PREMIER - March 2021

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cover story

Winning in the Face of Adversity

GOOD BETTER BEST Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best. - Pro Basketball Player Tim Duncan

Good Better Best almost didn’t make it to the show pen. The big brown stallion with his trademark forelock and sweeping stride spent his entire two-year-old year on stall rest. Nancy Sue Ryan, who raised ‘Mag’ (short for Magnolia), can count on one hand the number of times she snuck him outside, against the vet’s advice, to give him a break away from the confines of his stall. “I took him outside just a handful of times and tied him to the round pen to get some fresh air,” shares Ryan, who recalled this time when reflecting about Good Better Best’s incredibly good mind. “He was out of his stall maybe only five times out of an entire year.” Instead of getting an education under saddle as a two-year-old, Mag learned patience. But by the time he headed to Columbus, Ohio in the fall of his three-year-old year, he was a spectacular horse that would claim two Congress titles.

Luck Of The Draw Bred in Nocona, Texas at Show Stop Farm by Nancy McGregor, the 7-year-old brown stallion was one of two standout colts in Nancy Sue Ryan’s pasture that year. Ryan had an eye for Mag and her daughter, Courtney Brockmueller, had her eye on the other colt, ‘Elm.’ “That year we did trees as the theme for names,” Ryan explains with a laugh. Even though each woman had picked out a colt, they decided to draw names.

Photo by Bee Silva

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“We went to lunch, got two scraps of paper and wrote Mag on one and Elm on the other,” Ryan said. “Courtney kept drawing Mag’s name and we finally said, well, this is ridiculous, you want Elm and I want Mag, so we’ll just do that.”

As it turns out, neither colt was a bad draw. Elm, whose registered name is Give Me The Goods, went on to win Championships at both the Congress and NSBA World Show.

Photo by Superlative Equine

Change of Plans After recovering from the injury that kept him sidelined as a two-year-old, Mag was started under saddle in February of his three-year-old year by Colt Andrews. In between training sessions, the young stallion was hauled back and forth to the breeding farm in order to breed a test crop of select mares. Not long after he finished breeding, Colt and his wife Brittany, hit the road showing, taking Mag along for the ride. “Colt and Brittany were on the road most of the summer,” said Ryan, “so Mag was basically trained at the horse shows.” Their plan paid off. When the AllAmerican Quarter Horse Congress rolled around that fall, Mag looked every bit the champion he was bred to be. “We knew going into the Congress that this would be the only year we would show him,” said Ryan. “We felt so fortunate to be able to show him at all considering what he had been through the year before. In our mind we were going to put an ROM on him [which they accomplished at a show in Waco a few weeks earlier], show him at the Congress and then retire him. I knew when we got to the Congress that year, that he was ready, and I felt like we had a really good chance. He just had that air about him.” Ryan was right. Her daughter Courtney showed Mag first in the 3-Year-Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle. Good Better Best was perfect, capturing the Congress Championship. With all of their plans coming to fruition, the unexpected happened. After showing Mag in the first go of the 3-Year-Old

Open Hunter Under Saddle and qualifying for the finals, Ryan was injured in the practice pen which left her with a broken knee. “I was planning on showing him in the finals and it was really unfortunate that I couldn’t,” said Ryan. “It was awful. I was in the hospital in Ohio for over a month. Even now, years later, my knee strength still isn’t what it used to be.” Determined that Mag would get his chance to shine in the finals, Ryan asked Courtney to step in and show him. The fact that they had already won a Congress Championship together added to the pressure Courtney felt showing her mother’s beloved stallion in the class that Ryan had long been looking forward to. “Everything that could go wrong went wrong that day,” said Courtney. “Not only was mom in the hospital, but the braider was running late that morning and then at the last minute

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they combined the class right before us, so we were literally finishing his braids on the way to the arena. It had started snowing and was so windy the snow was blowing sideways. So of course we were all anxious and hurrying to get ready, but Mag was just so calm and reliable through everything. Mom loves this horse and believed in him from the day he was born. He was her dream and he deserved it. I really wanted to go out and make them both proud.” Courtney did just that. She piloted Good Better Best to a Reserve Congress Championship in the extremely competitive 3-Year-Old Open Hunter Under Saddle. Ryan was beaming with pride from her hospital bed.

A New Partnership Mag has attracted an enormous fan-base including co-owner Leslie Bacon of Running Stag Farm. “I watched him show at the Congress not knowing who he was. I didn’t know that it was Courtney showing him and I hadn’t even met Nancy Sue. I picked him to win his class, and he did,” Bacon shares. After the class, Leslie had the opportunity to go to

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the barn where Mag was stalled and meet the newly crowned Congress Champion. Leslie remembers the feeling of meeting Mag for the first time. “Courtney asked me if I wanted to meet him, and I said, ‘Oh no, you don’t have to do that,’ but they got him out and he was like a puppy dog. He’s so kind, easy, and sweet. When I met him for the first time, it just hit me. He’s just so special.” It wasn’t long after that first meeting that Bacon invested in Mag as a co-owner. Bacon, whose farm is a short drive from the new World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida, got her start in the hunterjumper world. Given her understanding and appreciation for an over fences horse, she sees Mag producing the size and style for horses that will go on to compete in a wide variety of events. “I absolutely think that Mag’s foals will excel in many events,” Bacon enthuses. “They [his foals] are big-boned, smart, kind, and lowkey. Even my farrier comments on how quiet his babies are.”

A Champion Pedigree Good Better Best was bred to be a champion. His granddam, Wahoo Baby, was a thoroughbred mare whose maternal offspring have now won more than $690,000. “In her lifetime, Wahoo Baby sent six horses to the Congress,” Ryan said. “Those six earned four Congress Championships and two Reserve Championships. Mag’s dam’s side is incredible.” The first Quarter Horse foal out of Wahoo Baby was Mag’s dam, Luke Whoo. Although she was never shown due to an injury, Luke Whoo, who is sired by Congress and World Champion Luke At Me, has proven to be an exceptional broodmare. 7 of her 10 foals are money earners, among them Good Better Best, NSBA World Champion The Last Ride and Top 10 Congress winners Art Whoo and Al Let You Know.

chill and lazy personalities, and of course tons of mane and tail hair just like their sire!”

Mag’s sire is two-time AQHA World Champion, multiple Congress and NSBA World Champion and World and Congress Champion sire Good I Will Be.

Breeder Lauren Smith of Silver Luck farms, echoes Clark’s sentiments.

Good I Will Be, who passed away in 2013, has left his mark as a sire who stamps foals with great minds and the kind of form to function athleticism that has made his get successful across many disciplines. Many of the same qualities that Good Better Best is passing along to his own foals.

“They all have a wonderful disposition and mind,” said Smith, who has loved Mag since she first saw him as weanling. “Mag himself is gorgeous and both of my foals by him have been really nice. Both sold very quickly. I have been so impressed with his foals that I am breeding to him again this year.”

All the Best Qualities Good Better Best is consistently stamping his foals with his exceptional mind, movement, conformation and striking good looks. “He [Mag] adds a lot of body to my mares,” said longtime breeder Melissa Clark. “His foals have stunning heads, great top lines,

Ryan confirms what breeders are saying.

Photo by Bee Silva

“When you look at a group of babies in the pasture, you can 13 | PREMIER | MARCH 2021

spot a Mag foal,” said Ryan. “Not only do they stand out because they are pretty, but they have great conformation with gorgeous little heads, are strong over their back and loin, and their stifles and hocks tie in low, which are all things I look for as a breeder.” While she is no longer training due to her injury in 2017, Ryan is looking forward to showing some of Mag’s foals in the future. Her excitement only heightened watching his very first foal show under saddle last year. Fun To Be Best, a 2018 gelding by Good Better Best out of Fun Lovin Luke made his debut last year winning the Show For Dough 2-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle and brought home bronze trophies at the NSBA World Show in both the 2-Year-Old Open Hunter Under Saddle with Beth Case and the 2-Year-Old Limited Open Hunter Under Saddle with Ashely Bailey.

year and he will also show in Non-Pro events with his owner Michelle Bauer.” Fun To Be Best was the first Mag foal to show under saddle, with many others being held back for the 3-Year-Old events this year, but several others were successfully shown in Longe Line events last year. With only a few foals to show thus far, Good Better Best’s offspring have already earned approximately $16,000 in futurity winnings. -Article Written By Rachel Kooiker

“Fun To Be Best has been easy from day one,” said Beth Case. “He’s so good minded. He comes and out and goes to work and takes his job seriously. He’s a lot of fun to show and just keeps getting better. I’m looking forward to showing him more this

“Fun To Best”

Good Better Best is standing the 2021 breeding season at EE Ranches in Whitesboro, Texas. His stud fee is $1,750 which includes the farm fee. Mare owners can direct breeding inquiries to EE Ranches: 903-564-3692. For more information on Good Better Best you can find him online. | 14 | PREMIER | MARCH 2021

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jerry erickson legends:

Jerry Erickson’s hard work is evident in his dozens of championship awards. But his love for the horse is what keeps him going. Jerry Erickson is a force to be reckoned with in the stock horse hunter pen. For decades he has been a fixture on the rail and over fences, training and showing winner after winner. Jerry, who is known for whistling while he works, isn’t in it solely for the trophies. Erickson is a true horseman, and he’s built a career on his dedication to the animal.

learning the trade Born and raised in northwestern Wisconsin, Erickson’s immediate family wasn’t involved with horses. When he was in first grade, his uncle gave him a pony. From there Jerry got involved with 4-H and jumped headfirst into learning how to ride and train. The Erickson family’s neighbors had Arabians, and they encouraged Erickson’s riding. He would go on to join an FFA livestock judging team and compete at local open shows and 4-H competitions. At 16, Erickson took on a couple of horses to train as a summer job and his passion blossomed. After high school, Erickson moved to Arizona where he spent a year working at an Arabian ranch. Once back home he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where he got a degree in animal science with an emphasis on equine studies. While in River Falls, Erickson made a connection with Dr. Don

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don’t shy a wa y from HARD WORK -jerry erickson

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Vezina, a local Quarter Horse breeder. Dr. Vezina was also an AQHA judge and taught Erickson a lot about Quarter Horses.

hauled all over the country, and he won several year-end high point awards in Amateur Western Pleasure. That was really where I got my major start.”

At the University, Erickson learned a lot from his advisor, Dr. Larry Kasten, who ran the equine department and was also an AQHA judge. “Dr. Vezina and Dr. Kasten really taught me a lot,” said Erickson. “Back then, I kept thinking that I shouldn’t be a horse trainer. I kept thinking I should do something else, but it never happened. I just kept riding and training horses.”

Around the same time, 29-year-old Erickson applied for his AQHA judge’s card. He has continued judging ever since, including at the AQHA World Championship Show, the AllAmerican Quarter Horse Congress and many other major events. When asked why he’s stuck with training all this time, Erickson distilled it down to simply being able to see a horse improve.

Jerry and long time friend, Ruth Ellen

going pro After college, Erickson spent eight months working for horse trainer Pete Kyle and his wife Tamra in Scottsdale, Arizona. While there, Erickson was introduced to an amateur exhibitor named Jack Finney. Finney wanted an exclusive trainer at his facility and Erickson agreed to move to Texas to work for him in 1982. Erickson credits the two years spent working with Finney for launching his training career. Finney had won several AQHA Reserve World Championships in Amateur Western Pleasure prior to working with Erickson, but Finney won his first World Championship on a mare named Sophisticated Sue while Erickson was training for him. Erickson went on to win his first Congress championship while working for Finney. “Mr. Finney was one of the original, extremely accomplished amateur exhibitors,” Erickson said. “He had his own trailer, 34 | PREMIER | MARCH 2021

“I like the progression —I like to see the ones that progress correctly,” Erickson said. “That, and I really enjoy them. I just like my horses. Even back in college, I kept telling myself there were more lucrative careers, but I just liked it, so I kept doing it.”

Erickson counts himself lucky to have worked with some truly great horses. He says that with a really good horse, there’s pressure to make them the best they can be. “A trainer can screw up a horse, so when you’ve got one that you’re convinced will be a legit, big-time horse, it’s a challenge to get that one developed to the level they should be, and to maintain it,” Erickson said. The two horses that stand out to Erickson as his greatest include Ruler I Am and Sonnys Hot Jazz. “Ruler I Am was a really great horse,” Erickson said of the 1981 bay Appendix gelding. “The first time I showed him at the Congress, I didn’t make the finals. But I still had all the confidence in the world in him.” Ruler I Am (Mr Crimson Ruler x Shesaruler (TB)) had a

disappointing performance at his first World Show, but soon lived up to his potential. The next year, Ruler I Am won at the Congress, carried Molly Murphy (now Hibbits) to a Reserve Youth World Championship title, and won consecutive World Championships in Senior Hunter Under Saddle with Erickson. His last was at 12 years old—an unusual accomplishment in Hunter Under Saddle. Erickson owned the gelding by then and says that championship is one of his favorite achievements in the show pen. Ruler I Am is now in the National Snaffle Bit Association and Missouri Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame. Three-time AQHA World Champion Sonnys Hot Jazz didn’t have the raw talent that Ruler I Am had, says Erickson, but made up for it with his trainable disposition. “He was just such a wonderful horse to deal with, and was able to do multiple events,” Erickson said. “Getting him trained was quite a challenge. When he was a four-year-old at the Congress, we had him entered in seven events, and he placed between second and fifth in all seven. That was quite a feat.” Erickson decided to give Sonnys Hot Jazz (Top Flight Sonny x Gail Napeta (TB)) one more hurrah in the show pen after the stallion had been retired for a year. With just 12 days riding, Erickson guided the stallion to make the finals in two classes and he won the Pleasure Driving. Erickson didn’t start jumping until later in his career. After winning the Senior Working Hunter for the first time, aboard Real Time Minute (Do You Have A Minute x Wonderous Falls (TB)) Erickson was proud. “I felt like that was a real accomplishment,” Erickson said.

“As luck would have it, I’ve won the same event two times since.” Erickson has won many awards at the American Paint Horse Association World Show. Being located in Sanger, Texas, just an hour from Fort Worth makes it an easy show for him to attend. Erickson was an in-demand catch rider during the years when the APHA World Show was held in the summer, before it moved to the fall in the late 2000s and conflicted with other events. “I would mark 10 days off the calendar and just go down and ride a bunch of horses,” Erickson said. “I really enjoyed the event and the people.” To date, Erickson has amassed 12 AQHA World Championships, around 20 APHA World Championships, approximately seven Appaloosa Horse Club World Championships, a number of Palomino Horse Breeders Association World Championships and a handful of National Snaffle Bit Association Championships. In total, Erickson has won more than 50 World Championships.

philosophy Erickson’s thought process around training horses stems from his belief that each horse should be treated as an individual recognizing its own disposition and level of ability. Effective training means you can recognize how much each horse can handle and adjust accordingly. “I believe that my personality is fairly laid-back,” Erickson said. “I’m not afraid to push and challenge a horse, but as time has passed, I’ve gotten more relaxed and allow each horse to develop at their own pace. If a horse isn’t going 35 | PREMIER | MARCH 2021

to be ready as a two-year-old, I’m quick to back off. I’ll keep riding but not obsess with having that horse ready to compete until they are ready.” He also believes in going on a 10-minute walk with each horse before starting training session. “I’ve seen people hit the gate of the arena and step into a canter,” Erickson said. “I walk and relax and play with them before I jump into that. I think that approach has served me well over the years.” Erickson says his penchant for introspection has benefited him as a competitor. “I consider myself a good rider, but there are others who are just great natural talents,” Erickson said. “But I’ve been able to compete with them and beat them because I am a thinker and try to analyze things a bit.” Part of Erickson’s longevity and success as a trainer comes from loyal clients. His laid-back, positive approach to working with individual riders, even when helping them fix errors, is key. “I try extremely hard, with every client to point out and

emphasize the good things they’ve done either in the show ring or at home,” Erickson said. “I’ve been fortunate to connect with good people who have stayed with me for years.” Ruth Ellen, Erickson’s longtime close friend and fellow professional horseman, says Erickson’s candor is one of his best qualities, along with his dedication to horses. “Jerry brings a raw honesty to the table and he does not sugar-coat an opinion,” Ellen said. “If you ask for it, you should be prepared to get it, which I think is admirable. He has an incredible work ethic, and really likes the horses. They are not a tool for him, or a vehicle toward success. He’s doing this because he loves it. It’s a passion.” Ellen says Erickson is focused at competitions, and puts in the time required to succeed. “I think there is a bit of a loner person in him at shows— he analyzes everything, and you’ll hear him whistling while he’s doing that,” Ellen said. “But I know if you send a horse to him for training, you’ll know that the horse is being worked—that horse is not sitting in a stall, and you will know just what Jerry thinks about it.”

evolution Over the course of his career, Erickson has seen many changes. The addition of new classes to horse show schedules has driven the need to specialize and has spread competitors out. And he’s seen the industry evolve into one involving significant money, with all of the corresponding pressure. “The competition is extremely good and has improved dramatically. Unfortunately the camaraderie has suffered a little bit because shows are so long, with multiple rings scattered around,” Erickson said. Riding styles have changed, and horses carry themselves differently, says Erickson. 36 | PREMIER | MARCH 2021

“Riders are now manipulating and carrying the horse instead of a horse being natural on its own too often,” Erickson said. “But there are still good horses, and I appreciate a lot of them.”

what’s next When COVID-19 struck the United States, it severely impacted Erickson’s income, with almost all of the shows at which he was slated to judge in 2020 being canceled. With grit and determination, Erickson has stayed afloat during the pandemic. Being honest, he doesn’t know what the future hold but is hopeful. And he’s encouraged by the increase in youth participation in both competition and horse judging. “I’m optimistic that people still want to do this,” Erickson said. “In 2008, I probably would have responded with some negativity. But a lot has changed and happened since then and I think people just love competition. They love their animals. And so, I’m going to give you a more positive response than I would have 12 years ago.”

“There’s a lot of variables that are different with Thoroughbreds than what we deal with every day with our show horses,” Erickson said. “I’m finding it a challenge, and quite interesting.”

Erickson doesn’t have plans of retiring anytime soon.

Asked for advice, Erickson says he often tells clients to use their time at horse shows wisely.

“Fortunately, I’m still healthy,” Erickson said. “I’m just going to keep riding as long as I don’t have any physical setbacks, and as long as I still like going to the barn in the morning.”


When he’s not riding, Erickson likes to kick back at home in Whitesboro with his chickens. He’s got a flock of them, and he cares for them in their chicken coop as meticulously as any horse. And Ellen says she gets all the eggs she needs from Erickson’s poultry.

“Instead of sitting around visiting, going to the motel to clean up or making plans for dinner, I urge them to go to the ring, pick out two or three very successful riders, and watch them intently. I think you can take all the lessons in the world, and while lessons are essential, you should spend more time watching the riders that consistently win. Because they’ve earned it. You’ll see their presentation and how they have a plan for exhibiting their horse in those classes. I’ve learned a lot from just observation, and I think anybody who wants to compete would be well-served doing that.”

“In the evenings, I like to just sit here, and I talk to my chickens,” Erickson said.

For aspiring trainers, Erickson suggests remembering why you do what you do—and don’t shy away from hard work.

His other hobby involves raising and selling Thoroughbreds. He just sold his first Thoroughbred at the legendary Keeneland Sale in Kentucky in January 2020. He loves the challenge of getting a horse ready for a sale, and problemsolving.

If you’re observant, you’re going to see the good and the bad of it,” Erickson said. “But you’ll see how we just enjoy the competition. You have to be prepared to put in the long hours and endure the disappointments and have the ‘huevos‘ to just keep going and to keep forging ahead.”

the chicken farmer

-Article Written By Abigail Boatwright

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mare power

The all-time leading producer of NSBA Western pleasure money-earners passed on her perfect topline.


n 2001, when Dan Frederick bought a young Zippin The Breeze he wondered if it was a big mistake. Her initial introduction as a show prospect to the Frederick family was underwhelming. But over time “Breeze” exceeded all expectations both in and out of the show pen. The mare possessed a rare talent for passing on the best of her genes to her offspring. Her 19 AQHA foals have earned nearly $710,000 according to QData (formerly Robin Glenn Pedigrees), and 5,100 AQHA points. Even after her death on November 30, 2015, Zippin The Breeze | 2 Year Old Top Powers Champion Breeze’s offspring continue to carry on the legacy of this extraordinary mare.

The Gift Horse Dan Frederick thought he’d found the perfect Mother’s Day 68 | PREMIER | MARCH 2021

gift for his wife, Kathryn. His gift was a 1999 bay filly by A Passing Breeze out of Fancy Zippin, by Zippo Pine Bar, named Zippin The Breeze. Dan had bought the mare after watching her be longed for a few minutes at a snowy horse show in Columbia, Missouri. He thought she had potential and the price was right, so Dan made the purchase and decided to surprise Kathryn. He took her to see the mare be ridden several months later. “Kathy was not too impressed, to say the least. The mare was just kind of grumpy and swishing her tail a lot. She was just getting broke and that’s how they can look sometimes,” Dan said. “Kathy didn’t understand why Tracy Willis [their trainer] was showing her to us. She said ‘I don’t like anything about her. She doesn’t look very happy.’ Later that weekend on the way home, I said ‘You know that mare Tracy was riding that you didn’t care for?

Portrait of Zippin The Breeze

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Well we own her. I bought her for you. Happy Mother’s Day.’”

Showing Lucky for Breeze, Kathy decided to keep the mare as a horse for their children to show. Once Breeze settled into training with Tracy, she became a stellar futurity prospect. The Frederick’s son Scott showed the mare her 2-yearold year, winning the Limited Non-Pro 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure at the distinguished Tom Powers Futurity. She was undefeated in 2-year-old futurity classes that year, up until the Congress. “By the time we went to show, she was fine—never had any issues,” Dan said. “Breeze was a sweet, good-minded mare and she showed great.” The Frederick’s daughter Erin showed Breeze in futurities during the mare’s 3- and 4-year-old years. And their youngest, Jonathan, showed her in walk-trot classes. Breeze finished her show career in 2005-2006 with Whitney Wilson, winning Reserve Championships in the Youth Western Pleasure 11 & Under as well as Novice Youth at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress. According to QData, Breeze earned a total of approximately $17,500 in competition. “She was a nice little mare that wasn’t fully appreciated at the time,” Dan said. “Back then it was all about the hock—they didn’t have to be the best up front, but if they had a big hock, they were going to be the winner. Breeze went around very even front-to-back. She had a nice hock, but it wasn’t massive.”

Only Ever After

2007 mare sired by Invitation Only Has earned $119,507 in competition & 466 AQHA points. Owned by Capital Quarter Horses LLC

Breeze’s most distinguishing feature was her level topline, from her ears to her hindquarters, while in motion. “She had a great topline, even as a two-year-old,” Dan said. “Just a beautiful bay mare with a star. She was just put together the ‘right way.’” Breeze’s topline was ahead of the game, says trainer Katy Jo Zuidema. “I thought she was ahead of her time because she matched really well front-toback in an era when a lot of horses didn’t do that,” Zuidema said.

Breeding Smart Breeze’s 5-year-old year, the Frederick’s decided to breed her to the iconic Invitation Only. That was a magic cross that accounted for her first thirteen offspring. Breeze carried a few of her foals—every three or four years—but most were embryo transfers carried by recipient mares. 70 | PREMIER | MARCH 2021

Only A Breeze

2009 mare sired by Invitation Only Has earned $109,885 in competition, 447 AQHA points. Owned by Capital Quarter Horses LLC

“For the first few years, we thought all of this [success] was because of Invitation Only—he’s a top stallion, that should have a lot to do with it,” Dan said. “But somewhere in there, we realized this is more than just ‘Invitation.’ We knew we had something pretty special after the first four or five of her babies were out there showing.” For the most part, the Fredericks kept the foals and started their show careers—they rarely sold them before they were at least three. Zippin A Breeze

2013 gelding sired by Invitation Only Has earned $59,252 and 831 points. Owned by Knapp Quarter Horse Farms

“We made sure the horses got the benefit of the doubt. We always took them to the show pen, which was a really good plan for us,” Dan said. “You’re not going to get major money for a yearling prospect, not anywhere near what we got when we sold a show horse. After all, it became clear that she did not produce ‘prospects,’ they were all show horses.”

The Leaders Many leading futurity horse trainers had a hand in creating Breeze’s legendary produce record, including Brian and Dawn Baker, Randy Wilson, Rusty and Katie Green, Gil Galyean, Aaron Moses, and Katy Jo and Tim Zuidema. Cool Breeze

2015 stallion sired by No Doubt Im Lazy Has earned $29,707 and 64 points. Owned by Looney Quarter Horses

“There were also many assistant trainers who put in endless hours of work and many wet saddle pads,” says Dan. “We truly owe a heartfelt debt of gratitude to a lot of people.” Katy Jo Zuidema trained and showed several Breeze babies, starting with the 2015 stallion Cool Breeze as a 2-year-old. She showed him at the Congress to a top 10 finish. He was eventually sold to Looney Quarter Horses and would go on to win a Reserve Congress Championship in the Open Maturity Western Pleasure as well as multiple futurity and circuit championships.

Knockin It Out

2016 mare sired by No Doubt Im Lazy Has earned $64,741 and 197 Western Pleasure points. Owned by Richard and Betty Jo Carr

Only Intuition | 2005 gelding sired by Invitation Only Earned $47,114. 62 points. Won congress 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure futurity & Just For Pleasure 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure futurity. Owned by Susan Johnson

Cool Breeze is one of four horses out of Zippin The Breeze that Lee and Brenda Looney have owned. The first Breeze daughter that they purchased was Only A Summer Breeze, who became the first Hylton Maiden Western Pleasure Champion and winner of over $90,000. She was followed by Life Is A Breeze, who unfortunately suffered an injury early in her career but has become a valuable part of the Looney’s broodmare band, producing a Congress Top 3 Champion. The Looney’s also purchased Geez Whata Breeze as a yearling and owned her until she was three. After selling her to Natalie Anderson, the pair have gone on to win an NSBA World Championship and Reserve Championship in the L1 13 & Under Western Pleasure at the AQHYA World Show. “All four Breeze babies we have had have been great show horses,” said Brenda Looney. “Once they were finished you could trust they knew their job 71 | PREMIER | MARCH 2021

and would go out there and do it. They were great show horses just like their mother.”

Only A Breeze (“Abby”) was just as talented as her sister, but Green says her good mind made her special.

“As a breeder the maternal line is one of the most important considerations for us,” said Lee Looney. “For our program we just don’t think you can get any better. The foals we have had out of our Breeze mares and by Cool Breeze have all been extremely balanced and strong. And they all have their grandmother’s topline.”

“You could ask Abby to do anything and she would give 110% every time,” Green said. “She was a great, great show horse and the most fun horse to show. You could go in there and she wouldn’t question you at all—just go for it every time, and she’d give it her all.”

Along with Cool Breeze, Zuidema trained and showed the last two Breeze babies: Knockin It Out, a 2016 mare, and Shootin The Breeze, a 2016 stallion.

Abby has won at the Select World Show several times with Susan Roberts, and with Rusty Green won the Junior Western Pleasure and Senior Western Pleasure at the AQHA World Show, as well as Congress pleasure titles. She was also a Reserve World champion in Youth Western Pleasure.

“We entrusted Katy Jo with Breeze’s last two babies and she literally knocked it out of the park with Knockin It Out and Shootin The Breeze,” Dan said. “They won multiple futurities, World and Reserve World titles, Congress Championships and ended up first and fourth on NSBA’s list of Top Ten Money Earners in 2019.” “She is an awesome horse,” Zuidema said of Knockin It Out. “Shootin The Breeze too, just an awesome horse.” Rusty and Katie Green have worked with two Breeze foals: Only Ever After, a 2007 mare, and Only A Breeze, a 2009 mare, both owned by Blair, Susan and Hillary Roberts’ Capital Quarter Horses. Under the guidance of the Greens, the Roberts family purchased Only Ever After first, and about a year later bought her full sister, Only A Breeze. Katie Green points out how they are very different horses. “Only Ever After (‘Randi’) was extremely talented, but everything was on her terms. She was a good show horse, especially for novice riders,” Green said. “She was just a really great horse.” In addition to winning NSBA World Championship titles with both Susan and Hillary Roberts, Randi won an AQHA Reserve World Championship in Performance Halter and was the bronze trophy winner in Western pleasure at both the AQHA Select and Open World Shows.

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Shootin The Breeze

“What set her apart was the ability to take her into high pressure situations and she could handle it with no apprehension,” Green said. “Abby was a once-in-a-lifetime horse. To this day, she’s the horse we would like to have all of our horses emulate.” Susan Roberts agrees. “Both Abby and Randi provided me with valuable and unique lessons on how to be a better rider and showman,” said Roberts. “Randi taught me effectiveness and arena smarts, and Abby taught me to trust your horse and show to win. The phrase ‘once in a lifetime’ is thrown around a lot, but there not a better example of that than Only A Breeze. Both of these exceptional

daughters of Zippin The Breeze are now cornerstones in our breeding operation.”

Legacy Although she passed away in 2015 at the young age of 16, due to complications from colic, Breeze’s influence on the modern pleasure horse continues. Endless Breeze

2006 mare sired by Invitation Only $38,134 in earnings and 1,510 points. Owned by Brickham Quarter Horses

She leaves two stallions: Shootin The Breeze and Cool Breeze, to continue her legacy on the male side, with Cool Breeze’s second foal crop looking promising. Shootin The Breeze is continuing his all-around career with Chad Evans and Shannon Brown. Dan says there are plans to stand him in the future. On the female side, Breeze’s daughters are producing outstanding offspring that are making their mark in the show arena. Her defining traits were trainability, topline, easy fluid movement, and above all, a huge heart.

Invite Me Breeze

2004 mare sired by Invitation Only Has earned $64,372 and 146.5 points. Owned by Cory Seebach and Candice Hall

“They just looked mature, and they don’t not bob their heads—even as young horses they were able to keep their topline just like you see on a finished four- or five-year-old. And they were always winning—that seemed to set them apart,” Dan said. “Her babies all stood out and they all looked alike in the way they went around. They all were eye appealing and had that big hip.” Zuidema says Breeze foals are often similar in personality in her experience.

Only A Summer Breeze

2008 mare sired by Invitation Only Has earned $77,241 and 267.5 points. Owned by Looney Quarter Horses

Shootin The Breeze (pictured left)

“They’ve got to be really trainable because most of them have gone on to be really good non-pro horses,” Zuidema said. “The mares are notoriously fiery, but that’s ok if they train up, and they have. They’ve been great show horses. Her mares have been pretty good broodmares too. I think the maternal line is insanely strong, and she passes on an amazing behind. That’s got to be a dominant trait because they’re all really good in their topline. Breeze made really nice horses that carried themselves really well.” -Article Written By Abigail Boatwright

2016 stallion sired by Lazy Loper Earned $51,869 and 127.5 points. Owned by Shannon Brown

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If you know of a GREAT mare that should be featured, please let us know! Send us an email to

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