Second Career Star: Dashin Haze
Second Career Star: Dashin Haze
For a few weeks in December, most of the horse world pauses and settles in to enjoy the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, as the world’s best cowboys and their horses perform difficult feats with ease across the international stage.
One of the top players in recent years is Dashin Haze, better known as “Tyson,” the 2020 and 2021 AQHA steer wrestling horse of the year and a retired racehorse, owned by NFR cowboy Curtis Cassidy of Donalda, Alberta. The horse has made it to the NFR for the past three years, and in his most recent appearance was so valued he was partnered with four different cowboys at the prestigious event.
Dashin Haze was bred and raced by Darren and Marilyn Pollitt’s Shady Lane Stables in Leslieville, Alberta, and was a graded stakes-placed runner in his home country, lighting the board in 11 of his 14 career starts in which he earned $30,269. He is sired by Royal Quick Dash and is out of the Chicks Beduino mare Sheza Special Chick.
Shady Lane Stables has bred three Canadian champion racehorses, and they are proud to add an NFR horse of the year to their accomplishments.
“He was always such a quick little stinker,” Darren remembers fondly. “He was quick out of the gates. He’s not the biggest horse, but he has a big heart. He was a 250-300 (yard specialist), he was so quick out of the gates. Just easy to be around, always consistent.”
When “Tyson” was ready to retire from racing, Darren found him a home with a barrel racer, but it turns out that Tyson prefers to use his speed on a straight line. Curtis found the horse through the sharp eye of his wife, Shannon, who saw him at a barrel race and thought he had the makings of a steer wrestling horse. When the Cassidys eventually got him bought, it didn’t take long for Curtis to help the horse find his true calling. As a steer wrestling horse, he must back into the box, break clean and fast and keep up with the steer on a straight line as his rider goes to work. They introduced Tyson to cattle, and within a handful of practices were already jumping steers on him.
“I think the third or fourth practice we jumped a steer on him and he worked like he’d had 100 steers jumped on him, and it was his first,” Curtis says. “He took to it like nothing–it’s honestly like he was meant for it.”
The horse can perform his job multiple times a day with different riders—it makes no difference to Tyson.
“That’s the special part about him, it doesn’t matter if it’s me, the guy who trained him, riding him, or if it’s some rookie in his first year rodeoing,” Curtis says. “They can jump on him, he’ll literally turn around and stand and work the same for them as he will for me. That’s probably one of the coolest things about him.”
Curtis has other former racehorses in his stable, including Battle Jac Eh and Easy Holland, who between them made 21 starts on the racetrack and are currently attempting to step up to the level of their stablemate.
“In steer wrestling, everything we do is about speed,” Curtis says. “In my mind—I probably shouldn’t be telling people my secret, but—I feel like if you’re not riding a racehorse in the steer wrestling, you’re kind of behind the game. You have to have that speed, there’s no way around it.”
And Tyson’s experience as a racehorse and then a barrel racer meant he could immediately move into the rodeo arena as a steer wrestling horse.
“(The racehorses) learn to go forward and run into the bridle, and that’s exactly what we need for steer wrestling,” Curtis says. “If I’m starting a young horse, I’d start team roping, roping a dummy, that kind of stuff, but for Tyson being an older horse when I started him, because he’d been on the racetrack and barrel raced, he’d been exposed to a fair amount of pressure already. I felt like because of that experience, I could go straight to steer wrestling on him and it didn’t bother him at all because he had so much experience already. The speed, the running past, none of that bothered him at all—he actually liked it and craved it.
“He’s just a tough, gritty horse that likes his job and wants to be good,” Curtis says. “He never has no arguments, he just loves what he does.”
Second Career Stars is an ongoing series on retired racing American Quarter Horses in new careers. If you know of a horse that should be featured, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqha.com/racing.