Mention the name “Sutton” to anyone who has been in the horse industry any length of time, and that person will know you are talking about a hard-working family raising top-quality American Quarter Horses, Hereford cattle and Bison on their Raymond Sutton Ranch near Gettysburg, South Dakota.
“Our goal is horses with superior dispositions, intelligence, conformation and ability. We strive to produce horses that excel in conformation and can perform in a number of disciplines,” says Georga Sutton.
The Suttons have done that successfully for more than a century, first with draft horses, and in 1948 with three mares by the Old Sorrel-bred stallion Yellow Wasp. They have raised American Quarter Horses for more than six decades.
Raymond Jr. was born August 13, 1944, to Beulah and Raymond Sutton. Raymond Jr. and Georga Unser met at South Dakota State University. The couple married July 13, 1968.
The couple’s daughter, Dr. Heather Sutton, received her bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State and her veterinary doctorate from Iowa State University. Raymond took over management upon the death of his father in 1993, but died September 5, 2005, at age 61 fighting a wildfire on the ranch. Georga and Heather now run the ranch, where they carry on the family tradition.
In addition to AQHA, both were active in the South Dakota Quarter Horse Association, where Georga was the first female president. Raymond was an international judge and a national director from 1985 until his death, serving on the youth activities, and the stud book and registration committees. Elected an AQHA director in 2005 and made an honorary vice president in 2013, Georga has served on the international and Hall of Fame selection committees and is now on the stud book and registration committee.
“I believe the emphasis on Ranching Heritage Breeders has helped to refocus on the reason Quarter Horses were developed,” Georga says “They are good all-around horses, multitalented … a horse can be a working partner one day, an event horse another day and finally a relaxing companion, someone who ‘holds your heart.’ ”
Georga and Raymond Sutton were inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2018.
Biography updated as of March 2018.