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2022 Stallion Showcase: She’s a Hand: Jill Rigler makes a name for herself in the ranch horse world

Jill Rigler is not your average 17 year old.

She might enjoy The Office and spend time on Snapchat like other kids her age, but the proverbial “hundred pounds soaking wet” cow hand also gets called to day work on big outfits like Sunlight, raises and trains her own sale horses, and is making big moves to become a professional horse trainer.

According to Jill’s mother, Heather, she knew her daughter had a talent from the start. “It truly is her gift. It has been since she first climbed on a horse. She was four years old,” she says. In fact, Jill fell off and was stepped on one of her first times horseback, when her horse spooked at an elk calf in the grass. Her dad asked, “Are you going to get back on?” The answer was: yes.

The Rigler family owns a commercial Angus operation near Lodge Grass, Montana on Lower Rotten Grass Creek. Jill says that she “likes living in the middle of nowhere.” They have good neighbors, and most of all, Jill gets to ride horses every day.

Living so remotely influenced the family’s decision to homeschool their four children. For Jill, the third child, this means the freedom to help with spring and fall work at neighboring ranches, which might include brandings, preconditioning, pulling bulls, moving cows, preg checking, and shipping. Heather says her daughter would not have been able to be as involved with horses if she was traveling any distance for school.

The family moved to Lodge Grass from Gardiner, Montana twelve years ago. Ryan, Jill’s father, owned an outfitting business. When wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park, it depleted the elk herds and hunting, so the Riglers had to make a change.

Ryan fulfilled his wish of raising larger numbers of cattle after the move. Jill says that of all the people in the world, her dad is her biggest influence. He has inspired her to learn more about training a variety of horses. His level of motivation is also something she aspires to emulate. Right now, Jill’s preference is not necessarily with starting colts but rather putting the finishing touches on horses after her dad starts them. “Once they have the 30 days on them, I really like taking them and making them into something,” she says. Following this model, the father-daughter duo consigned a horse to the REAL Ranch Horse Invitational Sale in Billings last April.

However, Ryan wants Jill to be a well-rounded horsewoman, so he encourages her to take outside colts and start her own. “Getting them from nothing to something is pretty cool. It’s crazy how much time it takes,” she says. Each year, Jill and Ryan purchase three weanlings apiece. Jill buys them with the intent to sell one and keep two for her own use. She currently has three weanlings; a two-year-old; two three-year-olds; and seven finished horses shared with her younger brother and dad.

Jill has her sights set on building a good reputation as a horse trainer, with honesty at the core. “I want my word to mean something,” she says. She sold a roan colt to a man from Jackson Hole, who came up to her at a later sale and said, “I love your roan horse. Everything you told me about him was true.” He then tried buying a second horse from Jill in that sale. Additionally, a couple of neighbors were bidding on her sale horse on the same day–a testament to her reputation close to home.

This is Jill’s senior year of high school, and she is busy making plans for her future. Bypassing college, she is choosing instead to intern or train with one of several options to better her horsemanship, showing, and roping skills, all of which will suit her vision for a finished cow horse that can be used on the ranch or in the arena. Her heroes (besides her mom and dad) include: Joe Wolter, horsemanship clinician; Nick Dowers, National Reined Cow Horse Association Open Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion; Jaton Lord, clinician; Sarah Verhelst, professional breakaway roper; and Lari Dee Guy, Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion.

Jill says that spring brandings progress a colt the most, especially with the blend of head-and-heel and drag-to-the-fire style brandings in her area. “I like heading and heeling on a colt first, because everything is in front of them and you’re not really dragging anything unless you’re heading. It really helps them to look forward instead of behind them,” she says.

In these settings, she learns the codes of respect that accompany the western lifestyle: “When we’re at the neighbors I never try to run their show. If they ask me to do something, I’ll do it. Never cut in front of anybody, and don’t offer advice unless you’re asked,” she says.

A typical fall day for Jill might include an early morning helping the neighbors move cattle or precondition, helping her dad check water and their own cattle, and riding colts in the evening. She finishes her school work on the slower days, focusing mainly on business, finance, and writing classes to help her to be independent in the coming year.

Though she has not competed in the show ring or the rodeo arena extensively, she actively looks for opportunities to learn and grow. At the end of October, she plans to show in the Brannaman Pro-AM Vaquero Roping Stock Horse Classic. One of the weanlings she bought is nominated for the American Quarter Horse Ranching Heritage Challenges, giving her even more opportunities to compete in a few years. She plans to better her breakaway roping over the winter and log time with local trainers to hone her skills.

Heather says, “She likes to make her horses stop hard and she likes to rope,” so the transition into the cow horse and roping disciplines ought to be smooth. Though Jill does not “ride the papers” she recognizes the ease in selling a horse with quality bloodlines. She enjoys her current cow bred horses, descended from Boonlight Dancer (NRCHA World Champion Open Snaffle Bit Futurity), WR This Cats Smart (NCHA & NRCHA All-Time Leading Sire), and Sixes Pick (Versatility Ranch World Champion), and dreams of owning own offspring of Hashtags, Hickory Holly Time, and Spots Hot.

Grown men, like Brett Heggie, who regularly cowboy with Jill give her the greatest compliment in just a few words: “She’s a hand.”

Jill Rigler will be a horsewoman to watch in the coming years.

Stallion Showcase: Pedigree Power: Alan Woodbury’s program focuses on diversifying solid mare genetics

Tell Em Belle. Dash Ta Vanila. Rosas Cantina. Alan Woodbury, a Quarter Horse breeder from Dickinson, North Dakota, built some of the most sought-after mare genetics in the barrel horse world. When Woodbury started building his broodmare band, he knew the bottom of the pedigree was just as important–or more so–than the top. 

Woodbury got into the breeding business by chance. After raising three daughters who competed in barrel racing, he was left with quality performance mares. So he decided to start breeding them. The foundation and focus of Woodbury Performance Horses has been the broodmare band ever since.  

Whereas stallions are limited to one line of breeding, Woodbury has the freedom to match the best-performing mares to any combination of stallions for the perfect cross. “I’m a mare man. I’m a believer in the mare. If you focus on mares, you can skip around to multiple stallions in the hopes that they’ll work,” he says.  

Woodbury bought the first embryo out of SX Frenchmans Vanila, the first barrel racing futurity triple crown winner, owned by Carissa Shearer. “It was exciting crossing Dash Ta Fame with a Frenchmans Guy mare,” he says. The product, a buckskin mare he called Dash Ta Vanila, was born in 2005. In 2011 she and Nicki Steffes Hansen won the Pendleton Roundup, and in 2012 they won the Fort Worth Stock Show, and went on to finish fifth in the average at the NFR. After that NFR they discovered she had bone chips in both knees, and following extensive rehab, Woodbury realized she’d never recover to perform at the level she had before. So he added her to his broodmare band, and worked on carrying on and improving her genetics. He later sold her, which he regrets. “But you can’t keep them all,” he says. 

Woodbury and Steffes Hansen worked together on another 2005 mare that has Woodbury’s heart–Tell Em Belle, by Tres Seis and Teller Corona, an own daughter of Corona Cartel. Tell Em Belle was a round winner at Pendleton, and an average and round money earner at the NFR. Later, Woodbury’s granddaughter, Sydney Maher and Tell Em Belle won two state 4-H titles, the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association barrel racing championship and average, and the South Dakota Rodeo Association barrel racing twice. Woodbury says, “She’s retired now and I just pull embryos from her. She’s one of those horses that’s going to die here.”  

In addition to her athletic ability, Belle has shown she passes on her good mind to her offspring, even several generations later. “She just wants to love people and so do all of her babies and even her grandbabies. They’re user friendly, they just love people […] Visitors will come to the barn and open a stall door and there’s a Tell Em Belle relative in there and a lot of them just come right up to you and say, ‘What can I do for you?’ and you just pet them on the head. That’s quite a trait when you see that mind coming through like that,” he says. 

As a breeder, Woodbury says that mating a mare to a stallion is always a gamble. However, his depth of pedigree theory has helped shape his decisions to find the best crosses possible by looking back several generations on their papers. “You can have a great horse come from anywhere. They can be a $100 or $1,000 horse, but as a breeder, when you have depth of pedigree, you’re increasing your chances,” Woodbury says. “As horse breeders, we are rolling the dice all the time. When you establish depth of pedigree, it’s a little more predictable.” 

Using an artificial insemination and embryo transfer program has given Woodbury the chance to put together some pedigrees that are packed with high-performers, and lets those high-performing mares continue to excel while getting their offspring on the ground. For example, Rosas Cantina CC, a 2010 buckskin mare out of Dash Ta Vanila, has been to the NFR five times with 15-time NFR qualifier Lisa Lockhart. The 11-year-old mare has lifetime earnings of $420,000, and 13 foals on the ground. Woodbury was able to experiment extensively with different crosses, including First Down Dash, which produced Lucky Wonder Horse.   

Lucky Wonder Horse, owned by Myers Performance Horses, is a prime example of Woodbury finding the best pedigrees he could, and putting them together. Lucky’s papers include Dash For Cash, Corona Cartel, Rocket Wrangler, Gallant Jet, Holland Ease, and Dash Ta Fame. Notable females on his papers include Find A Buyer, Rose Bug, Corona Chick, and SX Frenchmans Vanila.  

Woodbury is excited about some of the other horses entering the arena in the coming year, as several of the horses he’s produced are ready for competition, including Jaguarr, a stallion by Dash Ta Fame and out of Rosas Cantina.  

Woodbury uses a computer program called PedigreeBiz to view the crosses of bloodlines, up to four generations back, before ever making a decision. “I do know one thing, the most important thing is that the mare has a pedigree. If the mare performs and is a champion, that’s even better. But the pedigree is something that I need,” he says. 

A year ago, two fillies were born that Woodbury is especially excited about, both out of Rosas Cantina CC, one by Tres Seis  (the sire of Tell Em Belle; $2+ million dollar sire) and the other by One Famous Eagle ($1.3 million LTE). Early this spring, Woodbury welcomed two more babies with promise of pedigree, also out of Rosas Cantina CC, one repeating the same cross with Tres Seis and the other by Epic Leader ($1 million+ sire).  

Last year, he crossed Tell Em Celina (Corona Cartel x Tell Em Belle) with Metallic Cat for a unique cross with the same depth of pedigree that he consistently seeks. “She’s a really beautiful filly. It’s the sire’s pedigree that’s packed, and I think that’s a good thing. We’re always experimenting,” he says.  

One of his most prized babies was born last year. Woodbury crossed Tell Em Celina on her grand-sire, Tres Seis, and got Tell Em Lucille, which is a “carbon copy” of Tell Em Belle. “I like that mating and I did it again and I’ll get more,” he said.  

When raising horses, Woodbury finds that success in the long run is in the small details starting from birth. “Everything starts as babies. When we are getting them halter broke, the only thing we want to avoid is having a bad experience. If they have a bad experience, that’s stored back there and it’s going to come out again,” he says. Handling, tying out, repetition, and lots of handling gets their colts very gentle before moving onto their new owners or the training process.  

As for weaning, he pays close attention the condition and growth of the babies before pulling them from the mare.  

Woodbury was the long-time owner of Woody’s Feed, a livestock feed company based in his hometown of Dickinson, North Dakota. He owned that business for nearly 40 years, but sold it in 2015, to focus on his horses and family. “As you get older and a little long in the tooth, you have to accept reality. I’m 78 and four or five years ago it was getting harder. Those in professional life and ranchers and everybody goes through it,” he says.  

Woodbury’s granddaughter, Sydney Maher, who ran Tell Em Belle in high school, is now in college and running Pure Vanila, a daughter of Wicked Felina CL (a full sister to Rosas Cantina CC) and Dash Ta Fame. Woodbury has a few more prospects in the stable, wanting to make sure that–if her life takes her down the professional barrel racing path–Sydney has some of her grandpa’s horses to ride. “I can keep them, but I may not be able to buy them back,” he says.  

Woodbury is still helping the sport of barrel racing evolve. While watching the horse races at Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico, he was struck by the level of technology used to time every single horse. “It’s amazing to sit there and watch 10 horses down the track, and they all got a time. That’s really up there in technology,” he says. Through his connections and friends, he formed a partnership to develop some similar advanced methods for timing barrel racing. “We’re going to apply it to the barrel racing world. We’ve got eyes and timers, and it was a great stride forward 40 years ago, but it hasn’t had any changes in 40 years. The technology is out there, like at Ruidoso Downs, to do better on it. That’s what we’re playing with,” he says. Though he can’t divulge specific details at this point, they are in the product research and development stage and hope to be moving forward with it soon.  

Alan Woodbury’s Two Mare Lines  

  • Dash Ta  Vanila (Dash Ta Fame X SX Frenchmans Vanila)  
  • Wicked Felina CL (Corona Cartel X Dash Ta Vanila)   
  • Rosas Cantina CC (Corona Cartel X Dash Ta Vanila)  
  • Pure Vanila (Dash Ta Fame X Wicked Felina CL)  
  • Rosas Little Eagle (One Famous Eagle X Rosas Cantina CC)  

Rosas Cantina CC has 13 registered foals as of 2020. Three are nationally known stallions (Lucky, Monsterr, Jaguarr), two are running barrels at a very high level (Golden Cloud by Dash Ta Fame, and Fiestas Cantina by Fiestas Gotta Gun), two are in barrel training, one is in Brazil and Dollar is in training with Ron Ralls.  

Wicked Felina CL has nine registered foals through 2020. The oldest is Byeza and he is a 1D barrel horse by Dash Ta Fame. Pure Vanila is next, and she is a 1D barrel horse ridden by Woody’s granddaughter, Sydney Maher. Then is Wicked Boy AW, who won the 2021 AQHA Select World Championship in Stake Race with Rick Neff of Missouri. Cinderalla Man is owned by Lacey Boyd of Georgia and he is a 1D barrel horse and breeding stallion. Two of Wicked’s 2-year-olds by One Famous Eagle are money-winners on the track.   

  • Tell Em Belle (Tres Seis X Teller Corona)  
  • Tell Em Celina (Corona Cartel X Tell Em Belle)  
  • Tell Em Twice (Teller Cartel X Tell Em Belle)  
  • Tell Em Lucille (Tres Seis X Tell Em Celina)  

In 2021 Woodbury got nine foals out of Tell Em Belle, Tell Em Celina and Tell Em Lucille, by eight different stallions:  

  • Mitole  
  • Dash Ta Fame  
  • Corona Cartel  
  • Tres Seis  
  • Coronado Cartel  
  • PYC Paint Your Wagon  
  • Epic Leader  
  • Metallic Cat  

Stallion Showcase: Stem cells and the future of horse health

Stem cell therapy has been utilized in horses to help heal tendon, ligament and joint injuries for more than 25 years, and new uses are always being explored. These stem cells are mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), which are isolated from fetuses, foals or adult horses, as opposed to embryonic stem cells from embryos. The MSC stem cells can be isolated from almost any tissue, but are most commonly obtained from bone marrow, fat tissue, and from the umbilical cord of newborn foals.  

The two main methods are use of the patient’s own cells (autologous cells) or cells from another horse (allogeneic cells).  

Autologous Cells 

The advantage of using autologous cells is that they are not rejected by the patient’s immune system, and there are fewer regulations for use. The disadvantage of using autologous cells is that it takes 2 to 3 weeks to expand the cells prior to use, to get enough. This involves a two-step process requiring the horse to return for treatment after initial sample collection. This may hamper optimal treatment time since an adequate number of cells are not readily available. 

Allogeneic Cells 

Allogeneic cells have the advantage of being already available, with time to select and potentially enhance cell functions prior to use.  

The disadvantage is that cells from another horse are recognized by the patient’s immune system (and rejected) faster than autologous cells. Also, the regulations are different; allogeneic cell product development is considered drug development  

Drugs vs Devices 

A number of veterinarians, clinics and stem cell companies have treated thousands of horses with stem cells for many years. They started by treating soft tissue injuries and then progressed to treating joints. Some have also treated laminitis with stem cells.  

There was such an expansion of stem cell therapy in veterinary medicine that the FDA became involved, to make sure it was regulated and that this kind of therapy wasn’t being used inappropriately. Use of stem cells was put on hold, and the FDA ruled that stem cells fell into the category of drug therapy. That meant regulations for bringing a new drug to market, apply which requires years and a lot of money. There was very little stem cell use in horses for a number of years. 

Today, most commercial strategies are focused on developing frozen allogeneic cell products. One approach is use of allogeneic stem cells from umbilical cord blood that could be basically off-the-shelf/storable and given to any horse. Two products have been approved in Europe, and trials are underway in North America to get equine products approved here. 

There are no approved stem cell products currently available in North. Other regenerative therapies like platelet rich plasma (PRP) or interleukin receptor antagonist protein (IRAP), fall under the FDA’s category of devices rather than drugs. “There is a big difference between getting a device approved by FDA and getting a drug approved,” says Dr. Thomas Koch, associate professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Canada. “It is very expensive and time-consuming to get a drug approved, which is a big impediment for veterinary medicine. From a pharmaceutical perspective it is a very small market,”  

Trials 

Koch is founder and CEO of eQcell, a company that is starting two trials using stem cells in equine synovitis and early stages of osteoarthritis–one at University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College Equine Sports Medicine and Reproductive Centre, and the other trial at the University of California-Davis Veterinary Institute for Regenerative Cures (VIRC).  

The Canadian study in equine fetlock and carpal joint osteoarthritis is authorized by Health Canada’s Veterinary Drug Directorate and is the first stem cell trial in Canada for treatment of equine osteoarthritis. The U.S. study in fetlock osteoarthritis is being conducted under VIRC’s Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD) with the FDA. 

Collecting and Growing Stem Cells 

“The cells we are working with are from umbilical cord blood of newborn foals,” Koch says. “My PhD work reported on the presence of these cells in 2007. This had been reported in humans, but we were the first to see if we could find similar cells in equine umbilical cord blood.” 

Koch continued that work after he finished his PhD.  

His company gets the cells from umbilical cord blood. Most people get it from bone marrow or fat tissue. 

“These cells adhere to certain types of plastics. In the lab we use plastic culture dishes. In the first few days a lot of cells are just floating in the media and don’t attach, and then some start attaching to the plastic. When we aspirate the media off and replace it with fresh media, this gets rid of all the floating cells. We end up with a cell population stuck to the plastic.” 

After 8 to 12 days some of the cells on the dish start to form colonies, undergo cell division and expand. “We use enzymes to lift them off the plastic; the enzymes cleave the binding without damaging the cells. We harvest them this way and split them into 3 to 5 flasks of the same size. Those cells reattach and keep growing. We can eventually grow them into billions of cells,” he says. 

The original cells from umbilical cord blood come from breeding farms. “I work with Standardbred and Thoroughbred farms in southern Ontario. During foaling season they have eQcell’s collection kits, and whenever a foal is born, the attendant clamps the umbilical cord. When the foal stands up, the cord simply breaks at its natural breaking point. With the clamp across it (toward the mare side) the blood is not gushing out from the placenta, and is saved.” 

The attendants use a blood transfusion bag to collect it. “These bags come preloaded from the company, with anticoagulant and a needle on the end. The attendants clean the cord and put the needle into the blood vessel within it, and the blood can drain into this collection bag. It’s non-invasive; you are just saving the blood that would otherwise drain out and be lost.” The infusion bag can be stored in a refrigerator overnight, then shipped by FedEx to the lab.  

“What’s nice about this source of cells is that they are as young as we can get them, and consistent. The cells are from newborn foals, and mares that have no signs of disease during the pregnancy,” he says. 

There are advantages to having very young cells. “If you get cells from fat tissue, blood or bone marrow from adult horses, they may be damaged. All cells age, so even if you have a healthy, normal animal, there are stringent requirements for donor testing.” With foal cells, there is some variability between one foal and another, but these cells are more consistent.  

Osteoarthritis Treatment 

Koch says the many treatments being used for OA indicate there’s not one really good answer to the problem of osteoarthritis.  

“There are many products being used for OA, and veterinarians have different preferences in treatment,” Koch says. “This indicates that no one treatment has been shown to be superior. There is interesting data in humans and animals, however, showing that stem cells may be useful in treating some joint conditions.” 

Stem cell therapy holds a lot of promise because it has several advantages over traditional pain medications like phenylbutazone, “bute,” which merely mask pain and has a narrow window of safety and can have damaging side effects, and can’t be legally used in competition. 

Some biologic products, like PRP and IRAP can be injected into joints, and there are fewer regulations regarding their use, as opposed to stem cells. “But it’s hit or miss whether they work, depending on the individual horse,” says Koch. Steroids have also been used for treating OA, but there is controversy about using those in joints because they may damage the cartilage.  

Stem cell therapies are gaining interest because they have several advantages. “There are now two cell products approved in Europe for treating inflammatory joint pain in horses caused by synovitis and early OA,” Koch says. “These are HorStem and Arti-Cell Forte. They both use culture expanded MSCs. HorStem utilizes cells from equine placental umbilical cord tissue, and Arti-Cell Forte isolates MSCs from peripheral blood of adult horses. These two products are both approved for use in horses with joint pain due to early stage synovitis but are slightly different in formulation.  

“HorStem contains only the cells (15 million stem cells) and Arti-Cell Forte is a combination product. It actually has only 2 million cells, plus PRP. So it’s difficult to know if the healing effect is due to the cells or the PRP, or whether the two may have a synergistic effect working together,” says Koch.  

Arti-Cell Forte was acquired by Boehringer Ingelheim (a large international pharmaceutical company) last summer. “This is a boost, to know that this big company thinks stem cells and regenerative medicine have a role to play in veterinary medicine,” Koch says. 

At Cornell University a research trial studied the effect of mesenchymal stem cells on damaged cartilage in research horses. “In the follow-up, the researchers saw that the cartilage in the joints that received the cell formulation were much more preserved than the joints that did not get those cells,” Koch said. 

“I’m not sure if these therapies can turn a damaged joint into a less-damaged joint, but the Cornell study indicates that maybe we can arrest the damage and prevent further damage.” 

Every new effective treatment offers more hope for horses with damaged joints. “There’s possibility now for more consistent disease management, with joint injections, to keep a horse comfortable. It might only have to be every 6 to 8 months or even longer. It might depend on the horse, but for horses that do respond, we may be able to manage their disease more consistently and have some degree of joint disease arrest,” Koch says. This could be career-extending for some horses. 

2022 Stallion Showcase: 2021 Black Hills Stock Show Horse Sale High Seller: NU Gunny In Town

Eighteen-year-old Maddie Fantaskey had a pretty big year in 2021. She graduated high school. She qualified for the National High School Rodeo Finals in three events. And she sold the high-selling horse at the 2021 Black Hills Stock Show Truck Defender Horse Sale.  

Fantaskey rode NU Gunny In Town, “Armani,” a 2017 AQHA palomino gelding, through the ring, dealing with mixed feelings as the bidding quickly jumped from $10,000 to $20,000, finally ending at $38,000. “I think I was just in shock a little bit at the amount of money he was going for. When he was lying down in front of me it became a little bit more emotional, because I was thinking of how I couldn’t begin to thank him enough for all he had just done for me and the start to my career. And the little bit of sadness, knowing I was going to have to say goodbye to him very soon.” 

Maddie Fantaskey had some strong emotions when she was in the sale ring, realizing how much Armani had done for her start in the horse business. Photo by Scootem N Shootem Photography. 
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Armani, sired by Gunners Tinseltown, by Colonels Smoking Gun, and out of USS Nu Chic, a Smart Chic Olena daughter, was bred by David Silva of Pilot Point, Texas. Fantaskey bought the gelding from the Billings Livestock special Sons and Daughters Sale. He had about 30 rides on him, and was her first attempt at making a sale horse on her own. 

Armani was all hers, from picking him out and training him, to showing him in the preview and riding him through the sale ring. 

He had just turned two when he caught Fantaskey’s eye in Billings. Fantaskey put the next year into building him into a gentle, capable, all-around ranch horse. Fantaskey had ridden with Justin Lawrence, a working cow horse trainer in Montana, and learned how to make a horse “fancy broke.”  

Armani shows off a stop that reflects his reining breeding during the BHSS Truck Defender Horse Sale preview. Photo by Scootem N Shootem Photography.  
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In the preview Fantaskey and Armani put on display his reining breeding, his cow horse ability, and the brain and disposition that she says made an easy job of his training. He bowed, and “played dead,” and showed off the flashy palomino that first caught her eye. 

But the man who bought him wasn’t even in the seats. He was sitting at his computer in Texas, with his 10-year-old granddaughter, who may have influenced his bidding, he says.  

Jim Gallogly had never seen Armani in person, but he had heard reliable reports that this was the horse he was looking for. The rancher, who is retired from leadership positions in several major corporations, owns ranches in three states. Following his retirement he decided he wants to improve his horsemanship skills, and to be an asset on his ranches.  

“I was mostly looking for a horse I could enjoy,” Gallogly said. “When I’m on the ranch I want to be a decent ranch hand. If you’re not as good a cowboy, you need a better cow horse. He shows well, even if I don’t.”  

When Gallogly started looking for a horse that was gentle enough for the grandkids, talented, easy to ride, cowy and that he could “grow into,” he called his friend Kirby Hedrick, who ranches in Wyoming. “I called Kirby and I said I need some expert help. I’m looking for a horse that has some reined cow horse training and this and that. He added some of the criteria he looks for in a horse.” Kirby and his ranch foreman went to Worland, Wyoming to ride Armani and reported back, “‘He has a lot of buttons, but is extremely well-trained, and very broke. He may be a bit more than your grandkids would prefer, but he’s a very, very special horse. I know you would like him, I know you would grow into him, but if we want something that’s perfect for your grandkids, we’d need a different horse.'”  

Gallogly decided Armani was what he was looking for, and that expecting him to be all that and suitable for his grandkids, ages 8 and 10, was maybe too much to ask. But when his granddaughter saw the preview video, she fell in love too.  

Armani has met all of Gallogly’s expectations. “I ride him a lot. I like him a lot. I’ve sorted cattle on him some, taken him on trail rides. He’s a wonderful horse. I really love him,” Gallogly says. And while Gallogly isn’t ready to put his grandkids on Armani and send them off to work cattle, they have ridden the flashy palomino in the arena, and have gotten along well with him.  

“Everybody that sees that horse really loves him. He’s got a big personality, is really gentle and he loves people, and he’s so beautiful people fall in love immediately.” 

Gallogly has had lots of offers to help Aramani reach his potential in the show ring or the rodeo arena. Gallogly’s niece would like to show him, and the foreman of Gallogly’s Oklahoma ranch has two sons who are competitive ropers who’d like see what Armani can do in the roping box. But Gallogly says he’s not sure which direction they’ll go. He grants, “I’m 69 years old, so I’m not the right person to ride him in competitions. But I think he’s got the talent.”  

Gallogly credits Fantaskey’s ability as a horsewoman with setting Armani up for success. He also appreciates her approach as a seller. “She’s very straightforward in everything and she’s super capable.”  

Late Start 

Though her horsemanship doesn’t reflect it now, Fantaskey didn’t start riding seriously until she was older than Gallogly’s granddaughter. Raised in Pennsylvania, Fantaskey and her family traveled all over the world, hosting a hunting television show called Triple Mag. They visited Wyoming and decided that was a place they wanted to be. They quit the hunting show and bought a small ranch near Worland, where Maddie learned to ride, starting when she was 11.  

Dean Barent from Worland first taught Maddie to ride–beyond a few English lessons in Pennsylvania when she was 6 or 7– and set her on the cow horse path. When she was ready to improve her skills even more, she took a prospect to Justin Lawrence, a cow horse trainer in Alzada, Montana, and learned to make a prospect into a cow horse.  

This year Maddie’s horsemanship skills took her to the National High School Finals Rodeo in Lincoln, Nebraska in cutting, reined cow horse and barrels. Fantaskey finished 20th in the barrel racing average, fourth in the reined cow horse average, and sixth in the run for all-around cowgirl.  

But it was a reining-bred horse that caught her eye in Billings, and she took all that talent and added a lot of miles on her family’s ranch, hours of groundwork and the knowledge she picked up from respected cow horse trainers.  

“I feel like Armani taught me so much because he was so naturally talented and good-minded,” Maddie said. “I did a lot of ranching on him, did a lot of roping. I basically just used him like he was my own personal horse. He was a heck of a horse. I feel like he trained me more than I trained him. He was super special. ” 

Fantaskey’s original plan was to take Armani to a big sale in Las Vegas, which was canceled because of COVID. But she said selling at the Black Hills Stock Show worked out better, because it got her name out in her area.  

Selling the good ones is always hard, but she recognizes that in order to build a business, you have to do just that. “I bought him as a sale horse, so I told myself I had to sell him. I totally miss him. I always tell myself if this is a business I’m going to be in I have to get used to selling the good ones. It helps that he went to such a good home and they keep me updated.”  

It also helps that Fantaskey is working on another horse, Cisco Santana, for the 2022 Black Hills Stock Show sale. Cisco is also a palomino gelding, and will be 4 years old at sale time. He’s also reining-bred, a grandson of Wimpys Little Step, and spent the last year as Maddie’s nearly-constant companion. Her business plan of, “Buying those good-bred horses that seem like they’re going to be gentle, get them fancy-broke, use them to ranch on and sell them,” worked so well last year, she’s replicating it this year. 

Eventually, though, she’d like to be riding horses bred by her family’s business, Hangin F Cattle Co., through the ring. Their stallion, Boon Beamer, is a son of Once In A Blu Boon, out of a granddaughter of High Brow Cat. They showed the 2018 bay stud at the 2021 Snaffle Bit Futurity, and hope to get some points in the show ring this year. The mares they’re putting together have papers that feature Paddys Irish Whiskey, Nic It In The Bud, High Brow Hickory and High Brow Cat.  

Fantaskey’s family has high hopes for Boon Beamer and his offspring. His first colt crop is on the ground this year. Photo by Maddie Leigh Photography. 
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Fantaskeys’ goal is to breed some horses to be stand-outs in the show pen, and some to be safe, solid, capable ranch horses, but somewhere in the middle is Maddie’s ideal. “I like horses you can ranch on, but aren’t so show-horse that someone is going to fall off because they press the wrong button too quickly. We try to keep a good in-between.”  

Editor’s Note: Check out Tri-State Livestock News during the Black Hills Stock Show for a story about the other 2021 high-selling horse, Invester Maudie, which also brought $38,000. Consigned by Ron and Jordanne Wells from Springview, Nebraska, the son of Investers Asset was proven in the performance arena in heading, heeling and the junior rodeos and now makes his home in Sheridan, Wyoming, with Toby Vineyard.

Stallion Showcase: The Making of a Wonder Horse: Lucky Wonder Horse stands out in stallion world

The original Wonder Horse–those plastic horses of every color, attached to springs and suspended in a metal frame–was made by Radio Flyer. They let pajama-clad kids round up strays, win the steeplechase, jockey to a first place finish, or claim the buckle at the National Finals Rodeo. 

Alan Woodbury’s Wonder Horses aren’t all that different. His horses have made dreams come true on the track, in the arena and do just fine in a pasture of cattle. With the help of Bill and Deb Myers, of Myers Performance Horses, one of Woodbury’s Wonder Horses is on track to make even more dreams come true. 

Woodbury, who keeps a stable of elite barrel racing mares at his place near Dickinson, North Dakota, tends to pick themes for the names of the offspring of some of his favorite mares.  

When he bred Dash Ta Vanila (Dash Ta Fame X SX Frenchmans Vanila) to Corona Cartel, he named the twin daughters Wicked Felina CL and Rosas Cantina CC, after Marty Robbins’ hit song, El Paso.  

When Woodbury started producing foals out of Rosas Cantina CC, they were the Wonder Horses–Lucky Wonder Horse, Bucky Wonder Horse, Dollar Wonder Horse, Valor Wonder Horse, Little Wonder Horse, all named after the star of a radio program in the 1940s.  

Some of them have changed owners and names. Three half-brothers, Monsterr (Tres Seis X Rosas Cantina CC), Jaguarr (Dash Ta Fame X Rosas Cantina CC) and Lucky Wonder Horse (First Down Dash X Rosas Cantina CC) are standing at stud now, and are starting to prove that Woodbury’s theory of packing pedigrees that excel in every way–and paying the accompanying five-digit breeding fees–pays off in quality.  

Woodbury uses exclusively artificial insemination, and embryo transfer in many cases. That’s how 11-year-old Rosa, who ran in her fifth National Finals Rodeo with Lisa Lockhart in 2021, has 13 foals on the ground. Lucky Wonder Horse is one of the first foals out of Rosa, and the rodeo world is watching him closely. 

Lucky Guy 

When Woodbury knew he had a stallion that would make a big splash in the world of horsepower, he called long-time friend Bill Myers, who owned Frenchmans Guy, A Smooth Guy, and who broke to ride two of Woodbury’s first mares, SX Frenchmans Vanila and Dash Ta Vanila–Lucky’s second and third dams.  

Bill Myers was impressed by everything about Lucky Wonder Horse, the first time he saw him. Photo by Olie’s Images.
Lucky fall of 2021

“I’d broke both of those mares and liked them a lot,” Myers said.  

But Myers wasn’t interested when Woodbury first called about this yearling stallion prospect. “I just wasn’t in the market for a stallion at the time,” Myers said. “He kept after me. I was very intrigued by his pedigree, and I’d seen his pictures. He’s kind of unique. We drove up there and looked at him, and really liked him.” 

Myers sat down and wrote the check. 

While Woodury sets the price for most of his stallions, Jaguarr, one of Lucky’s half-brothers, out of Rosa and Dash Ta Fame, broke an all-time time public auction sale record for a barrel racing yearling in 2018, with a final bid of  $150,000, by Mill Iron Livestock in Alberta, Canada.   

Myers took Lucky home and let him grow up. Myers started him as a 2-year-old. “He was an easy colt to start. So many things about him impressed us right off the bat. He had good conformation, a lot of bone, substance, he’s real strong-made. He has a lot of natural collection in the way he moves.” 

Bill Myers says he doesn’t know of any own sons of First Down Dash that are buckskin, other than Lucky. Photo by Tabitha Smith.
Lucky Roping

And Lucky has the “wow factor” that’s necessary for success in the highly-competitive stallion world. Myers points out that he doesn’t know of another own son of First Down Dash that’s buckskin. “Stallions have to have uniqueness and wow factor and pizzazz, and all the other things to get people to breed to them because there’s so much competition in the stallion business.”  

Bill Myers broke Lucky Wonder Horse’s second and third dams to ride, and is impressed with the 7-year-old stallion’s performance in the roping pen. Photo by Tabitha Smith.

That “wow factor” is something you can’t measure, but Woodbury also knows it when he sees it. “I remember reading the magazines years ago and First Down Dash was standing at $75,000,” he said. “You looked at him and just drooled. I remember being at the farm and I went in the stall with him. He was really old, but he still had a presence about him. That’s the same with Corona Cartel. I used to go to the Lazy E and the stallion manager would bring him out and you felt like you were in the presence of royalty.”  

Lucky Break   

Myers bought Lucky five years ago, before anyone watching the National Finals Rodeo had heard of a horse named Rosa. Lisa Lockhart’s go-to horse then was still An Oakie With Cash (Louie), the buckskin gelding that was named the Equi-State highest-earning barrel horse of the decade, and has more than $800,000 in earnings.  

Horses like that are tough to replace, but Lockhart saw the potential in another buckskin with a big heart. Rosas Cantina CC took her place in Lockhart’s trailer, and for five years has been part of the team that made it to the National Finals Rodeo. 

Lisa Lockhart and Rosas Cantina, Lucky’s dam, at the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Photo by Kenneth Springer.
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When Myers bought Lucky, they knew his dam had potential, though it hadn’t been proven yet, but it was the depth of his pedigree that made them drive to North Dakota to look at the stallion. 

“One of the things that drew us was the first, second and third dams,” Myers said. “Every one of those mares is a great performer, but also great producers. I don’t know of any stallion that has first, second and third dams that are stronger. Most stallions have a mare in the pedigree that’s pretty good. But not many have first, second and third dams that have that much money, performance and production. That makes that horse, to me, unique.” 

The proximity to First Down Dash is another big draw for Myers. “An own son of First Down Dash is as close as you can get.” The big sorrel with a speed index of 105, who is the number one all-time leading sire of money earners, with offspring that has earned nearly $90 million, sets the bar for speed sires in the industry.  

Woodbury said, “If you look at every horse in this horse’s pedigree, there is not a bad one. Every horse is great.”  

Myers agrees. “Every horse in that horse’s pedigree is superstar great.” And some of those superstars are on there twice.  

Pedigree Puzzle 

The technology that allows Rosa to keep competing while producing a multiple-foal crop each year, and to be bred to a stallion that passed away 14 years before Rosa was born, allows crosses that would have been impossible a few generations ago. That also allows Woodbury to diversify his genetics faster, and to make more informed decisions because he has more foals on the ground more quickly, thanks to frozen semen and embryo transfer.  

But Woodbury also thinks it holds the industry back, being able to hang onto those old, big-name genetics, rather than looking for new, possibly better, options. But he likes how it’s worked out so far. 

Most of the stallions Woodbury has been crossing Rosa on have stud fees listed only as “private treaty,” leaving most to speculate about what that dollar amount might be, and to dream about the kind of mares they release that limited semen to. 

But anyone can see what happens when those matings do occur. Lucky is standing in the Myers’ barn in Arizona right now. He divides his time between there, where he’s earning his keep as a rope horse, and Royal Vista Ranches, in Oklahoma, where he stands at stud. 

Lucky’s first colt crop is 3 years old this year. He has three crops on the ground, and Myers is excited to see what they’ll do.  

Myers bred just four of his Frenchmans Guy mares to Lucky that first year. “He’s a strong-siring horse in that he throws well-made, pretty, fast, good-minded horses,” Myers said. “The people who have them are very happy with them. We ride them ourselves, so we evaluate them pretty strongly.”  

The buyers of his get can see the value. Last year Lucky’s 2-year-olds averaged $27,000 at Myers’ sale. This year they sold some privately and sold some through the Pink Buckle Barrel Futurity sale. The three that went through the sale ring averaged $39,000, while the private treaty horses averaged $34,166.  

Myers points out that the $3,000 stud fee has a promising return with that kind of sale price on his young offspring.  

Myers are planning to breed about 50 to 60 mares a year to him, so they’re being a little bit selective in the mares they accept. They offer special consideration to mares that have won $50,000 or more, and are looking forward to seeing what Lucky produces out of more of their own Frenchmans Guy and A Smooth Guy mares. Woodbury has also talked about crossing Lucky onto his Tell Em Belle mare line, Myers said. 

Myers rode one of Lucky’s colts all summer and is planning to take him to some rope horse futurities. Nikki Steffes Hansen, who rode Dash Ta Vanila to the National Finals in 2012, has a filly out of Lucky and a Frenchmans Guy mare that is showing potential in the barrel pen.  

Lucky is paid into some of the top barrel futurities in the nation, including the Pink Buckle, Ruby Buckle and Royal Crown.  

“We’re going to do everything we can to ensure that the people that breed to him and buy his colts have some good incentives to go show their colts,” Myers said. “We’re excited about him. He sure throws a lot of stuff that we try to have in our horses. The conformation is something people don’t put enough emphasis on nowadays, and we put a lot of emphasis on that. We’re really looking forward to watching his colts run in the next few years, to getting them in the right hands to excel.” 

Stallion Showcase: The Good Ones: Mary, Queen of the Ranch

Editor’s Note: The rancher in this story has asked to not be identified.  

Mary was a tall, dark bay mare with kind eyes and a keen dose of cow sense. She had a smooth trot, high withers, a propensity for spooking at anything under the sun, and a passionate hatred of rattlesnakes.  

Mary was just a youngster when she came to the ranch in 1977. She lived to the ripe old age of thirty-one and taught nine children how to hang on for the ride. She gave her family a dynasty of daughters and grandbabies that kept everyone mounted and kept the cows fed and in line. 

Mary loved to chase cows, although she made it clear that she disliked them. It was in her blood and she put her heart into her work. She could cut a cow out of the bunch or keep the herd moving without her rider having to offer any suggestions. If she was chasing a cow, one had better sit deep and grab a handful of mane.  

Mary could go all day, gathering the neighbors’ cattle out of the huge government pastures that surrounded her ranch. She could cut a cow out of the herd and trail her home, sort pairs, or trail mamas with tender calves across the river to summer pasture. Mary would let young riders sidle her up to a fence or a cut bank so that they could climb onto her broad, brown bare back.  

If a cow lazily dragged her feet at the back of the herd, or if a cow drifted off —a “sidewinder” that needed to be brought back, Mary would pin her ears. If the cow didn’t get her act together, Mary would bite her to get her moving. 

As Mary’s ranch family grew, she got to teach the growing children the ropes of ranch riding. She carried them bareback out to get the milk cow in. She carried them across the river to check cows during the summer. During breeding season, she patiently lingered with them in the summer pasture for weeks of heat detecting.  

Mary taught them how to balance, how to move with her easy trot and rocking lope. She taught them to keep their seat when she shied at a bird flying up or a tumbleweed blowing past, when she jumped at the sound of a rattlesnake, when she crowhopped down a hill, when she danced with a cow.  

When a rattlesnake buzzed close by, Mary would jump aside with a snort. Even after the snake was dead, she snorted and shied away from the smell of it that lingered on the rope and chain used to kill it. 

Mary’s first daughter, Tuesday, was born on a Tuesday and christened thus because the rancher’s boys were deep into Robinson Crusoe, who found his ‘Man Friday’ on a Friday. Tuesday most certainly lived up to the spirit of her name, becoming her rancher’s ‘Girl Friday’ through many long winters of feeding cows.  

Tuesday had a unique habit of presenting herself to be caught. The rancher would come down to the barn in the morning, and when Tuesday saw him she would come tearing down the hill from the west corral with her ears laid back, a black tornado on thundering hooves. She would run right at him, make a furious circle around him, slide to a stop, and then stand quietly for her bridle to be put on, and away they would go. 

In those years, before front wheel assist tractors had found their way to the middle of nowhere, this rancher fed with a saddle horse. He built a sled out of an old pickup hood, runners and tin that he pulled with a rope from his saddle horn, and he pitched loose hay onto it or loaded small round bales one at a time for feeding the cows. 

The winter pasture lay about two miles from the place, so every morning the rancher would saddle up and Tuesday would trot over east through the snow. He would pry or pull a bale out of his haystack, or pitch hay off of a loose stack to load the sled. Then he would dally his rope to the saddle horn and tell Tuesday it was time to go. Bale after bale, winter after winter, the labors of man and horse kept the cows’ bellies filled with good prairie hay.  

Sometimes the snow got so deep that the rancher could not drive his pickup through it. So he would park his pickup at his neighbor’s place, ride Tuesday to the neighbor’s and then go to town for supplies. Then Tuesday would pull the supplies home on a sled. 

One day, the sled that the rancher used to feed his cows broke. He rode Tuesday to his neighbor’s, drove to town and got more tin, and then they headed home towing the tin. Unfortunately, as Tuesday was pulling the tin home, it bowed and caught a pile of snow, skated rapidly downhill behind them, and cut the tendon in Tuesday’s heel. She could not stand on her foot at all. Whenever she tried to take a step, her foot bent up. 

The rancher took her to the veterinarian, who sewed the tendons carefully back together. Then the rancher’s friend built Tuesday a special shoe to wear so that her foot couldn’t bend the wrong way anymore. But it would take a long time for that severe of a cut to heal. 

Now how could the rancher feed his cows? The snow was deep. It was too deep for his little tractor to drive through. Mary would have to pull the hay sled.  

But Mary did not like to pull things. Mary liked to spook. What if she spooked with the load of hay behind her? The rancher did not know how it would go, but he saddled Mary and rode over east. 

He got a round bale out of the stack, put it on the sled, used his big buck knife to cut the twines, and Mary pulled the bale to the cows. So far, so good. But when the rancher got back to the stackyard to get another bale, he realized he didn’t have his knife… 

Right then and there, standing in the deep snowbanks, the rancher prayed that he would be able to find his knife. It seemed impossible. But then, in the bright glitter of the winter sun on the snow, a little extra sparkle caught his eye. It was the tip of the knife just barely poking out of the snow. 

Perhaps that was God’s way of saying that everything would be alright. 

And it was.  

Mary did a good job of pulling the hay sled to feed the cows all the while Tuesday was laid up. After a month locked up in the lean-to, with the rancher carrying her hay and water, Tuesday could walk again. 

Jerking those bales out of a snowbank, or pulling them apart from an icy, frozen stack was no easy task for a saddle horse. One time, when there was deep snow, the rancher was trying to jerk a bale out and the cinch on his saddle broke. The saddle slid off to one side, the rope was still pulling on the bale, the back cinch was still buckled, and his spur got hung up in the back cinch. Even though she was mixed up in the predicament, Tuesday stood still so that he could get himself untangled. 

The children watched through the window for Tuesday and their daddy to come home from feeding the cows. When they came trotting back, both of them would be all frosty on their whiskers. Tuesday would go to the barn for her hay and oats, and the rancher would come to the house with icicles hanging from his beard. 

“How about a kiss?” he would ask his little girls. 

Mary’s second daughter, Daisy, came along a few years after Tuesday. Like Tuesday, she had a hard, jarring trot, but a beautiful smooth lope. Tuesday also had a filly, a wild, pretty thing the children called May. By now, the rancher’s oldest boys were confident riders, so they usually rode May and Daisy. They could carry a younger sibling along on Daisy, a firm hand holding tightly to a little sister’s leg to keep her from flying off when they went after a cow. But they did not ride double on May, who ran like the wind, never got tired and rarely slowed down.  

The rancher was riding Daisy to feed one day, when the rope accidentally got under her front leg and he didn’t realize it until he asked her to pull the bale. When the rope grew tight under her leg, Daisy bucked. Oh, my, did she buck! But that did not help; the bale was still on the sled and the rope was tight, digging into her chest and pulling tight under her leg. Daisy bucked until she got herself wedged between the haystack and the fence. When she stopped, the rancher quickly got off, but before he could untangle her, she started bucking again. Daisy jumped over the fence, but of course the bale did not, so there she stood. The rancher went over to her and talked to her quietly to calm her down while he got her all untangled. He told her he was sorry, and he talked very kindly to her for a while. Finally Daisy was calm and willing to pull the bales to the cows.  

The rancher took turns feeding with Tuesday and Daisy during the hard winter of 1996-97. The snow was deep and a fall rain had crusted the stacks with a thick layer of ice that held the bales together. The oldest boys took turns riding out with their father every day to help pry the bales apart with bars and then roll them down the hill by hand to get them to the cows. The bales were stuck so hard that one day the tree of the rancher’s saddle snapped with the strain of trying to pull a bale loose. But in spite of all of the hard work, the cows never lacked for feed through that long winter. 

Now Mary was growing old. Her withers stood up a little more sharply and her teeth grew weak. The rancher gave her extra oats and kept her close to the barn in the winter. Tuesday and Daisy were both gone now, and he started feeding his cows closer to home so that he could use his tractor to get the bales off the haystacks. One by one his children were also leaving home, finding jobs, getting married and building families of their own. 

But the rancher’s youngest daughter was just learning to ride. She was still small, and he knew that her weight would not be too much for Mary to carry. He did not want the weight of a saddle on Mary, but he would boost his little girl up onto Mary’s tall, brown, bare back and she would trot out with him to feed the cows. She would bounce along, bumping against Mary’s high withers, but loving every minute of feeling the wind on her face and the warm horse beneath her. Mary knew how to chase the cows, so she just had to hold on and have fun.  

Mary would pin her ears at the cows and chase, just like she had when she was young and spry, but by the time they got the cows to the hay she was tired. One day, as soon as they got to the hay Mary just laid down. The rancher slipped her bridle off. 

“Don’t worry,” he said, “She will come to the barn when she has rested.” 

And she did. 

Mary lived her last days in the summer pasture where she had chased so many cows for so many years. One day she laid down and did not get up again. Her bones still rest on the ranch where she taught so many children to hang on for the ride. 

Stallion Showcase: Five Arrow Quarter Horses: Conformation, Performance and Disposition

Darrell Schlepp has always had an interest in livestock, although he did not grow up on a farm or ranch. He’s been in the Mobridge area for decades, and just retired last year from a 43-year career at Dakotah Bank. Twenty-five years ago he decided to embark on his own breeding program, and Five Arrow Quarter Horses was born. Since then, the ranch just north of Mobridge has produced scores of ranch and arena horses. 

“Horses intrigued me,” he said. “I got into this later in life. I chose to raise horses because they were more ‘hands on’ than cattle, and I hoped they could be of a benefit to friends and family as well.” 

Schlepp built his program from the ground up, starting out by traveling with friends to production sales in the area and bringing home a bunch of weanling fillies. 

“I figured I could get better quality that way,” he said. “When I started shopping for studs I wanted some speed along with good cow sense; something that ranchers could trust to do a good day’s work that could also go into any arena and compete.” 

Schlepp’s first stallion, PC Leatherwood, or “Woody” as he is affectionately known, was also purchased as a colt, out of Todd Cowan’s program. He is sired by PC Fire N Smoak, a grandson of Docs Oak and Sak Em San, and out of a Sun Frost daughter that traces to John Red, Lonsum Polecat and Leo. He has a Driftwood granddaughter, Prissy Cline, on his papers twice. 

“I’m always trying to find the crosses that work well on my mares,” he said. “We breed 20 to 30 mares every year and have three studs now, so we can mix and match.”  

Darrell Schlepp chose to raise horses in part because they would be more “hands on” than cattle would be. He enjoys every aspect of his business, especially seeing the new foals as they arrive each spring. Photos courtesy of Five Arrow Quarter Horses.

Currently, the Five Arrow Quarter Horses stallion lineup includes ‘Woody’—PC Leatherwood, a son of PC Fire N Smoak out of a Sun Frost daughter; ‘Pendleton’—FA Pendleton Frost, sired by PC Leatherwood and out of a double bred Sun Frost and Driftwood mare; ‘Drifter’—PC Frosty Drifter, son of PC Boston Bob also out of a Sun Frost daughter;  ‘Rockstar’—a son of Eddie Stinson out of a Dash for Cash/Easy Jet mare; and ‘Bullet’—Assend the Train, a son of Freighttrain B out of a Mr. Jess Perry/First Down Dash mare.  

“Drifter and Pendleton are pasture breeding for us,” Darrel said. “We have very limited frozen semen on Woody. Rockstar is deceased but we have limited frozen semen for him, and Bullet pasture breeds for us but we also have frozen semen available for sale.” 

The other half of the equation at Five Arrow is Schlepp’s other half. His wife, Michele Harrison, grew up just west of Mobridge and the Missouri River, not too far from their current home. She grew up with horses and spent 20 years in Arizona, riding in every discipline imaginable: jumping, reining, mounted shooting and everything in between. When Michele moved back to Mobridge, she started barrel racing. The two have been together for 12 years, and Darrell says that he raises the horses and Michele rides them. 

Michele Harrison and FA Lynyrd Skynard round a barrel together. Lynyrd has a new home in California, competing on the Cal-Poly rodeo team. He recently placed in the West Coast region collegiate top ten. “He’s living his best life running the beach in California with no more South Dakota winters,” Michele said. Photo by Boaz Dov Elkes.

“He had horses when I met him, and I was a horse girl,” Michele said. “Of all the disciplines I have competed in, barrel racing is definitely my favorite. I love the speed and adrenaline of it. I love barrel horses.” 

“I’m the owner and the stable boy and Michele rides the horses,” Darrell laughs. “We also have a strong relationship with David and Kristi Alley at Isabel, and their daughter Krystal Dorsey and son Lane Alley. Kristi and Krystal have competed on these horses for years, and they help a lot with getting colts ready for the sale. Krystal competed on Woody through her high school rodeo career, in college rodeos and in the SDRA. He’s been really amazing; I don’t know where we’ll find another horse like him. He was very well-behaved, people didn’t even know he was a stud. Even during breeding season they would pull him out of the pasture, go to a rodeo, and come home and turn him back out with his mares at night.” 

Michele also enjoys training horses. While most of the Five Arrow foals are sold as weanlings, she usually chooses a couple to start.  

“I like to ride young horses and bring them along till they are 6 years old or so,” she said. “I get them running the pattern and get them used to travelling and being on the road before I market them. I’ve had good success with this. Recently, FA Lynyrd Skynyrd, a horse I started that went to a young lady competing in college rodeo for Cal-Poly, made the top ten in the West Coast region. Most of them go to younger girls or women who want to compete, so I know they are going to get good homes.” 

Five Arrow Quarter Horses co-hosted the 22nd Dakota Breeders Classic horse sale at Mobridge Livestock in September, 2021. Other local ranches offering foals at the sale included Pedersons Broken Heart Ranch of Firesteel, South Dakota, Booth Quarter Horses of Timber Lake, South Dakota, Page Mollman, Watauga, South Dakota, along with various guest consigners. The sale has stayed small over the years with a strong focus on quality and programs that complement each other.  

There have been ups and downs, as with all livestock. Last year, a freak accident led to the loss of a promising Eddie Stinson-bred stallion. This year, Woody is having some health struggles. But both Darrell and Michele enjoy the business of raising horses, and they are looking forward to next year’s babies. 

“It’s really exciting in the spring when the foals start to drop and we get to see what’s there,” Darrell said. “Now that I’m retired I get to do it full time. Our program isn’t just about us; we have a lot of family and friends who help out here and take the horses down the road and show them off.” 

“Every spring we so look forward to foaling,” Michele said. “We foal in the pasture, and I am out there all the time. It is just a miracle every time. It’s so much fun to watch them get up and nurse for the first time. We try to start with good genetics and raise them to be as strong and healthy as we possibly can for the people who will ride them someday.”  

This year, Five Arrow mares are carrying foals by a new stallion, Assend The Train, for the first time. He is a son of Freighttrain B and out of a daughter of Jess Louisiana Blue.

 

Assend The Train, the new sire at Five Arrow Quarter Horses. He is a son of Freighttrain B and out of a daughter of Jess Louisiana Blue, and his first foals are due in 2022.

“We’re pretty excited to see how his foals turn out,” Michele said. “He came off the track, so I have not been riding him, but I plan to ride his babies in the future.” 

Horsemen and women all over the U. S. are starting to recognize the Five Arrow brand. 

“We try to produce horses that people will be happy with,” Darrell said. “We have a strong repeat customer base, as well as customers all over the country riding our horses. You never know what direction they will go over time. We have horses from New York and New Jersey to California, and Texas to North Dakota, and everywhere in between. We start with the premise of versatility; in my mind, if a horse has the conformation to be an athlete and the disposition to be trainable, he can go any direction. It still amazes me every time we get calls from folks who end up with our horses saying how talented they are. I can name horses from our program in just about every discipline. Many of them go on to become rodeo horses, and a lot of them are just good ranch horses. I still think that is what makes me feel the best, when we pull into a branding, rodeo or barrel race somewhere and I see our brand on horses tied to trailers waiting to go to work. Folks know they can do what they need to do.”  

“At times when the market was down we have wondered if we should cut back,” Michele said. “But we added some replacement fillies to take the place of some of our older mares, so I guess we’re not going to quit any time soon. I really enjoy going around North and South Dakota to barrel races on the weekends. It’s a passion—or a disease.” 

It has taken years to build the Five Arrow breeding program, but Darrell says there is continually room for improvement. 

“Hopefully we can keep producing good horses and keep improving our program,” he said. “I haven’t seen a perfect horse yet and I don’t imagine that I ever will. There is always room for getting better. Michele and I don’t have children, but it’s been a lot of fun to see young kids riding our horses; Kristi’s nieces and great nieces are starting to compete now. It’s neat to see them come up through the family and see our friends’ children and children’s children riding our horses and know that their parents have faith in them to keep them safe. It’s good to know that people can pull these horses out of the pasture and go to a branding or a rodeo and be competitive wherever they go.” 

Stallion Showcase: Healing Through Horses: TR 4 Heart & Soul fills a special need in North Dakota

TR 4 Heart & Soul, a non-profit therapeutic riding center, operates on a 40-acre property that Katie Oakland and her husband, Brock, bought outside of Bismarck, North Dakota seven years ago. Katie had dreamed of operating a riding center since she was a junior in high school. She volunteered at a hippotherapy center in Grand Forks, an afternoon that she says changed her life. 

“I thought it was amazing what the horses did for people that have special needs,” Katie says. After that day, she talked about starting her own program through college, marriage and beyond, until eventually settling in Bismarck. “One day out of the blue my husband said, ‘If you really want to do this, I think it’s something we should look into.’”  

The next day they started training, getting certifications and getting their place in order. The Oaklands decided to call the venture TR 4 Heart & Soul, “TR” standing for therapeutic riding, and “Heart and Soul” referring to everything given by the volunteers, horses and participants.  

“Everybody tried so hard, there was no better way to describe it,” Katie says. “And everybody really leaves their heart and soul out there in the arena.” 

Today, TR4HAS has both an outdoor and indoor riding arena, necessary for a program that operates through the winter, and sees around 50 participants each week with lessons all day Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday mornings. For each participant, there have to be three volunteers during the lesson to make sure it is safe and that the participant can meet his or her goals, whether they are related to physical therapy, mental health or otherwise.  

“When we first started, the people that called us had a lot of physical disabilities like stroke, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy,” Katie says. “The horse does such a phenomenal job because the movement of the horse is very therapeutic to a human, they provide a 3-dimensional repetitive movement. We’ve had as many as four or five participants in the few years we’ve been doing this that have never walked before, but after riding they started walking because riding can produce pathways in your brain that teach you how to walk and before, their disability didn’t understand how to walk. It’s very scientific and it’s a miracle and it definitely works.” 

Most participants ride year-round during each six-week session. Between sessions, TR4HAS takes 10 days off for horse maintenance before starting the next session. Photo courtesy of Katie Oakland, TR4HAS.

The program sees a number of participants who struggle with mental health as well. The way a horse’s brain develops is similar to someone who has experienced trauma where they are constantly thinking about “fight, flight or freeze.” This allows the participants to connect with the horse, by seeing what they are thinking and not only understanding why, but relating to those feelings.  

TR4HAS has also been partnering with the Bismarck Cancer Center for around two years, after talking to physicians in the area about how the movements of the horse can help cancer patients sustain some core strength that they lost during chemotherapy.  

Most recently, TR4HAS has been working with students from the University of Mary on a tutoring program while the horses are in the barn providing a calming effect on the participants, and another program that helps participants with learning disabilities.  

“Reading and higher level skills take place at the very top of your brain in the neocortex and sometimes if you have a learning disability or some sort of disability, you can’t get to that neocortex the way a typical person can and you need movement and repetition,” Katie says. “Of course, the horse can give the participant those things so then we can work on those higher-level thinking skills.” 

Most of the participants ride year-round, but occasionally the program takes on special cases. One such case was a man in his 90s who shared with his great-granddaughter that one of his dying wishes was to ride a horse. Although he lived over three hours from Bismarck, TR4HAS arranged with his physician and physical therapist on how they would get him on the horse and ensure he was strong enough to ride. He was able to make the trip with seven great-grandchildren, his grandchildren, children and wife, and finally ride a horse. 

“That was an atypical thing, but it was really special to be able to provide that for him,” Katie says. 

She recalls a wheelchair bound young boy who started riding when he was four years old. Within six months of riding, his family noticed him taking steps from the coffee table to the couch. Three years later, he is utilizing a walker at school and able to play outside with his siblings. Another participant came to the program to work through trauma and grief of losing her father to cancer. Today, she comes out and volunteers with the program once a week to help others going through their own trauma.  

“I tell my husband this thing makes you so crazy because you’re so happy and then you’re so sad and then you’re so happy again,” Katie says. “But that’s what gives you that push to get up at 4:30 in the morning when you go to bed at midnight because you know what, we need this. They need this.” 

Because the program is non-profit, fundraising is a large part of Katie’s weeks, although writing grants is often put on the backburner to teaching lessons and caring for the many horses that have been donated to the program.  

“Every single penny we raise is utilized at TR 4 Heart & Soul,” she says. “Most of our horses are senior horses and they need a lot of geriatric care, whether that means supplements or injections, special shoes, but most of our horses do come to us on donations so they deserve and need that little bit of extra care, so fundraising is a big part.” 

They put on play day horse shows and hold community events to raise some money, but the biggest fundraiser is the Blue Jeans Black Tie Affair, normally held the end of November, although last year the event had to be canceled due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

“2020 was really tough,” Katie says. “At first we had to close our doors, but then we got more calls post-Covid than we ever have before because of the nature of the outdoor air, people felt safe and mental health really just became a struggle.” 

If not for the volunteers, TR4HAS wouldn’t have made it through 2020, let alone the last almost six years of operating. 

“Everybody asks how we get the volunteers because we operate about 100 hours per week,” Katie says. “But if you saw the connection the volunteers make with their participants that they work with, all the volunteers say it gives them way more back than what they can give the riders.” 

Stallion Showcase: D & S Cattle Co: Building horses on a Montana ranch

More than 1,000 miles separate Hysham, Montana, from northern Texas. George Johnson rode every single one of them back in 1902. He was part of what was possibly the very last cross-country cattle drive. Johnson dropped the herd at their destination in Wyoming and then headed north for Big Sky country.  

“People did really amazing things back then at a young age,” said Ginger DeCock, one of Johnson’s granddaughters. “They didn’t wait to grow up, they just did things.”  

Ultimately what Johnson did was homestead in Hysham, which later transitioned into D & S Cattle Co. Now in the hands of third, fourth and fifth generations, the ranch values still boil down to raising quality livestock with good bone, feet and size. The ranch demands these qualities from both their bovine and equine residents. 

Ranch in the Pines 

As AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders, Gary and Ginger DeCock are keeping with the tradition previous generations laid down as both horse- and cattlemen among the rolling pines of Beaver Creek.  

“My family has always been in tune with horses; it’s a natural thing on a ranch,” Ginger said. “George raised a lot of horses and so did my folks. The horses have always been a good sideline gig with the cattle.”  

Growing up on the family ranch and then leaving for school in town, Ginger later returned with Gary at her side. The ranch now includes land passed down from Gary’s grandfather.  

“Our horses have really evolved over time,” Ginger explained as she thought back on the photos of studs her parents were using almost 70 years ago. “We’ve improved our horses over the years. I think that’s typical of most horse operations in the world, whether they admit it or not.”  

Selecting for genetically superior crosses is just one of many modern upgrades that both Gary and Ginger have enjoyed about the changing times. With this modern technology, they said horses on the ranch today are better looking than their ancestors. Part of that improvement is better nutrition, and breeding decisions are treated as a more important process than ever before.  

“It’s never about the horse, it’s always about the cross,” Gary said. “We’re looking for the magic cross to produce horses that are always improving.”  

With a large sector of the horse industry breeding horses for specific disciplines, it could be said that the DeCocks are going against the grain with their program. They aren’t just breeding your average ranch horse though.  

“We’re still trying to raise horses that are 15-hands and have an athletic build that will allow them to do just about anything,” Ginger said. “Our horses need size, bone and speed, so they can go just about any direction that someone would want them to.”  

Horses are still being used for everyday ranch work at D&S Cattle Co., just the same as when the ranch was homesteaded 110 years ago. Photo courtesy of Gary & Ginger DeCock.

Mare Magic 

Finding that perfect cross begins with a broodmare band progressively developed over generations. The ranch now has about 20 mares, each one carefully selected to continuously improve the broodmare band. 

Every one of those mares was either raised on the ranch or came from someone in the immediate family. About half of the mares are by Millie N Docs Oak, an own son of Docs Oak by Doc Bar. And the rest are by a Frechmans Guy stud, Romeo White Feathers.  

“Having those two studs in our broodmares really upgraded the herd for us,” Gary said.  

Out of those mares, 10 colts are sold as weanlings in the online auction each fall. The rest are kept to be used on the ranch and later sold with miles on their backs.  

“We try to sell five or six riders every year,” Ginger said. “The market for solid, broke horses is always good. So, anybody that puts some miles on a horse can get paid for their time.”  

One of the most important aspects of those solid riding horses is their disposition. If someone can trust those horses with any level rider, they’re easily worth their weight in gold. The addition of a Metallic Cat son has brought that to a whole new level for the horses bearing the X lazy T brand. 

Gar Bear 

When you think of a stud who’s nabbed world titles, a cuddly teddy bear isn’t usually what comes to mind. But that’s exactly how North Platte, Nebraska, trainer Jeremy Knoles describes Takes Alotta Metal, their stallion out of Metallic Cat and Takes Alotta Faith (a Dual Pep granddaughter), who was dubbed Gar Bear as a long yearling. 

“A lot of times we’ll give horses a barn name after their owners,” Jeremy explained of how this stallion earned the name Gar Bear. “Gary (DeCock) is a big ol’ teddy bear and someone just started calling the horse that [Gar Bear] one day. I still just call him Gary, but my kids call him Gar Bear.”  

Even before he was fully-developed, the stallion was impressive. All it took was a suggestion from a fellow horseman that a Metallic Cat son would cross well on their mares and the DeCocks had their eyes peeled.  

“John E. Johnson, who was on the ranching heritage committee with AQHA when it first formed, told us we needed a Metallic Cat for our mares,” Ginger said. “When one came available, it really rang a bell with me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known what a good deal I was getting.”  

In the past, Gary and Ginger have ridden their own performance horses. They decided to step out and try something new with this one. And that’s how the DeCocks connected with Jeremy Knoles Performance Horses.  

“He’s done all the training on this horse and helped us sell his colts,” Gary said. “He’s made a big difference in our operation. He’s truly a partner in this stud.”  

The red roan stallion looks almost identical to Metallic Cat. His maternal lineage, which traces back to Dual Pep, Pretty Little Kitty and Docs Stylish Oak, definitely shines through as well.   

“Even as a colt, he’s always been really mature and acted very grown up,” Jeremy said about the stud who rarely acts like one. “I don’t know that I’ve ever ridden, trained or shown a stud that wasn’t a little bit of a pain in the spring, except for Gary (Takes Alotta Metal).”  

His laid-back demeanor transcends fences and even tack. When let out with the mares, Gary’s (Takes Alotta Metal’s) disposition is still clear as day.  

“He’s really smooth and quiet when he’s out with the mares. He kind of talks to them if you will,” Jeremy says.  

Now a 6-year-old, Takes Alotta Metal is showing in the bridle classes in the reined cow events. He boasts an impressive resume in his successful, albeit still blossoming, show career. His top award to date came in 2020 when he was crowned the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse High Point Junior Horse Champion. 

“He’s just always been a good horse,” Jeremy said. “He’s big and athletic, has color. And he’s always done whatever we’ve asked him. He just wanted to get along and let us train him up.”  

As the modern cornerstone of the operation, Takes Alotta Metal’s traits are coming through in full force in his offspring.  

Although they’ve sold some of his semen, the DeCocks mostly just use him on their own mares. To get one of these foals, potential buyers need to come back in the fall for the annual online foal sale. 

For more information about Takes Alotta Metal, visit www.takesalottametal.com.  

Stallion Showcase 2022: One in a Million: Christmans left their mark on North Dakota Quarter Horses

Black Jack was born on April 23, 1961. A tiny, weak, wobbly twin colt, he was black with white socks and a big snip on his nose. He was registered as Panda Bear, partly because his dam’s sire was Little Bear, and partly because he was black and white.  

“He was colored just like a Panda Bear, but we called him Black Jack,” Chuck said. “He walked like a giraffe for the first month or so. Dad gave him to me, and I nursed him to health. I halter broke him and eventually broke him to ride. I did everything with him.” 

Chuck’s older brother, Bob, recalled noticing the mare, Jenny Owens, waxing in December, before Black Jack was born. She had been bred to Wayne Evridge’s stallion, Lo Ho, the previous summer. 

“We brought her home and kept her in the west shed for a while and then she dried up,” he said. “Harry Smith, and old horseman that lived north of the Cedar River ventured a guess that she had twins and one of them died. It turned out he was right. Jenny was due to foal in April, but April came and almost went before she did foal. She gave birth in the west shed, and when Dad threw out the afterbirth he saw the remains of a small, decaying colt. The living colt was smaller than you would expect of a full-term colt, and he had legs that went every direction.” 

The little horse that had a tough start turned out to be one of the good ones. 

“He was one in a million,” Chuck said. “If you had a whole pasture full of horses like Black Jack you’d be set. He was as gentle as they come.”  

It had all started out of frustration. Chuck’s father, John Christman, was getting cows in one day when a calf ran back.  

“We were bringing in the cows from the big pasture to work them,” Bob said. “Of course there was one calf that got away. Dad chased the calf with Snooks, a brown pinto mare that was ‘wind broke.’ When you rode her at a lope after a while she would wheeze very badly. On this particular day, all of the cows and calves were in the corral but one calf bolted and got away from us. I don’t remember the final outcome but I remember when he came back to the barn the horse was sweaty and gasping for breath. That was when he decided we needed better horses.” 

John and his wife Blenda raised their children on the family ranch in North Dakota, just a few miles from the border town of Lemmon, South Dakota. As their youngest son, Chuck’s childhood was shaped by the horses.  

A carefully handwritten record book contains the names of the mares John purchased: Creeping Jenny, a granddaughter of Golden Chief. Jenny Owens, daughter of a Blackburn grandson, Little Bear. Sugar Clegg, a granddaughter of Clint Higgins. Ma Frisbie, whose sire was double bred Clint Higgins and dam was double bred Red Jacket. Plaudits Flag 2, who had Plaudit and Little Joe Springer on her papers. Tona’s Queen, whose sire traced to Old Sorrel three times, and whose dam was double bred to the Peter McCue grandson Billy Sunday Blond Rocket, a mare with Joe Reed P-3 on her papers. Ma Sandy, a mare with King P-234 on her papers. Pussy Clegg, Buttons Cat, and Nan Copper, daughters of Sugar Clegg that John kept back. Dixie Mays, Jo Copper and Jody Copper, daughters of Creeping Jenny. Ginny Copper, a daughter of Jenny Owens. Lotta Frog, a daughter of Tona’s Queen. 

These mares all traced their lineage to the early Quarter Horse stallion Steel Dust. Brought to Texas as a yearling around 1844, Steel Dust put his stamp on the development of the American Quarter Horse. “They were heavy-muscled horses, marked with small ears, a big jaw, remarkable intelligence and lightning speed up to a quarter of a mile,” to quote the AQHA. Long before the inception of the American Quarter Horse Association, quarter horses were known as ‘Steeldusts.’  

The record book also lists the stud each mare was bred to, breeding dates, foaling date, and sale records of the foals. 

John used a double-bred Royal King stallion for several years. Ruvio Copper, bred by John’s friend Wayne Evridge, was quick footed and cowy and his colts were the same way. Christmans also leased Frog W from the Whitcomb ranch in Colorado. A double-bred Peter McCue horse with Zantanon, sire of King P-234 on his papers, Frog W was a race winner as well as a halter winner, an accomplished reiner, and had his NCHA Certificate of Ability.  

“Frog W really gave dad’s already successful program a boost,” Chuck said. 

The horses truly were a family affair. 

“I showed Black Jack for ten years in 4-H, as well as in High School Rodeo,” Chuck said. “We participated in our local saddle club and went to shows all over the area all summer. Black Horse Creek, Isabel, Timber Lake, Lemmon, Mound City, Nisland; every other week or so there was a show. The saddle club members would hire Corcoran Trucking and fill a big straight trailer with horses, and then load their families in the car to travel to the more distant shows. We had halter classes for every age and type of Quarter Horse, horsemanship classes, western pleasure, and speed events: barrels, poles and so forth. There wasn’t much for roping classes at that time. They would have a flag race, scoop shovel races, cowhide races and chariot races. We hosted a show at the ranch as well.” 

These saddle club shows would have events for all ages, including calf riding, cow riding, barrel racing, pole bending, flag race, scoop shovel race, cowhide race, relay races, pony, horse, and chariot races. There wasn’t much for roping events yet at that time.” 

Starting in 1959, John Christman and his family hosted a North Dakota Quarter Horse Association approved show at the ranch.  It was held annually in June, with an AQHA-approved show held in Lemmon the following day. This made it handy for Quarter Horse breeders in a four-state area to participate in both shows. Events at these shows included halter classes for every age and sex of Quarter Horses, reining, cutting, western pleasure, and a couple of speed events, barrel racing and pole bending. 

“When we had the show, the yard was full of horse trailers and tents,” Chuck said. “Back in those days nobody had a trailer with living quarters. Some people would get a hotel room in Lemmon, but a lot of folks would just pitch a tent and camp out. We would clean out the garage and Mom’s homemakers club would set up in there to provide concessions. We had corrals and cattle, so we had cutting classes at home, but they did not have cutting in Lemmon.”   

The family rode their own horses for years.  

“Dad was tired of trying to find a good using horse, so he decided to raise his own so he’d know what he had,” Chuck said. “Bob Lynch worked for dad for a while, and part of his job was to start the colts. Dad would let him quit with other farm work at a certain time of the day and then he would go ride horses. I was really interested in what he was doing and he took me under his wing and taught me how to break horses. I didn’t realize until recently how far ahead of his time he was in his methods. He didn’t do it the ‘cowboy way’ of bucking them out. He taught me to take it easy, to gain the horse’s trust, and he did a lot of ground work before he rode them. He made sure they would give their heads before he got on and that prevented a lot of wrecks. He was really ahead of his time.” 

Chuck loved horses and enjoyed competing.  

“When I was fourteen, Dad took Jo Copper, a daughter of Ruvio Copper and Creeping Jenny, to Alvin Gabbert up at Lefor, North Dakota, for training,” Chuck said. “I wanted to learn how to rope and Alvin agreed to teach me. I stayed up there for two weeks with Black Jack, and every day I did chores, mucked out the stalls, and so forth. But every day I got to ride and rope with him.” 

Gabbert made a good rope horse out of Jo Copper, and she became Chuck’s rope horse through high school and college.  

John put together a sale a few times, but eventually sold most of his mares due to a low demand for colts. 

“Everybody used horses in those days, but nobody wanted to raise a colt and wait till he was grown to ride him,” Chuck said. “Plus it was a lot of work, and by then Bob was gone and I wasn’t old enough to take it over yet. Bob and I have often wished that we had figured out a way to keep the breeding program going.” 

John Christman was inducted into the North Dakota Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2014.  He was recognized as one of the first breeders of registered quarter horses in North Dakota, for hosting a show at his ranch, as one of the organizers of the North Dakota Quarter Horse Association and a member of the NDQHA board of directors.