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W elcom e to the Lone Sta r State! H e re e very thing i s bigger a nd bet ter, including o ur ba rrel r a cing e vents. The Di a m onds & Dirt Ba rrel Horse Cl a ssic i s the l a r gest futuri t y purse in Te xa s. There’s m ore th a n $1,000,000 in ca sh and pri zes rea dy a nd wa i ting for the winne rs.

This incredible event brings the very best competitors in barrel racing to the beautiful Waco. In Texas, we are very proud of our rodeo heritage. The first rodeo ever held was right here in Texas in 1883, and the Lone Star State is where the first professional barrel race was staged. It’s only natural for us to keep the tradition alive with the Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic, as there’s no better place than Texas for this race to call home. Kristi Schiller and Shanna Brown had a dream of putting together a fun, family-friendly event that brings together the most talented professionals in the business in the same arena to compete. Now in it’s 7th year, the Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic is everything these two women envisioned. What is so wonderful about this classic event is we also have the opportunity to support the local community, including nonprofits like K9s4COPs. A charitable organization, K9s4COPs supports law enforcement agencies by providing departments and schools in need with K9 officers, trained and ready for action. These dogs are highly trained to find narcotics and explosives. Plus, the K9 officers serve as partners in fighting crime in our communities. Thank you for attending this year’s event. We know you’ll love the competition, and hope to see you again in 2019! Your servant,

Sid Miller


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Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s

 4 W e l c o m e L e t t e r  8 B  ringing the Bling Back to Te xas

40 F  ast Horses, Football, Fishing and CrimeFighting Dogs 4 8 M a k i n g T h i n g s M at t e r

10 Event Schedule 5 6 One S t e p F or wa r d 12 How it Works 18 Thank you Sponsors 20 Retail R ound-Up

64 B  ringing in Running Blood 72 A  Few Minutes with B e e S i lva

24 Mare Power 78 Bound for E xcellence 32 Special 34 Sittin’ Pretty

84 O  ne Legend, Countless Impacts

On the Cover: Epic Leader – photo by Bee Silva


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Bling Bringing the

back to te xas

Taking a fresh m arketing perspective and applying it to the world of barrel r acing, Schiller R anch hopes to contribute to the already solid foundation on which the sport of barrel r acing is built.

Schiller Ranch has strived to bring together new and previously established sponsors in our industry and is pleased to present to you the support of: Busby Quarter Horses, Dufur Quarter Horses, French Streaktovegas, Edison Chouest Offshore, Firewater Ta Fame, Isabella Quarter Horses, Southwest Stallion Station, Kentucky Performance Products, Prosperity Bank, Texas Equine Hospital, B-Free of Flies, Championfit Equine, Hay-Rite, Horse Swim, INS Group, LA Waters Quarter Horses, Purina, RIDE TV, Twisted J, Usher Brand Silver & Saddlery, 5 Star Equine, Rick’s Specialty Vehicles, Troxel Performance Headgear, and Shorty’s Caboy Hattery. Schiller Ranch believes with the support of these new sponsors there could be a window for fresh exposure to the sport of barrel racing. Kristi Schiller believes if we come together and support the new relationships in progress, we could potentially expand the possibilities for future events to have bigger payouts, bigger prizes and promote bigger sponsorships for owners and breeders alike. The industry’s most respected are already coming on board with Schiller Ranch in an effort to support more lucrative events. Multiple world champion owner and breeder, Jud Little of Ardmore, Okla., sings the praises of

the approach Schiller Ranch is taking. “We as breeders and competitors are in appreciation of the new ideas and opportunities being presented to us at the Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic™. Schiller Ranch has become an asset to the barrel horse and futurity industry, and I look forward to attending what I am sure will be a first class event.” World champion breeder, trainer and owner, Bo Hill echoes Little’s sentiments. “Special thanks to Schiller Ranch for thinking outside the box and recruiting major sponsors to support the sport of barrel racing. Every industry can use new and energetic people like the Schillers.” Even the east coast is getting on board. Longtime Florida resident and futurity horse owner, Rick Large of RSL Enterprises, extends his excitement as well, “I think this is going to be an excellent futurity. The level of prize money and awards will be a tremendous asset to our sport. I look forward to an outstanding race that is sure to be one of the toughest of the year.” The excitement of this week is based on watching the barrel racing industry’s best compete on some amazing equine athletes, highlighted by the common goal everyone in the industry is working toward, building and promoting the exciting and incredible sport of barrel racing.


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THE SCHEDULE Monday, March 5 Tuesday, March 6

12pm Move-In 2pm-5pm Early Futurity and Derby Check-In 9am Futurity and Derby Check-In 10am Futurity Exhibitions All Futurity horses are guaranteed one exhibition

Wednesday, March 7

9am 4pm

Dufur Quarter Horses Futurity 1st Round French Streaktovegas Derby 1st Round

Thursday, March 8

9am 4pm

Dufur Quarter Horses Futurity 2nd Round French Streaktovegas Derby 2 Round

Friday, March 9

8am 9am 5pm 6pm 7pm

Isabella Quarter Horses Pole Bending Classic- 3D Poles Busby Quarter Horses Open 5D Section 1 (300 entries max) Southwest Stallion Station Slot Race Firewater Ta Fame Sweepstakes Edison Chouest Offshore Pony Race

Saturday, March 10

Sunday, March 11

8am Isabella Quarter Horses Pole Bending Classic- 3D Poles 10:30am KK Run for Vegas qualifier 12pm Busby Quarter Horses Open 5D Section 2 (200 entries) 5pm French Streaktovegas Derby Finals Top 20 Qualifying Times – Random Draw 6pm RIDE TV Amateur Futurity Finals Top 10 Qualifying Times – Random Draw 6:30pm Dufur Quarter Horses Futurity Finals Top 40 Qualifying Times – Random Draw 8pm-12am K9s4COPs “Night of Diamonds” Back Porch Club

9am Busby Quarter Horses Open 5D – Section 3 (500 entries max) Books close for Section with 1st runner or until max entries received

All dat es and t imes subject to ch ange.

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The Futurities

A futuri t y i s a n e ven t held for ba rrel horse s 3, 4 a nd 5 yea rs old. The futuri t y industry pays ou t h undreds of tho usand s of doll a rs in ca sh and pri zes e very yea r, m aking i t ba rrel r a cing’s m ost lucr ati ve sport. The fa stpa ced e xci tem ent of it gi ves i t a ga m bler’s appe al, m uch like horse r a c ing.

Futurity horses start their training late in their 2-yearold year. Some people choose to train their own horses, but professional trainers are running a lot of the horses seen competing. The goal of the young futurity horse is to have it ready for the Juvenile Futurity in Oklahoma City, Okla., in December of its 3-year-old year. This event is held with the Barrel Futurities of America World Championships every year, which is where the 4-year-old futurity horses run for the title of World Champion. There are two age brackets for a futurity horse. Four-yearold futurity horses are eligible to run in every event held in the country, and the 5-year-old futurity horse’s bracket is a growing addition for horses that may have not made the cut as a 4-year-old. The 4-year-old futurity horses cannot have been entered in a barrel racing competition, for prizes or money, before December 1 of their 3-year-old year and the 5-year-olds can not have been entered before December 1 of their 4-year-old year. Owning a futurity horse can be an exciting venture. There are extra events called slot races where a fee is paid to hold a spot in a race and you have a set amount of time to run a horse in that spot. The biggest slot races pay as much as $100,000 to winners. You don’t even have to own a horse to enter the race. You can buy a slot anywhere from $2,500 to

$5,000, depending on which race you are entering, and then contacting trainers to find a horse to run in the slot for you. There is still nothing like owning your own horse and there are many professional trainers in attendance of this event that can help you get started.

The Derbies

The derbies are a place for 5 and 6-year-old horses to shine. They are often times past champions of the futurity world continuing their training before they go on to be open and rodeo horses. Most often held in conjunction with the major futurities, the derbies offer the same excitement as the futurities.

The Open Di vi siona l R a ces

The open “D” races are like a handicapping system for the sport of barrel racing. This popular format for barrel racing started back in the early 90s and has opened the door for many full-time workers or weekend warriors, to compete for major prize money and awards at their, or their horse’s, skill level. Horses and people of any age are allowed to compete.


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How it


Today there i s e very thing fr om a 4D to a 6D R a ce. Ea ch ti m e di vi sion i s essenti a lly its own ba rrel r a ce w i th a payo ut. The 4D syste m is m o st com m only used w i th a gr ow ing in te re st in the 5D .

The divisional system has been instrumental in the sport of open barrel racing. It has created a market for horses that might not be fast enough to win a futurity or a 1D Check. The horses that are honest, solid and do their job every time are often times valued as highly as the 1D and futurity winning horses. T H E R ODEOS

With the majority of rodeos being men only sports, this fierce and fastpaced branch of the barrel horse industry is all about heart and stamina. Most barrel horses are owned by their riders, but a growing number are being campaigned for different investors who enjoy watching their horse in the high drama of a rodeo. It takes a special horse to win on the rodeo trail. There is much more traveling with not as long stays between runs. The ultimate goal for every rodeo barrel racer is the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada held every year in December in the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center. This 10-day marathon rodeo is the accumulation of dreams.

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Thank You for Breeding the Following Mares to KISS MY HOCKS in 2017! A Snowy Cartel A Streakin Mate Ace Zoomin Fancy Adios Tiny All About Tonight Apolitical Victory Astica Beautiful And Dirty Rich Beyond The Smiles Bf Valentines Folly Birth Of A Nation Boogie Special Boundless Ocean Breitling Time Calla Missy Jane Caravella N Smoke Charming Cartel Corona Carat Corona Cerveza Corona Pearl Cosmic Corona Crystol Sola Da Licious Dashaway Eagle Deans Dusty Bunny Defining Differences Desnuda Differently Dream Alone Enticilizeur Eye For Corona Fames Qtpie

Feature For You Feature Miss Bunny Fire Burning First Smart Stride Fleeta Dif Flyer Power Forever Bradgelina Found A Candy Tree Go You Must Great Grace Grey Daze Havanah Goodtime Higher Fling Holiday Magic Im A Swingin Cowgirl Iza Doll Face Jacquie O Jakes Paint Wagon Jess A Cartel Jess Cuz Jess Jazzin Jess Wild Jessa Louisiana Zoom Jp Dale Rio Jumpin Beau Chic Just Another Hit Kates Always First Kissem Goodbye Kix N Giggles Klassy Chick La Bella Brenda Laughing Saint

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Lil Famous Dash Lotta Bling Louisiana Eye Opener Love That Look Lovemelikethat Maddie Ross Marilyn Wins Midori N Smoke Miss Chivatos Pie Miss Jess Perry Miss Scarlett Miss Wide Open Mp Meter My Hay Ms Fast Prize Zoom My Ladys Eyes Mystical Eye Namgis D_26 Namgis D_70 Nightlines Not My Choice Not Perry Pretty One Quick Cookie Perriwinkle Perrys Dream Girl Phoe Be Bebe Political Chick Political Debut Princess Czech Prissy B Panther Quiet Courage Rag Doll Edition Real Royal Down

Rebas Corona Eagle Royal Reba B She A Miracle She B Rich Shes So Blazin Shesa First Down Jess Shesanamerican Eagle Shez So Rare Sin Tacha Perry Sistahrogue Sixes Power Smokin Corona Chick St Pats Tea Streakin Scat Cat Sweet P Swinging Dash Tahiti Cartel Take The Cash Willie The Little Mermaid The Streakin Clean Thisgirlisafeature Tiffani Diamond Truly Favorite Two Timin Suzy Vain Eagle Vgw Trippy Dip Walk With Memories Whos Kissin Carter Witchs Streak Wont Wanna Miss This Woodys All Star Yippie Skippie

Inquiries to: Tyler Graham, General Manager Charles W. Graham, D.V.M., Owner P. O. Box 468 • Elgin, TX 78621 tel (512) 285-4833 • fax (512) 285-4897 Franklin Collins DVM, Ranch Veterinarian email: • web:

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Du de

an co ck

tch Wa


To San Tip ancock, H

nJ Leo



Versatile Performance Sire with $14,500.00 Average Earnings Per Performer 2007 Reserve World Champion Jr. Tie-Down Roping 2008 AQHA All Around High Point Tie-Down & Senior Tie-Down Roping High Point Sr. Performance Halter Stallion 2018 Fee: $1,000 Farm Fee: $350

Sired Multiple 2016 World Show Roping Qualifiers & Finalists: NAMGIS D 14 - $9,350.00 Sr Heading & Senior Tie-Down Roping NAMGIS D 59 - Jr Heading & Heeling NAMGIS D 48 - Jr Heeling

Sired Multiple Barrel Champions Across The Nation:

NAMGIS D 15 - $103,737.00 Classic Equine Futurity Slot Winner NAMGIS D 35 - $57,319.00 2017 RAM National Circuit Finals Ch. NAMGIS D 33 - $26,982.00 3rd AQHA World Show Jr. Barrel Racing

Eligibilities: Future Fortunes Select Stallion Stakes Triple Crown 100

Emily Miller and Namgis D35 “Pipewrench”

Emily bought PipeWrench from us in July of last year and has been piling on the titles. They seem to make a great pair and have been nothing but successful! Namgis D 35 “PipeWrench” is by our very own Bucks Hancock Dude and out of Central Station, our top producer. This cross has proven time and time again to make athletic, smart and successful horses. We can’t wait to see what else is in store for them!

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STALLION STATION Inquires to: Naia Graham Charles W. Graham, D.V.M., Owner P.O. Box 468 • Elgin, Texas 78621 tel: (512) 285-4833 • cell: (602) 402-2244 email: •

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Thank you to

Our Sponsors Diamond Jubilee Sponsor

Double Diamond Sponsors DUFUR QUARTER HORSES

Diamond Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

K e ntucky Perform a nce Pr oducts Pr o speri t y Ba nk Te xa s Equine Ho spi ta l

Bronze Sponsors B - F ree of F lies

Bli tz Ener gy Services Ch a m pionfi t Equine H ay- Ri te Horse Sw i m I NS G r o up L A Waters Q ua rter Horses Purina RI DE T V T w i sted J

Awards Sponsors

Usher Brand Silver & Saddlery  •  5 Star Equine  •  Rick’s Specialty Vehicles  Troxel Performance Headgear  •  Shorty’s Caboy Hattery


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Retail Round-Up

Wednesday-Saturday 10am-8pm Sunday 10am-5pm

• A da m s Tac k

• M cG regor G ener a l Store

• B-Fr e e of F l ie s

• M ea l a nd M ore I nc.

• Ba by ’s L e g ac y / M ak ing F r iends

• Opti m um Equine Service s

• Blu e wate r C r e e k B o u tiq ue

• P & P Tr a iler Sa les

• Br a zo s Val l e y Eq u ine Ho spi ta l

• Po o ch Pawt y

• Brink ’s H at te ry • Ca j u n Cow boy Col l e ction • Cha m pionf i t Eq u ine • Dia m ond R Tr ail e rs • Cow g ir l T u f f Com pa n y • Dr. M a rt y Tanne r , DV M • E q u ine Pe r f or m anc e M e dicineDr. Gr e g F or d , DV M

• Purina • Ruby Bell a s • Spotligh t On Yo u Video • Storm clo ud • The F eel G o od Tent- Hide z • The Perfect Bi t • Thri ve

• E q u i R e sp

• Tr avi s G ri m esly Ta ck

• K 9 s 4 COP s / K 9s4K I D s

• Usher Br a nd Silver & Saddle ry

• K enne th S pr ing e r Photo gr a ph y

• Eli te Sta ll M at Renta l

• K entu c k y Pe r f or m a nc e Pr oducts

• Yo ung L i ving Essenti a l Oils


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100% PURE Wool • No Break-In Time Eliminates Sore Backs • Durable - 2,000+ Hours th • 870.389.6328

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Mare Power T wo leading bre e de rs sha re how top quali t y m ares he l pe d bu il d t he ir pr o g r a m s a nd why the bot tom side of t he pe dig r e e is cru ci al to pr odu c ing ba rre l r a c ing ’s fut u re c ha m pion s. By Bl anc he S c h ae f e r

“Who’s the horse by?” Much emphasis is often placed on a horse’s sire, and while the top side of the pedigree surely has an impact on the resulting foal, many of the barrel racing industry’s most successful breeders agree that the mare has an equal, if not more important, role in producing superior offspring. The brains behind Busby Quarter Horses and Dufur Quarter Horses launched their programs with powerful female lines. Andrea Busby and Teri and Alan Dufur explain why mare power has helped their respective operations grow into some of the most reputable and productive in the industry. Busby’s Leading Lady Jeff and Andrea Busby’s renowned Busby Quarter Horses started with a trip to Canada in 2009 to look at several young prospects owned by Grant Little. “We didn’t go into it with a plan of starting a true breeding program. We had just gone up to look at these young

horses. After we bought them and started riding those horses, the two that were by Blazin Jetolena and out of Lady Perks were really outstanding individuals,” Andrea said of now topproducing Busby mares Blazin Black Beauty and Blazin Black Jet. Little, a blue chip barrel horse breeder himself, owned Lady Perks, the dam of several prospects the couple initially purchased. The 1999 black mare by Dash For Perks and out of Fols Debbie by Fols Native (TB) was also one of the top barrel horses at the time and recently named the 2017 Brazilian Broodmare of the Year. “Grant owned Lady Perks, and that mare won $250,000 to $300,000 before the day of slot races,” Andrea said. “She’s the only horse that had ever won the Ponoka Stampede three years in a row at the time and qualified to the Canadian Finals Rodeo multiple times. She was a big-time mare and bred well herself.” The quality of the Little-bred group of prospects compelled the Busbys to go straight to the source and purchase

Blazin Jetolena, now an Equi-Stat Million Dollar Sire, and cornerstone broodmare Lady Perks. “Because of those two we were riding—it was right before Christy Loflin qualified for the National Finals Rodeo on Sheza Blazin Move [by Blazin Jetolena]—we purchased Blazin Jetolena from Sue and Randy Rist in Arizona. That was the beginning of our breeding program, and it really started from riding those colts we bought from Grant,” Andrea said. “Grant called one day after we bought Blazin Jetolena. We wanted to get top-of-the-line, quality broodmares; I didn’t want a sister of a sister of a sister. Grant sold us some of his, including Lady Perks and a couple other mares that had done well, like Lady Perks’ half-sister, Fols Dream Of Cash, and the now-late Shawne Promise, who has produced more than $300,000 in barrel money earners.” Proven, Proven, Proven The Busbys’ Millsap, Texas-based program took off from that point. Andrea insisted on only breeding


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proven performing or producing mares, and it has paid off in spades. “From that day forward, as we looked at and bought horses, they had to be proven producers or proven performers, and things we thought would cross well on ‘Jet,’ or Blazin Jetolena mares that were part of our program we could cross out on something else,” Andrea said. “Honestly, a lot of it was, ‘What do we want to ride? What do we like?” Andrea took her knowledge of successful crosses and sought out mares with those bloodlines to add to her broodmare band. She states that pedigree alone isn’t enough; the mare needs to have accolades of her own, whether in the arena or by producing winning offspring. “You set yourself up for success by breeding known producers and known performers to each other,” Andrea said.


“I think that’s where the barrel racing industry has gone and why it’s getting more competitive. We’re breeding the best to the best. We’ve had opportunities to buy mares that are a sister to so-and-so, and we’ve decided not to do that in our program, and I think it’s working.” She adds that some crosses are a gamble and may not work from year to year, but by choosing mares with distinguished records, you are upping your chances of creating a top-level horse. “You can’t expect a stallion to cover up all of a mare’s shortcomings,” Andrea said. “That being said, because the mare is so influential in the equation, good or bad, she is equally as important as the stallion. Your odds are a lot better if you breed a superior mare to a pretty good stud that you’re going to get a superior individual. But

if you breed a great mare to a great stud, you’re a lot better off. Those mares carry a lot of weight in what they’re passing on.” Pedigree Power In addition to Lady Perks, the Busbys purchased other top-of-the-line mares for their herd, including several Blazin Jetolena daughters: Christy Loflin’s three-time NFR qualifier Sheza Blazin Move (dam of Tres Movidas, by Tres Seis, bred by Thomas Ford); aged-event standout and pro rodeo champion Jet O Red with more than $160,000 lifetime earnings; WB Blazin Blurry Jet, dam to Ashley Schafer’s 2018 futurity money earner Blazin Blurry Fame; and the two original mares from Grant Little, Blazin Black Beauty and Blazin Black Jet. They also own a few Dash Ta Fame and Frenchmans Guy daughters, Shawne Bug-bred mares,


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BUSBY BROODMARE CHECKLIST RÉSUMÉ “What’s the mare done?” asks Andrea. “That’s first. If it’s not substantial, I’m going to pass them up. I want them to have done something – either produced themselves or won themselves.” PEDIGREE “Then, what’s her pedigree? Is it something I want to ride myself? There are certain lines I’m not interested in. All our mares are either by Blazin Jetolena so we can outcross on something else we’d want to ride, or it’s something that will cross good on our stud,” she explained. CONFORMATION “If she passes all that criteria, what does the horse look like? Is she conformationally something I want to reproduce? You can’t have all these faults on a mare, conformationally—you can’t accept that,” Andrea said. “In the end, if they pass all that criteria, theoretically on paper, you should be producing a superior individual.”.

and Cadillacs N Karats, Terra Bynum’s great NFR mare who broke several arena records and earned more than $100,000 in pro rodeo and aged events. Busby Quarter Horses also purchases embryos to supplement their foal crops with outside talent and fresh bloodlines from mares they do not own. “Ideally, I would like to just breed my own mares and prove my own horses, but when there’s an outstanding individual out there, it’s raising the bar,” Andrea said. “You might not be able to own some of those great mares, but you can add to your herd by getting an embryo out of them, and maybe you get a filly out of it and get that bloodline in your program.” The Busbys are particular about selecting mares from which they purchase embryos, as the process is expensive and can be risky. “There’s no exact science to the breeding of embryos, and it can be extremely frustrating or it can go like clockwork,” Andrea said. “If somebody’s got a really nice mare, for example Britany Diaz’s mare Dasher Dude (“Rootie”)—that mare is proven, been to the NFR—we got an embryo out of her, crossed her on our stud, and we’re now getting to ride the baby. We certainly look into embryos if there’s a mare we really think a lot of.” One such example is blue hen producer Mistys Dash Of Fame, the 1996 Dash Ta Fame daughter out of Misty Blurr by Murrtheblurr. She has produced offspring with more than $420,500 in Equi-Stat reported earnings, including 2017 NFR qualifier KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, aged-event superstar KN Fabs Mist Of Fame, and up-and-coming futurity money earners RR Mistakelly and the Busbys’ Jets Heart N Soul, an embryo transfer by Blazin Jetolena.


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“No doubt one of the best producers of all time is Mistys Dash Of Fame,” Andrea said. “That mare has now produced several outstanding individuals, so obviously she’s passing on that family of lineage.” The Busbys have purchased several embryos over the years from Mistys Dash Of Fame. It all started because of Andrea’s former pro rodeo horse Soul Flame, a full brother to the legendary mare. “Jeff and I met over Soul Flame. I rodeoed on him and almost made the Finals before he got crippled,” Andrea said. “Soul Flame was amazing, and I would have loved to have something out of his mother, but unfortunately she’s dead. I found Dee Braman owned his full sister [Mistys Dash Of Fame]. I called Dee and bought an embryo from her and bred her to our stud. We finally have the first one, Jets Heart N Soul. Jolene Montgomery is riding him, and we think he’s going to be a superstar.” Full Circle Horses such as Jets Heart N Soul started with the original foundation Andrea and Jeff laid for Busby Quarter Horses. “It’s taken us 8 years to see that come full circle, and it didn’t work out easily,” Andrea said. “Some of those mares we bought got hurt, some of them won, some had bad luck—it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It didn’t magically work right away for us.” The Busbys are finally seeing the horses produced through meticulous matching of sire to dam come to fruition in the arena. “This year we’re starting to see the benefits of buying nice mares,” Andrea said. “Sheza Blazin Move is a broodmare at our place now, and she

obviously has her own place in history. We’re breeding her to other known producers, and I would absolutely tell you that mare power is equally important.” Lady Perks has become a prolific producer of barrel horses, with offspring earnings in excess of $81,000, including 2017 Barrel Futurities of America Futurity Reserve World Champion A French Lady, by Frenchmans Guy. The offspring from the other mares in the original group of Grant Little horses are also now beginning their careers. “For instance, we bought a mare, Rollin Nickie, who is out of the late great Rollin Vickie, from Grant Little as a yearling. As a 2-year-old, we bred her to Blazin Jetolena, and this year Janna Beam-Brown is riding that mare (Nickies Private Jet) as a 5-year-old at the futurities,” Andrea said. “A couple others we raised, it’s their first year to go to the futurities, and it started with that first group of colts.”

In January 2018, Ashley Schafer won the first round of the Texas Extreme Barrel Classic Futurity in Edna, Texas, on Blazin Blurry Fame, by Dash Ta Fame and out of Busby-owned Blazin Jetolena-Murrtheblurr mare WB Blazin Blurry Jet. “We bought that mare with the intent of running her and then breeding her to an outcross because of how she was bred,” Andrea said. “One of the magic crosses is Murrtheblurr on Dash Ta Fame, and when I saw that, I thought, ‘She’s got what we want.’ Obviously, we love Blazin Jetolena, and she’s got Murrtheblurr, so you cross that on Dash Ta Fame and theoretically it should work.” Utilizing known crosses and only breeding superior horses has helped the Busbys become one of the industry’s top breeders. Andrea says seeing the young horses succeed in the arena makes it worth the hardships along the way.



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“It seemed like it was taking forever, but it’s also super rewarding to put it on paper and look back at their pedigrees,” Andrea said. “Pay attention to the horse—the stuff we’ve bred has meant something to us. None of it is done on accident. Sometimes I say we’re going to be a hero or a zero with this cross. We’ve tried very hard to do proven stuff to proven stuff. It’s not for the faint of heart; it’s expensive and time consuming, and I think that’s the hardest part of being a breeder.” Having a leading sire in the barn certainly helps the Busbys produce the next generation of winners, but the quality of the broodmare band has made Busby Quarter Horses-bred foals an elite group of individuals. “Blazin Jetolena seems to be crossing on absolutely everything,” Andrea said. “That being said, as a stallion owner, I think mares can influence the colt as much for sure, if not more, sometimes, than the stallion. I certainly don’t want to water down the industry—we’re trying to make it better, and that’s a goal of ours.”  Horse Sense Dufur Quarter Horses began with a simple mission—cross racetrack speed on sensible ranch mares to create the ideal performance mount for the arena. While designing the perfect barrel horse doesn’t always go as planned, Teri and Alan Dufur are churning out top-notch horses with their commonsense approach to breeding. “We started in a partnership with Jamison Quarter Horses out in western


Kansas. It got to be such a strain with the 500 miles between ranches that we decided to end the partnership. We took a good basis of the mares and brought them to Caddo, Oklahoma, and put together a stallion battery to get some additional speed into the equation,” Alan said. “These were cow-bred mares and foundation-bred mares. We bought sires we thought would put a lot of speed into what we believe to be highly intelligent cowbred mares.” The Dufurs’ stallion lineup includes own sons of Corona Cartel, First Down Dash, Fire Water Flit, Frenchmans Guy, Smart Little Lena and Lone Drifter, among others. Dufur Quarter Horses still incorporates foundation bloodlines into their program, but has moved more toward running stock as the program developed. “We typically try to cross foundation-bred mares with race stock to ensure a good mind, sound bone

structure and natural speed ability,” Teri said. “We have several animals with either top side or bottom side of the pedigree going back to Sunfrost. We have numerous Driftwoodinfluenced mares in our broodmare lineup. We currently cross many mares to our own sons of First Down Dash, Corona Cartel and Frenchmans Guy.” The couple paid particular attention to the dam of a stallion when shopping for sires to bolster their program. “You can go out and find a Corona Cartel son as a stallion—it’s easy to find that—but we were very selective when we purchased a First Down Dash son and Corona Cartel son,” Alan said of Dufur sires El Miguel and All Corona, both out of proven-producing and highly respected mares Dashin Follies and Allamericandreamgirl, respectively. “We made sure the mothers of our stallions had exceptional records and produced other winners. It

“I think that’s where the barrel racing industry has gone and why it’s getting more competitive. We’re breeding the best to the best.” —Andrea Busby


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shows how important [mare power] is, because we pay so much attention to the bottom side of the pedigree in the stallions we’ve selected.” Building the Broodmare Band When choosing broodmares, the Dufurs look for bloodlines that will complement the stallions they own, in addition to the mare’s performance or production record and conformation. They also enlist the help of people with connections to successful barrel racing mares, such as two-time NFR qualifier Jackie Ganter and her mother, Angela Ganter. “First, what kind of background does the mare have; what kind of background her babies have,” Teri said. “We don’t go looking for a particular mare, per se. Luckily, people come to us, like Angela and Jackie Ganter are

real helpful to us in getting mares. We want something that has good feet, good legs, and a good foundation in the sire and dam.” Conformation is important, but the Dufurs won’t pass up a great mare with a proven record if her looks aren’t perfect. “They need to be phenotypically correct, but lots of times we’ll buy something that’s not necessarily so correct in her looks if we think the bloodline has produced some winners,” Alan said. The Dufurs believe one of the most important characteristics of a horse – its mind – comes from the mother, which is why the couple has built Dufur Quarter Horses around intelligent, cow-bred ranch mares. “I believe the mare puts the mind in a colt 90 percent of the time,” Teri said. “If you have a knot-headed mare

that is difficult and hard-headed, and you put them with a hard-headed stallion, it makes it more difficult for people to ride the colt. We’re trying to produce something that has a good mind and a lot of speed and can do at least one thing really, really well.” Because Dufur Quarter Horses also breeds roping horses and stands more than 10 stallions, the Dufurs have a bit more leeway when assembling a broodmare band than breeders who only breed barrel horses with one or two stallions. “We’re probably different than most other people buying mares, because most people typically don’t have as many stallions as we do,” Teri said. “We do team roping and calf roping, too, so if we get a mare and the first time she has a baby it doesn’t turn into a barrel horse, we’ve got a couple more options.”


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DUFUR QUARTER HORSES DISTINGUISHED DAMS STOLI BUGS ME 2004 sorrel, Stoli x Bugs Magic Rocket x Shawne Bug •  More than $23,500 earned on the track •  Progeny earnings in excess of $98,200, according to Equi-Stat • Dam of Legsgonewild, 2013 mare by Tres Seis and bred by Bielau Oaks, 2016 Barrel Futurities of America Juvenile Champion and earner of more than $89,000 with Molli Montgomery • Dam of Doc Holliday B, 2013 gelding by Teller Cartel and bred by Bielau Oaks, futurity money earner with Janet Staton MOON HANKIN MAMA 2000 grey, Good Timin Hank x Miss Moon Stop x Nonstop Jet •  Nearly $23,000 in barrel racing earnings, according to Equi-Stat • Futurity money earner with Jodi Jansen and Troy Crumrine; Open 1D money earner with Angela and Jackie Ganter • Dam of Makin Ya Famous, 2013 stallion by Dash Ta Fame and bred by Bryan Bailey; futurity money earner of more than $29,300 with Molli Montgomery FAMOUS WAHINI MOON 2009 sorrel, Famous Bugs x Moons Six Marthas x Marthas Six Moons • Equi-Stat barrel racing earnings of nearly $20,000 • Futurity finalist • Open money earner with Jackie Ganter SHAWNEES DASHIN LADY 2010 sorrel, Dash Ta Fame x The Shawnee Lady x Super De Kas • Racetrack money earner • Daughter of The Shawnee Lady, who has more than $45,000 in track earnings TAKIN LOVE 2001 black, Takin on the Cash x Cookie Lover x Casady Casanova • Racetrack money earner • Sire Takin On The Cash, SI 109, earned $661,697 on the track • Dam Cookie Lover is also a racing money earner

Evolving Genetics The Dufurs’ roster of mares varies each year as they try to keep bloodlines fresh. If a mare doesn’t meet the requirements to be a broodmare herself but is good-minded, the Dufurs might keep her as a recipient mare for embryo transfers. “We probably add 10 to 15 outside mares every year, and we also keep a few from our prior foaling to put into our herd,” Teri said. “If some of the mares don’t make the cut but are easy to handle, we’ll keep those as recipient mares. Over the years, we’ve found if you have a nutty recipient mare, some of her attitude does go into that baby, and it may be after they’re born—just because they’re a recip mare doesn’t mean that a little bit of what’s in them doesn’t go into those babies.” Continually evolving bloodlines by removing and adding mares helps the Dufurs produce a variety of horses and experiment with different crosses. It also allows them to keep successful bloodlines with slight variation. “We grow a lot of our own replacement mares because of certain bloodlines,” Alan said. “When we retire mares, we typically have progeny that’s out of that mare to replace her. If you’re not constantly evaluating and culling mares, you’re not improving your program.” Pedigrees help the Dufurs select only the best horses for reproduction. However, by choosing mares with good minds and correct conformation, Dufur Quarter Horses is raising the bar and generating smart, talented and durable horses for people to enjoy in the barrel racing arena or roping pen. “Genetics isn’t 100 percent of the final product—the environment, the maternal mothering of the mares has a lot to do with the end quality of the colt,” Alan said.


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WE’RE INVINCIBLE I TRUST MY FEED TO DO ITS JOB SO I CAN DO MINE. Purina® understands there’s a lot riding on our horses. It’s why I partner with them and why my feed of choice is Purina® Omolene #200® horse feed. With the Amplify® high-fat nugget, my horse gets the energy he needs so we can perform at the top of our game. VISIT YOUR PURINA® RETAILER OR HORSE.PURINAMILLS.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Britany Diaz © 2014 Purina Animal Nutrition LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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SITTIN’ PRETTY By Kail e y S u l l in s

The Beginning Before taking over a saddle shop in Goodyear, Arizona, in 2009, Clell had always dabbled in leatherwork. Growing up in eastern Oregon, Clell began his early life as a professional rodeo cowboy working both ends of the arena as a saddle bronc rider, steer wrestler, calf roper and team roper. When he wasn’t rodeoing, he’d spend time with good friend, leather maker and preacher, Greg McDonald, who taught him the trade of leatherworking. “Greg McDonald took me in at different times when I needed money and I’d do different things, whether it was tooling or just cutting hide,” Clell said. “I learned my way up, and it was one of those things that I never really thought of as being a full-time career.” After getting injured while rodeoing, Clell found what would become his career for the next 20 years. “I just happened to get the opportunity to go to Europe and study equine chiropractic care under a German chiropractor, and that led from one thing to the other,” he said. “I was offered a position in Arizona to work for a vet clinic, so I moved to Arizona – I went where I was led. I kept doing a few leatherworking things and building a few saddles on the side.” Clell dedicated the next chapter of his life to being an equine chiropractor working with rodeo competitors, equine surgeons and

even for the United States Equestrian Team. While most of his chiropractic business was on the English side of the industry – he was in both Sydney, Australia, and Athens, Greece, for the Olympics working for the United States Dressage Team – he soon met his wife, who was at the time a professional barrel racer from Canada, who qualified for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Eventually, with his expertise as a chiropractor, his father’s influence as a cutting horse trainer and his wife’s knowledge as a barrel racer, the thought of Usher Brand Saddles

– and soon after, Usher Brand Silver – became a reality. The Ushers purchased a building, some equipment and turned what had been a hobby of repairing and building saddles in their garage into a sought-after and respected company in the industry. Clell admits it’s been a learning experience not absent of mistakes, but they’ve never strayed from their goal or vision: to produce a unique and useful product for all levels of competitors. “As far as the building of our tree and of our design, we took my wife’s knowledge of barrel racing and the students she’s worked with and wanted to build a saddle we thought worked both for the high-level competitor and people who are working their way up, too,” Clell said. The Saddle Clell’s background as an equine chiropractor has been the backbone of their unique tree design. Having studied the performance horse’s anatomy and physiology, Clell is well versed in the science behind how a horse’s movements affect its health. As a result, one of his biggest priorities for his saddles is proper fit for the individual horse. Clell says a few different things play into proper fit for a saddle: the tree itself, the ground seat, stirrups and the pocket. “We make several bar options; we’ve played around with several different tree models to find out what


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we felt worked,” Clell said. “With my background as a chiropractor, I’ve found most horses have a protruding scapula bone, so we want to make room for that scapula bone to have freedom of movement. However, trees that are too big tend to rock and hinder the rib of a horse. So, the biggest thing is finding the proper fit, and then we’ve done a few extra things to set our saddles apart, like our swell and cantle height, horn position and build, stirrup position and our handbuilt ground seat.” Just as important as fitting the horse correctly, fitting the rider correctly plays an equal role in keeping the horse healthy and working its best. Clell says they have a special way of building their saddles to provide the rider with stability, no matter where the rider is in the pattern. He says much of the rider’s stability and balance comes from properly hanging stirrups. From Joan’s observations during clinics and teaching students, as well as watching their own daughter, Jaden, grow and develop as a rider, the Ushers noticed that some novice riders either had trouble keeping their feet in proper position because of hindrance from a saddle or they hadn’t yet mastered that specific element of horsemanship. Either way, the Ushers knew they wanted to find a way to overcome the issue. “As a trainer, sometimes you need to kick a horse in the back rib, sometimes you need to tell a horse to move its hip over different ways, so we want the rider to be able to do that, but we also wanted a novice rider to be balanced,” he said. “Sometimes it happens subconsciously, and riders don’t even know they are leaning forward and their legs are getting behind them. We wanted the saddle to have enough tension there that the legs

would stay centered, yet if they needed to, they could get their legs back.” With the combination of the tree design, the hand-built ground seat and stirrup position, the pocket of the saddle should allow for balance and security in the saddle without restricted movement. “Our ground seat gives people that comfortable feeling, especially in the turn,” Clell said, citing customers who commend the balance they feel during the run. “When a pocket is built properly, you shouldn’t notice the pocket. When you sit in our seat, you should be able to have that motion, but still feel secure when you’re at the center. “Our saddles are light for what they are, but we have to remind barrel racers that they have to turn three barrels also, it’s not just a straight away,” he continued. “So, we believe you have to have some pocket and to be able to sit in it and have some stability in your saddles.” While developing their saddles, the Ushers spent extensive time researching exactly what was needed, how it would affect both the horse and rider and how to overcome some of the obvious downfalls of human error in horsemanship. Through their research,

the Ushers found just how much of a rider’s movements affect a performance horse. “In some sports, like horse racing, you only have a slight left turn, but in barrel racing you have three extremely sharp turns,” Clell said. “Not only are those turns important for the rider, they are important for the horse, and proper saddle fit can not only help the rider feel more secure, it will help the horse. In studies of the biomechanics of a horse, if a horse feels a rider’s movements out of place most horses will take a slight pause to allow the rider to regain balance. “If you slow a run down and really look at it, you’ll see [the pause a horse takes to adjust for the rider’s movements correlate] with the times,” he continued. “You might see a rider get too far back or too far forward, or left or right, and the rider might be able to jockey that turn, but that horse knows, [the rider isn’t balanced and will adjust for those movements], and that can be just that couple hundredths of a second between first and last place.” The Future Over the course of nine years, the Ushers and both their saddle company and silver company have been through


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a field of obstacles, but found their way to the other side. With products they truly believe in, they’ve watched their dreams grow and succeed. Although the Ushers continue to strive for an even better product, they’re proud of the journey thus far. “We’re not a big shop; most of our competitors have been doing it for 30 to 40 years, so if anything [the biggest obstacle] has been getting people in your saddles, getting people to trust us and getting them to use our product,” Clell said. “I do feel that our background we brought with our brand and product has helped bridge that probably quicker than it has for others. God’s definitely had a hand in what we’ve done.” Clell says they’ve been fortunate to see competitors such as Kelsey Lutjen, Lake Mehallic, Andrea Udal and Kay Young, among others, be successful in their saddles, which he believes is a testament to the product.

“You can’t pay for winners. You can give away a lot of product, but they can’t always win in it,” Clell said with a laugh. “So we’ve been very fortunate there. To me, that’s the most heartfelt thing to see; seeing people out there excelling in our product and doing so well.” Clell says one of the most rewarding parts of his brand is seeing people achieve their dreams in his saddles, which is what motivates him to continue improving and producing the best product he can and expand in other disciplines. “I get emotional sometimes when I think back about [how Usher Brand began], because I remember what all we went through building everything up, so it was never a big shop. It was just a few of us and we’ve been able to take it where it is from something that was just a local repair shop and had some equipment,” Clell said. “It was kind of an adventure.” 

MEET THE TEAM CLELL USHER Born into the ranching lifestyle, Clell is the son of a horse trainer and grew up around the rodeo industry competing on the professional level. In 1999, he began his career as an equine chiropractor and worked alongside many renowned chiropractors, equine surgeons and professionals in the industry. Clell has worked for both rodeo competitors and the United States Equestrian Team. Now, he enjoys his time spent traveling to junior rodeos with his 12-year-old daughter, Jaden. JOAN USHER A professional barrel racer, Joan has qualified for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, won multiple futurity and derby championships, and qualified for the Canadian National Finals Rodeo. Now, she enjoys raising her daughter, Jaden, alongside her husband, Clell, and helping students improve their horsemanship. AMANDA SHAKESPEARE, Silver Shop Designer JOCELYN WEYRICH, Saddle Designer JACKIE HOFFMAN, Office Assistant Manager LARRY SNIPES, Master Leather Craftsman


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By Danika K e n t

“You have to meet my son. He’s your future husband!” To a young Jayme Miller, that was a lot of information coming from a relative stranger at a barrel race. “Brian and I were about 11 and 9 when his mother told me that,” laughs Jayme. “I told her she was crazy! I still think she’s crazy, but she was right.” Maybe it was merely a spontaneous, innocent idea, a mother’s intuition or another fateful force that compelled Terri Robison to call out her future daughter-in-law at a Texas barrel race years ago, but her statement did hold true. “Brian will tell you my horses always came first, and that made dating me a struggle,” confesses Jayme, now Jayme Robison, who at the age of 5 started taking her trail horse around the barrels while dreaming of the National Finals Rodeo. Astride a mare named Texas Tee Bird, a daughter of AQHA Reserve World Champion Barrel Horse stallion Iron Bird, Jayme experienced her first big wins, from a Texas High School Rodeo Association region title to a college rodeo scholarship to a Women’s Professional Rodeo Association circuit finals qualification and circuit finals Rookie of the Year honors. But she wasn’t the only one going pro, and fast horses were only her first love. Brian was a four-sport athlete in high school and went on to play college football and earn a national championship with the Texas Longhorns of the University of Texas at Austin. In 2007, he was drafted into the National Football League by the Minnesota Vikings. “I cried when he got drafted. I didn’t want to go to Minnesota!” says Jayme. “But we loaded up my truck and trailer and drove to Minnesota so he could be there for training camp. We unloaded my horses at a boarding place and pulled up in our old neighborhood and unloaded all of our life, which wasn’t much at the time.” Jayme soon realized just how harshly the frozen months in metropolitan Minnesota contrasted to winters in Magnolia, Texas. The snow, ice, and often sub-zero temperatures all but prohibited her best intentions to keep her horses legged up. “I was only able to ride August through October, and October was hit or miss. I was literally driving four hours round trip to make a little jackpot. In Texas, you’re so used to

getting in the truck and going 30 miles down the road, and you’re only out maybe $50,” she explains. “That’s where my sister came into play.” Jayme’s younger sister, Jodee Miller, shares her sibling’s love of barrel horses and rodeo, but her greatest passion lies in training and campaigning younger horses – a perfect complement to Jayme’s rodeo-oriented ambitions. “My main interest is rodeo. That’s where my heart is and my love for the horses. I have futurity horses, but that’s just not my passion. My sister loves to start from the ground up, so we started getting a few young ones, and that works out, because I leave half the year,” says Jayme, who along with


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their two children, Madelyn, 6, and Parker, 3, never misses her husband’s home games. “It is cheaper, financially, for me to fly back and forth to the rodeos down there,” she explains. “But with that comes a need for someone willing to take care of the horses, someone you know and trust. With her love of the animal and the sport, it all works out.” Building a Breeding Program And so, with Jodee focusing on futurity hopefuls and Jayme rodeoing on her queen bee, HBS Mayan Gold, whom she purchased from friend and fellow trainer, Jordon Briggs, life was good for the sisters of MR Performance Horses. Then, in 2013, came a call that the bay roan stallion, French Streaktovegas, was to be sold. “What? A stud!” Jayme recalls of her initial reaction. “I was just getting into futurity horses, and now all of a sudden I was thinking about all this? My main thing was driving thousands of miles for one rodeo and now I was pulled in 10 different directions. But the price was right, the deal was fast and I ended up with the stud, and it absolutely changed everything.” While Jayme stays her course with her rodeo goals, the horizons of MR Performance Horses broadened exponentially with the acquisition of “Streak.” “I still rodeo, but he definitely opened the doors for my program in general. I guess that’s kind of what always happens, you have these plans in your head that this is what you’re going to do and how it’s going to be, and something comes along and you wonder how it is going to fit in. But it was the right time and the right everything, because he made my program. The basis is now around breeding; breeding has become my passion.” 2017 was the debut year for the first-born of junior sire French Streaktovegas to compete. Three of the 12 colts that made up his first foal crop competed last year, winning money from futurity championships to professional rodeos: Frenchy Movestovegas and Our Scottish Fling, both owned by Our Performance Horses and ridden by Abby Michaelis, and Echetas Red Dust, owned and ridden by Megan McKellips. In 2014, Jayme’s first opportunity to orchestrate his stud book, she specifically selected running- and barrelbred bloodlines to cross with the new cornerstone of MR Performance Horses. “Everything Darren (Barton, French Streaktovegas’ former owner) had bred prior to me purchasing him were cow-bred mares,” Jayme explains. “Darren ropes, so those were the main bloodlines on his place. The few out there


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that are not cow-bred are from outside breedings, and there weren’t very many. He’s producing really well on cow-bred mares, but I am really looking forward to seeing what he produces when crossed with speed. We bred to mares like IRA Grand Victory, KN Fabs Gift Of Fame, KN Born This Way, Short Penny, Repete Fame, and the list goes on. We have been very blessed to have so many great mare owners that wanted to breed to Streak.” Jayme looks ahead to 2019, when this group of foals will hit the arena. Jodee has the eligible MR candidates in training, to compete at her discretion; among the French Streaktovegas progeny are are a 4-year-old daughter of JL Sweet Fame, 3-year-old fillies out of Texas Tee Bird and Rockemsockemcash, and a 2-year-old colt out of Danyelle Campbell’s Repete Fame. “Without Jodee in this, pieces would be missing. Without Streak, pieces are missing. I definitely don’t do it by myself, but I love it. There is nothing missing, and I never in a million years would’ve dreamed that,” she says. If you’re going to have a stud, you’ve got to have broodmares, and Jayme, who at one point would have passed on a mare whose abilities were limited to the breeding shed, has since amassed a band with impressive performance and pedigree credentials. “Ninety-five percent of my broodmares are horses I competed on at some point or are currently running,” she explains. “I rarely buy just broodmares unless there is a specific bloodline I don’t have.”

Jayme holds fast to some of the tried-and-true lineages, like that of her beloved Texas Tee Bird. “I like some older bloodlines; I don’t try to buy into all the new hype,” she says. “I’ve got quite a few older broodmares with bloodlines you don’t see anymore, like Moon Lark, Raise Your Glass, Rocket Wrangler, Go Man Go, Easily Smashed, Bugs Alive In 75, Willys Rockin, Easy Jet, and Dash For Cash.” In addition to HBS Mayan Gold, several former residents of Briggs Performance Horses now make their home at MR Performance Horses – all totaled, earners of over $750,000. Some, like A Special Colour and Ima Friendly Guy, are geldings, but others are proven mares or prospects. “Overthemoonforaguy was originally owned by the Briggses,” Jayme explains of the barrel-bred daughter of Frenchmans Guy out of Mulberry Canyon Moon who was futuritied by Hallie Hanssen and has placed at major pro rodeos with Jodee. “Justin [Briggs] broke her and we purchased her after that. That’s how we met the Briggs and became fast friends. The entire family is great and has truly been a blessing.” Jayme adds that her association with Hallie Hanssen has become another cherished friendship as her life has become more intertwined with barrel racing.


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“Hallie was also an instrumental part in purchasing Streak since she had been the one that won the most on him,” she says. “She cared a lot about him, and I have a lot of respect for Hallie.” Overthemoonforaguy is one of two daughters of Mulberry Canyon Moon currently in Jayme’s arsenal of proven mare power. Shake It Frenchie also came from Briggs Performance Horses and went on to win rodeos with Jodee while lending her genetic potential to the program. Gone Fishing When the NFL season comes to a close, the Robisons depart from their Minnesota home back to Texas. Barrel racing and the breeding barn are not all that await their return, however. “Once he’s done, I’m done,” Jayme says of her part-time residence in the tundra. “When the season ends, we go home to Texas and the first thing Brian wants to do is get on his boat. His schedule is a little more hectic than most people realize in the off-season.” The frenzy of the off-season is due, in part, to the 2015 launch of the Reel ‘Em In Foundation, the benevolent brainchild formed by the Robisons to support those in need. “Brian had an interest in giving back,” Jayme explains. “We had been tossing around ideas as far as how to do so, and out of the blue, he said, ‘We should do a fishing tournament and auction these guys off.’ As a barrel racer, you know you don’t make a lot of money putting on a barrel race. So I’m looking at this wondering how it’s going to make money for a charity.” The guys Brian wanted to auction off were his teammates, past and present, and his concept of hosting a fishing tournament coupled with a celebrity auction that involved the community proved to be a success.

“The outpour of former and current teammates has been overwhelming. I can’t even begin to name all the Vikings that attend. He has also had college teammates come out. None of them hesitated when we asked them,” Jayme says of the men who have volunteered their time. “It really means a lot to Brian to see how many of his teammates go out of their way to attend.” Fans bid on the opportunity to spend a day fishing, oneon-one, with their favorite football star, and all proceeds go to charity. With complete dedication to their cause, the Robisons operate the Reel ‘Em In Foundation and coordinate the events without the help or expenses of employees. “We do all the grunt work so every dime we raise is handed to somebody who actually needs it,” says Jayme. “It would be really nice to hire someone to do all the hard work, but that becomes really expensive. We can do something really great with that money, and that turns the tables for us.” A PErfect Fit Naturally, the Robisons were inclined to funnel the proceeds of the tournaments to the needs of the communities near and dear to their hearts in Texas and Minnesota, but who that beneficiary would be remained unclear as they planned their first event. As fate would have it, Jayme’s barrel racing path crossed with that of a like-minded philanthropic foundation when she took in a K9s4Cops demonstration at the 2015 Diamonds and Dirt Barrel Horse Classic. “When I came home from Diamonds and Dirt, I told Brian about the dogs I had seen with their handlers in a demo. With both of our families in law enforcement, along with having school-age children, it seemed like a perfect fit,” says Jayme. Brian’s father, Jimmy Robison, was an officer of


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the Houston Police Department for nearly three decades. Jayme’s uncle, Steve Miller, is a retired police officer, and her brother, Jason Gober, is a Houston firefighter. Along with her awe in the abilities of the expertly intune K9s came sticker shock at what it costs to obtain one. Depending on the discipline, the cost of a K9 ranges from $15,000 to $45,000, an expense that has proven a crippling financial strain for many departments of law enforcement and school campuses. “Put one of those dogs in a school and have the parents come to the school,” Jayme says, visualizing a demonstration of a K9’s skills for all parents of school-age children. “If you had an active shooter on the ground while that dog is guarding the school, every PTO parent would be on a mission to raise the funds to get that dog, because that dog will have the shooter on the ground before a cop will. “The dog is not going to have a bad day,” she continues. “It’s going to wake up every day with one thing on its mind, and that’s to protect. They do so much more than people realize, and they don’t get the recognition they deserve. It would hit home with everyone, whether it’s with their child, or their uncle or brother who used to be in law enforcement, or people in the military who have served our country.” The first Reel ‘Em In fishing tournament took place in 2016 on Texas’ Lake Fork and raised $27,000, all of which

went to K9s4Cops and culminated in the placement of K9 Valor in the Goodhue County, Minn., Sheriff ’s Department with Deputy Jim Goham. “Jim came out to our tournament in Minnesota last year with K9 Valor. It was awesome to be able to see a dog we provided in action during the demos, and it couldn’t have gone to a better family,” Jayme says. “Jim and his wife were both so grateful, and to see him interact with his dog… It really hit home and made all the struggles and hard work worth it. Brian isn’t the type who wants his name in the paper for recognition. That’s not what makes us feel good. The feeling good part came from meeting that guy and seeing how grateful he was.” In 2017, tournaments held in both Wabasha, Minn., and Texas, on Lake Sam Rayburn, cumulatively raised over $110,000. With the extra finances, the Robisons were able to not only continue to support K9s4Cops, but also aid in the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, providing assistance to rebuild the Rockport, Texas public school. The Robisons are reaching for $250,000 this year. The first 2018 event is set for March 29-31 at Lake Sam Rayburn, Texas, and the Minnesota tournament is scheduled for June 15-17 in Wabasha. “We want people to know that this is not just a fishing thing – you don’t have to know how to fish to come out and be involved,” Jayme says. “It’s a chance for fans of football to mix and mingle with several professional players, get pictures and autographs, and more. Our silent auction has everything from signed memorabilia to vacation packages! Even the kids have something to do, from a trout-fishing pond to learn to fish, or a bouncy house to play in. We work really hard to make it fun for everyone!” Both the Same What is it about a couple Texans that allows them to have very different careers in the realm of professional sports, maintain a cohesive, supportive network of family and friends, thrive in the frigid north, coordinate major events for a non-profit, and overall build a life that is not only fruitful to the family, but enhances the life experience of those who believe in their lives’ work? “The thing I love most about Brian is his drive to succeed, to work. Brian is one of the most driven people I know. When he has a goal in his mind, nobody is going to stop him, and that’s what I love about him,” Jayme says. “He’ll turn around and probably tell you the same thing about me, and that’s probably why, together, we do well. We’re both the same.” 


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Making Things Matter 48

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When you m ak e a don at ion to K9s 4COP s, or i ts ini t i at i ve K9s4 K IDs, yo u a re helping k e e p o u r com m u ni ties and sc ho ol s along wi t h o u r l aw enf or cement of f ic e rs sa f e r.

K9s do what humans cannot. They can smell narcotics, explosives and a suspect’s trail. They can run faster and go places their human partners cannot. They don’t complain about overtime, and they will take down a bad guy for a pat on the head or a tummy rub. They are simply put the greatest asset, and one of the most under-utilized tools, in the protection of our communities, schools, and the people charged with that duty, as well. K9s4COPs is working to provide K9s for law enforcement agencies and schools across the country, and in doing so, are helping spread the word of how gallant, how brave, and how vital a well-trained K9 is for the safety of us all. Here some of the recent K9s4COPs recipients share, in their own words, how their communities—and their personal lives—are benefiting from the gift of a well-trained K9.

Debuty Madison Sperry, K9 LeMans, Harris County Constable Precinct One I work for Harris County Constable Precinct One in Houston, under Alan Rosen where we service over 1 million people. I have been with the department two years and a K9 handler for one year. This is my first K9. I am fortunate to have an amazing partner who is dual-purpose narcotic trained. Before coming to Precinct One, I worked for Kristi Schiller at Schiller Ranch, doing stuff for the ranch, including Diamonds and Dirt Barrel Horse Classic, and also K9s4COPs. Kristi is the reason I fell in love with K9s and pursued a career with it. I am forever grateful to her for that.  I discovered my love for K9 when I was gifted K9 Quelle, my K9 guardian, when I graduated from Texas A&M.

Deputy Madison Sperry and K9 LeMans— photo by Daniel Ortiz Photography

I would take Quelle, who was fully trained just like the police K9s, and go train with all of the officers and trainers of Houston K9 Academy, Jaz and Jason Stanze. I absolutely fell in love with it and knew in my heart that’s what I wanted to do. Quelle is an amazing little girl who showed me what makes my heart happy.


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My partner, K9 LeMans is a dualpurpose trained narcotics K9 who was gifted to Precinct One by longtime K9s4COPs champions Laurie and Tracy Krohn. He is named after the 24 Hour of LeMans Race in Europe. The Krohns gave me an amazing gift with K9 LeMans, and I am forever grateful. K9 LeMans has taken numerous drugs, money, guns, and drug paraphernalia off the streets. He takes his job seriously and knows when he is working and when he is not. At home, he is playful and loves to just “let loose”. At work, he is extremely protective of me and is always alert, watching everything going on. When it is time for him to perform a narcotic search or suspect search, he gets in a very serious mode and means business. w I have always been a cheerleader of K9s4COPs and now getting

to represent K9s4COPs as a K9 Handler is such a great honor. It has enhanced my ability as a K9 Officer because it encourages me to be the best handler can be. Doing K9 demos and community appearances for K9s4COPS has been great experience. Thanks to K9s4COPs, I am now living my dream. Thanks for encouraging me, inspiring me, and believing in my dreams as much as I did. Sergeant Chris Knowlton, K9 Elliott, Center Police Department My department is a small agency serving the city of Center, Texas, which has a population of 5,500.  The city is the hub of Shelby County, which encompasses 30,000 people. I have been in law enforcement for 11 years and often assist the DEA and other surrounding counties communities throughout East Texas from Nacogdoches to occasionally as far as Beaumont. My K9 partner Elliott was generously donated by K9s4COPs and the Minnesota Vikings Brian Robison’s Reel ‘Em In Foundation. Two years ago our K9 department applied for a K9 grant through

K9s4COPs, I had no idea that Brian Robison and his wife Jayme’s Reel ‘Em In Foundation supported K9s4COPs in such a huge way, and I certainly had no idea how their generosity would have such a lasting effect in my life. I cannot say enough about Brian. He truly has the most genuine heart of anyone I have ever met that has a passion for law enforcement. He is definitely part of the “thin blue line”. When I got the phone call that we were granted a K9, little did I know we would be a forever member of the elite K9s4COPs family. I could not dream of the support they continue to provide me on a daily basis—from getting answers to K9 related questions or providing invaluable resource to any issue a K9 handler could have—they are always there to help. Best of all— I am able to network with other K9 handlers throughout the country. The K9s4COPs nucleus assures that you are set up for success from day one. This hotline is crucial to helping me do my job to the best of my ability. My K9 partner, Elliott is a four-year old combo “Mali-Herd” (Malinois and German Shepherd cross) that made his way from Europe to the Houston K9 Academy where he was finished in dual jobs of narcotics and patrol. I

“I feel Elliott has the best personality you can ever hope for in a police dog.  He is the epitome of socialization and community safety.  I can have him out with neighborhood children one second and chasing a fleeing felon the next.” K9 LeMans — photo by Daniel Ortiz Photography

—Sgt Chris Knowlton


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Brian Robison, K9 Elliott and Deputy Chris Knowlton— photo by Bonner Rhae Photography

would like to say that I selected him, after observing multiple dogs – but the truth is he chose me. Our personalities are aligned with each other. We both love getting dope off the streets and just spending our down time together. Over the past two years he has grown from being somewhat reserved to bring extremely loving with my family in his down time. K9 handlers love to brag on their dogs, but I am convinced that Elliott is the best of the K9s4COPs lineup. Recently, Elliott and I were backing up some officers that had a very large, belligerent crowd that was starting to turn. Simultaneously, they were dealing with a subject that was intoxicated on the drug PCP. Upon arrival, I deployed Elliott, and he immediately commanded presence and the crowd maintained composure the second he let them know he would not tolerate being disrespected. It was that moment that I knew this just his mere presence could allow officers to take control of most any situation. The same way the quarterback fears being sacked by the likes of Brian Robison, no one wants to be on the uninvited end of K9 Elliott–he gets the job done!

Officer Andy Blauser & K9 Odin, Waller County Sheriff’s Office I have been in Law Enforcement for six years and I love serving my community. I patrol Waller County, which is about 513 square miles or mostly ranches and farmland. We also have Prairie View University and are building new subdivisions all the time. Waller County is one of the fastest growing counties in Texas. I have had K9 Odin in my life since April of 2017 and we have been on patrol together for about six months. K9 Odin is my first K9 partner and is dual-trained in patrol, which includes tracking and apprehension, as well as narcotics. K9 Odin’s donation was made possible with the support of the Minnesota Viking’s Brian Robison’s Reel ‘Em In Foundation. The Robison family works close with K9s4COPs, and they are tireless in their

efforts to give law enforcement the best K9s around. Once I learned he was a sponsor, I was beside myself as I have been a lifelong Vikings fan. I remember watching Robison play back in 2005 on the National Champion Texas Longhorns and have been watching him dominate with the Vikings for years. It’s part of the reason why I named my partner Odin…my partner, like Brian, is a BEAST that has no quit in him! I knew I wanted to be in K9 when I worked very closely with former Sergeant of mine at a Sheriff ’s Office in the Panhandle of Texas located in a county that is about 1,000 square miles and had only two deputies on at a time. I saw how much he relied on his K9 named Lucifer to protect him, as backup could be up to 45 minutes away. There were many times that the

Officer Andy Blauser and K9 Odin— photo by Andy Blauser

K9 Odin - photo by Andy Blauser


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suspects—just knowing a K9 was present—would prevent assaults that would have happened otherwise on law enforcement. I started training with him and started decoying. One of the highlights of my career so far is when K9 Odin and I were directly involved in the capture of a person who had just hours before murdered a Texas State Trooper. While I cannot discuss the details at this time, I can say that it was the most humbling experience of my life. The part that made all the blood sweat and tears of being a K9 handler worth it was the relief and closure on the faces of the family of the slain Trooper when they met K9 Odin. K9 Odin performed flawlessly that night and provided protection to the nearly 400 law enforcement personnel that were on the scene. A few weeks ago I assisted a neighboring agency on a high-speed pursuit that was coming into my county. I deployed K9 Odin after the vehicle stopped and the driver was arrested. A couple of other deputies that I have never met before yelled out “Odin!” in recognition. I have no clue who the officers were, but it was

humbling to me that people recognize Odin and the work he does. The support and fan base of K9s4COPs makes Odin and I feel like super-heroes. They have over a million followers with over 200 agencies and makes you feel like you are the only officer and K9 that truly matter. People are genuinely interested in what we do and how we go about serving our community. Kristi Schiller and her team give us continuous show of appreciation. When you are doing what can sometimes be a thankless job, the cheerleading that K9s4COPs gives makes you feel like you have a second family. The technical support, training and education that this organization provides cannot be put into words. I will say that they are very successful in providing the tools that tip the scales in law enforcements favor who are tasked with protection in this increasingly violent world.    I cannot describe in words what K9 Odin means to me. I cannot imagine ever being a deputy again without partner K9 Odin with me. He protects me, and the citizens of the great state of Texas for a little love and a tennis ball.

Senior Deputy Jaime Garcia with the Hidalgo County Sheriff Office and K9 Asha I am a K9 officer for Hidalgo County located deep on the South Texas border, just North of the Rio Grande River and Mexico with a population over 850,000 and is over 1,500 square miles. I have been a K9 handler for the past decade and have had five canines under my command—most retired early due to health issues. One of my

“One of the highlights of my career so far is when K9 Odin and I were directly involved in the capture of a person who had just hours before murdered a Texas State Trooper… I can say that it was the most humbling experience of my life.—Officer Andy Blauser Senior Deputy Jaime Garcia and K9 Asha- photo by Jaime Garcia


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K9 Asha

“Not even a week had passed since I finished training and I got the biggest marijuana seizure in my career with K9 Asha. It was over 3,000 pound of marijuana! That was just one of many drug seizures I’ve had with K9 Asha…” —Senior Deputy Jaime Garcia previous K9s named Herby, helped take down several loads of narcotics and U.S. currency. One of his most sizable seizures that I will forever remember was a seizure of 70 kilos of cocaine hidden in a tractor-trailer. After an x-ray was first done on the tractor-trailer, it showed no anomalies, but Herby was alerting otherwise. I remembered that my K9 instructor Javier Solis told me to “trust your dog” and I’m glad I did! Unfortunately, I lost Herby to bloat in May 2, 2017.

This took a toll on me to the point where I wanted to quit K9…I couldn’t deal with the loss. Some people think that it’s just a dog, but working with one, you realize that its more than a dog, they become a part of your family. I couldn’t quit— from day one that I started working with a K9—I knew that being a K9 handler is all I wanted to be. I knew I had to get back on my feet by working with another K9. I was fortunate enough that K9s4COPs had donated K9 Asha,

a single purpose K9, to the Hidalgo County Sherriff Office. In May 2017, I attended training in Houston with the Harris County Sheriff ’s Office. I can’t thank them enough for the excellent training, and I owe so much gratitude to my fellow K9 handlers at HCSO. In addition, I want to give a big shout out to Sergeant Chris Moore and his team of K9 handlers…these guys are the best in the business! It was big change for me working with a single purpose K9, as I would have to get used to not being part of the S.W.A.T. team and not deploying the K9 in vehicle bailouts. But during training with Asha, I was amazed at how well she knew the narcotic odors. After the three weeks of training, I headed back to the Valley and got back to work. Not even a week had passed since I finished training and I got the biggest marijuana seizure in my career with K9 Asha. It was over 3,000 pound of marijuana! That was just one of many drug seizures I’ve had with K9 Asha. The latest seizure was almost 20 kilos of cocaine and over $443,000 of U.S currency. K9 Asha has surpassed all of my expectations. Once again thank you K9s4COPS for donating K9 Asha to everyone at the Hidalgo County Sheriff Office.

K9s4COPs is committed to being part of a solution that works to keep communities, schools, and children safe. We do not believe that budget cuts should ever keep an officer from having a K9 partner. For more information on how you can support K9s4COPs and K9s4KIDs, please visit, call 936-825-9900 or email Thank you for your support!


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One Step 56

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Gift ed tr ainer a nd A QHA c ha m pion D o u g Smi t h wa s par alyze d f r om t he wa i st down three years ago a nd i s de t e rm ine d to r ide d ow n t he a l l e y a g a in . By Bl anc he S c h ae f e r

February 26, 2015, began as a pretty typical day at multiple American Quarter Horse Association champion Doug Smith’s place in Ward, Ark. The endeared barrel racing and pole bending horse trainer was putting in a day’s work around the farm before he was scheduled to head down to Fort Worth, Texas, for the AQHA Convention that weekend. Doug never made it to the convention. He was lucky he made it through the day alive. “He was trying to load and stack round bales in our arena, and one came undone and fell off the front end loader of the tractor and rolled down and crushed him—the tractor didn’t have a cage on it—and he was sitting in the chair and it rolled over and pushed him backwards in the chair and bent his back backwards in a way it shouldn’t have gone,” recalled Lane Smith, Doug’s now-27-year-old son and also a highly decorated AQHA pole bending and barrel racing competitor. “I wasn’t here, actually; I was working at another ranch not too far from the house, but my brother [Landon Smith] was here. My brother said with no exaggeration he thought his back was broken. I got the phone call at work and went straight to the hospital.” Lane remembers his father being very coherent after the accident. The doctors initially believed Doug was suffering

from temporary paralysis due to the bruising and swelling throughout his body, but as time went on and the swelling went down, Doug never regained feeling in his legs. “It paralyzed me from the waist down,” Doug said. “The doctors said no, I would absolutely not [be able to walk again]. It was very, very grim.” The next few weeks, Doug went in and out of the hospital several times as complications arose from the severe injuries. Reality came crashing down, as he took medical leave from his full-time job of 32 years as a fire investigator for Farm Bureau. Lane took over the barn of about 25 horses the two were training and managing together while Doug adjusted to life in a wheelchair and tried to get well enough to begin physical therapy. “Prior to the accident, I had the two best jobs in the world—fire investigation and training the horses and coaching kids—and basically I felt like I had lost both of them,” Doug said. “Those were the two things I was good at, and I enjoyed both of them. It makes your job a whole lot easier when you love what you’re doing, and I loved both of them. I worked all day and then I worked all night, and we showed every weekend just about. I’d never known anything else.”

Forward 57

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Champion from the Start Doug has always loved training horses. He started showing in local open shows at 16 years old and soon moved up to AQHA-sanctioned events. As often happens, Doug’s horse show career was put on pause to start a family with his wife, Kelly. “In 1987, I got married and went out of ‘em all and then started training Quarter Horses,” Doug said. “I ended up breaking colts, starting a lot of 2-year-olds, showing AQHA. Things just kept progressing, and we had a son in 1990.” Doug’s oldest son, Lane, brought him back into the bright lights of the show pen. Lane followed in his dad’s footsteps and became a fierce competitor in his own right, garnering multiple AQHA Youth championships in pole bending and barrel racing. “When he was 9, we took him to his first [AQHyA Youth World Championship Show] in 1999. He won his first Youth world championship a few years later; I think he was 11 or 12,” Doug said. “We just continued together—he was very successful in the Youth program, and I was in the Open classes.” As the years went on, Lane dominated the Amateur level and was soon giving Doug a run for his money in the Open at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress and AQHA Open World Championship Show. “When he aged out of the Youth, he got his Amateur card,” Doug said. “His first year at the Open World in the Amateur, he won the barrels, second in the poles, third in the stakes—back to back to back in the finals that night.” Doug took great pride in coaching his own kids— his middle son, Landon, enjoyed a brief show career and youngest daughter, Maggie, 15, recently won AQHA world championship and reserve world championship titles. “My little sister, she’s the next badass—she’s real good on a horse and going to pass me up in no time,” Lane said affectionately of Maggie. Doug’s gift for helping young equestrians discover confidence and achieve victory in the arena extended beyond his own family. “I thought when Lane graduated out of the Youth program when he turned 18 or 19 that I was pretty much done and was just going to semi-retire, ride my own horses and things were going to slow down,” Doug said. “Instead, it went completely the other direction, and I started getting a reputation for coaching kids and finding horses for people to match their kid’s particular riding style. I got several kids a year to the Youth World who did really good—one


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of them went to the World Show one year and won a world championship the next year or two years later, so instead of me slowing down, it got very hectic.” Doug and Lane worked together at their farm to train, show and sell top-tier barrel and pole horses in addition to giving lessons. The father-son duo agrees Doug has an extraordinary gift as a teacher. “If somebody was riding around wanting help, Lane would say ‘You need to go see my daddy,’” Doug said with a chuckle. “He can ride, but people say I’m able to see stuff they can’t see and other people can’t see. I watch, so that’s my knack as far as helping the kids—and not just kids; I help rodeo girls, amateurs, adults, everybody.” Lane says he couldn’t have a better mentor and business partner and is thankful to have grown up in the equine community alongside one of the best horsemen in the business. “There’s two sides—he’s Dad, and he’s always cheered me on and we hunt and ride and do all sorts of stuff together, but we also run a business out here and we’ve done well to make the two intermingle,” Lane said. “The horses were always my

main activity. Every Saturday instead of heading to another baseball or basketball game, we went to the horse show. Family time is family time no matter what you’re doing.” Beginning the Journey When Doug’s health became stable after the accident, a blessing in the form of friend, doctor and fellow horseman helped him turn the corner toward healing. “The good Lord put a lady in my living room one Sunday afternoon, and she said, ‘If you’re willing to put up the effort, we’ll go to work,’” Doug said. “I started going to the gym, working out, exercising, just everything you can imagine.” Ginger Johnson was the push Doug needed to, literally, get back on the horse. “He was able to be hardcore in therapy because he wasn’t working full time,” Lane said. “Then [Farm Bureau] got him a company truck with a wheelchair lift and changed his job position up a little bit, so he went back to work full time and slowed down on the therapy. Our friend, Ginger Johnson, who’s in the horse business real heavy and is also a chiropractor, stayed after him. If he said, ‘I got in late last night, I’m too tired,’ she’d say, ‘Oh I don’t care, go do your walking on parallel bars.’ She didn’t take any or cut him much slack, which has been good for us.” Lane noticed the most motivation in his father when Doug returned to work and began to see a light at the end of the tunnel toward getting his legs back with physical therapy. “My dad has been a hard worker his whole life, but because this thing kept going bad, he went in and out of ICU several times before he even got to go to therapy. When he was able to stay in physical therapy for an extended period of time is when I saw the most determination,” Lane said. “He said he wasn’t going to leave until he walked out on his own. The doctors disagreed and said it’s just not going to happen in this time frame. He got a little down after that, but once again coming back to the horse community, just overwhelming encouragement from everybody, he was able to bounce back from that short little down time and keep trying.”

“Prior to the accident, I had the two best jobs in the world—fire investigation and training the horses and coaching kids—and basically I felt like I had lost both of them.” —Doug Smith


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Strength in Numbers A GoFundMe page was created online, welcomed with an outpouring of contributions from the equine community, with a large portion of funds coming from the Schiller family at the 2015 Diamonds and Dirt Barrel Horse Classic. The Smiths visited several different hippotherapy facilities so Doug could get back in the saddle with professional assistance and spend time around horses, one of life’s joys he lives for the most. When things looked bleak, Doug always had his greatest source of inspiration to cling to—the people he coached through his lesson program. “It’s often what kept me going,” Doug said. “Before I ever got out of rehab, I’d taken my golf cart and had a hand control put on it. The weekend I got home, they built my ramps and a ramp for my golf cart and measured it so I could transfer from my wheelchair over to my golf cart and go to the barn and arena and give lessons off that golf cart. For the longest time, that is what kept me going.” In the first few weeks after Doug’s accident, the local horse community rallied for the family that had given so much to them. “Training horses is not like a normal business where you can just take a leave of absence. We still had 25 head of horses at the barn, and I was a person shy,” Lane said. “While all that was going on at the hospital, we’d have people calling and texting saying, ‘Hey we’re at the barn tonight, we’ll handle it, stay at the hospital.’ People would show up while I was at

work and clean stalls. They’d get the horses out and lunge, and people I felt comfortable with riding a couple horses rode, people even came and mowed the grass. They were all genuine horse people.” The period of time following the initial shock of the accident is when the family needed the most help around the barn. When news of Doug’s paralysis faded from the headlines and social media, the family’s steadfast friends never left their side. “I’m not an emotional person at all, but there’s a couple people who come to mind, specifically—the people who showed up day in and day out,” Lane said. “There were some people who did it the first two or three weeks who just wanted a name mentioned or a thank-you, and then after the first two or three weeks died down, the real people kept coming around and didn’t ask for a thing. I tried to repay them in any way I could—it just makes you tear up a bit. This is not a glamorous deal by any means. They’d come after their own jobs and help out. They know at the same time I would do it for them.” Even eight months later, close friends were still doing everything in their power to help the Smiths. In October 2015, Lane was competing in the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio. Doug had been entered, and although he was forced to scratch, he was determined to make the trip to watch his son gun for a second consecutive Pole Bending Sweepstakes title. Lane’s best friend Bradley Bohannon, who also owned the horse Tangos Blonde Hope


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“I could transfer from my wheelchair over to my golf cart and go to the barn and arena and give lessons off that golf cart. For the longest time, that is what kept me going.” —Doug Smith that Lane was showing, stepped up to ensure Doug would be ringside for Lane’s runs. “My dad was hard-set on going to watch, but we didn’t have the truck rigged up to where he could drive it yet. Bradley said, ‘Okay, I’ll go with him,’ and drove him 16 hours to the Congress,” Lane said. “I won the first go, third in the second go, and won the final go and the average, so it couldn’t have been much better.” Despite father and son not getting to compete alongside each other in the class, seeing Lane win his second of three consecutive Sweepstakes titles on Tangos Blonde Hope made every minute of Doug and Bradley’s long drive time well spent. “For him to get to be there was just—that was real special, because the year before we’d gone and won and he took [Roses For Ragtime, a mare Doug bred and trained and is now owned by Kristi Schiller] and would have been second behind me but hit a pole,” Lane recalled. “We were hoping it’d be a redemption year, and we didn’t get that chance, but for him to come watch me and drive in a vehicle for 16 hours without ever getting out was pretty cool. I’m glad it was worthwhile.” Lane says witnessing the show community come together to take care of Doug so Lane could tend to his horses was a true representation of the kindness and selflessness often seen in horse people. “It was all still so new—Facebook let everybody know, but basically it was his first big outing in his wheelchair. He wasn’t embarrassed about it, but he hadn’t been comfortable being out and about,” Lane said. “I was worried because I had to work at the Congress, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to take care of him, but I had nothing to worry about. There was more than enough help getting him in and out of the horse trailer living quarters, that type of stuff.” Moving Forward Doug’s lifelong gift of a good eye for horsemanship has helped him continue to train successfully from his golf cart.

“I’ve always had the ability to No. 1, see what needed to be corrected, whether it was the horse or the rider, and No. 2, I’ve always been fortunate to have the ability to put that into words, like how the rider needed to fix what they were doing wrong or what the horse was doing wrong, so it wasn’t any change for me so much as I was sitting on a golf cart instead of sitting on a horse being able to show them myself,” Doug said. “I had to walk them through it a little bit more or use somebody as an example.” Doug can ride a bit now, too, and he has big goals of competing and training horses again. He’s working toward walking on his own with the help of several prestigious paralysis recovery centers around the United States. “There’s a place called Project Walk in Houston. The therapy I go to at home, you’re there 35 minutes to an hour, they work with you and you’re in and out the door. At Project Walk, their goal is to get you walking. I actually came to Houston in the fall of 2015; I stayed at [Schiller Ranch in College Station, Texas], and drove back and forth from the ranch to Houston. In the spring of 2016, I went to Craig [Hospital for Spinal Chord and Traumatic Brain Injury] in Denver for a week for an evaluation, and I just continue to work at it,” Doug said. “Right now, I’m concentrating on my therapy, walking; I’ve got some experimental therapy that’s given me quite a bit of movement back in my legs. I’m lifting and waiting on the weather to get better.” It’s been three years since the accident, and Doug is fighting every day to defy the solemn odds laid on the table the day he was rushed to the hospital. He’s well on his way, and according to Lane, it’s no surprise his father is conquering this goal with grit and fortitude—just like he’s always done. “I guess it was the last week of the year, the Thursday or Friday before New Year’s Eve, I walked 34 feet with a walker and no braces,” Doug said. “And, I can ride—I’ve not gotten to where I can compete yet, but that’s one of my goals for this year. I pretty much [got both my jobs back], and I’m not where I can train like I want to yet, but I plan this spring to change that.” 


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For additional information, 979.255.3006 or 979.704.6111


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Bringing InR u nning Blood By Danika K e n t Photo s co u rt e sy of A ndre w Ha nco c k

Paul Jones was 5 or 6 years old when his father, Paul T. Jones, decided to try his hand at being not just an owner of racing Quarter Horses, but a trainer. Growing up in California in his new role as a trainer’s son, the younger Jones learned to clean stalls, wrap legs, feed and saddle horses, haul hay, and eventually, break and breed horses. For

fun, he studied pedigrees and racing forums and cheered for his father’s starters. Ultimately, he would make a career of what, from a very young age, had become second nature. At age 24, Jones started with just five horses in training. Now, less than 30 years later, his name has been listed as the trainer for more than 23,000


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starters and over 4,000 race wins – in the company of Blane Schvaneveldt as the only two trainers credited with as many winners. Some years, he has had upward of 300 horses in his barns, with roundabout 10,000 passing through his program in his career. “I started at the very bottom and worked my way up,” says Jones, who, to speak with, is very unassuming. “In the first 10 years of training, I never took a day off.” But he is quick to pass credit down the line. “When I first started, I was doing it all. But once you get up to the level where you have that many horses, you become a good coach,” he explains. “Being a racehorse trainer, you’re almost like the coach of a football team where you’ve got a lot of players. Good veterinarians, jockeys, exercise riders, shoers. I have one groom for every six horses, and I have assistant trainers and farm managers at other places that are qualified to be trainers in their own right.”

In the beginning, Jones’ loftiest ambition was to be the leading trainer at one track, one year; last year, he celebrated his 20th title at Los Alamitos, a mecca of Quarter Horse racing. Fourteen times, Jones has been named the American Quarter Horse Association Trainer of the Year, and with over $83 million to his credit, he is the all-time leading money earner in Quarter Horse racing. “I’m a real competitive person,” says Jones, who has racing in his blood, in every vein and artery. Before his father was a racehorse owner, he was a race car driver. His uncle is Indianapolis 500 Champion and 20-time Hall of Fame driver and owner, Parnelli Jones. The “Indy 500” is the most famed auto race in the world. Nurturing their pedigrees, his cousins, PJ and Page, have taken after the family’s need for speed, as well. It seems that one way or another, Jones was bred to race, and he was going to win. “I’m the type that if I get into something, I’m going to figure out how


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to win and do what it takes to get there as far as learning and trying and working harder than the other guy to figure out what people who are beating me are doing and how to be better at it than them,” Jones says. When it comes to the fastest of the fast, Paul Jones has attained more success running Quarter Horses than anyone else can even come close to, period. But Jones doesn’t stop there. “People ask me, ‘What are your hobbies?’” he echoes with a chuckle. “I don’t play golf, I don’t go hunting. I don’t really have any hobbies. Racehorses have been a hobby and a job. I would say I make my living training horses; my hobby is breeding horses.” As it happens, Jones is pretty good at that, too. Though he describes himself as a small-time breeder foaling 10 to 15 each year, he has seen impressive success that only continues to sprawl – and, fortunately for us, is spilling over into our arena.

Producing Foose When it comes to breeding, Jones holds close to his philosophy of “breeding young to young,” citing his opinion that, through selective breeding, racehorses have notably improved with each passing decade. Jones keeps a discerning eye on the up-and-comers and makes his selections based on those who have proven their abilities, with a special emphasis on what the mare brings to the table. Keeping with these principles, Jones’ greatest success story, to date, is the 2006 bay stallion, Foose.

“He has a really good female line,” Jones says. “His dam, Summertime Quickie, is a Royal Quick Dash mare I trained. She has a really good family on the bottom side, out of an On A High mare. I bred her to Stel Corona, a Corona Cartel colt that was really fast. He was a stakes winner and won the Breeder’s Derby. It was just a try to breed two horses together and Foose was her first success story.” Foose was an AQHA Racing Champion Two-Year-Old Colt and earned $1.6 million on the track, bolstered by an Ed Burke Million Futurity championship in 2008. The stars aligned for Foose to make his break into barrel racing as the sire of 2017 futurity delight, Dreaming Of Foose, who was owned, trained and campaigned by professional barrel racer and futurity trainer Sharin Hall. In 2015, Hall was searching for a thoroughly race-bred prospect. She found just what she was looking for at Childers Ranch in Templeton, Calif. Seeking no particular pedigree, the lineage Hall found in the then-2-year-old Dreaming Of Foose was relatively new to the Harrah, Okla., barrel racer. It wasn’t until after the deal was done that Hall, who selects on conformation first and pedigree second, began to thoroughly research her new prospect’s family tree, and subsequently reached out to Jones. “I hadn’t ridden either pedigree before,” Hall says of the paternal and maternal lines of Dreaming Of Foose, a daughter of Hawks Dream Girl, by Hawkinson. “But I think Paul is a genius with the racehorses, and in my mind, I wanted to buy something so fast that if we made mistakes, it wasn’t going to matter. That’s exactly what the mare did.” Together, Hall and Dreaming Of Foose won upwards of $100,000 in a futurity year that abruptly ended the phenomenal mare’s life and career in tragedy at the AQHA World Championships in November 2017. “Like a true racehorse, she would give her heart every time she ran,” Hall testifies. “I’ve had so many people reach out and private message me that they have a Foose and they think he’s the next up-and-coming sire. I like to see new, up-andcoming bloodlines. Barrel racers are big on fads and ride the wave of what’s working; I like to get out of the box and try something new.” From the Outside Looking In From his vantage point as the most highly decorated racing Quarter Horse trainer and accomplished breeder, Jones has noticed an increasing interest from our side of the world in the horses of his. “In the beginning, we didn’t see a lot of the racing horses get to the barrel horse world. Now, a lot more of the barrel


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PERPETUATING PROVEN PEDIGREES Racehorse pedigrees have always had a place in the barrel industry. Barrel racing has come a long way from borrowing your dad’s roping or cutting horse. Reflecting on the last seven years since I delved into this industry, people have given me too much credit with my ability to choose prospects. I am confident everyone knows the story of how I bought a Dash Ta Fame racehorse sight unseen with no vet check off Craigslist from a mere Google search. In reality, I probably should have bought a Powerball ticket that day: my odds were the same. That 2-year-old filly, Insane For Fame, or “JLo” as she is affectionately referred to by her fans, is one of the winningest Dash Ta Fames to have ever been in the arena.  She was broke in nine days by a lady that trained horses for mall patrol. Disney and Central Casting could not write a script any loftier. She started winning everything, but was only six months into her career when she was sidelined with a very critical pneumonia. The mare with the heart of a champion, who would later be named Futurity Horse of the Year, had her life on the line almost overnight. Thank-

fully, she is still with us, and loving her life as a broodmare on Schiller Ranch. As a firm believer in mare power I methodically studied what I wanted to cross with JLo to create the next generation. Naturally, I went first with our own stallion, Epic Leader. He and Kassie Mowry had incredible success in the arena, with about $170,000 in lifetime earnings and being crowned Futurity Stallion of the Year.  “Epic” is considered pedigreed royalty. His dam, Firewater Fiesta, out of Mighty Mindy and by the great Fire Water Flit, won over $800,000, and his sire, Confederate Leader, was a winner on the racetrack and an arena record holder by Special Effort son Special Leader, out of Southern Streaker. Epic has the most incredible, sweet demeanor and he wants to please, whether he is setting arena records or bugging you for treats.   Next, we chose Kiss My Hocks, who has lifetime earnings of $1.2 million on the track. I am partial to Dash For Cash, and as I studied pedigrees, both he and JLo showcase the great stallion three and four generations back

on both sides of their family tree. Pedigrees have always intrigued me, but I am by no means an expert. Paul Jones will forget more than I will ever know. Alas, I do comprehend the importance of marketing, which is my background. A stallion who has several successful offspring in the arena drives the prices up of said stallion’s offspring.   I have always loved the mare Famous Silk Panties, a daughter of Dash Ta Fame out of Martinis And Bikinis by Bully Bullion. After a few attempts to buy her, my friend Heath Boucher and I settled on an embryo that I crossed with PYC Paint Your Wagon. Godiva has had success on the track, and in the arena with new owners Stephanie and Chris Duke.  The barrel arena has made way for a new type of superstar racing Quarter Horse. In 350 yards, a barrel racer is un-

saddling. Of course, speed is crucial, but the key is a cross in which the blend complements the pedigree and doesn’t create something too hot. When I was invested more deeply in horse racing, I was always confident that the ones that didn’t work on the track could at least be tried on barrels. I appreciated the fact that we potentially had a second discipline with which to showcase their athleticism. I have a feeling that Foose, with Corona Cartel two generations back on top and Royal Quick Dash two generations back on the bottom, has strong potential to be a magic cross-caliber stallion. I am so confident that I have selected him myself to cross on Insane for Fame this year. Maybe the resulting foal will go to the track first or straight to the arena…who knows, but it will have every opportunity to shine. 


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horse people are starting to look into the race horse world,” he observes. With Dash Ta Fame’s dominance in the arena, Jones has received an influx of interest in prospects or exracehorses with the chestnut stallion’s name on the papers. “I’m just a spectator when it comes to barrels, but I try to explain to them, there are a lot of racehorses that would work just as well as Dash Ta Fame. He isn’t a lone ranger,” he says. “Racing Quarter Horses are bred for speed. In barrel racing, you’re looking for speed. Some are hotter than others and don’t have the mind for it, but there are quite a few that would excel in the barrel world.” Hall affirms Jones’ opinion and acknowledges the everincreasing infusion of racing bloodlines into what has become a very focused niche of Quarter Horse breeding. “Racing bloodlines are definitely being incorporated more and more,” Hall says. “We are a specialized industry, so a lot of people are now able to take great barrel mares and breed them to barrel racing sires who have actually done it themselves. But the need for speed is never going to go away; it’s what we do. When you can find a race-bred horse that can do all the things a barrel horse can do, it’s hard to beat.” This belief was the motivation that landed Hall in California with her eyes on Dreaming Of Foose. Childers Ranch owns Hawks Dream Girl and paired her with Foose, but when the resulting filly matured to a modest 14.3 hands, they elected to let her go. “I asked why they didn’t run her, and they said she was pretty small and they wanted to cut back,” Hall explains of the fateful opportunity to purchase the mare she endearingly refers to as “Cali.” “When they’re winning and making money in the race world, it’s hard to get your hands on them in our world. Tres Seis, PYC Paint Your Wagon – those

great racehorses, they’re transitioning to barrel racing, but there aren’t many because their stud fees are so expensive. When they’re getting $15,000 to breed, that’s what we’d have to pay for a prospect. You have to pay a lot for them as a yearling, because you’re paying for potential. That’s a lot for us to gamble on a prospect.” Selection Strategy Horse people, by nature, are no strangers to a gamble, but whether investing in breeding or buying a prospect, a little discernment can go a long way to improving your odds of developing a profitable performer or producer. “In racing, the first thing we look for is pedigree. I like a young mare that’s on her first or second foal, or a mare that has already produced really well,” Jones says, elaborating on his aforementioned fundamentals of breeding winning racehorses. “Typically, I like them bred to the right stallion – basically, stallions I favor. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes in stallions, but I give 75 to 80 percent of the credit to the mare side rather than the stallion,” Jones adds to his argument for the female line. “I could buy a horse out of a great mare and a stallion I’m not crazy about, but if the mare is good enough, I’d give it a try. If a mare has had four babies and none could run, I don’t care which stallion you breed her to, I don’t want one. It doesn’t always work, but I look for that first.” Secondly, Jones looks to the physical attributes of the individual. “You want everything in the right spot – good conformation, good size, good shoulder. You watch them move; you want them to move good. And then there’s one someone buys out of the blue that is crooked legged and has no pedigree and it’s the fastest in the barn,” he concedes.

“I think Paul is a genius with the racehorses, and in my mind, I wanted to buy something so fast that if we made mistakes, it wasn’t going to matter. That’s exactly what Dreaming Of Foose did.” —Sharin Hall


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“There’s no science to it, but you do your best.” Much like our own industry, the racing community is ever in search of outcrosses with which to infiltrate dominant bloodlines. What they do have that we, for the most part, do not, is a close-knit relationship with the Thoroughbred influence – like that seen in another stallion to come out of Jones’ breeding program, Favorite Cartel. “We can cross in Thoroughbreds, and it’s hard to find one that works, but Favorite Trick really started to work well,” he says of the Thoroughbred stallion who was crossed with Corona Cartel daughter Shenoshercorona to produce Favorite Cartel, currently a leading sire in Quarter Horse

racing. “Favorite Trick was a great outcross. We lost him in a barn fire, but his two sons, Favorite Cartel and Good Reason SA (out of Queen Of Appeals by First Down Dash), are doing really well.” With outcross intentions, Jones recently acquired a 6-year-old gray Thoroughbred stallion by the name of Power Jam. Trained by accomplished Thoroughbred trainer Bob Baffert, Power Jam has set two track records in southern California at 5 ½ furlongs, considered a short distance in Thoroughbred racing. Baffert has described him as the quickest horse he’s ever trained, and Quarter Horse breeders are hopeful in his potential to cross well on their sprinters. Foose is one example of a racehorse whose performance

and phenotype are proving complementary to barrel horse breeding. “He’s got a lot of speed in a short distance. His offspring are pretty sound and good minded,” Jones says, citing three criteria he feels a running horse must meet to make it as either a barrel horse or producer of barrel horses. “That’s what Dash For Cash had, and a lot in that family. It came out in Dash Ta Fame.” Borrowing speed from the racetrack is not a concept foreign to barrel racers, but taking that leap of faith on a bloodline unproven in the arena can take an extra measure of intestinal fortitude. Hall, for one, was unafraid to roll the dice on the fresh pedigree of Dreaming Of Foose. “I really like Foose – everything about him. I like the way he’s made, the way he moves. I think he’s going to pass that athleticism on to his colts,” adds Hall, who uses standards similar to Jones’ when looking for a potential winner, albeit in reverse order. “I always look at conformation first, and then I’ll look at the papers,” she explains. “But that’s just me. If they can physically do the job, then more than likely, the papers will help. With Dreaming Of Foose, I took a long shot buying race-bred papers. She was a natural at running and a natural at turning, and those don’t come along every year. I felt very fortunate to have picked her out.” Barrel racers, who are so often the 3-in-1 owner, trainer and jockey, often bring an amplified element of discernment to their selection of a horse expected to effectively do all-things barrel racing with consistency and longevity. “I really like a fast horse that’s made well and is going to hold up to everything we do with them,” Hall adds. “It’s a lot, what we ask them to do, especially in the futurity world when we’re asking a baby to give everything it’s got.” Whether barrel racing or running down the track, it takes a lot to attain a winning record – not only on the part of the horse, but also of the trainer. Much like Hall says of the expectations placed on the horses, more often, trainers place even higher demands on themselves, behavior born of passion for this world of fast horses – yes, champions – but also a love and dedication to the industry itself. “Stay at it,” encourages Jones. “Training horses can be a roller coaster ride. You can have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. One day, you can have a world champion, the next day, their career could come to a halt. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and persistence.” 


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Standing at ESMS on the Brazos 414 Daniel Road Weatherford, Texas 76087 817-594-9232

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A FEW MINUTES WITH BEE SILVA By Kr is t i S c hil l er

Don’t burden your horse with the equine equivalent of a bad yearbook photo — show him off by learning the tips and tricks that work best to your horse’s advantage! A really good conformation photo serves two purposes. First and most importantly, it shows the horse in a manner that allows potential buyers or breeders to easily evaluate his build and suitability for various disciplines. An educated eye can quite accurately predict a horse’s movement from a conformation photo.


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Secondly, a quality conformation photo is an attentiongrabber. In a sea of sale listings, a good conformation photo stops your eye from skimming down the page and screams, “Look at me!” Naturally, a lot of this has to do with the horse, how he is built, and whether or not he has that “wow” factor, but a good photo can show any horse off to his best advantage. We reached out to one of the most brilliant and soughtafter photographers in the industry, Bee Silva, to get his input and tips how to make your photo stand out. Here, he shares some of his suggestions to make the most of your session: •  I do minimal Photoshop. •  I will not add or remove anything from the horse. • I cannot fix the following: weight, hair coat, or deep scars. • To improve the image of the horse, it must be bathed, clipped (muzzle, ears, etc.), and clean prior to photo appointment. Less hair creates better pictures. • To take a good conformation picture, horses need to be parked in a specific way. The handler needs to be

experienced; it is a bonus if they have a halter horse background. • Please remember I am there to take pictures, not to break or train your horse. A horse will need to be able to stand still a minimum of five seconds to take a picture. • You may choose to sedate your horse if necessary, but it is at your risk and cost. Please note that the eye may look sleepy in the pictures as a result. • A nice, clean and maintained background will improve the quality of the pictures dramatically. The horse can be moved to another location or I can provide locations. • A clean leather halter and lead completes the overall look of the horse, especially for stallions. If you can hire a talented professional equine photographer, you should absolutely invest in doing so. You will be thrilled with the results for years to come. In the meantime, some do-it-yourself tips can help you make the most of your resources at hand.


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2. Know your target market. Are you a breeder or a seller wanting to market your horse? Or are you looking for nice photos to use on social media? Different disciplines require different shots. Know your audience and their expectations for the discipline, or your photo will be overlooked.

1. Know what you’re after. Do you want conformation shots? Candid shots? Action shots? When you head out with your camera, think about your goal. Some foresight and planning will make a big difference in the outcome of your photos. For example, persuading your horse to stand quietly for conformation shots can be a challenge if he has been stalled and has energy to burn, so allow him to express his personality and capture the candid and action shots first. Once he has settled down, set him up for conformation shots.

3. Avoid distracting backgrounds. There is nothing worse than a great shot marred by a horrible background. Look carefully before you shoot and check your camera often. Often, you’ll find things in the background of a photo you didn’t notice while you were shooting. If possible, move objects out of the way, trim the weeds, make things tidy. Your shots will show it. In some instances, a messy background is tolerable, like a horse show crowd behind a win photo, but in most cases, a clean, quiet background is the best for enhancing and not distracting from your horse. Look for eye appealing contrast; a lightcolored horse photographs best on a dark background, while a dark-colored horse looks best with a light background. 4.  Practice, practice, practice. With today’s digital cameras, you can shoot over and over again. Learn what looks good and how to shoot it. Make sure your horse is in focus, with the background blurred, not the other way around. 5. Wait. Patience pays off, especially with horses. Wait for the ears to come forward. Wait for the right look. 


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6. Know your equipment. What can your camera do? What can different lenses do in various situations? How much can you zoom? Try different angles. Most of my photos are shot from low, either lying or sitting on the ground. This is especially true for good foal photos. Be careful with the zoom and remember to leave enough extra space to crop your photo to 2400x3000 pixels, which equates to an 8x10” photo. You are much safer to leave a little extra than to take the chance of not being able to print out the whole photo should you get something spectacular. 7. Lighting. Very bright sunlight is not your friend when taking conformation photos because it creates harsh shadows, so try to schedule your photo session in the morning or late afternoon. A little cloud cover can also help soften the light, but it should be bright enough that you can still see your shadow. The very best light is usually two or three hours

before sunset. Stand with the sun behind you illuminating the side of your horse, but make sure you’re far enough away from the horse that your own shadow isn’t in the shot. 8. There is an app for that! Believe it or not, All Ears Selfie is an app for your smartphone that can help get the horse’s attention with several sound effects to choose from, including horses whinnying, apples crunching, and grain pouring. I have found the sound effects really useful for taking conformation shots and getting my horse’s attention with ears forward, whether I’m taking the photo with my phone or a photographer is working with a better camera. 9. Remember. These are horses, and things don’t always go according to plan. If it’s not happening, call it a day and try again another time. 


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Bound For

Bucks Hancock Dude

Kiss My Hocks

Hou rs of tr a ining a nd pre pa r at ion g o into bu ilding c ha m pion horse s, bu t t he ir stories start long be f ore t he ir t r a ining days – i t begin s w i t h g re at pa re n ts. Bu c k s Hancock Du de ha s be e n bre e ding ba r r e l horse cha mpion s f or ne a rly si x ye a rs, and K iss My Hock s is bo u nd to be a f or c e in t he indu st ry, a s w e l l . By Kail e y S u l l in s Photo s co u rt e s y of Andr e w H anco c k


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Excellence Bucks Hancock Dude The name Stan Sigman means different things to different people. Some know him as the former CEO of AT&T Mobility, but in the horse industry he’s known as the head of Namgis Quarter Horses. Beginning with Bucks Hancock Dude, the Hondo, Texas, operation has built some of the best performance horses in the business – everything from champion rope horses and durable ranch horses to fast barrel horses. When Sigman purchased “Dude” as a 2-year-old he didn’t intend to keep him as a stud, but the now-14-year-old buckskin stallion’s wise eye and trainable personality convinced Sigman he had a potential champion. Sigman’s intuition paid off, as Dude went on to win multiple championships as a calf roping and team roping horse and over $87,000 in American Quarter Horse Association World Show earnings alone. Now, Sigman’s keen perception for a wise eye is paying off for barrel racers.

Since Dude’s foals first started showing up in results pages in 2014, his offspring have accumulated over $305,000 in barrel racing earnings, according to Equi-Stat. Some of those include Kylie Weast’s Namgis D15 and Emily Miller’s Namgis D35 (“Pipewrench”), who led Miller to the 2017 Ram National Circuit Finals Barrel Racing Championship and more than $118,000 in Equi-Stat reported career earnings thus far. Perhaps no one knows the benefits of Bucks Hancock Dude’s bloodlines better than Kylie Weast. The Addington, Oklahoma, trainer has been training Namgis Quarter Horses’ barrel horse prospects since the beginning nearly six years ago. Sigman has long been involved in the roping world and even the racehorse world, but in 2012 he enlisted the help of Weast to move into the barrel racing industry. “Raymond Hollabaugh was working for [Sigman] at the time, and [Sigman] wanted to get into the barrel horse industry,” Weast recalled. “Raymond is a good friend of ours, and he suggested [Sigman] call us and get some advice about the direction his program needed to be taken. So, he called and we talked and then he flew down and took my mom and I to Hondo. That day I ended up riding 14 head of horses, because he wanted me to get a feel of what a Bucks Hancock Dude was – and the 14 included Bucks Hancock Dude. I think he had been off for maybe a year and they saddled him up and just let me jump on him, and he was just as nice as I had heard. He was just a pleasure to ride.” Weast says Dude’s old-school breeding and conformation isn’t what you’d typically look for in a barrel horse, but the traits he passes on make a phenomenal outcross. “He has the good bone and good bloodlines in that oldschool way,” she said. “Not something you typically look for in a barrel horse, but I had a good idea of what [Sigman] was doing and his plan, and that was to outcross those AAA mares. By the end of our talk, we’d decided I would start their 3-year-olds and see where it went from there. The next month I had eight head of horses from him, and that’s where it all started.” The first shining star for Namgis Quarter Horses in the barrel horse world was the 2009 Bucks Hancock Dude gelding out of Central Station, Namgis D15. “Wolfie” and Weast earned over $100,000 his futurity year, boosting not


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only Weast’s confidence in the program but Sigman’s as well. “That first year we got a really good taste in our mouth for Bucks Hancock Dude. It was like there was never going to be another poor day and we really knew what we were doing,” Weast said with a laugh. “Of course, that’s not always how it works, and we had our downsides of it too.” As with any breeding program or training venture, there are uptimes and down times. For the still-young breeding career of the son of Watch Me Dude To and out of San Tip Hancock by Leon JP Hancock, his legacy is already shining in the barrel pen through his offspring. Marking His Offspring Bucks Hancock Dude’s trainability and personality mark his colts as winners, and finding the perfect mare combination is what led his offspring to the top of the barrel industry. “For Dude, it’s his brain [that makes him a great outcross], because his teach-ability and his ability to give his calm demeanor and wise eye to the mare is absolutely amazing,” said Naia Graham, long-time friend of Sigman and barrel

horse manager at Southwest Stallion Station where Dude stands at stud. “He has that old-time horse mentality and passes it on.” Naia has been a part of Dude’s life for many years and holds him close to her heart. She cares for him as one of her own and holds his success on the same level. As the barrel horse manager at Southwest Stallion Station, she handles the day-to-day operations and breeding and has witnessed Dude’s calm demeanor in every situation. “Anybody can go see Dude, they can lead him and do whatever they want,” Naia said of Dude’s personable attitude, adding that even her 3-year-old daughter rides him. “That’s probably the biggest thing that’s not in his job description and wouldn’t be expected from a stallion - I trust him. I trust him more than I trust any of the other horses here on the ranch with the kids.” With his composed manner and foundation breeding, Naia says Dude makes a perfect outcross for running-bred mares, and those types of characteristics are heavily involved in breeding decisions.


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“We look at the lineage [when placing mares with Dude], because we know Dude’s personality is strong enough to come through and we want to capitalize on the best of all assets,” Naia said. “He does well on the race-bred type of mares.” Both Weast and Naia agree that one of the best qualities of Dude is his versatility on any mare, for any discipline. “I think Bucks Hancock Dude pertains to a lot of people—it’s not just the barrel industry,” Weast said. “He’s very versatile. Plus, the nice temperament he puts on them [adds to his significance]. His offspring are willing; they really are all willing and it doesn’t matter what kind of mare you put him on. I’ve had a pretty big range of his foals on the mother’s side, but it never fails that he comes through at some point.” Kiss My Hocks Having won nearly $1.2 million on the racetrack before retiring to stud in 2016, Kiss My Hocks clearly has speed to

share. Now, with his first foal crop coming yearlings in 2018, his future is bright in not only the horseracing world but the barrel racing industry as well. Co-owned by Naia, her husband, Tyler Graham, and Sigman, the 2012 sorrel stallion by Tempting Dash out of Romancing Mary, who’s by Tres Seis, is royally bred for the racetrack. Although the classy stud is still young, he has booked full to 130 mares in all three years of his breeding career thus far. Many of his partners have been equally impressive racehorse mares, but he’s also been venturing into the barrel horse world. “Right now he’s getting bred to primarily race mares, but with him he has the same uncanny smartness as Dude that you don’t see in a whole lot of racehorses, so I’m excited, because I believe his career, after these babies, is going to be in the barrel arena,” Naia said. “He’s incredibly intelligent and athletic, not like a lot of racehorses are these days, so on something like the Dash Ta Fame or Desirio, I hope at least are going to work really well.”


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Already foaled are promising young prospects like NamgisKissMeImFamous (Kiss My Hocks x Insane For Fame) and a soon-to-be foal out of MP Meter My Hay. His other offspring have been catching the eye of horse owners, barrel racers and racehorse owners as well, with three of his foals recently selling at the Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale for an average of $26,333, making him the leading sire of “short yearlings” at the sale. Still, Naia admits his stud fee filters out some of the barrel horse investors, which is why she believes his get will bring the most attention to him from the barrel arena. “I would love to get into the barrel horse stuff with Kiss My Hocks, but he’s kind of high-priced for that, and since his book has been filling for the past three years, it’s hard to talk to Tyler and Stan and say we need to reduce the price,” Naia said. “I believe it’s going to have a natural effect from his babies after the track – that’s what’s going to be what really makes his presence in the barrel racing industry happen.” Alternatively, just as Weast brought attention to Bucks Hancock Dude’s offspring and relevance in the industry,

she’s hopeful for Kiss My Hocks and will be starting those 3-year-olds as well. “I’ve seen Kiss My Hocks in person, and the sight is just aweing,” Weast said. “He is maybe the most conformationally correct horse I’ve ever seen, not to mention his huge personality and what he did on the racetrack. I’m hoping we can cross him on the right crosses and have a new bloodline that everybody has to have.” The Making of Champions Both Bucks Hancock Dude and Kiss My Hocks prove there isn’t just one way to the winner’s circle. It takes hard work, heart and even the right amount of luck, but having the right combination of genetics has soared these two standouts – and their foals – to the top of their respective disciplines. Even as they offer two different types of bloodlines, it proves the barrel horse industry is a growing world with continued improvement and not necessarily one specific style of genes. “I think as a stud owner, the No. 1 thing you can ask for is that they’re both giving everybody a chance,” Naia said of the two stallions’ versatile pedigrees. 


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One Legend, Countless Impacts By J im m ie R ae ly n Smi th

Charles Graham, DVM, has been one of the most influential people in my life. The first time I met Graham, often referred to as “Doc,” I was in middle school, and I have listened to his wise words ever since. When the name “Doc” is said, words such as diligent, courteous and determined come to mind.    Dressed head to toe in work clothes consisting of a button down, a pair of Wranglers, boots and a wellworn cowboy hat is the only way I’ve ever seen Doc Graham outfitted. His rugged hands are proof of his hard work. The Beginning Success never came easy for Graham. He worked many long, hard days as a kid, and still does. Nobody on this earth could outwork Graham in a day. When Graham turned 18, he left home with $10 in his pocket to pursue his dreams in Aggieland. Doc said he knew he would amount to something great someday. “I told my momma that I would make something out of myself,” Graham said.


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85-year-old Graham has been a stand out in the agricultural industry since he stepped foot into Texas A&M University in the early 1950s. Graham earned his bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry in 1953, a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1954, and his doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1961. Knowing Graham’s success at Texas A&M, I turned to him for guidance regarding what to pursue as a senior in high school. I made an appointment to meet with Graham one day after school. As I sat in his office gazing at all the awards and pictures, I was in awe. This man has accomplished so much in his lifetime. Graham and I sat and talked about school options and I will never forget his words, “You sit in the front of the classroom,” Graham said. “Pay attention and take your studies seriously, and leave your horses at home.” The most important thing he said was, “Get that Aggie ring.” If you have ever spoken to Graham, you know that is a very censored quote, but I soaked up every word he said. I was accepted to Texas A&M in 2014 and began attending in the fall. Sure enough, I left my horses at home. Elgin Veterinary Hospital Graham opened Elgin Veterinary Hospital in partnership with WH Cardwell, DVM. Graham’s determination to finish the clinic led to him working many long days with help from three other men. Graham was confident in himself and knew how outstanding his work ethic was, so as I questioned him about his partnership with Cardwell he told me, “I didn’t ask for 50 percent, I told him I would own 50 percent, because of how hard I work,” Graham said.

Graham’s love for the horse industry expanded when he opened Southwest Stallion Station, a very well-known breeding facility located in Elgin, Texas. Studs such as Epic Leader, Kiss My Hocks and Firewaterontherocks reside there for breeding season.

Graham’s success does not stop in Elgin. Graham Land and Cattle spreads across most of Gonzales, Texas. While Graham clearly excels as a horseman, he has made a name for himself in the cattle industry, as well.

“I am 85 years old, but I feel like I am 42.

I still have plenty of years to make a living.” —Charles Graham


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A Man of Many Stories On a chilly day at Southwest Stallion Station, I was able to visit with Graham for a few hours. The tone of his voice and the smile on his face could have told the stories for him, but his words painted the pictures. As he laughed about his times in Aggieland and rambled about memories throughout his life, one story stood out the most: the story of Graham’s wedding day. The day that is supposed to be the most exciting of your life almost did not happen. When the pastor asked Graham to take his Aggie ring off his wedding finger to place his wedding ring on it, Graham was appalled. “I am not taking this ring off,” Graham said. He turned to walk out of the small church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Graham walked almost all the way to the doors before the pastor called him back and said that they could make it work, by putting the wedding ring on a different finger. As Graham laughed, he told me how much his Aggie ring meant to him. “Don’t you ever take that ring off your hand,” Graham said. “That ring will get you into more doors than a diamond ever will in your life.” The Aggie family is something that cannot be explained merely in words. It is an indescribable feeling. Doc Graham is just one of my many connections I have made since I have been at Texas A&M. As a student at Texas A&M, I have had numerous opportunities to tell my story to younger students, just as Doc did for me. Legacy Anyone who has had the opportunity to be around Graham knows he is nothing short of extraordinary; Graham’s awards sprawl for miles. Some of his most prominent awards

“The best tip he

gave me is, you can do anything as long as you do not get distracted and take the wrong path.” —Cullen Eppright

include being counted among the Texas A&M Distinguished Alumni, as well as being inducted into three halls of fame: American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Graham’s story isn’t over yet. “I am 85 years old, but I feel like I am 42. I still have plenty of years to make a living.” Graham said.

The Aggie Family Graham is an example of the many Aggie connections at Texas A&M. Fellow rodeo competitor and incoming Texas A&M freshman Cullen Eppright explains how Graham has impacted his outlook on success. “Dr. Graham has always believed in me and given me some very important life tips,” Eppright said. “The best tip he gave me is, you can do anything as long as you do not get distracted and take the wrong path.” Graham’s story will go on and his legacy will live strong. As for me and my memories with Charles “Doc” Graham, I will be able to have a part of him throughout my life. As I continue my training and breeding program, I will have foals by Epic Leader and Firewaterontherocks. Knowing I have my Aggie ring and a breeding program to go with it makes all the harsh lectures from Graham well worth it. His impact on my life will always hold true to my heart, as well as my experience at Texas A&M University. 


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Special Thanks Di a m ond s and Dirt Ba rre l Horse C l a s sic salu tes the f ol low ing f or m a king t his year ’s e v e n t p o ssibl e :

A m be r M anle y /Behind the A lle y Danika Ken t E xtr aco E ven ts Cen ter Garret t Yerigan K C I/ Ar en a M an agemen t S oft ware K9s4COP s H andlers and K9 s Ke nne th S pringer Photogr aphy Kristin Br own K ortne y Kruse Ky l a Kalinowski Lennell Dean Live A rea Media RI DE T V Spotlight on You Video S usan S a mp son T w is ted S ister Pr oduction s

“See you next year!” 88 88

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Profile for Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic™

Diamonds & Dirt 2018  

The official magazine from the 2018 Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic.

Diamonds & Dirt 2018  

The official magazine from the 2018 Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic.

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