A Solid Pair
A Solid Pair
By Becky Newell
What do racehorses do after they hang up their racing shoes? Well, after a few starts on the racetrack, Patrionic Dash left her race career for fame and fortune in the rodeo arena. It was a good move, as Patrionic Dash, owned by the Henry family of the 88 Ranch in Wyoming, and steer wrestler Stetson Jorgensen are headed to their fourth consecutive Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
It’d be an understatement to say the Henry family is proud of their second-career racehorse.
At the 2019 NFR, Patrionic Dash and Stetson won Round 7 and placed in four other rounds to earn nearly $108,000 at the finals. In 2020, Stetson and Patrionic Dash finished second in the average at the 2020 NFR, placing in six rounds and winning more than $150,000 over the 10 rounds. In 2021, Stetson and Mable earned $128,912.86.
This year, the duo earned $235,287.94 and finished the year in sixth place in the world standings.
Her lifetime earnings are nearing $900,000.
In the AQHA-Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo horse of the year contest, Mable tied for second in 2020 and was third in 2019 and 2022.
To have a good run, a steer wrestler relies on two horses – the one he’s riding, as well as the one his hazer is piloting. Stetson had been bringing along a green mare during the 2018 and 2019 pro rodeo seasons, until he started borrowing rides on Mable. The then-7-year-old race-bred mare made all the difference in his goes, enough so that he qualified for his first NFR in 2019.
“We go to a Heritage Place Sale once a year to look for broodmare prospects,” says Garrett, a Wyoming rancher who bought the mare for $15,000 at the sale in 2014. “I raise a lot of performance horses for barrel racing and steer wrestling. I look for horses that look like cow horses, but are race bred. I really liked that Mable is by First Down Dash. I watched four of her races, and she just shot out of the gates.”
First Down Dash was the 1987 world champion racing American Quarter Horse, won nearly $1 million during his race career, is in the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and has sired the earners of nearly $90 million. Mable’s dam, Patrionic, won three of five starts on the track and had a little more than $55,000 in earnings before she was retired. Patrionic is by Game Patriot, who earned a quarter of a million dollars on the track and has sired the earners of more than $30 million.
After Garrett bought the 15-hand sorrel mare, he went back to her stall to look at her again and was met by a man who offered to buy her from him at a profit. But Garrett politely turned him down.
“He said – and I’ll never forget this – ‘Son, you better cock your hammer if you’re gonna bulldog off that horse,’” Garrett says. “That man had also seen her race videos and could tell how explosive and strong she was out of the gate."
Garrett got Mable home and put her with his trainer for 60 days.
“He put a good handle on her,” Garrett says. “He called me and said, ‘She’s got a ton of talent.’”
So Garrett put her to work on the ranch. A year or so later, he trained her for team roping. Then, he started using her as a hazing horse for steer wrestling.
“Then I sold my steer wrestling horse, and I moved Mable over to that side of the steer,” Garrett adds.
And that’s where Stetson, who hails from Blackfoot, Idaho, entered the picture.
“Stetson spent the winters with us – he’d help on the ranch and never let us pay him,” Garrett says. “He had a fabulous year in 2018, and then he needed to return the horse he’d borrowed that year. So because I wasn’t going to rodeo as much, I called and offered him Mable. It was a way to pay him back for all the help he’d been on the ranch. He’s one of the few people I would send a horse with.”
Even though Mable is a mare, Stetson, says she is very easy-going.
“She can be a little pushy, but that’s the racehorse in her,” says Stetson, who runs his own trucking company. “She doesn’t prance around, though. She leaves so flat out of the box, with her head low and her first step is down and forward. That’s what’s so crucial, and she definitely has it."
Proud owner Garrett thinks Mable got better from one round to the next at her first NFR.
“That’s a hard set-up,” he adds, “and with it being the first time for both Stetson and Mable, they had all the talent in the world, and they did well.”
So Mable can keep doing her job, the Henrys have pulled some embryos (by PG Dry Fire) from her and had some recipient mares carry those babies to term.
“It has been fun to watch Stetson’s dream of qualifying for the finals come true, but it has also been fun to watch our dream of getting a horse to the NFR come true,” Garrett told the Journal in 2019.
Read more about the Henrys and their 88 Ranch in the December 2021 - January 2022 Journal. Don't get the Journal? You will if you're an AQHA member! Join here.