A Ranching Heritage-Bred Winner

Boxo Heavens Firefly is the winning high-point AQHA Ranching Heritage-bred horse.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

BoxO Heavens Firefly and Justin Nemmers (Journal Photo)

So far, 2017 has been a good year for Cash and Jecca Ostrander and their Box O Quarter Horses of Gordon, Nebraska.

First, the AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders were recognized at the 2017 AQHA Convention as the 2016 AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year. The award, which is presented by AQHA and the AQHA Ranching Committee, recognizes the Ranching Heritage Breeders who continue to uphold the ranching tradition.

The Ostranders’ next big hit of the year came in April when a mare they bred, BoxO Heavens Firefly, was announced as the high-point Ranching Heritage-bred horse at the 2017 AQHA West Level 1 Championships in Las Vegas.

Box O Quarter Horses is owned and operated by Jecca and Cash Ostrander. The Ostranders care for 800 head of Angus-Limousin-cross cattle and have a remuda of 45 registered American Quarter Horses they breed and use for daily ranch work. The Ostranders joined the AQHA Ranch Heritage Breeder’s program in 2011 and began competing in Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges. They are also donors to the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program.

Justin Nemmers, an amateur exhibitor with long ties to AQHA, showed Boxo Heavens Firefly at the West Level 1. The 8-year-old mare, who is owned by David Dean of Greenwood Village, Colorado, is by SNW Heavens King and out of Tracis Blue Roan by Roan Ambrose. The mare has $980 Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge earnings, as well as AQHA points in performance halter mare and ranch riding.

“I grew up showing all-around with my parents – Julian and Nancy Nemmers,” Justin says. “I got out of showing, then two years ago, I got back into the ranch riding and cow horse and reining.”

Besides working for his parents at their horse facility, Justin also owns a fledgling nutrition/meal-prep company called Nutritionally Convenient.

“We work directly with farmers and fishermen allowing us to offer farm to table, and ocean to table foods for all,” according to the company’s website.

When Justin dove back into showing, he found a willing partner in Boxo Heavens Firefly.

“I’ve just been ranch riding with her for the past year and a half,” he says. “Jecca brought her to my father to ride and finish out; she was pretty broke – they always come off that ranch pretty well broke; and I showed her a couple of times, Jecca showed her.

“She’s always the same horse whether you’re out on the ranch or in the arena, always the same temperament, she moves like you want a ranch horse to move, great extended gaits, they’re real noticeable, her transitions are real smooth,” Justin says of the mare.

Besides being ranch-broke, Boxo Heavens Firefly is also trail-broke.

“My dad took her on the Round-Up Riders of the Rockies, which is a 100-mile ride over five days,” Justin explains. “We use her for trail riding and hunting; now that she’s doing well in ranch riding – she was leading the nation in ranch riding points – we took her off the other activities to make sure she is ready to show.”

Justin is leasing the mare and has just recently qualified her in amateur ranch riding at the 2017 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show. His dad, Julian, will show the mare in the open.

You can read more about Box O Quarter Horses in the Summer issue of AQHA's Ranch Horse Journal.