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  • History – versatile Quarter Horses worked with the pioneers who developed this country

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  • History – versatile Quarter Horses participate in today’s sports arising from historical ranch chores.

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  • History – versatile Quarter Horses have been our willing partners out on the trail and in the arena.

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CQHA History

2017 AQHA Legacy Breeder Award:
Gordon B. Mason, Killarney, Manitoba

by: Alexis Shanes for AQHA

Mason legacy award 72dpi
American Quarter Horses have long been a fixture in the lives of Gordon and Gladys Mason, pioneers of the American Quarter Horse industry in Canada.

The Masons established their farm when the breed’s popularity began to grow in their home province of Manitoba. At peak production, the Masons owned approximately 68 broodmares, a considerable growth from their 17-head herd in 1966. Since 2010, they have downsized significantly, and currently have one stallion and six broodmares.

Although the Masons stood 10 stallions during their 50 years of breeding, one sire – their first – was particularly influential in their program. Mr. Blackburn 49, a 1963 bay stallion by Poco Eagle and out of Lady Cowan by Blackburn, who was shown in halter and reining, laid the foundation for their operation, siring nearly 300 offspring.

The Blackburn broodmares captured the attention of another Canadian breeder, Roy Yates, who offered to buy them to cross with his King Ranch-bred stallion. Instead of selling their herd, the Masons brought Roy’s stallion to their farm and offered him first purchase rights on a quarter of the offspring.
Keeping the broodmares proved a wise decision. One colt, King Of The Tigers, a 1990 dun stallion by King Travel and out of Tiger Siss by Mr. Blackburn 49, produced more than 200 foals and became a stand-out sire in the Masons’ program.

King Of The Tigers sired six performers: Not A Gamble, a 1994 bay gelding out of Gamblin Subscription; Continental Sparky, a 1995 dun mare out of Digger Spark; Scripts Bar King, a 1996 dun gelding out of Gamblin Subscription; Tiger Safari, a 1997 bay stallion out of Skip Till May; Skip Till Morning, a 2001 grullo mare out of Skip Till May; and Pagans Tiger, a 2008 dun gelding out of Docs Cool Velvet. King Of The Tigers’ progeny have proved true all-around athletes, competing in halter, reining, hunter under saddle, trail, western pleasure and Versatility Ranch Horse.

 

In the mid-‘90s, the Masons entered the reining industry. They purchased Code Bee Nimble at a sale in Oklahoma and showed the 1994 chestnut stallion by The Jac Be Nimble and out of Cody Lou Fifty by Lad’s 50, to more than $4,400 in National Reining Horse Association earnings before adding him to their sire line.

Cody Bee Nimble produced NRHA performers Rey Jey Be Nimble, a 1998 bay stallion out of Wakopa Worthy by Worthy Rey; Dixie Bee Nimble, a 2001 chestnut mare out of Dixie Wildfire by Wimpy Star Jack; and Blow In A Breeze, a 2002 sorrel mare out of Breeze On Tiger by King Of The Tigers.
Other stallions influential in the Masons’ breeding program included Apache Trouble (Sleepy John-Trouble Face by Parker’s Trouble); Wimpy Star Jack (Star Eyed Jack-Dawson’s Memory by George Paul); Poco Tomahawk (Poco Champ-Grey Squaw by Waggoner); Me Jack Too (Jack’s Royal-Sporty Digger by Digger Cody); Agile Blackburn (Mr Blackburn 49-Sporty Digger by Digger Cody); and Watch Tyree George (Watch Tyree Two-Ms Wimpy Two by Wimpy George).
Mason Photo“For most of our time, we focused on breeding good horses and selling them as weanling or yearlings,” Gladys says. “We had many repeat buyers over the years, testifying to their satisfaction with the horses they purchased and developed.”

The Masons’ business extends far outside of Canada. The couple has sold foals to buyers in California, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming and Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic).
Quarter Horses have had a profound influence on the Mason family, as the Masons’ three sons grew up competing in local fairs. Now their families are active in the industry.

“Our involvement with these wonderful animals has been an integral component shaping our lives and those of our sons and grandchildren,” Gladys says. “Healthy respect for meaningful work and care for others is an important outcome of the equine experience.

2017 AQHA Legacy Breeder Award:
Pat & Eddy Sparks, Taber, Alberta

by: Richard Chamberlain for AQHA

Pat Ed Sparks 2017
Eddy Sparks registered his first American Quarter Horse in 1965. That was the buckskin Tonto Junior filly Penny Bar Sparks, whose dam he bought in foal the previous fall. Eddy married Patricia Rombough that same year, and the couple has registered at least one foal every year since, a total so far of 372 as bred by Pat and/or Eddy Sparks, who raise American Quarter Horses on their ranch at Taber, near Lethbridge, Alberta.

“In 1965, I bought the stallion Peppy’s Tiller, a son of Peppy P-212, from another breeder, M.S. McBeth, whom I had worked with, and put together a broodmare band,” says Eddy, who will be 85 in October. “Having been involved in rodeo since the early 1950s, I had trained many early day Quarter Horses for arena events. During this time, I became the owner of a great gelding, Promoter. Bred by the King Ranch and foaled in 1952, Promoter was by Hired Hand and out of the Peppy mare Seferina. This beautiful chestnut gelding carried me and many other good ropers to the pay window many times. Because of this, I became very interested in the King Ranch breeding program and began using the bloodlines of Old Sorrel and outcrossing to the Three Bars (TB) bloodlines.”
Sparks Photo
Eddy used two sons of Three Chicks, a stakes-winning and AAAT-earning AQHA Champion son of Three Bars, and a son of Royal Bar who was double-bred Old Sorrel on his dam’s side. The sons of Three Chicks were both black and both sired a large percentage of black foals.

Sparks Skedadle ChickOne of the Three Chicks stallions was Chick’s Leo Gann, who was out of the Leo Gann mare Lady Gann and was a full brother to AAA-earning Chicks Gann and AQHA Champion Gann’s Three Chick, a Superior halter horse who was the reserve world champion 3-year-old stallion in 1975. The other Three Chicks son was Skedadle Chick, an AQHA Champion and Superior halter horse. (photo on left)

“These two studs crossed exceptionally well with our King Ranch bloodlines,” Eddy says. “We have bred up to 50 horses a year to our stallions, mostly outside mares for customers.”

The Sparkses also have owned other King Ranch-bred sires, such as Win’s Rancho, a son of Rey Del Rancho, whose sire Ranchero was by Solis, a son of Old Sorrel; and Rey De Piqua, a son of the Rey Del Ranch stallion El Ray Rojo. They currently stand a couple of homebreds: their Rey De Piqua stallion El Reys Legacy, a 20-year-old chestnut they heel off of for team roping; and Peppy Peaka Power, a 2001 sorrel by the Peppy San Badger stallion Marvilla Pep (photo right)Sparks Marvilla Pep

“When I first started attending rodeos in the late ‘40s, I was impressed by the horses that the timed-event cowboys were riding,” Eddy says. “They called them Texas Quarter Horses. Then, through the ‘50s, I broke and trained some of those horses for people who had acquired breeding stock from the States. A lot of those were by or descendants of Sleepy Cat, a son of Red Dog, that Jack Casement bred out of a Sheep mare. When I started calf roping at rodeos in the ‘50s, it was those kind of horses that I wanted to ride and use.”

Those horses also taught him what constitutes a really good horse.

“My ideal horse would be 15 or 15.1 hands, weighing around 1,100 pounds,” he says. “He has to have good withers and a short back, long shoulders and hips, a clean neck and a nice head with a big, soft eye. He should have good feet and legs, be low in the hocks with short cannons, with Size 0 shoes and well-rounded, dark hooves. Color is not really important, but I do not like too many white hooves.”

In 1960, Eddy attended Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo, California, to learn to shoe horses. Three years later, he became a products inspector for the Canada Department of Agriculture.

Sparks Diamond Dictator
“In the meantime, I continued to compete in calf and team roping,” he says. “After Pat and I were married, she started barrel racing on Flashy One, a daughter of Peppy’s Tiller. Pat was very successful, winning many competitions, rodeos and circuit championships.”

Pat and Eddy also organized the Taber Quarter Horse show, where Pat served as manager and secretary for a number of years.

“Our main purpose in raising Quarter Horses has been for arena performance, and we were greatly influenced by the good horses raised by the King Ranch.” Eddy says. “Our greatest achievement has been watching and knowing that others are doing well and winning with the horses that we produced in our program. Knowing that we had chosen the right path when we became involved with the progeny of Old Sorrel and the King Ranch horses has been a real pleasure. And through involvement with AQHA, we have made many good and life-long friends, and have helped many people get involved in breeding, showing and competing with Quarter Horses.”

 

Photo above: Pat & Eddy Sparks with Diamond Dictator

   

2014 AQHA Legacy Breeder Award:
Lloyd & Janice Turner, Mortlach, Saskatchewan

lloyd turner 50year rec
Each fall, AQHA recognizes those members who have been breeding American Quarter Horses for 50 years. This year's honorees include breeders from eight US states and one from Saskatchewan.

Congratulations to Lloyd Turner from Shamrock, Saskatchewan on being awarded the AQHA 50 Year Breeder's Award! Lloyd was one of only nine breeders to receive this award in 2014, and the only Canadian!

WHAT YEAR DID YOU START BREEDING AMERICAN QUARTER HORSES?

The first AQHA foal was born in 1964, out of the mare Snippy News and sired by Effew Ames. The foal was registered under RL TURNER AND SONS. RL (Rex) Turner cowboyed on theTurkey Track Ranch, Hallonquist, Saskatchewan as a youngster in the early 1930's. While there he met two other young cowboys by the name of Arling and Woodrow Newton.

In 1960, RL Turner was married, had two horse crazy young sons, had purchased the Massey Ferguson Dealership, service station, and farmland at the small town of Shamrock, Saskatchewan. A horse van (horse trailers were a rarity then) pulled into Shamrock looking for fuel. RL Turner went to fuel it up and the driver was Arling Newton! Arling said he had started breeding American Quarter Horses and he was headed to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to the first AQHA approved show there.

RL Turner's sons, Lloyd and David, were crawling up the sides of the horse van trying to get a look at the horses inside and Arling suggested that RL should bring Lloyd and David into Moose Jaw to watch the show. They were hooked!

In 1961, RL Turner and Sons traded a brand new Massey Ferguson baler to Arling Newton for a yearling buckskin mare, Newtons Dun Bar. They were now the official owners of their first American Quarter Horse!

In 1962, Lloyd, 14-years-of-age, began training Newtons Dun Bar, two-years-of-age, for riding (photo at left). To quote Lloyd, " Newtons Dun Bar pretty well trained herself. Whatever you asked her to do - (western pleasure, trail,reining, barrel racing, pole bending - she just did it."

PLEASE DESCRIBE THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF YOUR OPERATION
We farmed, cattle ranched, operated a welding shop and ran 12 to 35 AQHA broodmares for many years in the Shamrock, Saskatchewan area. Since around 1973 the focus has been mainly on the cowhorse bloodlines. Cutting, Reining and Reined Cow Horse prospects have been the goal.

We were fortunate enough to be members of the Shamrock Quarter Horse Breeders Sale which ran for 35 years from 1977 to 2012. The sale was held the first weekend in August in the Shamrock Hockey Rink. (No hockey ice in Canada in August!!)

In 2012 we sold the ranch and cattle herd in the Shamrock area and purchased a small place near the Village of Mortlach, Saskatchewan. We currently have 17 AQHA broodmares. Our senior stallion is LNC Smart Lil Dually (Dual Pep X Smart Little Betsy X Smart Little Lena) in partnership with Barry and Elaine Good, Fillmore, Sask. Our junior sire is Metallic Coquette (Metallic Cat X Joli Coquette X Doc's Hickory).

WHICH HORSES CONTRIBUTED MOST TO YOUR OPERATION?

MARES:

black eyerish kiddEyerish Judyann (My Eye X Bulls Eye X Joe Reed) earned AQHA Register of Merits in Cutting and Reining. Also earned a NCHA Certificate of Ability. She produced AQHA, NCHA and NRHA point and money earners. We are just starting to compete in NCHA events with her great-granddaughter - Black Eyerish Kidd (photo at left) (Smart Kidd Dry X Hankins Dry Eyerish).

Freedoms Judyann (Dry Doc Freedom X Eyerish Judyann) earned NCHA Certificate of Ability and has produced NRHA money earners and futurity winners. Ms War Doc (Doc's Prescription X Hollywood Yogi) produced AQHA point earners and NRHA money earners. Miss Barry Lou (Barry Pine X Tonto B Lou)-produced AQHA point earners and NRHA money earners. Princess Leo Bar (King Leo Bar X Little Shoot) - King Leo Bar was Canada's first AAA - AQHA Champion. His daughter, Princess Leo Bar, was two points shy of her AQHA Championship when we put her into the broodmare band. She produced AQHA, NCHA and NRHA money earners.

STALLIONS:

lloyd david turnerDry Doc Freedom (Dry Doc X Anita King 86) (photo at left L to R: Lloyd Turner, Dry Doc Freedom, David Turner) was our first cowhorse bred stallion and really established us as performance horse breeders.
Dry Doc Freedom's dam - Anita King 86 - was a full sister to Hollywood Jac 86 - a horse that revolutionized the Reining world.
When the sport of Reining started to grow in Canada, the Dry Doc Freedom sons and daughters found a new venue for their talents along with the cowhorse events.
King Hankins Two (King Hankins X Sandy Barb) We were fortunate enough to obtain King Hankins Two (a grandson of King P234) at the end of his cutting career. King Hankins Two earned $19,057.00 Cutting and a Canadian Cutting Championship. His offspring earned $148,620.98 Cutting. King Hankins Two's highest earning offspring were Freddys Little Hank and Clymer Bar.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT WITH YOUR HORSES?

Fifty years ago when we started in this business our goal was to raise a horse for our customers that could do well at an AQHA Show in a number of events. The Quarter Horse industry has become more specialized and we, as breeders, have narrowed our focus on certain bloodlines that do well in one or two events. I guess my greatest achievement as a breeder is to see and hear from folks riding and competing on American Quarter Horses we have bred.lloyd turner trophy

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HONORS WON BY HORSES YOU'VE BRED?

Horses we have bred have won AQHA Register of Merits; NCHA Certificates of Ability and NCHA Area Champions; NRHA Money earners; Canadian Cutting Horse Association Futurity Champions; Cardston Slide Inn Futurity Champion; Saskatchewan Reining Horse Futurity Champions; Saskatchewan Quarter Horse Association Year End Hi Point Award winners; Saskatchewan Cutting Horse Association Year End Champions; Canadian and Saskatchewan High School Rodeo Finalists; Canadian Cowboys Association money earners in Calf Roping and Team Roping; Ranch Horse competition winners; and open horse show winners.

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL HORSE
In my mind the ideal American Quarter Horse was the stallion, Sugar Bars. He had all the right qualities: impeccable bloodlines, conformation, ability, temperament, and he passed himself to his offspring.

HOW DO YOU PERCEIVE THE FUTURE OF THE AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE INDUSTRY?

I think the horse industry as a whole has had many trials and troubles the last while and the various breed associations are going to have to change their thinking on a number of things. I think the American Quarter Horse breed is here to stay and really like the new programs that have been introduced by AQHA.

WHO AND/OR WHAT CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR LONGEVITY IN THE AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE INDUSTRY?

I guess trying to cross different bloodlines to achieve a certain goal has kept me in the industry. Nothing is certain when breeding horses, but the thought that next year's foal crop might produce a champion keeps me having fun.

WHAT HAS YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH AMERICAN QUARTER HORSES ADDED TO YOUR LIFE?

It is hard to think what my life would be like without American Quarter Horses. The people that I have met from all over the country at AQHA activities, I have formed lifelong friendships with. My most memorable experience with American Quarter Horses is winning the All Around AQHA Youth Trophy at Swift Current Quarter Horse Show with Newtons Dun Bar in 1964.

CQHA congratulates pioneer American Quarter Horse breeder Lloyd Turner on his many achievements, not the least of which, is this much deserved honour from AQHA. Lloyd is the third Canadian breeder to receive this AQHA award. Visit the Turner's website at: www.turnerhorses.com

Photos provided by Lloyd and Jan Turner & AQHA
Text Content provided by AQHA

2017 AQHA Legacy Breeder Award:
Donald A. Woitte, Clive, Alberta

by: Richard Chamberlain for AQHA

woitte photo


“The horse business has been good to us,” Don Woitte declares. “We have really enjoyed it.”

Donald A. “Don” Woitte (pronounced Whitey) was born 84 years ago in a farming community in Central Alberta, where his parents operated a mixed farming operation of grain, cattle and good riding horses. He grew up there until he was 10, when his father’s declining health forced the family into town.

“I’ve always loved horses, but I spent the next 15 years getting my education, and living and working in the city, and almost 40 years working for a large auto company,” Don says. “But my extended family always had good riding horses, so I spent my holidays and weekends working with horses, caring for them and riding as often as possible. I always told my parents that someday I would own and breed good horses.”

Don and wife Irene returned to rural living in 1959. That enabled them to start their horse operation in 1963 and their breeding program three years later.

“The horse operation started as a hobby, but developed into a first-class business for my wife and myself,” he says. “We don’t have a large operation. It’s small compared to what most breeding operations are. At our peak, we ran about 45 horses a year – including about 20 broodmares – and now we’re down to about 15 horses, including eight broodmares. But we’ve done this a long time. We’ve bred about 800 mares during our 50 years in the business, some of them our own mares and some were outside mares.”

The Woittes call their operation Fintry Quarter Horses, named for a historic ranch that Don’s father cowboyed on near Kelowna, British Columbia. The first horse they registered under the name was Fintry Tom Cat, a 1967 sorrel stallion by Old Tom Cat. Horses that contributed to the Fintry program include Zella Hep, a 1954 mare by Leo’s full brother Tucson A that was out of Panita Lass by Little Joe The Wrangler, and she became the dam of AQHA Champion Jay Page and Leozella, a good show mare. Others were J A Bar Tango, a King Leo Bar mare who was the reserve junior performance mare in Alberta as a 4-year-old in 1972; and Fintry Miss Wimpy, Fintry Catechu Dan, Fintry Blue Ambrose and Fancy Partner, a Superior halter mare by Fintry Tom Cat who produced top-notch ranch horses.

Their current battery is headed by what Don says is one of the best stallions they have ever had. Fintry Drift Hancock, whose sire traces to Grey Badger II and Joe Hancock, and whose dam is a mare by Roan Prairie, a grandson of Red Man.

“Fintry Drift Hancock is a great horse,” Don says, of the grey stallion who has been the main Fintry Ranch stallion for 21 years and is still siring foals at 23 years of age. “He’s a top arena horse sire and a great ranch horse sire.”

He’s the kind of horse that the Woitte’s strive to raise.

“I always said to myself, when I watch a Quarter Horse show or any other arena event where horses are performing, that this is what makes it all worthwhile,” he says, “especially when some of them are horses that I might have raised.”

Don has an eye for the kind of horse he wants to produce.

“I want a horse about 15 to 15.1 hands,” he says. “The legs are the most important part of the horse. All four legs have to be straight, sound and of good quality, with good hocks, good front knees and top-quality feet. I want a nice vee chest to tie the front end together. I want good shoulders and a short, strong back with nice, well-set withers; and a good neck, head and eye.”
Woitte Photo
Those are the kind of horses sought by other people, too. They often come back for more.

“We have almost always sold our young horses at private treaty, and very few through sales,” Don says. “To be able to sell our horses to people who become good friends and many of those repeat customers, is something we are really pleased with and proud of.”

There have been a bunch of those.

“We have met and stayed friends with some of the most wonderful people from all over North America,” he says. “One time that comes to mind was in the late 1970s at the Quarter Horse show in Red Deer, when we managed to talk with (former AQHA President) Hugh Bennett, who came up from Colorado and judged our three-day ‘A’ show. We really enjoyed talking with him about his rodeo career and the growth and popularity of the American Quarter Horse.

“The horse business has been good to us,” Don repeats. “We have enjoyed it so much and met some of the greatest people possible through all these years. Hope we have a few more years to come of the same.”

(reprinted courtesy of the AQHA Journal, from July, 2008 issue)

Cal and Rosemarie Loree find horses everywhere they go.

By Honi Roberts

Cal Loree 2
Cal Loree has won many awards for his horses he has owned, including this trophy for
the 1987 AQHA High Point Halter Horse for Sheiks Whim. COURTESY PHOTO

CCRL Shesa Cool Coosa 2RL Shesa Cool Coosa represents the culmination of the Loree breeding program, blending the bloodlines of Coosa, Perpetualism and Ima Cool Skip. From left, Cal and Rosemarie Loree celebrated with Rebecca and Wayne Halvorson when the mare was the top 3-year-old mare at the 2007 AQHA World Championship Show. “J-Lo” now belongs to the Halvorsons.

“IT MEANT A LOT TO ME,” said Cal Loree, 78, with characteristic understatement.

'It' was watching as CRL Shesa Cool Coosa, a charismatic sorrel that epitomizes his nearly 30-year-old breeding pro gram, was named the 2007 world champion 3-year-old mare.

“Before the class started, I overheard a couple of men seated nearby; one asked who would win the class,” Cal recalled. “His friend answered, ‘There’s only one that should’ and named our mare. I had to chuckle.”

Today, the celebrity mare nicknamed “J-Lo” is one of the most highly decorated AQHA champions of our day, with four world and two youth world titles as we go to press before the 2008 World Show.

“I never much cared about owning a world champion, but I wanted desperately to breed one – and that took almost 20 years! My wife, Rosemarie, and I loved her at first sight,” Cal added, as if sharing a wonderful secret. “You know, I've had horse people tell me that she’s almost perfect.”

Cal and Rosemarie’s love affair with horses began long ago; north of the border and a world away from any show arena.

Life in the Prairie Provinces

CAL WAS BORN ON A GRAIN FARM in southern Manitoba, Canada, when farming relied on the stout shoulders of heavy work horses. Young Cal occasionally caught a ride on their broad backs, and an appreciation for horseflesh that has lasted a lifetime was born.

Rosemarie grew up a few hundred miles to the west on an Alberta farm.

“My three sisters and I drove a horse and buggy to our country school,” she reminisced. “Our horse was big and old, and built like a moose, but we loved him. When we got to school, we’d unhook him and put him in the barn with a bundle of feed. All the children arrived the same way, and there were runaways daily. Today, our grandkids hardly believe me.”

When he was 22, Cal moved to Alberta to begin his career in Canada’s oil industry.

The Favourite Son

Coose Jule 2No doubt about it: Of all the stallions they’ve owned, there is a special spot reserved in Cal and Rosemarie Loree’s hearts for two-time world reserve champion stallion Coosa.

“He was easy to love,” Rosemarie said, “with his big eyes and pretty face.”

They recount the story of a couple who brought their champion mare to Loree Quarter Horses to breed to Coosa’s stablemate, Ima Cool Skip.

“After meeting Coosa,” Cal said, “they had to send another mare to us for him. Coosa had that effect on you.”

Today, the 1982 stallion is an AQHA top-12 all-time leading sire of halter ROMs, including three-time world champion Coosa Classic. While noted for halter offspring, Coosa was not limited just to conformation horses. He also sired Coosas Jet, who earned a Superior in amateur western pleasure.

AQHA Director Rodger Coday owns Coosa Jule, a Coosa gelding, he said, “with his daddy’s beautiful head and expressive eyes.”

Coosa Jule, originally purchased as a trail horse for Rodger’s partner, Joyce Pendergrass, has become one of his favorite roping horses.

 

Coosa Jule, above, is part of the family for Rodger Coday and Joyce Pendergrass. “He’s so smooth, he just floats out of the box,” Rodger said. “A couple years ago, we led (for a while) in breakaway roping, and one year, we were top 10 in heading. There are always a half-dozen people who want to buy him, but he’s not going anywhere. If you’re lucky, in a lifetime, you might bond with one or two horses, and he and Joyce have that special bond.”

Renee Howes 2Arizonan Renee Howes counts one AQHA world title among her Coosa grandson’s accomplishments, along with eight International Buckskin Horse Association world championships in everything from hunter under-saddle to western disciplines and halter.

“I think Acoosamatic has his grandfather’s pretty, intelligent eyes and regal temperament. He never has a bad day. I’ve had so much fun with him – he’s a dream come true.”

Photo at right: Renee Howes shows Acoosamatic in hunter under saddle and halter. He was the 2007 AQHA Bayer Select world champion in performance halter geldings.

As much as the Lorees loved Coosa, six years ago they sold him to Eric and Tammy Hammond of Rosewood Horse Ranch in Kansas.

Coosa is a unique and very special individual,” Eric said. “He’s a gentle giant, and in very good shape for his age.”

For a few years following their purchase, Coosa stood at Halvorsons’. Then the Hammonds decided to bring the legendary stallion home, so they could appreciate him on a daily basis.

“We took breeding classes, and when we needed to refine steps, Coosa helped us figure it out,” Eric said with a slow smile. “We bought him on Tammy’s birthday, and he’s been an awesome present for both of us. He’s a good ol’ boy, with a quiet wisdom about him. He makes people want to reach out and touch him, and I believe he likes it. Coosa is not one to turn his back on you.

“He’s our favorite, too.”

“During those early years, I had little to do with horses,” Cal said, “unless I got a chance to watch heavy-horse hitches at a local event.”

Almost two decades had transpired when Cal walked into the office of Eskimo, an oil well service company, and met Rosemarie, an office manager and bookkeeper.

“I cannot explain it,” she mused, “except to say that I was immediately drawn to him. I just knew he was for me.”

Time passed, and the couple married December 17, 1971. It was the second marriage for both, and they had four daughters to raise.

Cal’s brother owned a farm near Calgary, Alberta, and it wasn’t long before the couple decided to purchase some riding horses: American Quarter Horses. Years went by. As their daughters, young women now, pursued other interests, the couple, like many empty nesters, devoted increasing amounts of time to their horses. In 1981, they entered their first horse show, and in 1982, the first foal bred by Loree Quarter Horses arrived.

An Eye-Opener

Carl and Rosemarie Loree 2“CAL AND I FOLLOWED OUR DREAM,” Rosemarie said. “In the beginning, we both worked full time at demanding jobs and made the time for our horses. It started innocently enough. We had 20 acres and a 12-stall barn, and we did all the chores. Cal gave the shots, and I doctored any cuts and scrapes. In the spring, I foaled out mares, then imprinted and halter broke the babies."

"During our Canadian winters, it frequently registered 40-below during 5 a.m. chores, and I’d ask myself, ‘Where’s the fun in all this?’ But in truth, we loved the horses like our kids, and if it meant going out in the middle of the night to give them some extra feed on really cold nights, that’s what we did.”

The halter arena beckoned.

“I'd always liked conformation shows, so halter classes had an attraction for me,” Cal said. “I suppose if I’d been more of a rider, I would’ve been more interested in performance, but I prefer breeding and raising horses, and watching a show as opposed to being a showman myself.”

“I’ve never even owned a hat,” Rosemarie added with a smile. Initially, she was less than enthusiastic about showing. “My position was, ‘If he thinks I’m going down the road chasing after horses to a show, he has another think coming.’”

She didn’t know then, but she was the one with a surprise in store.

In 1981, the Lorees had a local trainer take four of their horses to the spring show in Edmonton, Alberta. Their pleasure mare, Lee Mac Dolly Too, won easily, as did Tiny River, their 2-year- old filly.

“One show and I was hooked,” Rosemarie said. “Then, ‘Dolly’ won six or eight classes in a row. We became so accustomed to winning that when she didn’t, we looked at each other with our mouths open in shock.”

They took the two mares to the AQHA World Championship Show that year, and were shocked again.

“We just were not competitive south of the border,” Cal said. The winners were much more big-bodied and muscled than the Lorees’ horses. “We weren't used to being overlooked. It was an eye-opener.” The couple returned home more determined than ever to breed horses competitive at the highest level. They’d soon meet a young man who would help them reach that goal and who would become a partner and lifelong friend.

You Gotta Have Friends

WAYNE HALVORSON GREW UP ON A CATTLE RANCH in North Dakota, and trained his first horses for clients at the tender age of 10, while he still showed in 4-H and FFA. He earned a degree with honors at the University of North Dakota, and spent part of the summer show season in Alberta, where he met Cal at a horse sale. In short order, the Lorees sent a young stallion home with Wayne.

“Wayne was an honorable young man then, and he still is today,” Cal said. “I told him that I knew when I got into this, I wasn't going to make any money, but that we were going to be honorable in all of our dealings.”

Wayne frequently showed the Loree horses in Canada.

In late 1984, the Lorees purchased a long weanling stallion, Sheiks Whim, (Impressive Sheik x Miss Badger Gal). The next year, they sold half interest in the colt to Pete Rice and eventually stood him at the Rice ranch. In 1987, Sheiks Whim was the AQHA high-point halter horse. “He was fine-minded and kind,” Cal said. “And his offspring were, too.”

Indeed, they include World Show competitors, AQHA Champions and individuals with halter and performance Superiors and Registers of Merit. It was also a Sheiks Whim offspring who would be the focus of Rosemarie’s brief but shining show career.

“I decided to fit one of his beautiful bay daughters for show,” she recalled. “I longed and groomed her, monitored everything she ate, then had Corky Warren, who campaigned Sheiks Whim for us, show her at the Edmonton Spring Show. She went grand champion mare. That was it for my show career – I quit on top.”

Meanwhile, Cal spent his last 15 years in the oil business as an owner and manager of Canadian Fracmaster, LTD. When he divested his interest and retired in 1993, the couple contemplated their options – and they all included Quarter Horses.

“The Lorees wanted a trainer, and considered building a facility in Canada or Texas,” Wayne recalled. “I’d trained and shown their horses for years, and had a couple with me when the ranch I worked at in Oklahoma went on the market. So we considered the possibility of a partnership.”

The Lorees had become close to the entire Halvorson family.

The deal was sealed; the ranch in Guthrie, Oklahoma, became the new location of Loree Quarter Horses. The partnership between the the Lorees and the Halvorsons was official.

Indomitable Spirit

WHEN THE LOREES PURCHASED THE OKLAHOMA RANCH, they moved on site and lent their considerable energies to building a home for themselves, as well as updating and constructing fencing, a mare motel, covered arena and a world-class breeding barn. Cal had been a heart patient since 1972 and endured heart bypass surgery in 1976 without slowing down. But a heart-stopping moment (literally) in an Oklahoma show pen gave everyone pause.

Helping qualify some of the Loree Quarter Horses for the 1994 World Show was a welcome respite from the strenuous work at the ranch for Cal. Then one day Rosemarie and the Halvorsons watched thunderstruck as Cal suffered cardiac arrest in the middle of a show ring in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The indomitable retiree survived, both that and another bypass operation, but he made a promise to Rosemarie to slow down – at least just a little.

“It speaks volumes that it didn’t dampen his enthusiasm one bit,” Wayne said, “and it demonstrates the passion Cal has for his horses and the Quarter Horse industry.”

The partners set about breeding halter horses that had huge hips and carried a lot of muscle, yet had eye-catching, refined heads and graceful, well-set necks. Three memorable stallions would help them achieve that goal.

Star Power

IN 1993, AN 11-YEAR-OLD, TWO-TIME RESERVE WORLD CHAMPION stallion became available, and Cal gave Wayne the green light. Coosa (Pretty Impressive x I’m A Rosita) came home to Loree Quarter Horses. A short time later, three-time world champion stallion, Ima Cool Skip (Skipa Star x Susie Impressive) joined him in the breeding barn. “If you want to sell your horses, you need an attraction to bring the public to your ranch,” Cal said. “People came from all over North America to see those two stallions, Ima Cool Skip in particular. He was much loved by the public, and for good reason: He had it all and was a strong breeding horse.

“But Coosa was our all-time favorite stallion,” Cal revealed. “He was very special.”

Coosa was easy to love, with his great, big eyes – they could melt you – and refined head and neck,” Rosemarie said. “He was a wonderful personality to be around.”

Rosemarie tells the story of Coosa’s personal preferences in the breeding barn.

“The stallions were bred on alternate days, and Coosa could be very picky about his mares,” she said. “Those were the days before shipped semen, and if he didn’t like a mare, he just wouldn’t tease up to her at all. We soon learned that he had a weakness for the windblown look with a tangled mane. The more unkempt a mare looked, the more Coosa loved her!”

It was an exciting time at Loree Quarter Horses and in the Quarter Horse world. The popular stallions bred more than 350 mares each season, keeping staff busy around the clock.

In time, three-time world champion Perpetualism (Kid Clu x Miss Superiority) was purchased from their great friend the late Jerry Wells. The statuesque sorrel stallion added more stellar breeding power to the barn, and proved an excellent cross on their Coosa and Ima Cool Skip mares. It was, as Wayne noted, “a premier time in the halter industry.” And Loree Quarter Horses was right in the middle of it.

CAL LOREE’S BREEDING COMMANDMENTS

• Be patient: Breeding good horses is something you can’t rush.

• Find knowledgeable mentors: If you’re green – like we were – you’ll need them.

• Select bloodlines carefully: They’re vitally important.

• Expect to work your way up the ladder slowly: Competition is tough.

• Always have fun!

Up Close and Personal

Today, Wayne Halvorson is at the top of his game, having trained and shown multiple world champions in halter, western pleasure and hunt seat equitation. Nearly 25 years ago, he met Cal and Rosemarie Loree, who became important mentors, partners and friends. Asked to describe Cal in three words, Wayne complied: honest, competitive and compassionate.

“From Day 1, there was something about his character and his honesty that made me want to conduct my business like he did his – straightforward and fair,” he added. “And Rosemarie is a strong influence and loves the horses just as much as Cal.”

Jim Fleming raises working ranch Quarter Horses in Calgary, Alberta, and has been an AQHA-Candian Quarter Horse Association director since 1986, and served with Cal on the stud book and registration committee.

“Cal is thoughtful and measured in his response to every issue,” he said. “He’s a thinker. His business and managerial experience is evident. Rosemarie is outgoing and open, and a super grandmum.”

John and Gail Muirhead, who raise Quarter Horses and hay on their Camrose, Alberta, ranch, first met the Lorees nearly 30 years ago.

“They’re dedicated to the Quarter Horse, and just about the warmest friends you can imagine,” Gail said. “Cal puts his knowledge and connections to good use at our Alberta Quarter Horse club.”

This year, the Muirheads’ yearling filly won at Canadian Nationals and was headed for the AQHA World Championship Show. The Loree connection? She’s the granddaughter of a beloved mare purchased many years ago from Loree Quarter Horses.

Rodger Coday, horseman and AQHA director from Oklahoma, added, “Each year, we sit near the Lorees at the World Show, and they are as genuine as you can find; cordial and smart. And he sure can pick a winner!”

And finally, AQHA Executive Vice President Bill Brewer described the Lorees this way: “They have been a tremendous asset to AQHA and the American Quarter Horse industry. I wish we had more like them.” 

Giving Back

THE LOREES BECAME HEAVILY INVOLVED in the Canadian Quarter Horse Association and its Alberta affiliate, as well as AQHA. Cal serves both as a director. In the 16 years Cal has been an AQHA director, he has served 12 years on the stud book and registration committee, four years on the youth committee and one three-year term on the hall of fame committee.

“When I started,” Cal said, “I thought the stud book committee was dominated by a bunch of really old guys, all suffering from tunnel vision. Now, I’m one of those old guys – although hopefully, without the tunnel vision.”

“That’s what you think,” Rosemarie commented, laughing. In recent years, the committee has visited important, complex issues that have long-lasting impact on the Quarter Horse world.

“Decisions on DNA testing, HYPP and the ‘white rule’ took a lot of careful consideration,” Cal said. “And today there are important issues before us, the registration of cloned horses probably foremost among them. Right now, I can see both good and bad implications from it; you might say I’m kind of sitting on the fence. We tabled the issue last year, but there’s no doubt we’ll have to address it in the near future.”

Looking Forward

THE PAST YEAR HAS BEEN BOTH CHALLENGING AND ULTIMATELY REWARDING for Cal and Rosemarie. Problems with his defibrillator had him in and out of the hospital and “cost him his summer,” he said. But a successful operation in early October has him on the mend.

“I’m coming back real strong,” he said. “We've already made reservations for the World Show – you know, we’ve only missed one World Show since 1981.”

There, Cal and Rosemarie will have the opportunity to watch from the stands as CRL Shesa Cool Coosa, now owned by Halvorson Ranch, competes for her seventh world title.

“She blends the bloodlines of Perpetualism, Coosa and Ima Cool Skip in a way that we’d dreamed of,” Cal said. “It’s thrilling to think that we have her full siblings at the ranch.”

The Lorees remain devoted to the entire Halvorson family, including Wayne’s wife, Rebecca, a horsewoman, judge and educator, whom Rosemarie describes as, “Wayne’s wonderful partner and a joy to us – a breath of spring.”

The Halvorson children, Lauren, Austin and Calvyn (Cal’s namesake), are a source of pride for the Lorees, too.

“We love them all dearly,” Rosemarie added.

About a dozen years ago, the Lorees sold their interest in the Oklahoma ranch to Wayne, however, they keep seven or eight broodmares there and continue to breed every year. “Our goal is to become 30-year Quarter Horse breeders, and we have just four years to go,” Cal said. “We always look for- ward to our stays at the ranch: seeing each year’s new babies and welcoming all the people who stop by to say hello.”

“I once said to Cal,” added Rosemarie, her eyes smiling, “that wherever we go, at the end of the trail, there are always Quarter Horses.”

Sadly, Cal Loree passed on May 9, 2013.

 

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