Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: New year!, BHSS ranch horse entries, chariot racing, AQHA supreme champion

It’s a cold, blustery booger today as I write this. Much more in keeping with the calendar’s opinion that it is winter. On the first day of winter we got a nice rain and had temperatures in the 40’s, so I’m not going to complain too loudly.

By the time you read this Christmas will be past and the New Year upon us. I don’t know where in the world 2014 went, but it went fast for me. All in all, it was a pretty fabulous year to be in the ranching business, what with lots of rain, abundant hay, a nice fall and record cattle prices. Even sheep weren’t the worst critters to own this year, so all in all, it was pretty fine. Having gas and diesel prices down a bit is a nice bonus too.

The Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo is about the next big thing coming up in our region. Entries for the Ranch Horse competition are open and will be until Jan. 16. The divisions are: ladies rancher, rancher, youth, 3 year old open, ladies open, open, and novice. You can get your entry forms on-line at, go to Horse, click on it and Ranch Horse Competition will pop up. Go to the bottom of the page and it will show a rules and entry link. Click on that and you’re there.

The Horseshoe Valley Invitation Chariot Races will be Jan. 24 and 25 south of Glendo, Wyoming. There’s a calcutta and also a dinner banquet that is open to the public. Saturday’s races started at noon and Sunday at 11 a.m. For more info call Gene Daly at 307-331-1049.

Passing the ultimate test of Quarter Horse versatility is the requirement to become an AQHA Supreme Champion, the rarest award in the AQHA. The 51st such award was just presented to Ima Regal Choice, a 2007 sorrel stallion by A Regal Choice and out of Ima Lark by Moon Lark. He was bred by Eduardo Cornelio Caballero of Mexico and is owned by Michael Smith of Berwick, Louisiana. The stallion made 12 starts on the track with three first place finishes and earnings of $29,359 before he started his show ring career. In the show ring he earned points in Performance Halter, Team Roping/heading, and Jumping. The title requires that a horse race and achieve a speed index of 90 or more, twice and earn 40 points in halter and performance classes at five or more AQHA shows, including two Grand Championships. So, the ideal Quarter Horse is still alive and well. He can run, he’s pretty, and versatile. He’s also sorrel, which made me smile.

Here’s a big surprise! The wild horse advocates are pushing to intervene in the suit that Wyoming recently filed against the feds for lack of management of Wyoming’s feral horse population, especially on those checker boarded areas of private and federal land. The two main groups that are throwing a slobbering fit about it are headquartered in North Carolina and Connecticut, both well known Wyoming feral horse strong holds where they would have an intimate and educated knowledge of high desert land management. My thought is that if you don’t have a dog in the hunt, it’s time to mind your own business.

In other bad news, anti-slaughter advocates are delighted to announce that the European Commission has suspected horse meat exports out of Mexico to the European Union countries because of unsafe drug standards and food safety concerns, plus inhumane treatment of horses both in the U.S. and Mexico while in transit to slaughter. Some of the European Union countries affected are Belgium, France, and Italy. Of the horses processed for meat in Mexico for human consumption in Europe, 87 percent of them come from the U.S. This ban knocks the legs out from under an already crippled slaughter horse market in the U.S. It’s quite obvious from the reports I read that HSUS and HSI (Humane Society International) had their dirty hands in this ban. Fortunately, horses processed in Canada are still accepted by the European Commission, but that doesn’t help the horses and owners in the states too far from the northern border to utilize a market there.

The recently signed “operating note” for the United States did not include funding for USDA inspectors in U.S. horse plants, so any hope of that door swinging open is delayed until this bill expires the end of September 2015. I don’t know what will happen to that when the new Senate takes over, but don’t know how much traction they’d get with the current White House resident in office. It may get put off until after the election in 2016. Meanwhile, back in the country, horses are starving, neglected, abandoned, and valueless in too many places. But the golf game goes on.

Well, that’s my column for this week. Here’s to a fantastic 2015 and minimal times of having to change a 4 to a 5 on a check.