and 119 open AQHA Champions), and continues today with a 400-head broodmare band and 12 standing stallions. The Ericson, Nebraska, ranch produces performance and ranch horses

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and holds two annual sales, each averaging—including consignments—400 head. When Glenn Blodgett, DVM, joined the Four Sixes Ranch as head veterinarian and horse division manager, the bloodlines of storied horses like Joe Hancock and Hollywood Gold were the foundation for the horse breeding program. During his 35 years in Guthrie, Texas, Blodgett’s work with that stock has resulted in the program becoming an all-time leading breeder of AQHA performance horses and winning the AQHA Best Remuda Award in1993. Today, the ranch maintains a 70-horse broodmare band and stands 16 stallions, producing dozens of foals each year for sale and for the ranch’s cowboys. The two horsemen, who are at the forefront of the ranch horse industry’s development but are rooted in legendary heritage, each sat down with Ranch Horse

News to share their insights on how ranch horse breeding has evolved into an industry that flourishes today.

RHN: How has ranch horse breeding evolved? Brinkman: The old ranch horses, they

were good 8-year-olds; they weren’t good 3-year-olds. It took longer to get them broke. They were a colder blooded, stronger horse—a horse you’d make the outside circle on. Nowadays, lots of places make the outside circle on a four-wheeler, and they haul their horses to the pens in a trailer. I wouldn’t say the horses aren’t as sound, but they’re not as rugged. You turned out the old horses into the hills for the winter, they lived on willow trees and tall grass, and they grew [long] hair on their legs. They were very tough. They had to be or they didn’t

Ranch Horse News 25 1/17/18 4:44:41 PM


Glenn Blodgett, DVM, shown here with Sixes Pick, has managed the Four Sixes Ranch horse program for 35 years.

make it. Nowadays, most horses are kept in a barn. Consequently, they’re a little softer and easier to get along with. A horse cow-kicking you when you cinch him up, we don’t have very much of that anymore. In general, horses don’t have as good withers as they used to. Withers are an important thing we should retain. The cutters and reiners like a horse that kind of runs downhill. It helps their events, but it’s a bad deal for a ranch horse because he’s got to have a wither if he’s going to have a saddle on him all day and not be sore. Horses today definitely have more “cow.” There were some pretty cowy horses in the old days, too, but we have bred these horses like Border Collies over the last 20 to 30 years. They also stop bigger.

Blodgett: The type of ranch work we’re

doing [at the Four Sixes] and the type of horse we’re raising is the same as it was 30 years ago, except we’re making one that can do the job better, stay sounder longer and also be in demand for the public. Our major goal is to produce a useful horse on the ranch

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We’re not breeding here specifically for a ranch versatility show horse, but I think most of our horses just naturally fit that. —GLENN BLODGETT

and at the same time market to the public. We try to incorporate popular bloodlines that would be desirable to the public. I would hope that the conformation is better today. The goal is always a better-conformed horse. These working ranch horses today are much more user-friendly. Their temperaments are better; some of that is training. Particularly when we incorporate some of the popular, proven cutting bloodlines into the ranch horse,

those horses have more expression than horses used to have. And anybody who has been breeding strictly for speed knows horses are faster than they were, and our ranch horses have gotten faster too.

RHN: Can you describe the current ranch horse market? Brinkman: There is demand all over the

place for horses. If you have one that’s any good, somebody wants it. The secret is most people have neither the time nor the knowledge to make them. So if you will make one and he is still in a competitive price arena, the same range as a four-wheeler, there is all kind of demand. It’s hard to fill the demand. When you get up where he’s the same cost as a pickup, there are less people who want to buy him. But if you can keep him around $15,000, then he’s sold. There are a lot more [people] riding mares the last couple years because there are not enough [geldings]. Our biggest market is what we based our Pitzer Ranch Horse Invitational [competi-

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tion] on. People want a horse they can go gather and sort the cows on, rope a sick one, and then go into the jackpot on the weekend and maybe let their daughter run him in the barrels while they’re there. If you’ve got one that fits multiple spots, he’s a very expensive horse. People are lining up for him.

Blodgett: I can tell you consistently, through

good times or bad times, there is always a strong market for the middle-aged, gentle, all-around usable gelding. We get calls for those all the time. It doesn’t matter if the economy is in the tank, the beef prices are in the tank, the oil prices are in the tank—those horses are in big demand and people are willing to pay good money for them all the time.

I just want to raise the raw material that can do it all—the allaround ranch horse.

Jim Brinkman guides the Pitzer Ranch breeding program, which includes about 400 ranch broodmares and 12 stallions.

—JIM BRINKMAN

But that’s not the only type of horse we’re selling. We want to sell some of these younger horses that aren’t even started that probably have more value if they can be a show horse and then a breeding animal. That’s why we try to be mindful of popularity of bloodlines and [breed for] horses that could do that kind of thing, but at the same time do all the things we need them to do on the ranch. We’re trying to satisfy the public and ourselves. We’d really like to be able to produce one that would do all the things we want it to do, and then if somebody in Houston, Texas, wanted to buy it and ride it on the weekends, it would do all the things they wanted to do. There would be a lot of things in between us and that person, a lot of other of things that horse could do, because the ranch horse is truly the most versatile all-around horse.

RHN: Has the development and growth of ranch versatility events impacted breeding? Brinkman: Just a little bit. Most of the horses showing in [those events] are horses they are

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pulling out of the other disciplines in the Quarter Horse shows. They haven’t started to specialize in that kind of horse yet, but that’s really a new part of the industry. It takes longer to filter down than you think it does.

Blodgett: That segment of the AQHA and

the show industry has just exploded. We’re seeing that interest filter down into the ranches in the breeding, but the true biggest explosion has been at the show level. Those people are going to be seeking more horses, and they are going to have to come to the ranches to get those kinds of horses. We’re not breeding here specifically for a ranch versatility show horse, but I think most of our horses just naturally fit that. People have been taking horses from some of those other disciplines, basically because those horses were being ridden. If people start from scratch and buy a weanling or yearling, that horse is going to be 3 or 4 years old before they can show.

RHN: What most excites you about the future of ranch horse breeding? Brinkman: What I’m excited about might

be different than you’d expect. The ranches will always have a demand for honest, straight-out ranch horses. The ranch horse competitions will develop a little bit of a market, but I don’t think it will get as big as the team roping market. The team roping has tremendous following, and the requirements to make a good team roping horse fit pretty well with just a good ranch horse. You need a stronger, little bit bigger individual. He has to be able to take pressure. He has to have good ability. Team roping is timed [in most popular jackpot events], not judged. You will never be told your horse is not good enough. If you are faster, you win. Also, [team roping associations] have the big-money events. By money paid out, the World Series [of Team Roping] is beaten only by the Breeder’s Cup

Ranch Horse News 27 1/17/18 4:44:46 PM


Blodgett: I think it’s going to get better

[and Dubai World Cup] Thoroughbred horse races. It’s creating a lot of demand. It’s going to sell a lot of horses. A lot of those horses would be able to go on to do other things, but that’s going to be the biggest market. I don’t want to be a [rope horse] specialist. Our market is not a specialized market. Our horses will specialize, but just because their rider does. I just want to raise the raw material that can do it all—the all-around ranch horse.

because of the way the ranch horse shows have grown. Our horse has always been in demand by people wanting a pleasurable horse to ride, and now we have other people besides other ranches that want to do something with a horse and be at one of these shows. One of the things we’re seeing is other ranches are trying to improve their genetics. They were doing some minimal things without spending a lot of money, trying to

FAST BLOOD

BOTH JIM BRINKMAN AND GLENN BLODGETT, DVM, have infused speed horse bloodlines into their respective ranch horse breeding programs. Brinkman has been crossing Corona Caliente, a First Down Dash son, on his mares for the last three years and will u

u

u

u racing or team roping. According to Blodgett, there is some good history behind this kind of cross. “In the early 1900s, most all the big ranches in the western part u

raise a good horse for use on the ranch. Now, they’re seeing a lot of good things happening, and they’re coming to the Four Sixes and other ranches to improve their breeding stock. That’s beneficial. We’re doing the same thing. I’m continually on the lookout for better genetics. For more information on the Four Sixes breeding program visit 6666ranch.com; information on the Pitzer Ranch breeding program can be found at pitzerranch.net.

T u T minimal care for the stallions while they had them, and the govern ment contracted horses back from the ranches to be used by the cavalry at a certain price. “In talking to other ranches, and I know it’s true here at the Four ff u T u T u Blodgett says that, today, using the racing Quarter Horses is a better way to go because a racing Quarter Horse has a lot of T u u u ff u

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Spring 2018

1/17/18 8:14:34 1/22/18 4:44:47 AM PM


CLARISSA CASTOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Poco Dot Two Dot, ridden by Ryan Ruether, won the Pitzer Ranch Horse Invitational and was the top-earning horse in ranch competition for 2017.

Behind the Numbers Every name on 2017’s year-end statistical review has a story to tell. By Erin Haynes

A

BUZZ OF ANTICIPATION builds here at Ranch Horse News as we begin work on our year-end statistical review. There is something exciting about seeing, after all the results have been logged and the sums tabulated, which names rise to the top. Some names are fixtures. Seeing them again feels good, like running into a familiar friend. Other names are newer. They bring a burst of excitement to the top ranks. Whether a name is familiar or fresh, one thing is universal: Every cent matters to their year-end total and their rank among their

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peers. But the numbers represent so much more than just a position in a hierarchy. They represent hours in the practice pen, smart advice and helping hands. They represent careful crosses, good bargains and lucky breaks. They represent early mornings, open pastures, arena dust, trailer tires, good draws, perfect runs and hanging on by the skin of your teeth. Behind every number and every name is a story. Here are a few. RISK PAYS OFF After 15 years as a beef feed specialist at a Nebraska co-op, Ryan Ruether quit his day

job to go all-in as a full-time rancher. Ruether, then 38 years old, and his wife, Amy, started their cow-calf operation from scratch, and four years later, they’ve never looked back. “It was a risk,” Ruether says, “and there have been trying times. We may not get rich doing it, but it’s a way of life. It’s what we enjoy.” On deck and ready for training in Ruether’s string was a sorrel 2-year-old by Poco Dot Lena, out of Two Eyed Miss Do (by Two Eyed Red Buck). Ruether had spotted Poco Dot Two Dot, called “Enis,” at a sale as a yearling. Pretty head? Check. Good set of withers? Check. With good breeding and the conformation of an athlete, the horse came home with Ruether. Enis proved easy to train—a lot of heart and truly versatile. He could make the outside circle in rugged country and sort pairs, and Ruether could take him on weekends to head, heel and pick up rodeo bronc riders. Ruether could even toss the nephews and nieces on him. During Enis’ 4- and 5-year-old years, Ruether made sure the horse was in top condition for the Pitzer Ranch Horse Invitational, and they had good top-10 showings. But the third year was the charm. In 2017, Enis and Ruether captured the all-around title and $15,000 purse, which landed Enis as the year’s top versatility horse and Ruether as the No. 2 open rider. Enis’ winnings, along with earnings by Poco Dots N Blonds and Joe Jacks O Lena, secured Poco Dot Lena as top sire. Ruether, for one, is sold on the stallion’s offspring. He’s already got two more in the barn. WELL-PLANNED SUCCESS Ben Baldus, of Bowie, Texas, has to keep a detailed calendar. The 31-year-old has horses in training for reining, reined cow horse and

Ranch Horse News 29 1/17/18 5:30:13 PM


DON TROUT PHOTOGRAPHY

ABOVE: Sarah Anne McKibben, who rode Chex Are Cashin to an AQHA World Championship in amateur versatility ranch horse, was Equi-Stat’s top non-pro rider. ROSS HECOX

LEFT: Seven S Woodrow helped Ben Baldus become the top-earning rider in ranch horse competition during 2017.

ranch versatility, and keeping on top of all three show scenes and making sure each horse is fine-tuned for its specific discipline keeps this talented trainer on his toes. When customer Gary Ward told Baldus he wanted to find a horse for the trainer to show in ranch versatility as well as the reined cow horse, Baldus knew it was a tall order. In all the horse industry he could only think of a couple of horses that had accomplished that task well. But Baldus did have an idea. While working at the historic Waggoner Ranch, Baldus had developed an affinity for the Waggoner’s Mr Sorrel Bo bloodline, and he just happened to know of a 3-year-old Woody Be Tuff son out of a Mr Sorrel Bo mare that Robert Forst was using to drag calves to the fire at the Stuart Ranch in Oklahoma. “He has enough spark and ‘cow’ in him so I can step up and ask a bit more of him,” Baldus says of Seven S Woodrow. “But he’s good-minded enough to slow down to do the trail and pleasure and really like it.” The gelding earned Baldus $5,000-plus in 2017. He was the biggest money earner of the 12 horses Baldus showed in ranch

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versatility to earn the year’s No. 1 open rider distinction with more than $18,000. “The versatility is fun and exciting, and it makes a really broke horse,” Baldus says. “By the time they do all those events, they’re very finished, and that’s so rewarding.” LIVING HER DREAM She grew up a city girl in a family clueless to all things equine, but Sarah McKibben says horses were always her greatest passion. Sarah made that childhood dream into a reality, and when she talks about her horses, she exudes gratitude and a contagious excitement. “My husband and I ride every day, all day long,” says Sarah, who is married to trainer Mozaun McKibben. “We love it. I can’t imagine not going to the barn and riding. We both just crave it. There’s never enough.” Sarah had earned world titles in team penning and sorting when she began training with Mozaun for versatility. She knew her way around cattle but her horsemanship skills needed refining, Sarah says. Her first foray into the versatility show pen in the summer of 2016 was what Sarah describes as a “complete

disaster.” But she committed herself to learning and improving, and when 2017 rolled around, Sarah started the year feeling a great deal of confidence in her horses, her trainer and herself. Still, she could never have imagined what was in store. In March, at the American Quarter Horse Association Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships, Sarah took the Amateur Championship on Chex Are Cashin and the Reserve Championship on Lil Ruf Catalyst; in October, she was the Stock Horse of Texas Non-Pro Reserve World Champion on His Royal Cat; and she finished up the year as Equi-Stat’s No. 1 non-pro and No. 2 owner in ranch horse versatility. The accolades don’t go to Sarah’s head. She heaps credit upon her husband and her horses, and she insists that the greatest reward is the joy of the sport. “I love the challenge of versatility. I love the people. I love going to the shows and enjoying time with my husband,” Sarah says. “When it’s fun and you and your horses enjoy what you’re doing, then you can do well.”

Spring 2018

1/19/18 11:56:08 AM


About These Statistics

This ranch horse versatility 2017 year-in-review contains information compiled and tabulated by Equi-Stat, a division of Cowboy Publishing Group. ff RHN leaves the reins in the hands of the associations and their competitors 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 have a versatility/all-around component. Money from the all-around and each individual event go-round are included. Some shows require horses to be enrolled in an incentive program; others are considered “open.� Equi-Stat includes earnings from both types of events. u u u attributed to riders does not indicate the actual earnings of the rider, but rather money awarded to all horses ridden by that rider in 2017. (The same concept applies for money attributed to owners, breeders, etc.) 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 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.

TOP SHOWS IN 2017

Show Date City Purse 1 AQHA* Versatility Ranch Horse World Championship Show .....................................3/24 ............................Houston, TX.................................... $63,753 2 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo ............3/25 ............................Houston, TX................................... $55,050 3 Pitzer Ranch Horse Invitational..........................................................................................9/5 .............................. Ericson, NE................................... $50,450 4 Stock Horse of Texas World Championship/Futurity/Derby ....................................10/26 .............................. Abilene, TX.................................... $28,260 5 Ranch Horse Association of America National Finals..................................................5/10 .............................. Abilene, TX.................................... $25,250 6 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo................1/15 ........................Fort Worth, TX.................................... $24,598 7 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Northern International Livestock Expo .......10/17 ..............................Billings, MT..................................... $23,722 8 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Tri-State Fair...................................................... 9/15 ............................ Amarillo, TX..................................... $23,120 9 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Colorado State Fair ......................................... 8/30 ...............................Pueblo, CO.................................... $22,760 10 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Black Hills Stock Show ....................................6/25 ..........................Rapid City, SD.................................... $22,689 *American Quarter Horse Assocation

TOP HORSES IN 2017

Horse Owner Money Poco Dot Two Dot (11G).... Ryan & Amy Ruether ......... $15,000 Take A Pick (13S) ....................... R.A. Brown Ranch ............ $9,941 Trixies Sixes (12S)................. Camille Farris Briggs ............ $8,167 His Royal Cat (12G) .......... Sarah Anne McKibben ............ $7,783 Sevens Brazos Zip (12S) ....................... Jon Pudwill ............ $7,440 Gimmie A Gun (12S) ............... San Jon Ranch LLC ............. $7,156 Ima Wynna RAB (12G).................... Rob A. Brown ........... $6,468 Tuff ........................... Larry Walker ........... $6,010 9 SS One Eyed Zannon (14M) ......... Kelsey Watring ........... $5,695 10 Poco Dots N Blonds (11S) ................. Pitzer Ranch ........... $5,600

TOP OPEN RIDERS IN 2017

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

TOP NON-PRO RIDERS

TOP BREEDERS IN 2017

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

(Includes earnings from Non-Pro and Amateur divisions)

Rider City Money Sarah Anne McKibben .................Whitesboro, TX........... $10,461 Lanham Brown ........................Throckmorton, TX.............. $7,170 Jecca Ostrander....................................Gordon, NE............. $6,881 Stefani Wagley .....................................Abilene, TX.............. $5,116 Stetson Ostrander...............................Gordon, NE............. $4,262 Nonie Casselman-Reed ..............Stephenville, TX.............. $3,251 Meredith Lubbock .............................Amarillo, TX............. $2,895 Jessica Rumbaugh.............................El Campo, TX............. $2,725 Morgan Holmes..................................Sarasota, FL............. $2,642 Bryan Lee......................................North Platte, NE............. $2,587

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Rider City Money Ben Baldus ...............................................Bowie, TX........... $18,366 Ryan Ruether ................................ Staplehurst, NE.......... $15,000 Mike Major...............................................Bowie, TX............ $12,251 Justin Stanton .........................................Idalou, TX............ $11,943 True Burson...........................................Guthrie, TX........... $10,325 Myles Brown........................................Stinnett, TX............ $9,805 Lanham Brown ........................Throckmorton, TX............. $9,619 Holly Kent Gundlach...........................Casper, WY............ $7,606 Jon Pudwill .............................................. Scotia, NE............. $7,440 Matt Kelly .......................................... Douglas, WY.............. $7,415

Breeder City Money Burnett Ranches LLC.....................Fort Worth, TX.......... $50,063 Wagonhound Land & Livestock ..... Douglas, WY............ $18,313 Jecca Ostrander....................................Gordon, NE............ $16,154 WT Waggoner Estate...........................Vernon, TX........... $15,898 M Bar Ranch LP .................................Longview, TX.......... $15,000 Haythorn Land & Cattle .......................Arthur, NE........... $14,694 Rob A. Brown ......................................Stinnett, TX............ $13,412 Tongue River Ranch ........................... Paducah, TX............. $11,194 Mike & Holly Major ................................Bowie, TX............ $10,133 Pitzer Ranch ......................................... Ericson, NE............ $9,020

Ranch Horse News 31 1/17/18 5:30:18 PM


TOP OWNERS IN 2017

TOP SIRES IN 2017

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Owner City Money Burnett Ranches LLC.....................Fort Worth, TX........... $22,730 Sarah Anne McKibben .................Whitesboro, TX............ $17,255 Ryan & Amy Ruether .................. Staplehurst, NE.......... $15,000 Jecca Ostrander....................................Gordon, NE............ $14,972 R.A. Brown Ranch....................Throckmorton, TX........... $13,805 Rob A. Brown ......................................Stinnett, TX............ $13,283 Camille Farris Briggs...........................Lubbock, TX............. $8,167 San Jon Ranch LLC ..............................San Jon, NM............ $7,606 Jon Pudwill .............................................. Scotia, NE............. $7,440 Wagonhound Land & Livestock ..... Douglas, WY............. $7,280

Horse # Performers Money Poco Dot Lena ........................................................ 3........... $22,100 Sixes Pick ................................................................. 2............ $18,107 WR This Cats Smart ..............................................8........... $17,696 Woody Be Tuff........................................................ 3........... $13,447 SNW Heavens King................................................ 3............ $12,371 Mr Playinstylish...................................................... 7............ $11,339 Bet Hesa Cat...........................................................9............. $11,174 PG Shogun ............................................................4........... $10,327 WR One Eyed Jack..................................................4............. $9,474 Playgun....................................................................4.............. $8,713

TOP DAMS IN 2017 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Horse Performers Money Two Eyed Miss Do...................................................1.......... $15,000 Sixes Playgun ...........................................................1............. $9,941 Trixie Petie ................................................................1............. $8,167 Royal Black Cat .......................................................1............. $7,783 Zippo Eyed Fallon ...................................................1............. $7,440 Gimme A Little Sugar ............................................1.............. $7,156 Right On Eddie RAB................................................1............ $6,468 Pretty Poco Boots ...................................................1............ $6,010 Lady Zannon............................................................1............ $5,695 Blond Joe Jack ..........................................................1............ $5,600

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Ranch Horse News  

Ranch Horse News Spring 2018 Presented by Western Horseman

Ranch Horse News  

Ranch Horse News Spring 2018 Presented by Western Horseman