KeSa Quarter Horses ends a 30-Year ride along the genetics trail
September 4, 2018
Serious horse buyers from around the country travelled to Colorado State University on Sept. 1, 2018, to attend the 21st Annual KeSa Quarter Horse Production Sale. This year's auction at CSU's Adams Atkinson Arena was even more exciting than past ones as it was also a herd dispersal.
KeSa owner Sam Shoultz pursued decades of equine genetics studies that resulted in development of the award-winning equines for which his program is well-noted. But time had become a major factor for Shoultz, who simultaneously runs several other businesses.
He added that as far as producing modern, proven horses goes, he's reached the pinnacle of success and can't do any better than he has, only as good. He prefers to go out on top.
While some business owners have the opportunity to watch the next generation pick up the baton and run with it, Shoultz does not.
"I'm not as young as I used to be," he said, "and I have no one to pass the program on to."
It was a testimony to the popularity of KeSa's bloodlines that, besides Colorado horse people, many prospective buyers came from states far afield.
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Adam and Amanda Sheppard, owners of Sheppard Farm Performance Quarter Horses in Grapeland, Texas, already own two KeSa mares and their foals. They'd bought them online rather than in-person and are so pleased that they eagerly came from east Texas to attend the final production sale.
The Sheppard's 16-year-old daughter, Samantha, is a self-proclaimed "adrenaline junkie." She was looking for a barrel racing prospect to also use for other speed events such as poles and roping.
Other hopeful buyers came from Wyoming, California, Utah, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Kansas, Idaho, Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Montana and Virginia. Additionally, numerous phone bidders helped keep the pace brisk and exciting.
Following a parade of KeSa's reference breeding stallions, including the stunning golden buckskin MR Junewood, 54 horses were presented for sale. This incredible array of breeding stock and performance horses offered bidders a unique opportunity to select from top-notch bloodlines all in one sale.
Bluefoxes Bluetwist, 2016 blue roan stallion by Blue Fox Hancock and out of Gerries Blue Twist, was not only the first lot but also the top-selling horse at $39,000; buyer, Carl Watkins of Sterling, Va.
Some additional noteworthy top bids were as follows:
Buckskin Fox, a 2014 buckskin roan mare by Blue Fox Hancock, $11,300.
Fritz Plenty Katy, 2001 overshadowed buckskin mare vet checked in-foal to Blue Fox Hancock, $11,500. (Her 2018 filly, also by Blue Fox Hancock, separately brought $4,800.)
Foxy Dun Valentine, 2003 dun roan mare vet checked in-foal to MR Junewood, $12,500.
A guest consignment from Sunrise Farm in Harpersville, Ala., was Fritz Ladywood, a bay mare checked in-foal to Rojo Coup Deuce; Fritz Ladywood brought $10,000.
Many other mature horses fetched upwards of $6,500-$8,500. And, the 2018 weanlings were not to be outdone. Some of their prices included: a chestnut roan filly by Blue Fox Hancock and out of Sassy Jo Driftwood, $5,700; blue roan colt by Blue Fox Hancock and out of Lady Jo Driftwood, $5,700; blue roan colt by Blue Fox Hancock and out of Klassy Sensation, $5,200; blue roan filly by Blue Double Try Fox and out of Foxy Two Valentine, $4,300. One particularly eye-catching yearling filly, Gerries Red Fox, brought $4,200.
By sale's end, the Sheppard family happily loaded up their selections: 20-year-old black mare, Plenty Carole, and a blue roan weanling filly by Hancock Red Fox and out of Sensations Bluewood. Perhaps because opposites apparently attract, "adrenaline junkie" Samantha was already in-love with her new filly that a KeSa intern later described as a "mellow, easy-going little doll."
Shoultz retained ownership of four stallions. MR Junewood and Blue Fox Hancock will stand at stud to approved mares at the CSU Reproduction Lab facility. This was exciting news, as these magnificent sires have not previously been available to outside mares except occasionally by private treaty.
His other two stallions presently have different agendas. Try Blue Fox is being shown by trainer Luke Jones. And Shoultz's fourth boy is currently a working ranch horse in Wyoming. At some point, he also will become a sire.
KeSa has bred, raised and used several outstanding stallions over the years, including Blue Fox Hancock; Driftwood Sensation; JoJo Flamewood; Sak Ems Briarwood; MR Junewood. Two excellent females that Shoultz particularly touted are Junewood Miss, dam of MR Junewood, and Fox Coup, Blue Fox Hancock's mama.
Now, via the combined efforts of the CSU Reproduction Lab and Shoultz's breeding stallions, mare owners will have the opportunity to blend some of those proven bloodlines into their own herds. Although there won't be any more KeSa production sales, collected semen will produce more foals from the previous program's lineage.
Luke Jones, a multiple winner of the American Quarter Horse Association World Shows, will continue campaigning 4-year-old Try Blue Fox. The production/dispersal sale catalog quoted the noted professional trainer as saying, "I have ridden enough KeSa horses for enough years that I can verify the following statements:
"These horses can compete in the toughest open AQHA classes, as well as being dependable rodeo and using horses, yet quiet enough to be a dependable family using horse.
"The KeSa horses have great minds and trainability, and can handle the stress of the show ring, and yet stay sound, a big plus. These horses are consistent in their training and retention and have good quality overall.
"Both the KeSa Driftwood lines and the Blue Valentine KeSa lines stay very true to their breeding and add consistency to their offspring."
Shoultz said it was bittersweet to end his 30-year-long adventure in Quarter Horse genetics.
"It's painful to turn loose of those genetics that we have worked so long to create," he said. "Our sincere hope is that our horses will continue to do well and will continue the KeSa legacy and spirit for the new owners."
"I appresciate the good turnout from all across the U.S. Some people got kind of teary-eyed about this being our final sale," he said.
Shoultz said that he handled the final sale pretty well because once he makes a decision he lives with it. "The hardest part for me was watching our mares unload off the trailer from the farm at CSU. I realized I'll never again own mares of that quality again," Shoultz said.
Anyone desiring information about the future availability of KeSa stallions' semen through the CSU Reproduction Lab can call Sam Shoultz at (970) 215-9433. At the Repro Lab, (970) 491-8626, ask for Paula Moffett or McCue. ❖
— Metzger is a freelance writer from Fort Collins, Colo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.