HORSE and RIDER  spotlights

Gate to Great as we make Race Horses into Ranch Horses! Winter 2019 Issue.


Excerpt: “Race Horse to Ranch Horse” by Megan Arszman.
When you think of working ranch horses, you might understandably imagine round Quarter Horse rumps dotting the landscape...and you could be wrong.

A Thoroughbred working cattle?
You bet. These days, more and more former racehorses are showing up on ranches—and doing a great job, too.

...If you talk with Dale Simanton and Dorothy Snowden of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, they'll tell you Thoroughbreds working on a Western ranch isn't really new.

“Out West, a lot of people used to use Thoroughbreds,” says Snowden. “Up in this area, there are a lot of people who always had a racehorse or two they'd race in the summers on the fair circuit, then use on the ranch during the winter."

“Thoroughbreds probably have more natural cow in them than any Quarter Horse I've ever ridden,” asserts Simanton. “ If you get one that's about half scared of cattle, but still has the natural aggressiveness toward cattle that most horses have, then he'll never lose focus when working cows because he wants to know where that cow is at all times.”





July 26, 2018

Visit to Gate To Great Detailed In Paulick Report

Recently our good friend Jen Roytz visited Gate to Great with a few friends. In this Paulick Report article she details her trip to the ranch and the great time she had riding a few of our retired racehorses. You can read the article and more of Jen's work here.

June 2018

Dale Featured in Today's Horse

Dale recently shared some of his long history with horses and roping in Today's Horse. All our horses on the ranch are broke to rope and Dale explains how he gets them started and what kind of horses we look for at the ranch in the article featured in the June issue of the magazine. You can visit their site here.

June 2018

Gate to Great Tips in Minn. Trail Riders Assoc. Newsletter

Dale and Dorothy recent gave some training tips and explained the Gate to Great way of handling horses in the Minnesota Trail Riders Association Newsletter. We had a lovely time explaining Gate to Great's methods and what we look for when evaluting horses for the program.

November 15, 2017

"Along the Way" KEVN Black Hills Fox

Gate to Great was featured on our local news channel with Dale explaining the program and how he got started training horses. Watch the full segment here.

September 2016

The Photo Shootout

In late September we hosted over 25 photographers from across the country for a workshop of "Cowboy Action" during the Black Hills Photography ShootOut, under the instruction of well known South Dakota photographer Mike Wolforth. Dale did a little showing off with a bridle-less demonstration of roping on Quaint and attendees had plenty of western scenes to shoot and curious horses watching the action over fences. 

Dale and Rikim made the "centerfold" of Western Horseman!


Gate to Great Featured in Western Horseman Magazine

We are so delighted and humbled to have been featured in the January 2015 issue of Western Horseman magazine. To have an equine publication of this stature choose to write about our little program is something we would have never dreamed of.  Thank you to Katie Frank and the Western Horseman team for taking the time to tell our story!

2014 Gate to Great Graduate Update


South Dakota's Largest Newspaper, the Argus Leader, Interviews Dale

Peter Harriman, columnist for South Dakota's largest newspaper, the Argus Leader out of Sioux Falls, interviewed Dale the day before the 2014 TB Makeover began. You can read their entire chat here.


Rapid City Journal Feature Story on Trip to Pimlico

Dale really enjoyed visiting with Joe Kavanaugh for the Rapid City Journal and as a result, they ended up with some classic "Dale-isms".  Read the full article here.


Dale and Rikim Profiled in Tri-State Livestock News

Thanks to Jan Swan-Wood for writing yet another great feature story on our program. You can read the full article here.


Photo Shoot with Western Horseman Magazine!

Western Horseman magazine, one of the largest equine publications in the world, was at the ranch this week for a photo shoot. They are planning a feature article on our program for an upcoming issue. We will keep you posted as to when it is up!


Front Page Story in Rapid City Journal

Dorothy's recent work in bringing the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) to our area was the subject of a front page story in the Rapid City Journal (SD's 2nd largest newspaper) recently.  Our own Malibu Mystery got the cover shot!


Gate to Great featured in South Dakota Magazine

Grab the latest (March/April 2014) issue of South Dakota magazine and check out the article on our OTTB gelding retraining program.  They don't post web links to magazine articles for a year, so you'll have to grab the real thing.  Well worth it though, the whole issue is about horse racing in South Dakota!

Feb/March 2014

Gate to Great In Ranch & Reata

 When a particular horse caught his eye, Simanton called the office at northern Kentucky's Turfway Park. He ended up becoming acquainted with Carol Hays, whose husband, Dan, worked for a Kentucky race horse trainer.  “ They had 150 head in training and were always looking for homes for horses,” Simanton says. “Carol asked what I do and I told her I make ranch horses out of them. Dan started calling me every time he had a horse he thought would work.”



Finn McCool Spotlighted by The Paulick Report

Our former breeding stallion, Finn McCool, was recently profiled on the horse racing website "The Paulick Report.  A big thank you to Jen Roytz for doing such a great job.  Read the full article here.


Dale Featured OTTB Evaluator on Horse Nation

Dale recently had the opportunity to do the "You're Going to Use That Thoroughbred For What?" evaluation on the Horse Nation website. You can find out how he ranked the three OTTBS for their suitability for ranch work HERE.


Dale to Host Regular Talk Show Feature on "Horses in the Morning"

Catch Dale on the new monthly segment called "Real Ranch Horses" on the national talk radio show, "Horses in the Morning".  On the first Friday of every month, he will be talk about what is going on at the ranch as well as training techniques that he uses every day.  You can check out all the past episodes at this link.


Coverage from the RRTP Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium

Duck and Dale were the hit of the first annual RRTP Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, held October 5 and 6 at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, MD.  Check out this link for all the big news, photos and MORE!


Gate to Great to Bring Nation's Only All-OTTB Ranch Rodeo Team to Baltimore

The Retired Racehorse Training Project and the Gate to Great program announced today that they will be hosting a mini-ranch rodeo competition at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, MD in conjunction with the October 5 and 6 RRTP Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium. Read more..


Gate to Great video featured on Paulick Report.

The viral video of Gate to Great's RRTP Makeover Horse, Drake's Dancer (aka Duck) saw another chapter in its internet popularity when featured on the Paulick Report website.  You can view the article and video by CLICKING HERE.


Newscenter1 NBC features Gate to Great program in their pre-Derby festivities.  Elizabeth Ellis (reporter for Newscenter1 AND daughter of trainer Ron Ellis) interviewed Dale on his off-track Thoroughbreds, their second careers and what his pick for the Derby is.  See video HERE.


Gate to Great interviewed on national equine talk show, Horses in the Morning.  Dale Simanton, head trainer for the Gate to Great program, was interviewed about his success with re-training off-track Thoroughbreds on the morning equine-based radio talk show, Horses in the Morning.  Listen to the recording HERE.


Horse Creek Thoroughbred's "Gate to Great" gelding program featured in The Bloodhorse.  Esther Marr, who writes the "Beyond the Blinkers" blog, wrote this great piece on the program.  Read the full article HERE.

Breeders' Edition 2012

“Rehabilitated Thoroughbreds Lead Productive Lives Thanks to Newell Man”

Dale's love of racehorses and  caring demeanor help give retired racehorses a second career. Along with wife Dorothy, the horses Dale has rehabilitated have become ranch horses, barrel racing horses, jumpers, trail horses, and all-around performance horses. 


Top Eventing Stable Selects Matty for Newest Star

Supreme ranch horse, Royal Mr. G (aka Matty), found a new home and career with successful eventer, Kristi Radosevich of Laramie, WY. A big, heavy-boned Seattle Slew decendant, "Matty" spent the past year as one of the main ranch and rope horses at Horse Creek Thoroughbreds, giving him the skills necessary to make him a top choice for upper-level eventing. His exposure to all kinds of situations on the ranch will make his transformation as a "3-Day" horse a stress-free experience for both owner and horse. Under the coaching of Christian Eagles, we anticipate big things for "Matty", as this owner/trainer combo recently scored a high placing at the CCI Event in Temucula, California, with another off-the-track Thoroughbred, "Run for the Border". Producing top prospects from retired race geldings is what the Gate to Great program is all about

2010 Horse Edition

Horse Creek Thoroughbreds: Not Your Average Farm " "Tri-State  Livestock News” 

When Finn McCool came to Horse Creek Thoroughbreds, he decided since the horse was sound, he could be put to work outside of breeding mares. This led to the creation of a program aimed at taking Thoroughbred geldings off the racetrack and giving them new jobs.

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
Newell, SD 57760


Preferred Method of Contact:
Phone: 605-569-2249



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