Proving Their Worth

AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder horses proved their worth at the 2015 SHOT World Finals in Abilene, Texas.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Cowpony Express was one of two horses bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder Kimberly Wilson who performed well at the 2015 SHOT World Finals.

Cowpony Express is one of two horses bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder Kimberly Wilson who had success at the SHOT World Finals.

No doubt about it: the Stock Horse of Texas World Finals is a great place to show ranch horses.


And horses bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders proved their mettle at the competition October 30 - November 1 in Abilene, Texas.


AQHA Professional Horseman Mike Major of Bowie, Texas, led the way, placing first and second in the open division as well as winning the SHOT derby on Ranching Heritage-bred horses.


Mike won the derby on Reata B Rejoicing, a 2011 buckskin mare by CDs Boonolena and out of Roosters Note by Roosters Shorty. She is owned by Jody Wilson Brooks of Lipan, Texas.


Mike was reserve world champion in the open division on the mare’s full brother, Cowpony Express, a 2009 buckskin gelding owned by Diamond JK Ranches/R Snider of Cyril, Oklahoma.


Both horses were bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder Kimberly Wilson of Las Animas, Colorado.


“We’re mainly just a cow-calf operation in the southeast corner of the state in open short-grass country with open cedar canyons,” Kimberly said. “The horses are raised in rough country, outside, and they learn how to get around.”


In September, Mike won the 4-year-old and 5/6-year-old divisions of the Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge at the Tri-State Fair on the same two horses.


Kimberly isn’t surprised at their success.


“One hundred percent of what I do is ranch,” Kimberly said, “but we have a National Versatility Ranch Horse Association, and with those two particular horses, I showed their dad a couple of years ago. I had a lot of success on that horse. He was easy. He was a great guy, and he passed his mind and maneuverability on to his kids.”


Reata B Rejoicing had a rough road to her success.


“Jody bought ‘Reata’ as a 3-year-old,” Kimberly said. “Jody had her eye on that filly from the get-go. That mare – she almost didn’t wind up with her. That mare’s got a big scar on her left hip. I have no idea how it got there.”


Jody checks the horses every day, but one day, when Reata was a weanling, she found the filly on the side of a butte with blood running down her hip.


“I brought her in and got her better, and then the following year, as a long yearling, she got in some fence and tried to cut a foot off – her left front foot. She was in a cast for a while,” Kimberly said. “She was a good patient and healed up from that. And then it was time to start breaking 2-year-olds … well, she was bitten by a rattlesnake. If you look on the temple on her head, she has scars there.”


Kimberly didn’t think the filly would recover.


“But that little mare just had no quit to her,” she said. “There was no reason she should have lived after that snakebite. She didn’t eat or drink for two or three days. She wanted to be here.”


After all that, Jody got the mare bought and sent her to Mike for training.


In the meantime, Kimberly was riding Cowpony Express on the ranch.


“Mostly, I used him here on the ranch,” she said. “I had shown him a little in NVRHA as well, but he was just a nice big ranch gelding and I had some other fillies that I wanted to mess with and it was time to let him go. He was the first baby by CDs Boonolena.”


CDs Boonolena is a 2005 palomino by Nasty CD and out of Baby Boom Baby by Boon Bar. The other half of the match that made both horses is Roosters Note.


“The mare was special,” Kimberly said. “I bought her from Sally Schwartz, and she’s a granddaughter of Eighteen Letters.”


Eighteen Letters was the 1980 AQHA reserve world champion in senior heading, who placed in the top 10 at the World Show that same year in senior heeling, steer roping and working cow horse.


“Our big (breeding goal) is gentle, athletic and good minds,” Kimberly said. “If you have something as athletic as what (CDs Boonolena) was, they’re not as gentle as he is. He never told me no. I could breed him in the morning and throw him in the trailer for the neighbor’s branding that afternoon. He had to work for a living.”


The world finals event began October 30-31 with world champions named in six divisions: open, non-pro, limited non-pro, novice, youth and junior horse.


AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders are ranches that have been registering American Quarter Horses for at least 10 years with the intention of using them in a remuda.


In the world finals, nine Ranching Heritage Breeder ranches were represented in the world finals open and non-pro divisions:


Bartlett Ranch, Pike Road, Alabama, with Gimme A Playgun

Bagley Performances Horses, Dimmitt, Texas, with Pinon Patron

RA Brown Ranch, Throckmorton, Texas, with Ima Wynna RAB and Royalrock HancockRAB

Crofoot Ranches, Lubbock Texas, with Boots N Sixguns

Four Sixes Ranch, Guthrie, Texas, with Western Sequel

S Ranch, Pryor, Montana, with Smart Whiskey Doc

Stuart Ranch, Waurika, Oklahoma, with Seven S Limelight

Waggoner Ranch, Vernon, Texas, with Bobbie Can Do and Greyt Socks

Wilson Ranch, Las Animas, Colorado, with Cowpony Express


In the futurity and derby, six Ranching Heritage Breeder ranches were represented:


RA Brown Ranch, Throckmorton, Texas, with R A B He Dunit

Four Sixes Ranch, Guthrie, Texas, with Trixies Sixes

Mike and Holly Major of Bowie, Texas, with Chics Hope Stik

Singleton Ranches, Lamy, New Mexico, with SCR One Shot Whiskey
Stuart Ranch, Waurika, Oklahoma, with Seven S Limelight

Waggoner Ranch, Vernon, Texas, with Boots Be Tuff

Wagonhound Land & Livestock, Douglas, Wyoming, with Kuki Sioux