Why to Consider Bloodlines by Dick Pieper
Once you’ve considered genetic traits of the sire, consider the traits of the dam, based on her breeding. With those two criteria you can, with a fair degree of accuracy, predict how their young horses are going to train. You should pay attention to these things and catalog them in memory in your quest to become a horse¬man. Study each horse you ride and eventually you see the similarities in horses bred along the same lines. This type knowledge helps you know how to mold a horse and give him confidence.
The following is a demonstration of what I am talking about
I rode Miss Cee Blair, owned by the Rae B. Williams, Raleigh, N.C., to a top-five finish in the National Reining Horse Association Futurity. The mare had babies for five years and was purchased by Roland Beeson and Bob Kidd. Then the partnership sent the mare and a full sister, Cee Blair Masota, whom I rode to a co-reserve championship in the futurity, to Willowbrook Farms in Catasauqua, Penn., to breed to Corona Cody. I was training there at the time. The owners said, kind of in a kidding way, for me to ride both mares and that I could keep and show whichever I thought could do the best.
A horse with a great body might perform well athletically, but a horse with a great body and a strong mind has the heart to deliver more than sometimes seems physically possible, as Playgun demonstrates here.
Photo by JOHN BHASSEAUX
Early in the year I picked Miss Cee Blair. The first time I showed her, I won an NRHA open reining and, encouraged by that, I took her to another and won again. Being that successful early in the year, I thought there was a possibility I could show her to a world championship in the open division. After a phone call to Beeson and Kid, I started haul¬ing the mare in earnest. At the end of that year, she had won more money than any other open horse had ever won in a single year and was the NRHA open world cham¬pion. Her record in earnings held for almost 10 years until finally broken by Cee Blair Sailor, her son. I also rode three of Miss Cee Blair’s full brothers and sisters. By the time I got to the second or third one, I knew what those horses would do in training each day before I walked out of the house.
You do not learn this information from a book. But if you are aware and pay atten¬tion, these things become more clear to you at an earlier stage in your development as a horseman.
With that said, the horse’s mental con¬formation also can be affected by his early handling and then ultimately by his training or the lack of it.
What you’re looking at in this chapter essentially are outward responses and actions that tell you how a horse responds to training. You also come to know fairly early to what level of training you can take him, whether it’s to the very top futurity level, or to a weekend, non-pro or other level of expertise. Any time you’re training horses, you find that a horse is comfortable within his level of ability, but once pushed past that, he becomes uncomfortable and is apt to make both physi¬cal and mental mistakes.
Use genetics as a factor to evaluate a pros¬pect for your intended use. Make sure he comes from families, top and bottom, that consistently produce horses that can do what you want a horse to do.
Cee Blair Sailor was the youngest stallion to be inducted into the National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame— and with good reason. After training “Sailor” I rode him to a top 10 placing in the 1991 NRHA Futurity, the 1992 Lazy E Classic, and at other major shows.
David and Carmel Connor owned Sailor. Their daughter, Amanda, began to show Sailor in 1993, placing an incredible 36 times on her way to a NRHA intermediate non-pro world title. This division is for non-professional riders who have not yet earned their way into the top non-pro division. Non-pro competition generally is less competitive than the open divi¬sion, so it was almost unbelievable when this equine athlete came back in 1994 with trainer Craig Schmersal.
Sailor immediately went back to the very top, placing 89 times in the toughest open competition! Amazingly, only two of those placings were below second place. Not surprisingly, Sailor added two more world titles—the open and limited-open championships—to his credit that year.
Cee Blair Sailor, the youngest stallion inducted into the National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame, was Miss Cee Blair’s son, and my experience with her proved beneficial years later when riding him.
Photo by HAROLD CAMPTON PHOTOGRAPHY
Cee Blair Sailor had all the ingredients to make an outstanding athlete. His dam, Miss Cee Blair, had been a reining futurity finalist for me in 1980, when the event was held during the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, and in 1985 she won the NRHA open world championship.
Until next time.
Dick Pieper is internationally recognized as a horseman’s horseman and this iconic individual has influenced and developed the careers of riders and their trainers for decades. After fifty plus years in the horse industry, his name has come to stand for a special brand of arena excellence that never compromised the welfare of the horse.
For more information, go to dickpieper.com
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This article was printed in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 9, Issue 5
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