The Outside Circle: First Down Dash has died, AQHA Supreme Champion named, winter horsekeeping reminders |

The Outside Circle: First Down Dash has died, AQHA Supreme Champion named, winter horsekeeping reminders

I don’t know about all of you, but it seems that I blinked and November was gone. Where does the time go?

Sad news on the horse front this week. On Thanksgiving Day, in the early morning hours, First Down Dash passed away in his stall at Vessels Stallion Farm, Bonsall, CA. He dominated racing when he was on the track, then dominated it for the next 20 years as a sire and grandsire. He’ll still be a force to be reckoned with as a sire as he has a full crop of youngsters going to the track in 2011 and bred a full book of mares in 2010. Fortunately, there is also frozen semen to keep the name alive for a while yet. Through November he had sired the winners of almost $74 million, with more to come.

First Down Dash, speed index 105, was sired by Dash For Cash and out of the Gallant Jet mare, First Prize Rose. He also went back to Ladybug’s Moon, Leo and Levan up close. He was a phenomenal horse in every way. Foaled in 1984, he was named World Champion Running Quarter Horse in 1987, along with Champion 3-year-old and Champion Stallion. When he went to the stud, he immediately sired winners. His daughters put him on the Leading Maternal Grandsire list over and over. His sons are standouts in the stud as well. That doesn’t happen too often. His sire, Dash For Cash, was the same, though.

He couldn’t have had a better pedigree, and he backed that up with excellent conformation, attitude and soundness. I was privileged to have “met” First Down Dash in 1988 when he was first standing at stud at Vessels. He was a super good looking horse, looking capable of doing anything that a horse is meant to do, be it racing, roping, cutting or covering the country. He had the whole package. He was still fit and at 15.2, just a perfect Quarter Horse. He was a bright sorrel with some chrome and made quite an impression.

I have to wonder if there will be another like him anytime soon. I’m guessing though, that if there is, he will be a son or grandson of him. It ran in his family, you know.

The WNFR is in full swing as you read this. Our Northern Plains contestants are hopefully doing well. Two of my favorites are Jill Moody and Lisa Lockhart, barrel racers from Letcher, SD and Oelrichs, SD, respectively. Jill took her great iron mare, Dolly (TR Dashing Badger) as her primary horse, and as backups, her sister Jana Griemsman’s great horse Daisy (GS Doco Daisy) and Jean Winter’s Zan (Crickets Peppy Zan). Lisa is riding her two top horses, Fast and Gold and An Oakie With Cash.

Samantha Flannery, Mission, SD, rode her five-year-old gelding UX Heza Red Man to a Roper Trifecta Championship. They placed second in the Dash N Dance, fifth in the 5-State, seventh in the Fizz Bomb and third in the Roper Futurity, and were the only pair to place in all of them. Samantha pocketed over $9,000 with those great runs. The four futurities paid out over $100,000 in 2010! Samantha’s horse is sired by Marlin and Jinx Maude and Darlene Stovall’s good stud Heza Fast Streak and out of Kara Oh Three by Frenchmans Image. He was bred by the UX Ranch near Hermosa, where his sire stands at stud.

I was thrilled to see that the AQHA has crowned the 48th AQHA Supreme Champion. Cartel Caliente (Corona Cartel x Sweet As Cash by Dash For Cash) is a seven-year-old gelding owned by former AQHA President Walter Fletcher. The horse has a speed index of 101 and over $50,000 in race earnings, plus 15.5 halter points (including two grand championships), 38 heading points, 3 heeling points, 13 barrel racing points, 3 hunter under saddle points, and a half point in pole bending. Talk about the versatile Quarter Horse! Being a Supreme Champion is a rare and amazing feat and only 47 others have ever done it. The last was in 2008.

The Summit of the Horse will be Jan. 3-6 at the South Point Casino, Las Vegas, NV. This will be a forum of horse people who will be meeting with federal, state, tribal and private land resource managers to address concerns in the horse world. There’s quite a lineup for speaking and should be an excellent meeting of like-minded people seeking solutions to horse problems such as overpopulation and unwanted horses. Temple Grandin will be the featured speaker, so that should be excellent and educational. Pre-registry is encouraged and can be done at or call Jody Lamp at 406-698-9675.

With the cold winter weather upon us, I want to remind you that your horses need plenty of water to keep from colicing. I’ve run horses on pasture where they were pawing snow for their grass and grazing in the snow and they did okay (not that I’m recommending this), but for those horses being fed hay, they really need plenty of water. An average horse will drink between 5-10 gallons of water per day in the winter. They might get by on less, but more is better. When they eat hay, it can cause a blockage if they don’t have adequate water. I’m thinking that dying of a blockage is a pretty horrendous way to go, and every winter I hear of horses “mysteriously” dying in the pasture. I’ll bet they thrashed around aplenty before death came. Make sure they have water every day, not just when it’s convenient for you.

Another reminder is to pull their shoes if you’re not using them. Snow packed in their feet can cause injury to tendons, ligaments and joints, besides being uncomfortable and unhandy for the horse. It’s also good for their feet to be able to expand and go natural for a while. Keep them trimmed, though, so they are ready to go in the spring. Maintenance is always easier than fixing a problem.

Well, I’ve about run out of country on this circle, so will go put up my horse and thaw out my feet. Enjoy the WNFR!

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