CSU Invites two new ranches to the Legends of Ranching Horse Sale | TheFencePost.com

CSU Invites two new ranches to the Legends of Ranching Horse Sale

Story & Photos by Tony Bruguiere
Fort Collins, Colo.
The bidding can get very intense at the CSU Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale when the buyers get excited about an offering such as Natural Red Buck, a 2003 Bay Gelding from Silver Spur Ranches.
Tony Bruguiere |

The CSU Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale is unique in that it is “invitation only” and is put on entirely by CSU Equine Science students. Each ranch that participates sends a young horse from their breeding program to be trained and offered for sale by students. The list of 24 invited ranches includes some of the largest historic ranches in the country and also AQHA Best Remuda Award winners like Singleton Ranches, Wood Ranch, the Burnett Ranches (6666), and Haythorn Ranch Company. Also participating are AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders Gould Ranch Cattle Company and the T-Cross Ranch.

The Legends Sale is a project that spans much of the academic year for the Equine Science students. Students in the Colt Starting class receive untrained horses that are matched to their abilities by their instructor, Bobbie Walton. In some cases, ‘untrained’ is an understatement. Some have received minimal human interaction, while some have been started but none exceed being halter broke.

Anna Eklund, a senior Equine Science major from Colorado Springs, Colo., had never started a colt before. She was paired with Sensations Fox, a 2011 Bay Roan Gelding from KeSa Quarter Horses in Fort Collins, Colo. “This is my first colt. The first day Bobbie (Walton) gave us our horse and you think OK! We had been talking about it for a couple of weeks and then we had a horse standing in front of us in the round pen and I’m thinking, I don’t know what to do,” said Eklund. “It’s kind of hard to think that was only September that we got our horses, because I feel like a completely different horse person now. I definitely know how to read a horse better. I know how to work better with the horse’s natural instincts.”

The students from the Sales Management class do literally everything that is required to put on a top quality horse sale. They negotiate with sub-contractors, liaison with the ranches, and do all of the work required to produce the catalog. On actual sales day, they are everywhere, getting horses to the right place at the right time, doing paperwork with buyers, setting up the sales ring, and being in the two barns helping perspective buyers. The “sale” is the final exam for classes that started back in August.

“We still run things on good old fashioned customer service. A lot of the reason why we can compete with bigger feed stores is because we treat people how they want to be treated, and they come back because of that.”
~ Danielle Nater, daughter of Dennis Nater, owner and operator of Northern Colorado Feeder’s Supply

The Equine Science department extended invitations to two new ranches in 2013, the Rocking G Ranch in Alberta, Canada, and the Gould Ranch Cattle Company from Fort Morgan, Colo.

The Rocking G Ranch is located in Alberta, Canada, and is owned and managed by Blair Gigian. They run approximately 200 head of Quarter Horses and a herd of purebred Black Angus cattle on the ranch. “We stand several stallions on our ranch, including Olenas Highbrow, Playgun Olena and KM Valentine Skip,” said Gigian.

“We breed for pretty heads, color and good minds,” Brian Gigian continued. “Our colts are bred for disposition and good conformation, and have cow sense. These colts have proven themselves to be useful in everyday work on the ranch as well as in the show pen.”

This is the first year at the Legends Sale for the Rocking G Ranch, but you can expect to see them return. “Great program. We really don’t have anything like it in Canada and it fits good with what we are doing,” said Gagian.

Another first time ranch is The Gould Ranch and Cattle Company which is a family owned ranch in Fort Morgan, Colo. Guy Gould started it in 1971 and their Irish Black seedstock operation runs between 300 and 400 Irish Black and Irish Red Cattle. The Gould Ranch also has a 1,000 head commercial cow herd that they operate in the mountains, and they have a small feedlot where they background calves, and finish cattle that they sell for freezer beef.

The Gould Ranch also raises, trains, shows and sells Quarter Horses. The Gould Ranch Cattle Company has been selected to be part of the AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders Program.

“Our mares are big, stout, foundation bred mares. We’re crossing them on a little more modern cutting horse. We like them stout, but not over muscled,” said Jed Roark. The breeding philosophy at Gould Ranch can be seen in their reference sires — Smart Whiskey Doc has carried Mike Major to multiple AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse Championships, and Cats Moonshine is a top money winner as a cutter and his foals are proving to be consistent money winners.

“We use the horses as an integral part of our operation. If you work for me in the cattle division, you have to be a horseman,” said Guy Gould. “A horse to me is a tool and an extension of my body. We’re looking for a stout, good boned horse that can endure a long day, have a lot of forward motion, and energy enough to go without being pedaled.”

The 2012 CSU Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale was the most successful in the program’s history, generating more than $330,000. While the 2013 sale had some real standouts such as Peptoplay, a 2004 Sorrel Gelding consigned by Cowen Select Horses which sold for $12,750, and 2008 Blue Roan Gelding, SM Whisper Skip, consigned by the Rocking G Ranch that sold for $10,900, 2013 did not exceed the record sales mark of 2012.

“We’re proud of the marketplace position that the Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale occupies. Through eight years of hard work, planning and careful execution, this sale continues to build on a reputation of respect, where good horses bring solid prices,” said Dr. Jerry Black, D.V.M., and Director of the CSU Equine Sciences Program.

What really matters with this sale is not what the horses bring, but what the students learn. While everyone may talk about averages and high-sellers, the real value is in the hands-on education,” said Jerry Black. “These students are the future of our industry.” ❖