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Horse Digest
AQHA honor, his Superior in Dally
Team Roping Heeling.
In 2011, Rocky Vondra had the
opportunity to ride Lena Red Pep
again. Taking Red back to his facility,
then located in Wyoming, Vondra
realized his wife had been correct in
her early prediction that the horse was
a special individual. "I went to riding
him. You could go change leads, do
figure eights, slide, stop, spin, rope...
do whatever you wanted to do," said
Vondra, "That's when my wife and I
said we'd buy him."
The Vondras purchased the
stallion and soon added more AQHA
classes to his repertoire - versatility
ranch horse and halter - building on
the stallion's strengths. "He is a very
quick-minded horse. He thinks all the
time," said Vondra.
"He is very quick footed. He's super cowy, has a tremendous amount
of cow," added Rocky.
In 2012, Lena Red Pep qualified for the AQHA World Championship
Show in Performance Halter Stallions, though Vondra had other plans. By
that time, Red had not only made his mark in the show pen, but also the
rodeo arena.
Lena Red Pep had earned honors in the nation's most prestigious
Quarter Horse shows, cutting, and reined cow horse competitions. In 2012,
the Vondras stood Red at stud to the public for the first time. Simultaneously,
they recognized the horse's talent for making winning rodeo runs. They
sent the stallion to Justin Johnson, a professional roper and trainer from
Casper, Wyoming. Justin and his
brother, Jhett, Professional Rodeo
Cowboys Association world champion
heeler, found Lena Red Pep to be an
outstanding all-around horse.
Justin Johnson said, "He's a
really, really nice horse. He's so broke.
My brother has been taking him to
some major competitions."
Lena Red Pep's versatility and
his willing attitude put him in the
winner's spotlight. "In December, a
little girl showed him in Thermopolis,
Wyoming, in cutting. Less than a
month later, Jhett Johnson roped on
him in Odessa, Texas, at the Sandhills
Classic, to be fourth fastest team back
for the short round," Vondra said. "He
can gear down, or he can throttle up.
He has that big powerhouse stop."
"He's a really nice, talented horse.
He tries hard. He's
good to be around,"
"His disposition
is awesome. In
a nutshell, I'll be
excited to ride more
of his colts in the
The future
is likely to bring
more success as
a roping horse and
also as a sire of
versatile all-around
horses. Lena Red
Pep sired nine
registered AQHA foals prior to
2013. Of those, 100 percent of
performance-aged foals are in
training. "He already has some
colts out there exhibiting the
characteristics of what he has,"
said Vondra.
Two mares, both foaled in
2008, have begun to make their
marks in the cutting pen. Kits
Dual Lena and Stylish Peptolena
have earned NCHA winnings.
Sammy Broussard of New Iberia,
Louisiana, owns both outstanding
young mares.
Johnson has ridden Red
and also his offspring. He sees
the potential Lena Red Pep has
as a sire. "You can cross him on
a small mare and have something
that will hold up. You could cross
him a lot of different ways and get
a nice horse you can use.... He's
going to put some foot and bone
on them. You could cross him
on a race bred mare for a barrel
horse, whatever you want to do,"
added Johnson.
Lena Red Pep will have the
chance to sire foals out of race
bred mares, according to Vondra.
"My program is that I'm trying to
put him on some Dash for Cash
bred mares and Royal Shake Em mares. I'd like to see him put on some
bigger rodeo mares, roping mares... to be able to rodeo on the colts or
show AQHA, or barrel race on them." Lena Red Pep is expected to sire 38
foals in Spring 2013.
Vondra stands Lena Red Pep at High Plains Genetics in Piedmont,
South Dakota, during the breeding season. After that, Red will continue to
show how he may be the most versatile son of Peptoboonsmal. After all, his
story as a proven money earner and sire is still being written.
Come and visit the Vondra's website at
Justin and Jhett Johnson