Pieper Ranch's Texas Kicker Dies

AQHA Professional Horseman Dick Pieper suffers the loss of his son, Brad, and AQHA world champion Texas Kicker in the same week.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

"He could stop prettier and further than any horse I've ever ridden," Dick Pieper said of his late stallion, Texas Kicker. (Photo courtesy of Pieper Ranch)

Texas Kicker, the 1991 AQHA junior reining world champion, was euthanized September 26 at Pieper Ranch in Marietta, Oklahoma. Dick Pieper is also mourning the death of his son, Brad, who was killed in an automobile accident September 25.

Services for Brad Pieper will be at 1 p.m. October 8 at Vineyard Church in Lancaster, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Fisher House Foundation at www.fisherhouse.org

Texas Kicker was a 1987 chestnut stallion by American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame sire Colonel Freckles and out of Angels Rosie by Mr Gold 95; he was bred by Louis and Wanda Waters of Utopia, Texas. The Piepers purchased "Tex" as a yearling, and it was at Pieper Ranch where he found his lifelong home. Fittingly, Texas Kicker is now buried at Pieper Ranch.

"We had owned and been very successful with several offspring of Colonel Freckles and were very fond of their conformation, mind, and versatility," said owner Brenda Pieper. "When LA Waters, owners of Colonel Freckles, dispersed their breeding program following the death of Colonel Freckles in 1987, we made an effort to find what we thought was his best son. Texas Kicker fit that description to a tee. Dick rode him to the AQHA world champion junior reining title in 1991. His score in the finals was an amazing 228, which held as a record high score for many years."

When it came to sliding stops, Texas Kicker was an athlete ahead of his time. 

"He could stop prettier and further than any horse I've ever ridden," Dick said. "His topline was so natural that he carried his head and neck very level and had a collected look totally naturally, without ever using any equipment or training methods to alter his natural carriage. He also had so much strength through his back, hip, stifle and belly conformation that he could hold that stopping position for a tremendously long way and always stayed upright in his withers and was very loose in front. Since this was such an easy and natural position for him to achieve, he was always smooth and free feeling to ride to a stop and easy to train to turn around rapidly and correctly."

Texas Kicker's work-out schedule was much different from that of other reining equine athletes. In Tex's younger days, Pieper Ranch didn't have the many cattle pens that they have now, so Tex was often used for doctoring and any other normal "ranch gelding" duties. He excelled at everything the Piepers asked him to do. 

"He could run as fast to a cow as anything you ever sat on," Dick recalled. "You could heel a heifer in the broodmare pasture, doctor her and know that he would never move a muscle until you stepped back on and asked him to move forward. If a mare came up to him, he knew he was at work and paid her no mind. Prior to having the breeding facilities that we now have, during the first few years of Texas Kicker's breeding career, he did it all. Brenda would pony broodmares with him, halter break and pony weanlings. I used Tex at brandings and every form of ranch work. He also doubled as a great 'guest horse' if we had someone visit that needed a smooth, safe ride."

Many of his foals have excelled in the reining pen, but the Piepers say Texas Kicker's true mark as sire has been his ability to sire horses that are extremely intelligent and competitive in cattle events, speed events and ranch work. 

Of 188 registered foals, Texas Kicker produced  46 point earners. Those offspring collectively earned 441.5 points, $103,822 in National Reining Horse Association lifetime earnings, $19,832 in National Reined Cow Horse Association LTE, $1,582 in National Snaffle Bit Association LTE and $1,011 in Ranch Horse Association of America LTE.