The Rundown: Small-Time

You don’t have to be big-time to win big things in AQHA competition.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

The Christiansen breeding program was inspired by our 1971 black gelding, Ebony Power. (Photo courtesy of the Christiansen family)

In my last post, I talked about my family’s long history with American Quarter Horses. After buying several horses, we decided to try our hand at breeding.

Our breeding program started off with our love for Ebony Power. As I mentioned in my last post, “Ebony” was one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” horses (so far we've had two of those once-in-a-lifetime horses). It was this love for our 1971 black gelding that somehow convinced my grandparents, Dave and Bonnie, and their horse-crazy son, my dad, Terry, to buy basically every horse in Ebony’s family tree. OK, fine, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. However, they did buy Joe’s Puddy Power, Barred Light and Solar Power.

To explain the family tree a bit, Ebony was by Power Light, a son of Power Command. If you read the series “Old School” in the December 2011 and January 2012 issues of The American Quarter Horse Journal, you probably learned a thing or two about John Ballweg and Power Command.

Ebony was bred by Edward Rust of Bloomington, Illinois, who owned Power Light. Edward was also the breeder of the other three Power Light progeny that we bought. Ebony was out of the Poco Bay mare Poco Tena; Joe’s Puddy Power was out of the Joe Miller mare Miss Puddy; and Barred Light was out of the Barred’s Turn mare Jody Barred.

In homage to Ebony’s bloodlines, my family purchased his full brother, Solar Power. They actually shared 13 full siblings, including Fluid Light, who was a 1972 black gelding owned by Robert “Bob” Kiser of Gainesville, Texas. You’ve probably heard of Bob before; he and his son Jim own and operate Kiser DragMaster. If you’ve been to an AQHA world championship show in the last few years, then you’ve seen a Kiser in the seat of a John Deere, pulling a Kiser drag to even out and mix up the dirt in the arena. It wasn’t until I was reading “Quarter Chat: Robert Kiser” on Page 146 of the October Journal that I realized the Kisers owned Fluid Light and that he was a full brother to our geldings. Just like Ebony will always be one of our family favorites, Bob considers Fluid Light to be his all-time favorite American Quarter Horse.

“(Fluid Light) wasn’t our most talented horse, but he made so many friends for us, it was amazing,” says Bob in “Quarter Chat.” “I’ve heard a lot of people tell similar stories about Quarter Horses that introduced them to lifelong friends.”  

With our contemporary breeding program, we’ve bred several full siblings; they certainly share some similarities, but no two are the same. I’m sure that was the case for Ebony Power, Solar Power and Fluid Light.

As for our Power Light mares, Barred Light was an easy-going riding horse, whereas Joe’s Puddy Power enjoyed life as a broodmare. We enjoyed three foals out of Joe’s Puddy Power – Miss Power Slide, Mr Downtown Brown and my namesake, Miss Tara Rizer – before we sold her to a family friend who enjoyed two more foals out of the buckskin mare.

We’ve had quite a few more foals since then, from our 13-year-old gelding TC Lena to our 3-year-old filly Soula Boon.

There really is something to be said about breeding and training your own horses. For my family, we’ve tried to keep our horse herd small, keep it manageable and keep it enjoyable. And enjoyable it has been. Taking a victory lap around the arena at an AQHA world championship show already puts you on Cloud 9, but imagine doing that on a horse that you bred. Now that, my friends, is surreal.

In the March Journal, you’ll find a couple stories about small-time breeders who have hit it big and are a true testament that you don’t have to be big-time to win big things in AQHA competition.