Ranching Heritage Challenge in Houston

My Boots Are Tuff follows up her world championship with a win at the Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Exhibitors show off their ranch-bred horses during the Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos, scroll through the slideshow below.

Just one day after the conclusion of the 2014 Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championship Show, exhibitors put their horses to the test in a Zoetis Ranching Heritage Challenge, presented by Bar-G Feedyards.

And just one day after earning a world championship at the Zoetis Versatility World, My Boots Are Tuff and Ben Baldus followed up with the win in 5/6-year-old working ranch horse for the WT Waggoner Estate Ranch of Vernon, Texas.

“She’s been really really good,” Ben said. “She really is just this consistent. She’s fun and consistent and today my beautiful wife, Cameron, helped me. She trotted (the mare) around for a little light warmup because she was tired from being shown all week, and we just went and showed her. She knows her job, so there’s not a lot of training we have to do.”

My Boots Are Tuff is a 2009 sorrel mare by Woody Be Tuff and out of Smoke My Boots by Doc O Boots. She was bred and is owned by the WT Waggoner Estate Ranch where Ben is head trainer.

“The Waggoners are breeding some great horses and they have a great feeding program with Nutrena and Safe Choice,” he said. “They’re doing a good job keeping those horses big and strong.”

Ben was also first in the marquee 4-year-old working ranch horse class with Steppin In Boots, a 2011 sorrel stallion by Wimpys Little Step and out of Chic Boots by Smart Chic Olena. He was also bred and is owned by the Waggoner Ranch.

“I put him on a cow as a 2-year-old, the way we do in all our training, and he was pretty cowy but just needed to mature a little bit,” Ben said.

Ben showed the stallion at the National Reining Horse Association Futurity in December, then the Zoetis Ranching Heritage Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, in January.

“He was good there and with more time on the cow, he’s been even better here,” Ben said.

Second place in the 5/6-year-old class went to Dusty Burson of the Four Sixes Ranch of Guthrie, Texas, on Paddys Prince, a 2010 bay gelding by Playin Attraction and out of Cowgirl Paddy by Paddys Irish Whiskey. He was bred and is owned by the Four Sixes.

Dusty was also first in the limited open 5/6-year-old class with the gelding.

“His attitude makes him consistent,” Dusty said. “He’s the same every day, just real gentle and always wanting to please me. He’s fun to ride.”

“Chino” is part of Dusty’s regular string at the Four Sixes.

“He had to work this week,” Dusty said. “The day before we left to come down here, I was prowling heifers on him.”

Second place in the 4-year-old working ranch class went to Brad Baxter and Genuine Sugarfoot, a 2011 sorrel stallion by Fantastic Cat and out of Genuine One Eyed Doc by Genuine Doc. He was bred and is owned by Bennettgreen Cattle Co. of Spur, Texas.

First place in the limited open 4-year-old class went to Shawn Holden and Grays Last Light, a 2011 brown gelding by Little Til Light and out of DDS Last Catalyst by Right This Minnick. He was bred and is owned by M-Heart Corp./Gray Ranch of Vinton, Louisiana.

“He’s really a nice horse,” Shawn said. “I’ve had a lot of luck with him. He’s really been a pleasure to ride. We had some good luck in Fort Worth and won the limited there, and then we placed again and won the limited here.”

The horse has progressed in the two months since the challenge in Fort Worth, Shawn said.

“I’ve had him for approximately a year and a half, and I do feel like he continues to get better,” Shawn said. “It’ll be interesting to see what he’s like at the end of the year.”

Ranch Riding


One day after winning the amateur Versatility Ranch Horse world championship on Judys Ten, Kim Lindsey of Dickens, Texas, won open ranch riding and was second in amateur ranch riding in the Zoetis Ranching Heritage Challenge.

“I love this class,” Kim said. “When I do ranch pleasure, I think about riding across the pasture. When I’m out there, I want it to look like I’m fixing to go gather cows.”

Judys Ten is a 2006 buckskin gelding by Ten O Sea and out of Crows Judy by Black Chick Gold. He was bred by Bill and Dana Smith of Spur, Texas.

Holly Major of Bowie, Texas, won amateur ranch riding on Black Hope Stik, a 2005 black mare by Smart Whiskey Doc and out of Hope Stik by Rails Skipper Pine. The mare was bred and is owned by Holly’s husband, Mike Major.

“I’ve been showing in ranch pleasure for the last year, and we’ve always done it as part of Versatility,” Holly said. “I thought it was a good pattern, and it worked well for us.”

Amateur Working Ranch Horse

A newcomer made a big splash in the amateur division. Traci Bailey of Centerville, Washington, rode Ms Browns Hawkeye, polishing off her run with a nice rope catch to stop her cow.

“I used to rodeo for the Texas Tech team,” Traci said. “I roped when I was rodeoing so that transferred over to this.”

Traci is a graduate student in agriculture education at Texas Tech University who rode in her rodeo team shirt, and she leased “Hawk” for the challenge.

“Kim Lindsey was very very very very gracious and let me ride him because my horse died a few weeks ago,” she said. “I was afoot, and she called and said, ‘Ride Hawk.’ I think I’ve been riding him two and a half weeks.”

Ms Browns Hawkeye is a 2006 buckskin gelding by Tens Hawkeye and out of Miss Brown Gold Lady by Black Chick Gold. He was bred by Bill and Dana Smith of Spur, Texas.

“I love cow work and I know he’s really good in it,” Traci said. “I know that if you ride him aggressive, he’s going to work aggressive, and I just went at it. My first fence turn was the best part. He just felt so good and came out of it strong.”

Second place in open ranch riding went to Shawn Holden and Grays Classy Light, a 2011 palomino gelding by Little Til Light and out of Golden Classy Sassy by Grays Golden Doc. The horse was bred and is owned by M-Heart Corp./Gray Ranch of Vinton, Louisiana.

Second place in amateur went to Holly Major on Black Hope Stik.

In Novice amateur, which was run concurrently with amateur, Baru Spiller won with her mare Western Sequel after competing all week in the Zoetis Versatility World.

“This is a great great show here in Houston at the stock show, and we love coming here,” Baru said. “We love the Ranching Heritage Challenge. We love the Versatility Ranch Horse, and we’re so proud to be part of Rodeo Houston and be part of the ranching industry.”

Western Sequel is a 2005 buckskin mare by Ikes Double Drift and out of Western Lena by Mr Sun O Lena. She was bred by the Burnett Ranches.

Second place in Novice amateur went to Jay Clements of Dale, Texas, on Seven S Limelight, a 2010 sorrel gelding by CD Lights and out of Seven S Babe by Seven S Zanaday. The gelding was bred by Terry Stuart Forst of Waurika, Oklahoma.

Cowboy Class


Riders in the crowd-pleasing cowboy class must be employed by or family members of a ranch who have less than $5,000 in earnings.

Garrett Cooper of the WT Waggoner Estate Ranch rode Electra Can Do to the top title.

“She was good for me,” Garrett said. “The first run (in the open 5/6-year-old class) was awesome. She was really good. It was operator error when we spun four and a half turns. I put her up then got her back out and did the exact same thing. She went in there and ran her heart out again. I was a little more careful this time.”

Electra Can Do is a 2010 sorrel mare by Cat Man Do and out of Electra Bo Lassie by Mr Sorrel Bo. She was bred and is owned by the Waggoner Ranch, and Garrett has her in his regular string.

“She’s nice,” he said. “Super sweet, super gentle, quiet, easy to ride. Makes you feel like a horse trainer.”

True Burson of the Four Sixes Ranch was second on Seven Sun, a 2010 bay gelding by Seven From Heaven and out of Miss May Sun by Mr Sun O Lena. He was bred and is owned by the Burnett Ranches of Fort Worth, Texas.

Boxing

Amateur and Novice amateur boxing was a place for exhibitors to get some practice in working cattle before taking them down the fence.

First place in amateur boxing went to Kellie Herrington of Ponder, Texas, and Fletchs Gun, a 2011 sorrel mare by First Fletch and out of Little Playgun by Playgun. She was bred by the Burnett Ranches of Fort Worth.

Second place in amateur boxing went to Gina Sites of Burneyville, Oklahoma, and Ichi On Wraps, her 2010 chestnut gelding by Cat Ichi and out of Rapped in Satin by Doc’s Hickory. The horse was bred by EE Ranches of Whitesboro, Texas.

In Novice amateur boxing, Brooke Wharton of Vernon, Texas, repeated her win from the challenge in Fort Worth on Do It Classy, a 2011 brown mare by Cat Man Do and out of High Class Senorita by Mr Solano Smoke. The mare was bred and is owned by the WT Waggoner Estate Ranch of Vernon.

“I started riding her this last year,” Brooke said. “She’s a little green, I’m a little green, but together, it’s fun to learn on her. Ben (Baldus) had me think about stopping with the cow, and we were more in tune. The more I show, the more it becomes natural and no big deal instead of thinking we might die.”