Ranching Heritage at the NILE

Horses bred by Wagonhound Land & Livestock dominate the Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge at the Northern International Livestock Exposition

The American Quarter Horse Journal

The 2015 Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge series wrapped up with some pretty fancy loops October 14.

The last Zoetis challenge of 2015 took place the Northern International Livestock Exposition in Billings, Montana, with an appreciative crowd of cattlemen watching from the stands.

Horses bred and owned by Wagonhound Land & Livestock of Douglas, Wyoming, dominated the prestigious 4-year-old and 5/6-year-old classes with Matt Koch in the saddle.

Open 4-year-old working ranch horse
Reys Stressin Melody
2011 brown mare by Reys Dual Badger-Playgun Melody by Playgun. Bred and owned by Wagonhound Land and Livestock of Douglas, Wyoming.

Reys Stressin Melody had tough luck as a 3-year-old when she was at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity, but as a 4-year-old, she has come on stronger, said trainer Matt Koch.

“She came back in some small futurities and was good,” he said. “We showed her this year a bunch. We were third in the open hackamore at Reno this year. She had been reserve at the Hackamore Classic. She has been a good mare, a good cow horse. She’s won close to $50,000 now.”

In the past year, the mare has let Matt take more control, he said.

“Mentally, she has let down a little bit (and relaxed),” he said. “She gets to thinking too much and she has let down and let me handle her around. She’s just been a really fun horse.”

AQHA members will get a chance to see Reys Stressin Melody in November in Oklahoma City.

“She gets a month off and then we go to the AQHA World Show,” Matt said.

Open 5/6-year-old working ranch horse
The Smiling Colonel
2009 black gelding by Just Plain Colonel-HR Smiling Light by Grays Starlight. Bred and owned by Wagonhound Land & Livestock of Douglas, Wyoming

In 2014 at the NILE, Matt showed The Smiling Colonel to the 5/6-year-old class, and he returned to defend his title this year – after some time off.

“The last time I showed that horse was here last year,” Matt said. “All we’ve done on that horse is ranched all year long.”

The ranch gelding is used every day on the Wagonhound to gather horses and move cattle, Matt said.

“We started loping circles on him five days ago and came up here, and he was really good for me,” Matt said.

Amateur working ranch horse
Rhoda Rein
Dig My Peppy Steps
2007 chestnut mare by Diggers Rest-Pep In My Step by Hickory Chic Olena. Bred and owned by Rhoda Rein of Watkins, Colorado.

Open and amateur ranch riding
Lil Remedy Pep
2007 sorrel gelding by Very Smart Remedy-Kaimana Wana Wiggle by Diggers Rest. Bred by Darren Miller and owned by Rhoda.

When Rhoda Rein sent her homebred mare Dig My Peppy Steps to the breeding shed, she started showing another horse from the same bloodlines.

In May, Dig My Peppy Steps foaled out, and that baby was weaned about a month ago. On October 14, Rhoda scored wins with both her show horses, claiming open and amateur ranch riding with Lil Remedy Pep, and taking the win in amateur working ranch horse on Dig My Peppy Steps.

“The main reason I started showing ‘Smarty’ was the mare I brought here had a baby in May,” Rhoda said. “She was my show horse before I bred her last year.”

Rhoda showed Lil Remedy Pep a few times in NRCHA competition during the summer.

“I felt like he was really good in his transitions when I asked him to,” Rhoda said. “I haven’t shown him in ranch riding much. My first time was in Reno (at the Zoetis Ranching Heritage Challenge earlier this month). I tried to really know my pattern well before I showed and that helped me.”

Both horses trace to Rhoda’s stallion Diggers Rest, a 1986 sorrel by Peppy San Badger and out of Colonels Glow Cat by Colonel Freckles. He was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Louis Waters of Utopia, Texas.

Cowboy class
Diamonds Boon
2009 sorrel mare by Rey Jay Boon-Ill Be A Diamond by Ill Be Smart. Bred and owned by Lavonne Westland of Brockway, Montana.

Robby Moore showed up for his first Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge with three horses to show.

In the cowboy class, he showed the sorrel mare Diamonds Boon for owner Lavonne Westland.

“(The mare is) just good at whatever you want to do on her,” Robby said. “She’s good and solid and quiet to be around. It was a good run. I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it was nice and smooth and we did the best we could do.”

Robby thought the cattle worked well throughout the day.

“They ran good and respected the horses,” he said. “Good cattle.”

Robby showed the winner of the limited open 4-year-old working ranch horse, Catty Jay, a 2011 sorrel mare by Rey Jay Boon and out of DG Catty Feather by Cats Red Feather. Catty Jay was bred and is owned by Allen Munger of Brockway, Montana

Robby also showed the winner of the limited open 5/6-year-old working ranch horse, Smoother Than His Pa, a 2010 sorrel gelding by Peppys Smooth Cat and out of Ms Dualin Irish Doc by Dualin Gun. Robby owns Smoother Than His Pa, another horse bred by Allen.

Amateur and Level 1 amateur boxing
Dawn Martin
JS Uniquely Yours
2007 dun stallion by Two D Driftwood-CB Sabre Mist by CB Doc Drifter. Bred and owned by James and Darlene Swenson of Beulah, North Dakota.

Dawn Martin swept amateur and Level 1 amateur boxing on JS Uniquely Yours.

“It went really well,” Dawn said. “We are Ranching Heritage Breeders, and we raised him. I’ve been showing him in ranch horse competitions and we basically just work on the ranch with him. My husband does ranch rodeos on him. He’s kind of a special dude. He’s kind of my boy.”

Dawn showed a different horse in ranch riding and didn’t have much time to prep “Dillon” before she had to ride in two boxing classes.

“I was kind of nervous because I didn’t have a lot of time, but I was happy with him,” she said. “I had a tough cow on Novice amateur, and he was a little late on a few of those turns but otherwise he worked really well. The first run, the amateur run he was really great at.”

Dawn competed in the Zoetis Challenge in 2014.

“I was inspired to come back after last year,” she said. “We sell horses here at the NILE and since we are Ranching Heritage Breeders, we’re trying to promote our horses, and what better way than to come here and compete on our horses and show them doing it. When we bring our fillies or our geldings that we’re going to sell, hopefully that will people to want to buy them and maybe compete on them in the future.

“It’s a big deal to be able to showcase our horses doing what they do every day on the ranch.”