Finding The Best Bloodline For You

Posted in: Horse Care


Bailee riding PG Son Of A Gun “Pistol”

Today I would like to touch on one of my favorite topics: bloodlines! The horse breeding and marketing industry has become highly specialized over the years and horse breeders all across the country are now breeding for a specific end result. Whether it be reining, jumping, western pleasure, cutting, team roping or barrel racing, there are specific bloodlines that have proved to excel in a certain discipline. Breeders that have been in this business for years have learned what the result of crossing a certain stud on a specific mare results in. And sometimes, all it takes is one horse to sky rocket a breeding operation.

As a kid growing up, I always had a fascination with bloodlines. By the time I was 10 years old, the Legends books about old famous Quarter Horse sires sat at the top of my Christmas list every year. To this day, I still enjoy studying bloodlines. Being raised on my parent’s ranch in South Dakota, my brother and I were horseback every day. We mostly rode cow bred horses. My dad spent some years working for renowned horse trainers Monte Foreman and Buster Welch riding and training cutting horses, so naturally we always had a good cow horse on the place! I guess this love for cow horses that my dad had translated over to me, since I as well, love a good cow horse!

Over the years I have been able to ride some great horses, some with outstanding bloodlines, some with not so popular bloodlines. I agree with the old term “you can’t ride a horses papers”, since one of the best horses I ever had was a grade paint gelding that came out of Holloway’s bucking string in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. He packs the late NFR bronc rider, TC Holloway’s brand on his shoulder to prove it! That horse carried me through every event in High School rodeo, a State Championship, and on into my college rodeo career and several CNFR qualifications. He definitely proved to me that heart is more important than bloodlines, however, a well bred horse never hurts!

Since this blog post is about finding the best bloodline for you, I will share with you how I have found the best bloodline for me. We, as horse people, all have different goals and hopes for our horses so I understand that the bloodline that I am sold on is not going to fit the need for everyone reading this post. I have rodeoed my whole life and have had the opportunity to ride some very well bred horses. However, I had still not found the bloodline that would fit my lifestyle. I wanted something that had enough speed to run barrels, something cowy enough to take to a branding, something tough enough to ride on the ranch all day, something athletic enough to turn back with a cow on the fence, and something that had enough bone to stay sound. Sounds simple right? Not exactly. I found that with the horses I was riding, I either I had all the run in the world and no brains, or all the cow in the world but too fine boned to stay sound.

I came across a 4 year old gray gelding owned by a friend of ours, John Hadley. He was an own son of Playgun that packed Dick and Brenda Pieper’s brand on his right hip, indicating that he was bred and raised by Playgun’s owners.  Pistol was just finishing his working cow horse career when I saw John roping on him. I immediately fell in love with this horse. He could mortally fly on the heading end and drag his hind end for miles on the heeling side. I begged John to sell me the horse and he finally sold him to me a year later. I immediately started him on the barrels and since he was “dirty broke”, he picked up the barrels very quickly. I have only owned Pistol for 8 months, but in that time I have ran barrels, team roped both ends, drug calves at brandings and cut on him. He is the perfect horse to fit my lifestyle. I liked Pistol so much that I decided I needed more of the Playgun’s so I bred my good barrel horse to my favorite son of Playgun standing at stud, PG Dry Fire, and we recently purchased another 5 year old Playgun son.

When you are looking for the right bloodline for you, I encourage you to do your homework. Define specifically what you are looking for in a horse and what your ultimate goal is with the horse. Dig into those Legends books and familiarize yourself with the bloodlines that have succeeded over the years. Bloodlines are not everything, and certainly not the most important thing when finding the right horse for you. However, if you begin to familiarize yourself with bloodlines, you may find one that fits exactly what you are looking for!






Posted in: Horse Care

About Bailee Murnion

I was raised on the back of a horse on my families ranch in rural northwestern South Dakota. I grew up roping, tying goats and traning barrel horses, which I still enjoy doing today. I have a deep appreciation for a good horse, a cup...

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