This is the face of a horse our fans have never met.
The face of a horse that since the day we got him a year ago this week, we were never sure he'd pull through and make it and we didn't want our fans to go through the pain of losing him like we quite often felt we might.
A horse that came to us with casts on all four hooves, ankles the size of softballs and was hurting.
A horse that even without his physical issues wasn't exactly a "looker"--shorter, a bit long in the back and a rather oddly put together overall, he was never going to be the horse anyone picked out of the crowd at a racetrack backside and took home.
If the text on the saddlecloth in the photo above looks a little unfamiliar, don't worry. It was a surprise to us too!
Meet Cheongnyong Bisang, the 2013 Champion Two-Year-Old....of South Korea.
So how did the Two-Year-Old Champion of South Korea end up starting a new life as a ranch horse in South Dakota? It's a bit of a long story, but through our great network of trainers, owners and friends, we heard about this horse after plans to race him in the U.S. and then stand him at stud went sour with the rest of the breeding industry during the recession. After being castrated, we gave him a new nick-name that was easier to pronounce, "Doc Ruel", (in honor of the veterinarian who saved him for us) and a new career as a ranch horse.
As we had hoped, he took to the cattle work like an old pro and spent many long days out on the wide-open ranges of South Dakota and Wyoming. After seeing his delight in popping over jumps, a friend in Florida thought he'd work well in the hunt field doing duty as a whipper-in. "Doc Ruel" is currently spending the winter down south adding to his resume, but is available for purchase. This could be your next gem in the hunt field or upper level event horse, not to mention big mover in the dressage arena. Call or email us for details.
Thoroughbreds for the Rest of Us is a new blog series by Dale's partner in Gate to Great and in life, Dorothy Snowden. It will chronicle how Thoroughbreds are a part of the lives of "regular folks" rather than professional trainers, racing owners and breeder. People like Dorothy, who are adult amatuer riders who just want a horse to enjoy a smaller slice of the equestrian life, in the showring and out of it.
Here at the ranch, our herd is constantly expanding, contracting and changing as horses come, go and move around within different groups. We constantly monitor the social health of each group and look for ways that we create groups that provide a stress free life for each horse in it.
There are many variables when introducing new horses into a group and when you are introducing an off-track Thoroughbred, which may not have been turned out in a group setting in several years, there are extra precauctions to be taken.
We get a lot of questions from people all over about how to overcome fear of cattle in their horses. The short answer is time and patience. We thought we would share this little story of the Thoroughbred gelding, Remember Shiney, whose fear of cattle was so strong he could not even be pastured in a field next to them. In the course of a week, through patient and careful handling, Dale was able to turn this formerly fearful gelding into a confident cow horse! Read more here...
This year saw a lot of changes for our operation here at Gate to Great/Horse Creek Thoroughbreds. Thank you to everyone who made it possible!
It's cold and we are bored, so we thought we would make these fun little videos of the boys. Enjoy!
As many of you know, our RRTP Thoroughbred Makeover Duck has become very special to us and his journey over the summer of 2013 certainly changed our own. This video is a tribute to what he means to us.
Ok, so we have SO MUCH amazing footage from Saturday's Newell Ranch Rodeo that getting it organized is proving a monstrous task. So we took a few of the best clips and made a quick "preview"
of all the fun we had. "Team Duck" rocked!
Not only did Team Duck WIN the rodeo, but we also took the "Shoot-Out" at the end, which pits the top 4 teams against each other in one final competition. We also won two "Top Hand" awards when Team Duck member Allen Stirling took the overall "Top Hand" and our youth roper, Jace Engesser, took "Top Youth Hand" on his little buckskin, Bucky, who was also named "Top Horse". Our other team members included Karen Seaman (on the pretty Palomino) and our mutton buster, Ben Ismay...both of whom did a fine job!
And let's hear it for the horses...Duck at his very first rodeo did GREAT and Swingn Slew filled in at the end to make sure the always-chaotic sheep tee pee went to plan when we saw we were in the running to win.
All in all, it was a pretty good sweep for Team Duck!
Look for some more footage later this week, but for now we leave you with "The Preview Show". Enjoy!
We assisted some neighbors branding calves this past weekend. Of the 230+ calves, Dale's horse, Swingn Slew roped and brought to the branding crew a fourth or more...this after spending 4+ hours
rounding them up! Retired at age 5 in 2011 after 22 starts, this grandson of AP Indy has turned into an absolutely rock solid
ranch horse and a GREAT GELDING! Thoroughbreds have the intelligence to learn any job and the heart to work all day!
Here a video of Slew roping a calf and bringing him into the branding pen:
Some days our OTTB's really live up to their name!
Yesterday we assisted our neighbors in moving a group of cows and calves down the road to a new pasture. Dale was mounted on a horse in training, barn name Columbus but his registered name is "Bold Roar" (Roar x Nellie's Crown by Crowning for you pedigree buffs). Columbus has been in the program since last fall and knows his way around cows, but he learned a whole new lesson on this trip.
The most difficult part about the route we had these cattle on was the bridge that crosses the creek...it is an old wood plank structure and sits about 30-40 feet above the creek bed below. But the worst part about this bridge is that it has no guard rails of any kind, just a roa-width of planks and a long drop to the creek below. Needless to say, the cows were not terribly keen on making the crossing, which made for quite a lot of work for the riders. READ MORE...
We answer your questions about retraining Thoroughbreds for off-track careers and share the stories of the horses on the ranch.
Gate to Great Geldings
A Division of Horse Creek Thoroughbreds
Newell, SD 57760