Intro: Dorothy Snowden

Dorothy's grandmother on one of her Saddlebred mares.

A self-described “born horse-nut” hailing from a long line of horsemen and women, Dorothy and her family have long been a part of the racing scene.  Her great-grandfather owned many racehorses, in full or in partnership, but his most notable horse was the one he sold too soon-the great Exterminator! An attendee at 50 editions of the Kentucky Derby, he only missed one to attend a friend’s funeral.  Dorothy’s grandmother carried on the family tradition by becoming an accomplished rider of both Thoroughbreds and Saddlebreds.

In 1973, Dorothy met Elmer Heubeck of Hobeau Farms while on a family trip to Ocala and the racing bug took a firm hold.  Elmer told her to come back after high school and he’d give her a job...and that’s just what she did!

Dorothy competing in a combined training event in Las Vegas.

A part of the Florida Thoroughbred community from her high school graduation until she left Florida in 1985, Dorothy was involved with several top horses of the era including Darn That Alarm and Smile.  In 1985, Dorothy left the state of Florida to pursue a career in a new area of the horse industry by training trail service horses for the National Forest Service in Colorado.  Dorothy also competed in the local combined training and showjumping circuits with her beloved Thoroughbreds.


Dorothy on a Forest Service Fox Trotter in the upper elevations of the Rockies.

In the mid 1990’s, Dorothy changed gears again and moved to western South Dakota where she continued to compete and soon began to stand a few Thoroughbred stallions, most notably Northern Ocean  (by Greek Answer) and Double Cash (by Raja Baba). During this time, Dorothy resumed her other passion, painting, and completed a degree in Art and Photography at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota.  An accomplished plein air painter, her work is now found in galleries across the Black Hills and in Lexington, Kentucky.  Her website is

"At the Quarter Pole"-a painting by Dorothy Snowden

In the late 1990’s, Dorothy ran a “Horse for Sale” ad which attracted the attention of Thoroughbred trainer, Dale Simanton.  They met, their ideas meshed and soon after the ranch now known as Horse Creek Thoroughbreds was born.  In 1999, while on a trip to Keeneland to look for yearlings, they met John O’Meara of Milestone Farm and with his insistence, turned their focus from buying yearlings to race to breeding their own. 


That chance meeting turned into a firm friendship and soon after, John O’Meara directed their attention to a stallion he had recently retired and Finn McCool found his way to South Dakota. Eventually the farm had 30+ broodmares, many of which were bred on foal-share contracts with Kentucky stallions and two breeding stallions.

Dale and Dorothy-the winning team behind Gate to Great!

Today, Dorothy is a full-time artist while also acting as a the full-time business manager, marketing guru, communications analyst, horse wrangler, stall mucker and cat herder for Horse Creek Thoroughbreds and Gate to Great.  It's a busy life, but a good one out on the high plains of South Dakota!


You can find out more about Dorothy's artwork and see many of her original paintings by visiting her art website at

What's New

Check out our "Untracked Mind" blog

We answer your questions about retraining Thoroughbreds for off-track careers and share the stories of the horses on the ranch.

Where to Find Us:

Gate to Great Geldings

A Division of Horse Creek Thoroughbreds

RR 1
Newell, SD 57760

Phone: 605-569-2249


Print Print | Sitemap
© Gate to Great