Good bloodlines: At Barner Quarter Horses, Human and equine pedigrees trace back to quality and persistence
Barner Quarter Horses, Hershey, Nebraska named AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder
Dan Barner and Alesa Jones of Barner Quarter Horses in Hershey, Nebraska are an accomplished and driven couple. They, along with their sons, are among this year’s recipients of the American Quarter Horse Association Ranching Heritage Breeders. The recognition comes after combined decades of learned horsemanship and dedication to excellent horses.
All his life, Barner has excelled in several disciplines, and his horses reflect that adaptability. He is a Prairie Circuit Finals qualifier in the steer wrestling, three-time qualifier to the World Series of Team Roping, and has numerous top-5 finishes at the Versatility Ranch Horse Futurity as part of the Farmers and Ranchers Horse Sale in Salina, Kansas.
Jones, too, is an accomplished horsewoman. She was Miss Rodeo Nebraska in 2005, spent over a year traveling with the Budweiser Clydesdales, was featured on the television show Project Cowgirl, and placed in the top-5 in the World’s Greatest Horsewoman competition as part of The Art of the Cowgirl. Most recently, she won the Farmers and Ranchers Horse Sale Futurity in Salina, Kansas on Oct. 8, 2021, winning all three classes for the first time in history. She also placed second overall on another colt, selling him at the event for $10,000.
Together, the couple competes in ranch rodeos, versatility ranch horse competitions, team roping jackpots, ranch, and train together every day. Additionally, they pass the knowledge onto their sons, both 12 years old. Dan and Alesa are engaged, and plan to be married in the near future.
Their Quarter Horse operation fits nicely with their other businesses, which include a heifer development program, a crop grazing operation, and a cow herd. Their colts are trained for the reined cow horse discipline, which easily translates into roping and ranch work. The cattle are available for use in training, and the tasks involved in the cattle business make for a well-rounded horse of sound mind. “It becomes a real handy situation where each of our little operations fit into each other,” Barner says.
Barner bought his first colt from his grandfather, Stan Maline, when he was around 15 years old growing up near Wallace, Nebraska. “My mom and dad ranched as long as I can remember, and my grandpa and grandma. It’s always been in the family,” he says. He bred his first mare before graduating high school, and has been pursuing the passion ever since. Maline was known for his Peppy San Badger bloodlines and gray horses. In a similar fashion, Barner bred for conformation and buckskin color for several years and holds a 20 Year AQHA Breeding Certificate.
Nowadays, they are moving toward the popular cow horse bloodlines. The broodmare band has been fortified with impressive own daughters, including mares by:
Bet Hesa Cat (National Reined Cow Horse Association million dollar sire); Travelin Jonez; Zack T Wood (named 2019 Cutting’s Greatest Legends); Atta Cat; Travalena (2000 National Cutting Horse Association leading sire); Hickory Holly Time (winning 2018 World’s Greatest Horseman with Kelby Phillips); and Shiners Lena Doc (NRCHA and NCHA leading sire).
Smart Mates Playgun, one of their six year old broodmares, has won around $21,000 in the past year at team roping jackpots, was shown by Barner at the Farmers and Ranchers Futurity and is in foal to Ima Poison Oak. Jones says that they are proud of the ability to walk out to the broodmare pasture, saddle one up and do a job, which speaks volumes about the disposition of their herd.
On the other side of the AQHA papers, sires to their 2022 foals include:
One Time Pepto (2019 NCHA leading sire);
One Time Royalty (million dollar sire);
Travelin Jonez (see above);
Smooth as a Cat (sired two Open NCHA Horses of the Year);
Ima Poison Oak (likely only living offspring of Docs Oak); and
Dun Lookin For Paddy (by Paddys Irish Whiskey, earning money in NRCHA and World
They have also purchased a future stallion hopeful, the yearling Shiners Custom Voo Do, an own son of Shiners Voodoo Dr (National Reining Horse Association million dollar sire).
Ranch Horse Versatility has been steadily gaining popularity for the past ten years and it fits nicely with the all-around ranching capabilities of Barner Quarter Horses. Better yet, it is an event that both Dan and Alesa enjoy doing. The event varies depending on location, but the overall tasks include a reining pattern, cow work (box cow, turns on the fence, circle twice each direction), and a large trail course, sometimes taking place in over 15 acres as a timed event.
All particulars aside, Barner Quarter Horses love what they do. Dan and Alesa are grateful for the opportunity to train horses, and enjoy seeing their sons taking a keen interest in proper training techniques. Barner says Quinten is starting to be his “go-to” for round pen work, while Braxten thrives on taking started colts outside to put more time on them. Both boys are involved with 4-H, junior rodeos, and showing.
“It’s something we’re all really involved with. It takes a lot of work to have as many horses as we have and then to be successful. […] It’s been really good for all of us,” Dan says. They have planted the roots of cow horse breeding and hope to sow seeds for quality Quarter Horses for years to come.
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