Horse Roundup 2021: Scot & Jodie O’Bryan: Breeding and raising winners |

Horse Roundup 2021: Scot & Jodie O’Bryan: Breeding and raising winners

Scot O'Bryan doing what he loves the best, riding good horses.
Scot Obryan PC Iknonic

Belvidere, South Dakota ranchers, horse breeders and performance horse trainers Scot and Jodie O’Bryan have been quietly setting the horse world on fire for nearly twenty years with their stud PC San Sugar Oaks, who was named the 2020 5-State Breeders All Around Stallion. 

Married for over 30 years, the O’Bryans raised five children while training, raising and competing on quality horses. Scot is a farrier and also trains outside horses, and Jodie trains horses, runs barrels and also is a leatherworker and beader. Both of them have also helped countless young people work toward their horsemanship goals. Jodie often has girls come over to run barrels and helps them with their horses. 

The O’Bryans have been connected with the Cowan family for many years, with Jodie’s father Albert Chapman being a close friend of Pat Cowan, and Scot rode horses for the Cowan program. “My wife and I have trained horses all our lives and we wanted to start a breeding program, but not just any horse. Tigh Cowan called me to see if I wanted to ride a stud that he had sold to Alice Moore in New Mexico,” Scot said. 

The someone had started the stud already and hadn’t done the best job, so Scot was to put 30 days on him. “I found that he could stop and turn faster than I could ride. I put the 30 days on him and he was sent to New Mexico. Then Tigh called me and said I jinxed the horse so I might as well buy him since Alice wanted a different horse.” So PC San Sugar Oaks came back to South Dakota, for good this time. 

The bay stud came to live with the O’Bryans, and in addition to covering their own mares they also bred around twenty outside mares a year. When he was younger, Scot would ride the stud to pick-up bucking horse in rodeos where Jodie was running barrels. Scot also roped on him and Jodie ran barrels. PC San Sugar Oaks has been described as the best kept secret in South Dakota as he has sired winners in nearly all rodeo events and top ranch horses as well. Many of them have carried their young jockeys to high school and college rodeo finals also. PC San Sugar Oaks has excelled as a multi-event horse and his offspring are just as versatile. “The stud has been a very consistent sire, no matter the mare, all his colts are winners,” Scot said. 

“Just about every one of those colts is a money earner in whatever event they enter,” Jodie said. “He is a phenomenal stallion. I have won a lot, every one I’ve rode has been a 1D barrel horse. We won the Iron Cowgirl two times, won the senior Iron Cowgirl doing eleven events and we were third overall in the short go. OBryans Hurricane, own son of PC San Sugar Oaks has won the South Dakota National Barrel Horse Association saddle twice. My dad told me, after seeing a video of the Hurricane, to never sell that horse, he is a good son of a buck, so the Hurricane will never be for sale.” 

Scot and Jodie have never heavily advertised PC San Sugar Oaks, but have had very good success filling his books by word of mouth and everything has been live cover. “There have only been two mares he never bred,” Scot said. “They were naughty mares and I wasn’t going to let him chew them up, so I called the owners and told them to come get them. Out of nineteen years, only two mares is pretty phenomenal.” 

In Scot’s opinion, “They are not a horse that everyone can ride, but they are people horses, pranksters, overachievers and like action. The PC San Sugar Oaks are big time gamers, if you are playing a game they want in but they all have a personality you can work with. He has been a very good experience for the last twenty years. I trained horses for the Cowans before I bought my first stud from them. The world is a small place when you get out there, and it was no accident we were able to buy the studs we wanted. We have been very blessed to get involved. One key to success has been buying from a solid, reputable breeder. Pat Cowan’s horse program was fifty years old before I ever bought a stud from them. We know what we are looking for by being performance trainers, and have had a lot of success.”  

Jodie says riding these colts is like riding a freight train, as every one has a big motor and a lot of heart. Scot agrees. “Any event you have to go to win, in a race you have to be stepping over a rocket. They all break fast; in all the years I roped on PC San Sugar Oaks, I don’t believe we were ever late coming out of the box. They are all trainable and smart, you ride them four or five times and they think they are smarter than you. Sun Frost never bred a horse for someone to run second place. Buy horses from reputable breeders who are just as concerned that you have just as much success as they do.” 

“The horses have kept us independent, we are very blessed and I enjoy it,” Scot said. “It takes a village to raise a champion; there is a set of papers and time behind the horse. The biggest thing is to get a horse that is willing to work as hard with you as you are working.” 

“Can’t explain the feeling when you breed them, raise then, train them, win on them and they are all the same.” Jodie said. “Our two year olds go to the hills and move cows before they go to the arena.” 

After trying a few other studs looking for the perfect junior stallion, the O’Bryans called Tigh Cowan again and two years ago PC Ikonic came to live in Belvidere. “He is a different breed of cat, but he has a lot of attributes that I’m very high on,” Scot said. “Jodie has told me to stop comparing all horses to PC San Sugar Oaks; he is one of a kind and can tell what you are thinking. They all can really follow the way you ride and are looking for the play. We are crossing Ikonic on the San Sugar Oaks daughters and they are nice colts and we are liking what we are seeing. When I grain the mares the young colts are already coming up to me, they are curious and have no fear. We are very happy with him. Ikonic never gets a play, he just knows where to be when sorting a cow. The past two years we have just ranch-rode PC Ikonic but this fall we will be campaigning and going to the futurities, it will be the test and he will have to prove his stuff. I have a lot of faith in him and Jodie does too.” 

PC Ikonic has proved to be a solid ranch horse already. The O’Bryans don’t have an indoor arena so their horses have learned how to work no matter the weather. 

The O’Bryans also raise registered Longhorn cattle, which started with breeding roping heifers. After roping the heifers all summer, they all would be bred up which led them to buy registered bulls and start their own herd. They had been running cattle on shares but the Longhorns were multi-purpose. They have showed bulls and females around the country, winning the National Western Stockshow in Denver multiple times, and raised the reserve grand champion bull of the world. Two of their sons paid for their first year at college with scholarships from showing their cattle. Scot and Jodie are also very involved with the Top Hand Invitational Longhorn Sale at the Central States Fair in Rapid City. “We have promoted four different sets of kids and they have to work as hard as anybody. Our 6-year-old granddaughter showed the reserve grand champion Longhorn steer in Fort Worth this year,” Scot said. “Our horses and cattle have done a lot for us.” 

“There are a lot of good horses, but you can’t just have a horse, you have to have a better one than average. I have been very blessed with the first stud horse but I think the second will be just as good,” Scot said. “I talk to my horses all the time and I’m sure they can understand me, it’s like working with another person. If they don’t want to be with you, it’s like pulling teeth. A good horse does most all the work so you need one that is looking to go to work.” 

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