50-Year Breeders: Paul and Linda Grant
50-Year Breeders: Paul and Linda Grant
By Richard Chamberlain for The American Quarter Horse Journal
Paul Grant had a horse before he could read. Well, not quite that early.
“I was born and raised on a farm about 3 miles from where I live now,” says Paul, 79, who raises American Quarter Horses and cattle on 440 acres at McCune, Kansas. “Dad was a row-crop farmer and I remember when he still did his planting with mules. When I was 5 years old, I was bugging him for a horse. He thought it was just a passing fancy, but he had an old mule he called ‘Pinky’ and he told me I could ride her and if I kept my interest, then we’d talk about getting a horse. We didn’t have a lot of extra money, so I rode ol’ Pinky until I was 9, and he got me a horse. I’ve had a horse ever since.”
That was the first step.
“Then I bugged Dad for a saddle,” Paul remembers. “He couldn’t afford a saddle, so he said, ‘No, you can ride bareback and that will make you a better rider. When you get old enough to make money, you can buy your own saddle.’ I was 12, working in the hay fields, before I could buy a saddle.”
That was the next step.
“When I was 13 or so, I went to work for a neighbor who had the biggest ranch here in Cherokee County,” he says. ‘He had 10,000 acres, 500 head of mother cows and bought a couple thousand head of steers every year. His son and I were good friends, so we built a roping pen and start roping. He headed and I heeled.”
They went from there to a local arena. Paul tied on to something special.
“That’s where I met my wife,” he says. “Linda had some ol’ riding horses. We ended up getting married.”
Paul and Linda were married 53 years. They raised daughter Danielle, who has two children of her own, and son Buckley, who has three kids.
“I went to work for Chevron, when it was called Gulf Oil,” says Paul, who retired after 33 years with the company. Paul worked in the coal mining division, first in southeast Kansas and then at Chevron’s operation near Raton, New Mexico, where he ran horses at La Mesa Park. “I didn’t have time for roping and she didn’t have time for pleasure horses, so we sold them all and got our first Quarter Horse.”
In 1967, they bought the Gold King Bailey mare King’s Princess Jato from leading breeder Guy Ray Rutland. The Grants bred her to Pacific Bailey to produce the 1968 sorrel stallion Bruno Bailey.
“We started going to the Haymaker Sale in Oklahoma City, when Dale Robertson and his brother had it, and then when it became Heritage Place,” he says. “We started buying better-quality mares and bought a son of Bar Money. Then we went to Bud Warren’s and bought a son of Jet Deck named Columbo. In the meantime, we were trying to buy AAA mares that had really good bloodlines.”
Bloodlines were a big deal.
“My wife was a pedigree nut,” he says. “Linda would spend a week on a pedigree, tracing it back to the Godolphin Arabian. It had to be accurate – she had a roomful of books and she immersed herself into that. Nobody questioned her on pedigrees, for sure. I kidded her that if she had studied as hard in college as she studied pedigrees we could have lived a lot easier.”
At one time, they had as many as 40 mares, which they bred to sons of Leo, Sugar Bars, Go Man Go, Special Effort and On A High.
“The horse we’re using right now is an awful nice horse,” he says. “In 2005, I bought a 4-year-old son of Streakin La Jolla out of Dashs Dream named Dashs Dream Streak. I call him ‘Streak.’ This horse could halter. He’s the best, comes up in the pasture and wants you to pet him. His colts are really nice.
“That’s what Guy Ray Rutland implanted into me: Raise a good-looking horse that can run,” he continues. “That’s the definition of a Quarter Horse. I want a horse with conformation, bone and substance, but also some run.”
Linda died in December 2017.
“That changed things drastically,” Paul says. “We were married 53 years. I’ve cut back an awful lot. But we had a good life. Horses were something my wife and I enjoyed. We got a lot of pleasure out of raising nice colts and watching them play. I used to go to clinics to learn from people like Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman. I can turn out a pretty nice colt, one that even a person who doesn’t have a lot of experience can use. I enjoyed doing the ground work and really got a lot of enjoyment from developing young horses.
“We were just working-class people, but my reputation is what I’m most proud of,” Paul concludes. “A lot of our horses went to cowboys for ranch horses, roping, barrel racing and that type of thing. That was more the class of people we dealt with – working people who could buy really nice horses at a moderate price. I stand by our horses and I’ve had a lot of repeat customers.”