Marketing Mondays: Strategies for Breeders

It’s sales closing week for the March issue of Western Horse Review, and because this issue is smack-dab in the middle of breeding season, many of us are either contemplating breeding strategies, or engrossed in the promotion of a stallion.

Photo by Jenn Webster

I had the opportunity to interview Katie Tims, editor of Quarter Horse News just prior to Christmas, and asked her about marketing strategies for breeders in this changing world. Here’s a snippet of that interview. You can catch the entire piece in the Jan/Feb issue of Western Horse Review. We’ve nearly sold out of print editions of that issue, but if you’re missing it, you can order a digital copy here.

Katie, what are a few of your key tips on marketing strategies for breeders/ranches in this changing world?

No. 1: Breed for beachfront property.

“By this I mean breed the best horse possible. It’s where marketing begins. In the real estate market, the average house in the average place is selling below average – at least compared to prices realized a few years ago. However, the special real estate – the beachfront property is just as much in demand now as it was in 2006. Buyers are willing to pay high prices for the best real estate, and the same goes for horses. Whether you’re a big breeder with several foals born per year, or a person with just one mare – breed the best that your budget can accommodate. Do your homework and be clear about what the market is demanding. Don’t breed for sake of creating the average horse that will bring a below average price. You’re better to breed one great horse than four mediocre ones. In this tough market, it’s all about quality, not quantity.”

No. 2: Market, market, market.

“In the horse business, marketing means much more than placing an ad or paying an entry fee. Stallion owners must promote their horse and get him paired with the best mares possible, even if that means giving away breedings. Likewise, mare owners need to book to the best stallions in the business – ones that are part of aggressively marketed programs. Once the foals arrive, stallion and mare owners must get them into solid programs and into the hands of trainers who will give those young horses the best possible chances. Black type means everything in this performance horse market, and the only thing to bold that ink is to start with pedigree and follow up with performance. Yes, there’s a surprise every now and then. But it’s far safer to stick with proven breeding and a sound training program.”

No. 3: Think worldwide.

“The cowboy and Western horse used to be a North American phenomenon. Not anymore. The Quarter Horse and Western way of riding has spread across the globe, and it’s gaining traction with larger purses, more opportunity and better breeding. For instance, Brazilians purchased a number of the highest sellers at last year’s reining and cutting sales, and you can bet they’re going to show and market those same horses inside the United States and Brazil. The Level 3 Open Reserve Champion at the 2011 NRHA Futurity was a horse born, raised and first shown in Brazil. Don’t limit yourself by thinking domestically – look to Europe, Australia, South America and beyond. Realize there’s a worldwide market for performance horses.”

No. 4: Take the multi-platform approach.

“Yes, advertising in print publications works and is still the best way to communicate your message to a target audience. But your marketing program must also reach out to potential customers through multiple sources. The Internet, social media and smart phones – they’re all important. As the next generation rotates into our horse market, they’re expecting information at the tip of a few keystrokes. Get a website for your ranch. List your horses. Make a fan page on Facebook. Sponsor online postings of stories/articles/updates published by magazines and newspapers within your industry. Make sure search engines, such as Google, know you’re online. If you are not comfortable with any or all of the above, see what you can do to learn. A mix of print and digital – that’s where the media business is going, and your program needs to be on board.”

Thanks to Katie Tims for these insightful and articulate ideas on the subject of marketing for those of us in the breeding business. A couple of other links to pieces we’ve done in the same genre include:

Stallion Promotional Ideas

Breeding Truths and Folklore

• Breeding Truths and Folklore, Part Two

4 Great Breeding Products

Breeding Older Mares, Part One

• Breeding Older Mares, Part Two

We also have this classic available in our bookstore:

Blessed are the Broodmares

and these other great books and videos on breeding and foal raising.

Finally, be sure to peruse the Stallion section of this site.

Best of luck with your breeding hopes for the season!

Myterra Ranch Horse Sale

Isn’t this a photo which invokes a few memories of days gone by? Les Timmons on Pepinics Master, this shot taken by photographer Barb Glazer. I remember how pleased we were at the magazine when Barb began taking outdoor shots of cutting. It was a welcome relief from the typical indoor shots and really brought the element of “ranch” into the photography of the sport. I’m sure many of her outdoor competition shots are framed on the walls of cutters across the country, this one being a particular favorite at the magazine.

Pepinics Master is owned by Ed and Connie Masson, of Myterra Ranch, which is located in the scenic sand hills of East Central Alberta west of Provost and just east of the hamlet of Metiskow. You might be aware the ranch is holding an online auction this week. I had a chance to touch base with Ed yesterday about the sale. Here’s our conversation:

Ed, Myterra Ranch has been a large player in the Canadian western performance breeding world with your stallion, Pepinics Master, who still stands as the #1 all-discipline sire of the Canadian Supreme Stallion program, as well as siring many champions outside of reining, cutting and cow horse. What has been this horse’s greatest asset as a sire?

I think his greatest asset has been the consistency of his offspring. For the most part, he stamps his offspring with a certain look and physical characteristics. It doesn’t matter what the breeding is of the mare that look and build comes thru in the offspring. I believe that consistency is a result of Pepinics Master being line bred, his granddams are full sisters.

Pepinics Master was inducted into the Canadian Supreme Hall of Fame in 2003. How important has the Canadian Supreme’s Stallion program been to the success of Pepinics Master’s breeding career?

I believe the Canadian Supreme’s stallion program has been a major contribution to his success as a breeding sire. The initial promotion of his ranking as the #1 all-discipline sire boosted the number of mares that were bred to him that year compared to previous years. The program gives me recognized statistics to back up our promotional statements and it gives owners of Pepinics Master sired horses a competition venue to strive to participant in.

Much has changed in the Canadian breeding world. The world, I suppose, has become smaller in the sense that American stallions are now so much more accessible to Canadian mare owners. While this has made it much more competitive for the Canadian stallion owner, a vibrant Canadian stallion breeding market still exists. What do you attribute this to?

I attribute this to the faith and belief Canadian breeders have in their breeding programs and the quality of their offspring. Alberta is home to horse breeders with horses of quality that rival those produced in the U.S. Many of those Alberta horse breeders have risen to the challenge and taken steps to meet the challenge head on by investing in bloodlines that are more popular, investing in better quality breeding stock, and by working harder to get the word out about their breeding programs.

Any comments on what you see coming in the future for the Canadian western breeding market?

I have never been very good at looking in a crystal ball, but I am seeing a consolidation in the breeding market. There are horse breeders who have decided to shut down their breeding operations, thus reducing the number of horses available for sale. At some point demand should be greater than supply and prices will start to rebound. The cloudy part is how much consolidation is needed and how long will it take for this to happen. In the meantime, horse breeders are going to need to identify a market niche (cutting, barrel racing, broke ranch horse, etc) that their type of horse will fit and work very hard at selling into that niche.

An online sale is a fairly new concept to the Canadian western riding world. What made you decide to go this route?

Their were a number of factors that helped us decide. A major one was labour. Connie and I recognized that we would not be able to train and fit for sale approximately 25 horses. Secondly,  we felt the sale costs per horse would be quite a bit less with the online auction compared to entering the horses  in a live auction. A third major reason was the popularity of buying and selling horses using the online classified ad provided by many web sites. We felt an online production sale is the next step and a natural progression in selling horses using the internet. People are getting comfortable using the internet and online auctions (ex. eBay) to buy products so we thought why not try the same process for our horses.

Are the bidders able to view the horses online?

Yes, bidders can view photos of the horses online. They would go to the auction site at and click on the October 1, 2011 Sale and a list of the horses appears. Each horse has 4 or 5 photos to show a prospective buyer what they look like. I think one of the keys of getting buyer acceptance of this method of selling horses is to use lots of good quality photos and video so that you are replicating the onsite buying experience.

What would you like to point out about the prospects on offer?

The prospects are all from our breeding program. Their future success has already been documented by the Pepinics Master’s that have proven themselves in the showpen. We are very excited about the weanlings we have on offer. The majority are sired by our new sire Circle Bar Gray Gun (Playgun x Lenas Black Remedy) and out of Pepinics Master daughters. They are all excellent individuals that exhibit the characteristics needed to succeed in the various western performance disciplines.

What’s in the immediate future for Myterra Ranch?

We are going to consolidate our breeding program by reducing the number of mares we breed and our promotional efforts are going to shift from Pepinics Master to Circle Bar Gray Gun. I also think we are going to have to add value (ground and riding training) to our young horses to  make them more saleable. I plan to start riding our Myterra Ranch horses in cutting and ranch horse versatility competitions and cutting back our breeding program will allow me to do that.

Ed, what has been the most gratifying aspect of being involved in the western performance world in Canada?

The most gratifying aspects have been the people I have met and become friends with and seeing horses bred by Myterra Ranch competing successfully in a variety of disciplines.

The Myterra Ranch Horse Sale is live until 6:00 p.m. on Oct. 9. Check it out at the links above!


Rowdy Yankee a Million Dollar Sire

Rowdy Yankee

Oklahoma City, Okla. – September 26, 2011 – National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) stallion, Rowdy Yankee, was recently named as NRHA‘s newest Million Dollar Sire. His current offspring earnings are $1,000,382.

Rowdy Yankee is a son of NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Smart Chic Olena and out of Nita Chex (Ready Chex x Pinenita by Peponita). The seventeen-year-old stallion won Non Pro Championships at the 1997 NRHA Futurity and the 1998 National Reining Breeders with Keith Crawford. The stallion earned more than $84,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings.

Rowdy Yankee was recently purchased by Rowdy Partners. His previous owners include: Andre DeBellefeuille and Francois Gauthier (2008-2011) and Keith Crawford Farms (1997-2008).
Rowdy Yankee
Rowdy Yankee’s leading offspring include: Hollywood Yankee Kid ($91,490 NRHA LTE), Big League Yankee ($74,810 NRHA LTE), Strike Em Out ($58,490 NRHA LTE), Hes At Bat ($51,500 NRHA LTE), Yankee Bambino ($44,890 NRHA LTE), Blazing In Black ($43,630 NRHA LTE) and Big Papi ($40,890 NRHA LTE).

Frenchmans Guy Cloned

Listed as a leading all-around performance sire for the past decade by Equi-Stat, Frenchmans Guy has progeny earnings in excess of $4 million. Owners, Bill and Deb Myers of Myers Training Stables in St. Onge, South Dakota, announced just yesterday that they have cloned the now 25-year-old super stud. According to a news release, three Frenchmans Guy clones were born in the Austin, Texas cloning facility of ViaGen – an animal cloning company – in June. As stated in the news release:

“After long thought and consideration as well as extensive research, we have decided that keeping Frenchmans Guy’s genetics alive into the future would be the right thing to do both for our breeding program as well as the horse industry as a whole. Knowing the prepotency of Frenchmans Guy and finding through our research and our consultation with Blake Russell of ViaGen that these foals would in fact produce exactly like their sire was the deciding factor in our final decision,” said Bill and Deb Myers in a joint statement.

“Seeing these foals in person has validated our decision and we are extremely happy and excited for their future,” they added.

“It is a true pleasure to work with such a legendary stallion owned by a great family,” said Blake Russell, CEO of ViaGen, Inc. “Frenchmans Guy is a proven, elite stallion and now through advanced reproduction his genetics can continue making a positive impact for many years to come.”

Cloning produces a later-born identical genetic replica. It’s a topic of great controversy in the horse industry. Back in May, 2010, longtime Texas breeder, Carol Harris spoke of the practice: “Breeding is an art. Cloning is a replication.”

To others, such as the Myers and Charmayne James, cloning is a means to keeping alive bloodlines which have changed the face of the western performance world, and a service to their respective sports.

Other notable horses which have been cloned in the western riding world include  Jame’s incredibly talented gelding Scamper, the sire Smart Little Lena and Elaine Hall’s $300,000+ money-earning cutting mare, Royal Blue Boon, which was incidentally the first mare to be cloned.

We’re working on a story about cloning for the January/February issue of Western Horse Review. On our radar for that piece is an update on Scamper’s clone – the stallion Clayton, as well as a look into the Smart Little Lena clones. We hope to speak with Bill and Deb about their hopes and plans for these three babies as well. Look for it in the January/February issue.

West Coast Whiz Million Dollar Sire

National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) stallion, West Coast Whiz was recently named NRHA‘s newest Million Dollar Sire.

West Coast Whiz.

The late West Coast Whiz, was a champion-siring son of National Reining Horse Association Seven Million Dollar Sire and Hall of Fame inductee Topsail Whiz and out of My Moon Stone Chex.  He was bred and owned by Bob Loomis Reining Horses.  Loomis is a six-time NRHA Futurity Open Champion and a Hall of Fame inductee. West Coast Whiz was a two-time NRHA Derby Open reserve champion with more than $126,000 in NRHA earnings. The stallion stood, along with his sire, at Bob Loomis Reining Horses in Marietta, Okla.
West Coast Whiz is the second, third generation NRHA Million Dollar Sire and also the second from the Topsail Cody – Topsail Whiz lineage (Conquistador Whiz was the first stallion to mark this achievement).
West Coast Whiz’s leading offspring include: Western Whiz (LTE: $116,737, NRHA Futurity, NRHA Derby open finalist), Whizs Chic A Dee (LTE: $86,103, 2008 All American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity Champion and NRHA Futurity open finalist), Whizs Bronze Star (LTE: $58,180, 2009 All American Quarter Horse Congress Freestyle Champion, 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games finalist), West Coast Mizzen (LTE: $48,695, 2009 Cinch NRHA Non Pro Futurity Champion), West Coast Wrangler (LTE: $45,931, 2010 NRHA Open Reserve World Champion, 2008 NRHA Derby Level 2 Open Reserve Champion.)

Newest NRHA Million Dollar Sire

Conquistator Whiz

After the checks were cut for the 2011 National Reining Breeders Classic, another reining sire entered the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) record books. Unofficially, Conquistador Whiz became NRHA’s newest Million Dollar Sire thanks to the performance of his offspring at the Katy, Texas show. The sixteen-year-old stallion is the 20th horse to make this milestone achievement.

Conquistador Whiz, bred by Bob Loomis, came from the successful pairing of Loomis’ NRHA Seven Million Dollar Sire Topsail Whiz and the Bueno Chex mare Sugarita Chex. This match produced the first-ever third generation NRHA Million Dollar Sire. Conquistador Whiz’s grandsire Topsail Cody became an NRHA Million Dollar Sire in 1998. His sire Topsail Whiz joined the ranks in 2001.

Conquistador Whiz earned more than $100,000 in the NRHA show arena and was the 2000 NRHA Open Derby Champion, 2000 National Reining Breeders Classic Open Derby Champion, 2002 USET Festival of Champions USEF Reining Champion and 2002 World Equestrian Games Gold Medal Team member and Individual Silver Medalist. NRHA Corporate Partner Silver Spurs Equine purchased the sire from George Shifrin who owned the horse for a majority of his show career. He currently stands at Silver Spurs Equine in Cave Creek, Arizona.
Conquistador Whiz’s leading offspring include: KR Lil Conquistador ($401,027 NRHA LTE and NRHA Open Futurity Champion), Quistador ($112,945 NRHA LTE and 2010 Ariat Tulsa Reining Classic John Deere Level 4 Open Futurity Champion), JD Conquista Anna ($56,429 NRHA LTE and 2006 Cinch NRHA Non Pro Futurity Champion), Smart Dundee ($49,319 NRHA LTE and 2010 NRHA Futurity finalist in Open Levels 1-4) and Litn Up Conquistador ($49,105 NRHA LTE and Cinch NRHA Non Pro Futurity Champion).

Canadian-bred World Champion

Apache Blue Boy (Blue Boy Doc x Apache King Miss) a 1995 grey Quarter Horse Stallion, recently won his fifth World Championship at the annual American Quarter Horse Association's World Championship Show held November 6-20th, 2010 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In 2003, Apache Blue Boy won his first of five AQHA World Championships in Roping, with amateur exhibitor Mike Row in the stirrups.  The stallion is owned by Row's father, John Row of Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

The stallions trip to the World Championships in 2010, however, was not without complications. “He almost died on us about two weeks before the show,” Mike Row recounted. “He got an infection in his colon and was at the vet's for four days, so we didn't get to practice on him until one day before the preliminaries.  That just shows how great he really is!”

Apache Blue Boy has two World Championship titles in Amateur Heading and three in Amateur heeling, but these only scratch the surface of his multiple top ten finishes a the World Show and year-end top ten finishes in heading and heeling.  The stallion has earnings of over $76,000 from 50 AQHA classes.

Apache Blue Boy with rider Mike Row. Photo Courtesy AQHA

Breeder Greg Frick of Whitewood, Saskatchewan has been raising Quarter Horses at Sabre Quarter Horse Ranch since 1971. “Apache Blue Boy is our most outstanding product to date,” Frick explained. “We are very pleased with his five World Championships and his other outstanding succcesses at the AQHA World Shows. It has generated a lot of new calls enquiring about our horses.”

When he is not competing, Apache Blue Boy is busy tending cattle and breeding mares at the R & S Cattle Ranch owned by John and Mike Row.

Stallion Promotional Ideas

Back in December we spent the weekend at the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity in Fort Worth, Texas. Hitting the list of go-see's and nearly as critical as a trip to Uncle Julio's was the Stallion Avenue, held Saturday morning at the show.

As you might imagine owners haul in their stallions, set up booths and parlay their goods. It's a great time, usually accompanied with good food and coffee, an opportunity to run into friends and a chance meet key players in the industry, as well as see in the flesh a number of high profile stallions. Interesting viewpoints abound, and if you are a mare owner, or aspiring mare owner, it's a great chance to see “what's coming down the pipe,” as they say.

It's also an eminent opportunity to gather up a whole lot of swag.

Stallion swag that is.

Black gold.

Texas tea.

Something like that.

I have to be honest. The thrill of collecting stallion promotional items does run it's course after logging in a number of trips to the Avenue, however, this year, I gathered it all up, just one more time, for nostalgia's sake, and; to run it through this blog, and see whatcha' all think of it.

The things I do for you.

Just to be clear, I do not, and does not in any way, shape or form remotely promote any of the stallions (or stallion stations), you're about to view in these photos. I'm here to showcase these promotional items, only as a variety of ideas for promoting your stallion.

Thanks to Teenager for organizing and setting up her own mini photography studio in the spare bedroom to properly choreograph two bags of scrunched up and suitcase-crammed items. I was so impressed with the result. She snapped some pretty innovative shots.

Like this one.

And this one. The kid has talent. If you need her to choreograph your next photo shoot, let me know. I'm hiring her out.

New this year were some really neat ideas.

This equine reproduction center went all out – water bottles, pens, cup holders, a four color promotional folder, and. . .

a fabulously sweet shortbread cookie, with their logo unforgettably emblazoned on the icing.

Well, until you ate it, that is.

A typical promotional package might include something like this:

Rather shouts out at you, doesn't it? It's bright, the message stands out and it's functional. Useable. In fact that seemed to be the theme of the stallion swag this year. Functionality.

Take this guy's package for instance: great cup holder, keychain flashlight and handy pen.

Not only that, but an embossed folder, stats sheet and fold-out CD piece.

Like, who's your daddy?

With the possibilities available on the internet and the proven shelf life of tried-and-true magazine advertising, I'm not sure how much of a slice of my promotional budget, full color brochures, folders and posters would hold. I'm in the business and I know how expensive this stuff is to produce. I'd have to question, who keeps it for longer than the drive home?

Other than hoarders.

And me. At least until spring cleaning day at the home office.

If I were breeding my mare to this stallion though, in that case, I'd hang on to it, and maybe pick up a few extra copies to give away later, when promoting the sale of the offspring.

One of my favourite pieces was this toque from Buffalo Ranch. What a great idea! These will get worn, not only because they are warm and cozy, but it's a cool and simple design, wearable by anyone. Not only out to the barn, but shows, the post office, grocery store. I see a lot of use in these toques, and a promotional reach far beyond a filing cabinet or desk.

Neat idea!

I hope you enjoyed a look at some of the promotional ideas abound in the stallion breeding world this year.

Speaking of stallion promotion, watch for Western Horse Review's first stallion edition, coming 'atcha in about two weeks!

Rooster Gains $3 Million Dollar Sire Status

Only four stallions in history are distinguished as being a National Reining Horse Association (NRH

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A) Three Million Dollar Sire. NRHA is pleased to welcome Gallo Del Cielo, a.k.a. “Rooster,” to this acclaimed list of that includes Hollywood Dun It, Topsail Whiz, Smart Chic Olena and Shining Spark as Rooster’s offspring earnings now total $3,041,295.

Outstanding achievers by Gallo Del Cielo include Roosters Wrangler (owned by Mosing & Solum Stables LLC), the 1999 NRHA Level 4 Open Futurity Reserve Champion with $125,653 in NRHA LTE to his credit and Ricochet Rooster (owned by Manuel Bonzano), the 2000 NRHA Level 4 Open Futurity Reserve Champion with $148,708 in NRHA LTE. Lapke Quarter Horses’ Lena Gallo had only three shows under his belt when Rooster crossed the million dollar mark. The ten-year-old stallion out of Heavenly Doc is now the sire’s highest earning offspring with $176,058 in NRHA LTE.

The 1989 bay stallion comes from a royal pedigree – he is by AQHA and NCHA Hall of Famer Peppy San Badger and is out of NCHA Hall of Famer Docs Starlight by Doc Bar. The cross has proven to generate other stellar producers like NRHA Million Dollar Sire Grays Starlight and Paddys Irish Whiskey.